Swallow Grotto Trail

From cityscapes to natural wonders, the island nation of Taiwan offers various charms of tourist attractions. One of these natural wonders is Taroko National Park, which is situated on the east coast of the island within the county of Hualien, Taichung, and Nantou. The park covers 92,000 hectares of mountain ranges, beautiful rivers, and numerous waterfalls. The name ‘Taroko’ was originated from the indigenous Taroko people who used to live around the Liwu River, which runs along the national park. Million years of geological uplifting and erosion by the Liwu River formed a deep and dramatic limestone gorge, which has now become a famous tourist attraction known as the Taroko Gorge.

Liwu River

There are numerous scenic trails available in the national park, some of them requiring entry permits to enter including the Zhuilu Old Road which allows hikers to cross the spectacular Zhuilu Suspension Bridge. The most famous trail is the Swallow Grotto (Yanzikou) Trail, which is a section of the Swallow Grotto Tunnel on side of the Central Cross-Island Highway. The trail allows visitors to enjoy the dramatic gorge along the Liwu River, potholes in the tunnel, and the view of Zhuilu Suspension Bridge.

One of the most visited trails is the Shakadang Trail. The journey on the 4.5 km trail starts with a walk along the red Shakadang Bridge and then taking the staircase down to the trekking path. The path runs along the mountainside by Shakadang River, where visitors can enjoy the fresh air while being mesmerised by the emerald green stream of the river.

The national park is open almost all year round, excluding Monday of the second week every month and during Chinese New Year. Some of the trails may be closed due to landslides or other safety related conditions. Visitors are encouraged to check on the official website before visiting.

There are four visitor centres within the national park. They are Taroko Visitor Centre, Buluowan Service Station, Tianxiang Service Station, and Mt. Hehuan Service Station. Restaurants, merchandise stores, and public facilities are available in these areas during working hours. In the spring season, visitors can enjoy the view of cherry blossoms surrounded by mountains in the Buluowan Service Station park. Some restaurants in Tianxiang Service Station offers indigenous dishes, such as bamboo rice and a plate of meat with veggies.

In order to reach the national park, visitors can ride a 2-hour express train to Hualien from Taipei Main Station. The national park is located about one hour drive north of Hualien train station. There are two kinds of busses available which will take visitors to the national park, which are the public busses and the organised ones. Those who are more adventurous can opt to rent a scooter for a more flexible schedule. 

Live music at AZone, Hualien

Due to its proximity, visitors from Taipei often choose the national park as a day-trip option. However, to explore Taroko National Park to its fullest charm, staying overnight in Hualien is recommended. The county itself offers various cultural and culinary attractions, from the quirky industrial cultural creative ground known as A|Zone to the buzzing street-food heaven of Dongdamen night market. There are plenty of attractions and activities that visitors can enjoy in Hualien beside the Taroko National Park.

teks dan foto : GART