Thursday, April 14, 2011

week 29_More Taroko Gorge...

After visiting the Eternal Spring Shrine and the Buluowan Recreation Center, we still had a few more sights to see on our tour!
our friendly Tour Guide and the Husband
Looking down on the river from the Swallow Grotto trail
Our next hike was along the Swallow Grotto trail: an open, well-paved and relatively smooth path along a mountainside road. This trail was much busier than the previous, with tour buses and large groups of people moving along snapping photos every few feet (that means us too...). And justifiably so! I'm glad we have the experience to remember though, and not just the photos. It was beautiful. The trail did offer wonderful views and is at the narrowest point in the gorge. When you look across the river you can see the rock wall and mountainside just across the way, close enough to admire the veining in the natural marble cliffs.

(Notice the people top left to give you an idea of the scale)
Looking out from the Swallow Grotto Trail
The Swallow Grotto trail is named for it's winding pathway through mountainside caves where swallow's have long laid their nests. Unfortunately, over time, the swallow population here has dwindled but we did still see a few. The swallows that we did see are probably flying around in these photos somewhere - just tiny specs against the engulfing background of the rocks... 

After the Swallow Grotto trail we headed back towards the hotel and hunted down some fried rice from a local street vendor across the way. Aside from the angry Chinese woman who seemed pretty lit that we couldn't speak Chinese (darn foreigners!) the rice was pretty good. :) Full and happy, we decided to venture out for a bit more hiking on our own. We started up the mouth of the Siangde Temple Trail, located just next to the Silks Place Hotel. 
Tianfeng Pagoda, Siangde Temple Trail
Looking down from the top of the pagoda, river below!
The last trail had the most sights along the way and ended at Siangde Temple. I think we both had fun climbing up the double-helix stairs of the pagoda and admiring the views from the different points along the trail. It was well worth the hike and a great way to end our day. A few pictures taken along the way...
Siangde Temple gardens
Siangde Temple, Taroko Gorge
The most reputable trail, the Tunnel of Nine Turns - the one I was really looking forward to! - was actually closed during our visit due to a recent rock slide. We're told that falling rocks are common within the gorge, and certain trails actually require permits and for hikers to wear helmets. For the inexperienced like us though... we would never make it! Ha. I say this in jest only because it doesn't take long before I stop for a breather ;) Even still, I love that Taiwan is so scenic with so many beautiful new places to enjoy!


  1. These pics are amazing!!! I want to come visit REALLY bad now.

  2. The temple looked really interesting too and the gardens. Many, many opportunities to see beautiful things.

  3. Sue Dean says........I wish I were there to see all those beautiful things....