Taroko Park- Been there done that?


I’m going camping in Taroko Park next week. I’m trying to find some information as far as good maps, and some specifics on weather and gear required.
Anybody been there? Drop me a line.


Been about 9 times.

If you get on the train to Hualien by 8am, you can be in the middle of Taroko Gorge by 12:30pm. You can rent a scooter net door to the Hualien train station and take the highway northa out of town towards Taroko (many of the signs are in English). It will take you about 30 minutes by scooter to get the the mouth of the gorge. From there you’ll want to slow down and soak it all in.

Camping there kinda sucks. Small roadside parking lots are what qualify as ‘camping grounds’ and no fun to stay at. I took a tent to Taroko my first time and will never take one again. I’d check out eiher of the two hostels next to the Formosa Hotel. Very cheap. Alternatively, during the week, a night at the Formosa will cost NT$3000. Very nice.

I’ll dig out a map and find the English names for some of the better spots to check out.

Thanks for the info- we were planning on taking a tent, but maybe we’ll rethink that.
How cheap are the hostells?
I was thinking we would try to find some different sites to camp at, away from the mainstream- is it illegal to go off the main paths?

Thanks again, I appreciate it!

Stick with the tent I’d say.
Tienhsiang, where the hostels are, is an uninspiring place. You’ve come for the scenery, why not stay in it?

There are a lot of trails around the gorge. one camping spot that’s easy to get to is just past Tienhsiang, through the foot-path tunnel that leads to the water curtain caves (Lonely Planet mentions it and the Park Headquarters have detailed info). 10 or 15 minute walk from Tienhsiang.

the path follows a river and it’s easy to set your tent beside it. Because the tunnel takes you through a hill away from Tienhsiang, the skies at night can be crystal clear there.

Other walks: there’s a path further up the gorge that branches off to a small village and lake. From there you can continue north all the way to the north cross island highway. You’d in theory need a permit to be so reckless.

the Park Headquarters at the entrance to the gorge have information on these and a lot of other trails.

camping may be prohibited (it’s a national park) but if you are discreet and leave nothing behind I’d recommend it.

an alternative to renting a scooter is to get off the train at Hsincheng (new-town) which is very close to the gorge entrance and get a bus up. But a scooter’s probably better.

Typhoon season is coming - improve the gene pool by sleeping near a river

We camped in the Gorge about two summers ago. Just before Tienshang there is a small campground. The plots are small, but each unit gives you a raised wooden platform to pitch your tent on, and a barbecue pit. There is also a bathroom with showers. The place was clean, free, and no one sang Karaoke at night.

If you are going to rent a scooter you’d better have a licence. No one would rent one to use last time we went. And don’t think about renting a car. You can’t get insurance.

Other than that the gorge is breathtaking, as is the coastline heading south from Hualien.

for anyone who knows or has an opinion - i have heard that you can and that you cannot rent scooters for the trip to the gorge. or that you need a liscence. what has been your experience. i’m headed tomorrow and wondering if i should just find the bus station (where is that) or if its worth a try for the rentals, and what would give me a good shot a getting on. i’d rather see the gorge without a bus around me.


They will rent to you only if you have a Taiwan License or an International Drivers license. We tried 5 or 6 places and no luck…

Probably true that you need a lisence, but I did rent without one about 3 years ago. Maybe they’re stricter now. A good alternative would be to borrow or take your own scooter from Taiepi (if you’re in Taipei) and put it on the Airbus (they have limited unbookable space for a few scooters so you have to get there early - goes from Taipei City Hall MRT). Airbus lets off scooters at Ilan and Hualian. It’s comfortable and pretty cheap.


Got the T’shirt…


Take the tent – the campsite before you get to Tienshang is fine – I was just there a few weeks ago and its still clean and free. Don’t know about quiet, though. Its CNY and the place will probably be packed with people.

Also, nobody’s mentioned the Wenshan hotsprings just a couple of clicks up the road from Tienshang. Also free and really nice, having been recently renovated by the Formosa Regent hotel. Just drive until you come to a police station on your right-hand side. A few yards further up, there’s a parking area, after which the road enters a tunnel. The path down to the springs starts just to the right of the tunnel entrance. Its well-signposted in English.

There’s not really much in the way of decent food up at Tienshang, though – a few noodle-stands and such like at the bus station and that’s about it.

However, what better after your hotspring soak than a NT$600 all you can eat western-style buffet at the FOrmosa Regent in Tienshang? If you’re like me (i.e. incredibly cheap) you can even take a plastic bag in with you and filch a few slices of prime rib, smoked salmon and whatnot to eat later. I’m shameless.

Did they have two for one on the beers in there too? Either that, or they were charging just NT$50 per bottle (Heineken and something else imported) when we went.

If you don’t want to camp, you might want to try a hostel. We took a double room with bathroom in the Catholic Hostel that was spartan but clean, if a little shabby. I think it was NT$800/night. They also have a bunkhouse-style place that is considerably cheaper, I think. Again, however, its CNY, so there’s a good chance they’ll be booked solid already.

Hey, not trying to flog a dead horse here. Obviously, it’s harder to rent a scooter in Hualian without an International Driver’s License than in some other parts of Taiwan. And obviously I won’t know if I can get one until I try. That said, does anyone know if there are any smaller places around Hualian where it might be easier to get a scooter without the license? It was mentioned in another thread that you could rent scooters in Sincheng. Does anyone have any experience with trying to rent there (without an I.D.L)?