Advice for Taroko Gorge/Hualien trip

Anyone have any advice for a weekend (yes, weekend) trip to Taroko and Hualien?

I’ll be taking the train to Hualien Saturday night (no choice, work). Then my plan is to find a hotel/hostel, wake up Sunday morning, rent a scooter, and go to Taroko. I don’t have a Taiwan or International Driver’s License, and I have read it’s not easy to rent a scooter without one. Is this still the case? Is it really a nightmare driving around Taroko on a weekend? How are the bus tours through Taroko? Do they allow any time for exploring? Any ideas/advice?


Without a license of any kind its best to assume that you won’t be allowed to rent a vehicle, although you could always try. Maybe you’ll get lucky. Actually, “lucky” would be to NOT get a scooter. Sunday traffic there can be utterly horrific. Anyway, you’ll barely have time to do anything other than drive up, turn around and drive back again. Best, therefore, to take a bus, so at least you can look out the window and see what little of the scenery you can see that way.

Take the bus to TIEN HSIANG deep into the gorge . That will cover the 19km of Taroko Gorge and then walk back to the coast and catch the bus back into Hualian. Thats fun.

Stay at one of the hostels in Hualien and see if you can get a few others to share a taxi (NT2500-3000 a day). Go early (before 9am) and you will beat most of the crowds. Had the Baiyun Trail and water curtain all to ourselves on a Sunday as we got there at 7am. Also late Sunday afternoon/evening the crowds will be heading back so you can again explore the tunnel of nine turns. During the day head up to Meiyun-Jhucun Trail. It’s long enough to keep the crowds away.

[quote=“sandman”]Actually, “lucky” would be to NOT get a scooter.[/quote]Yeah, I did the trip on a scooter once up to Tianxiang - not a pleasant experience - those buses and lorries don’t slow down for anyone, and once slip up there, one unseen pothole, and they’re never going to even find the bodies.

[quote=“tommy525”]Take the bus to TIEN HSIANG deep into the gorge . That will cover the 19km of Taroko Gorge and then walk back to the coast and catch the bus back into Hualian. Thats fun.[/quote]If you do that, you’re missing out on the spectacular scenery of the gorge above Tianxiang. I was young once, and made just such a foolish mistake, but having recently returned, I can only speak of the farther reaches in terms of glowing praise. It’s bloody gorgeous up there.

How much would a trip from Hsinchu to Taroko Gorge cost, if you want to head there from Saturday morning and come back the next night (train tickets/hotel/food expenses) etc?

Try to take the Tilting Train , theres several runs a day and thats one of the newest trains in Taiwan. Its a tze-chiang train but not all tze-chiang trains are tilting trains. So do buy ur ticket a day or two in advance both for going there as well as coming back. The journey is faster, bout 2 and a half hours each way. YOu could stay in the town of Hualian . There are plenty of hotels. Probably could get a nice room in a small hotel for 1600nt/nite or so?? Or you could stay in the Formosa Regent for something like 6000nt/nite? And theres another resort or two nearby that are really great as well but they also cost close to 5000 or more a nite.

Food? YOu could exercise your credit card as much or as little as you want. Its always easy to eat cheaply in Taiwan.

I cant remember if the tilting train was about 700nt each way to Hualian or 700 roundtrip but I am leaning towards 700nt round trip. Make a quick trip down to the Taipei main station and buy your ticket and you will know. … w-running/

edit: I just noticed you said from Hsinchu. Well add in the cost of the HSR to and from Taipei Main station (whats that? bout 600nt roundtrip?). And you can buy the tilting train from TAipei Main station to and from Hualian at your local train station in Hsinchu. You could buy a tzechiang ticket from there that connects with the tilting train in taipei as well. Or perhaps (I understand they are running the tilting train on the west coast line as well) you could simply take the tilting train from hsinchu to hualian and back.

And in Hualian they have buses that run to and from TienHsiang inside the gorge. They dont cost a lot.

There are shops in Hualian (near the train station) that let you rent out scooters with your american passports…obviously this is all hush hush stuff.

I did the Taroko trip on a scooter 2wks. Taroko is beautiful but the trip on a scouter is very dangerous.

  1. Take the bus to Tianxiang.
  2. Stay at the Catholic Hostel.
  3. Say a prayer for Fred Frontier.
  4. Walk down the gorge back to opening leaving in the pre-dawn gloom around 5am
  5. Take bus back to Hualien from Taroko.

If you have time, the first evening, walk up to the Baiyang trail. Also check out Shakada trail near the entrance. Great swimming holes here. When the park patrols tell you to get out, cooperate. Go back in when they leave.

i did almost the exact same trip you are planning about a year and a half ago, but i think we went during the week.

NT490 each way on train
NT350 hostel one night (i think it’s the one on
NT500 24 hr scooter rental near the train station. yes…see what sydneydave wrote.

we got there in the evening and went to taroko in the morning the next day. didn’t have a whole lot of time but we saw enough for it to count as a worthwhile trip. scootered back, went down the eastern coast a little bit, returned then caught the train back. it’s do-able.

scootering through there is only dangerous if you get knocked off the edge and die. until that point though, i call it fun and more exciting than being on a bus or taxi. though you should be able to judge for yourself i think…keeping in mind what everyone’s posted already.

[quote=“sydneydave”]There are shops in Hualian (near the train station) that let you rent out scooters with your American passports…obviously this is all hush hush stuff.

just across the car park at the south east side of the station (?) is a bunch of bike rental places, IIRC. there’s a place to leave luggage nearby (station premises). the scooter place I went to did not even ask to see a licence, so don’t even offer anything unless they ask, then start with the least appropriate piece of ID, like a passport, followed by a foreign DL. It’s not terribly hush hush, though, just SOP.

Don’t forget to bring a raincoat as it will almost certainly rain. I have been to taroko on only one trip out of about fifteen with a completely dry day. get gas in Hualien, and a full tank should see you through most of a trip to TienXiang and back. Beware tourist busses in the tunnels and on bends. Bus trips, if you’re considering the alternative, are uninspiring and leave little time for you to explore.

Don’t forget to trek across the suspension bridge and up to the temple at Tien Hsiang (Tianxiang, 天祥).

Heres your moto ride thru the gorge … L&index=49 (caution, music may be too headbanging)

quote from mosakrosa : scootering through there is only dangerous if you get knocked off the edge and die. until that point though, i call it fun… unquote :roflmao:

I recommend hiring a 125cc scooter if you have someone else riding with you like I did. We rented one out at the B&B we were staying at. 800NT per night and 300NT for 24hrs for the scooter (student discount). Fill up your gas at the gas station closest to the mountain entrance unless you are going before 9am as that gas station is closed before that. We started at about 7am and basically finished 4pm and I was driving pretty much the whole time. We went pretty deep into the mountains. Be advised it gets cold once you get about 2400+ meters high. Also there is another gas station further up into the mountains so dont worry about being low on gas.

And yes it is dangerous driving up there, just dont drive like an idiot and you will be fine. And expect the occasional wait for land slide clearing. :slight_smile:

Beautiful place, take your time and enjoy it!

Anyone planning a trip to Taroko is best advised to simply NOT do it on a Saturday or a Sunday (Friday is also questionable). Wall to wall tourists ruin the experience at each and every stop. If you can swing it, do a Monday-Wednesday trip. Ditch any pretense of taking a bus. As inspiring as an office cubicle.

Ideally, you want to cycle. There are all sorts of places in Hualien to rent a bike. Barring that, a scooter or taxi (although most drivers will try to tell you that Tienshiang is the end of the road and there is nothing to see beyond… utter horsehit). Go as far as Shinbaiyang, minimum. Right to He Huan is better.

Spend the night in the gorge. Tienshiang is the obvious place. The Catholic Hostel (or any of the others, really) will do. Any of the trails are worth their weight in gold. My favorite is the Goat’s Head near Tzuen, but there are dozens.

Better yet, skip Taroko altogether. Go to Tongmen.

Some related info:
need advice on taroko gorge

The link to the homepage of Taroko National Park that was posted in that thread on Nov 15, 2004 9:11 pm has changed to . From that portal site you can reach the English homepage at … fault.aspx

Does anyone know the status of the Suhua Highway? I, like thousands of other runners, will be descending on the Hualien-Taroko Gorge area next weekend, and plan on driving with my wife and kids.

Also, if you are NOT a runner, best advised to stay away on November 7th because my understanding is that the road into the gorge is closed to ALL vehicular traffic on the day of the marathon, though those who have been there before on that weekend may have better information. This will be my first trip and am looking forward to enjoying the scenery unencumbered by a car and massive vehicular traffic.

The road above Tianxiang is closed because of landslide, they open the road 5 times a day for 10 min. Baiyang Trail doesn’t exists any more! It will be really difficult to rebuild it. Have been 2 weeks before there!

This tells me nothing as I have no idea where Tianxiang is.

Is it possible to drive the Su-Hua highway from Suao to Hualien? Or, do I have to take the southern route?

tianxiang is a small town inside the tarokko-gorge, the only possibility to stay overnight with some bad and expensive restaurants.
regarding the road from suao - please have a look at another thread with new information. i am not sure about the new conditions. it might have changed.