What may have surprised me the most about my time in Taiwan was its natural beauty. In fact, I think some of the best experiences found in the country aren’t in its cities, but in its national parks. Taroko Gorge in particular impressed me, not just for the beautiful landscapes, but for the ability to venture out into the park and really experience the nature of Taiwan on a very personal level.
I was in Taiwan with AFAR Magazine, on an assignment to write an advertorial for the magazine. Along the way though I learned a lot about the country, and in spite of the assignment ended up loving the country on my own. My thoughts here are true and honest and I really do believe that Taiwan is an amazing country to explore, especially for the adventure minded of us.
My hotel was located in the heart of the park, so that I could look out my window and see the massive boulders for which the gorge is famous. The geology in this mountainous area is unusual and huge slabs of marble line the gorge, massive natural monuments to the park’s greatness. I didn’t really appreciate the beauty of the area though until I joined a short hike through the gorge on the Baiyang Waterfall Trail.
This short, 4-kilometer round trip starts out in an eerie 100-meter long tunnel, originally built by a power company before they abandoned plans to build a dam in the nearby area. The tunnel leads to the much more natural path that winds along the river, through several more tunnels and features great views of waterfalls, cliff faces and caves.
The hike is pretty easy and accessible more almost anyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. It’s a fantastic way to get out and enjoy the day and to truly appreciate the natural beauty that makes Taiwan such an exciting place to explore.