Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cycle Taiwan Day 17 Hualien to Taroko 太魯閣

早上好 and a good morning. We will be leaving Hualien soon after 2 nights. Our next destination is Taroko.
Breakfast @ shop near Chan Tai Hotel located at Guolian 3rd Road GPS : 23.991338, 121.603194
The Information Counter of Hualien at nearby the train station. Initially we wanted to take a bus to Taroko but due to some price haggling with the bus operator we opted for a train ride.
The train fare from Hualien to the nearest station to Taroko, Xincheng Station was NTD36 each.
We met a group of  tourists from Penang at Hualien Train Station, we were also waiting for the same train but they were not going to Taroko as we have already finished visiting it.
Within 15 minutes we were at Xincheng Taroko Station.
Another beautiful station in Taiwan. My thumb up for Taiwan Railways Administration.
We were hit by dusty wind and it was all over, apparently some monsoon wind was crossing the area causing it to be windy and dusty.
We had to masked our faces and we looked like bandits on the road.
Just before we reach the entrance to Taroko Gorge we left our luggage at Hong Ying B&B. Together with us was Sim the owner of Hong Ying. 
The Taroko Gorge 太魯閣 here we were. The name, Taroko, means the "magnificent and splendid" in the language of Truku, the aboriginal tribe who resides in the area.
East-West Cross Island Highway gateway at Taroko. A must visit place in Taiwan if not you will regret.
We met a solo cyclist from mainland China and requested for have a picture taken with him and surely we obliged.
Inch by inch we moved into the gorge, feeling dangerous as the road is narrow. This is the East - West Highway cutting across the centre of Taiwan. 
Fortunately there wasn't much vehicles on the road and the drivers were all understanding and patient. Slowly we got used to it and felt comfortable as we got deeper into the gorge.
It is also known as the Central Cross-Island Highway (中部橫貫公路) or Provincial Highway 8 is one of three highway systems that connect the west coast with the east of Taiwan. It starts from Taichung and coming out to Taroko National Park.
The highway was severely damaged during the Jiji Earthquake in 1999 since then it has been repaired, rebuilt and still improving it as we could see construction work under going. 
It is indeed an engineering masterpiece cutting through the mountain range joining the west and the east.
Going through many natural tunnels, some could be very narrow like this.
Taroko Gorge is famous for its natural marble landscape. 
Tunneling is essential in the construction of the highway as it will not to disturb the natural terrain of the mountains.
The Red Bridge 長春橋 of Taroko.
As viewed from the Red Bridge to Zhangchun Shrine trail 長春祠步道.
Be it a bicycle-riding through Tunnel of Nine Turn, an overlook from Lushui Trail, or paddling a canoe on the Pacific Ocean looking up the Qingshui Cliff, you can feel the extraordinary workmanship of nature.
And slowly we inched back to the gateway of Taroko.
The Central Cross-Island Highway was officially opened for traffic in 1960 and the Taroko Archway was built in the same year. It serves to remind the early days of the road construction. Taroko Archway has become the most photographed landmark in Hualien
Stopped by a stall for a bite of local sausage immediately after the gateway of Taroko.
Taroko National Park was established on November 28, 1986, it was of special significance for the environmental protection movement in Taiwan: it showed that both the public and the government agencies had realized despite the nation's four decades of extraordinary economic success, serious damage was being done to its natural resources. The parks are established to protect the natural scenery, historic relics and wildlife; to conserve natural resources; and to facilitate scientific research and promote environmental education.
We came to the national park for our lunch at Taroko Visitors' centre.
This statue reflects the main two features of Taroko tribe - facial tattoo & woven fabric. This a statue of a woman tribe.
Jo and myself checked into Li-Wu Hotel 太魯閣住宿~立霧客棧旅館 while the rest were staying at Hong Ying B&B (just next door). 
We got a big room with two queen size beds and indeed a very comfortable evening to rest.
Everyone of us gathered at Li Wu for dinner, surprisingly the food was very delicious though prepared and cooked by the sole land lady. Photo credit : Anne Cheong.

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