Taroko National Park │ Travel Taiwan
Taroko National Park is located in eastern Taiwan. It spans across three counties, including Hualien, Taichung, and Nantou County. The Park was established in 1986 to protect the ecosystem, to facilitate scientific research, and to promote environmental education.
Taroko National Park covers around 92,000 hectares of the Central Mountain Range, ranging 36 km from the north to south and 42 km from the east to west. Some of the cliffs are above 3,000m in elevation, which provides a spectacular marble steep gorge view. Unquestionable, this is one of the most beautiful parks we have been, it’s nothing but spectacular.
Family Travel Destination
Yes, it is a family travel destination. However, toddlers group usually demands higher care, most trails do not support strollers, and several landmarks require walking stairs. A baby carrier is highly recommended in case you wish to walk around and enjoy the scenery with your little one. Taroko National Park also offers several trails, most trails are paved.
We have been to Toroko National Park twice; The first time was before my older daughter – Luana – was born and the second time was when she was around 6 months old. Even though traveling with a toddler requires more preparation. Nonetheless, we had a blast on both of our experiences.
How to get there?
The drive between Yilan and Toroko is curvy and narrow, and it can be dangerous if the visibility is low. Trucks, buses, minivans, and vehicles are passing on both sides of the street. I will recommend joining the tour, taxi, or enter the Park with the hotel shuttle van if you have a driving concern. Don’t drive into Toroko If the weather is under condition, check the weather before heading to the Park. Watch for Typhoon during the summer season. Check for the weather here.
I love the scenery and natural experience. But the driving into the Toroko always concerns me a little bit knowing Taiwan also has an earthquake, the stone may be falling from the top as well. These are just a safety heads-up. Nonetheless, this is still one of the most popular tourist destinations in Taiwan for both local and foreign visitors, just be mindful. Go Slow!
There are two bus stations available, Hualien train station and Xincheng train station. Hualien train station has more buses scheduled, while Xincheng train station is closer to the Taroko Train Station. Bus schedules are available to download here.
My favorite route is to take the Puyoma express train to Hualien station, tickets can be booked 14 days in advance online. Puyoma express train is hard to book even for the local, Good Luck! After arriving at Hualien Train station, we waited for our hotel shuttle bus right in front of the station.
If you wish to set up a family road trip, Highway 11 (台11線) along the coast is one of the most beautiful drives in the world, some of the best beaches are along with this highway; Highway 11 will take you to the southern tip of Taiwan. Depends on where you would like to stop, you can head north via Kaohsiung, Tainan, and Taichung, continue to explore the southern culture of Taiwan. Street foods and temples are important within these regions.
Silks Place Taroko
We stayed at Silks Place Taroko on both of our visits, Silks Place Toroko has been ranked as one of the top 10 kids-friendly hotel in Taiwan.
The hotel is situated in a top mountain area, and it runs a shuttle bus to/from the Hualien train station. The bus will be available to pick up right outside the Hualien train station, check with the hotel for schedule.
Check-in & Dining
Upon our arrival, we were greeted with finger food and drink. Regardless of which type of suites we booked, both check-in experiences were warm and welcoming.
Silk Place Toroko provides two dining options, we had Chinese dinner at Mei Yuan Restaurant and had buffet for breakfast which serves across Mei Yuan Restaurant. The buffet offers both indoor and outdoor seating. We really enjoy our breakfast dining experience, as the food quality was just fine comparing to the five-stars hotel offers in the city. However, exchanging with the sound of nature and the fresh air, it was a valuable tradeoff.
Facilities & Entertainment Programs
Silk Place Taroko featured both indoor and outdoor pools. However, the rooftop outdoor pool is the highlight of the hotel, surrounded by steep mountains, bird chipping sounds. The hotel sometimes will organize a mini-concerts or moonlight Cinema by the poolside or the patio lounge next to it.
Silks Place Taroko hosted a few entertainment programs for the family travelers, the hotel offers one of the best kid’s club, children’s art & crafts DIY experience, as well as the night time indigenous dance shows in the middle of the courtyard. It is undoubtedly an excellent family travel destination.
Rooms & Views
We book two different types of rooms on our two visits.
The first time we booked a family room with a gorge and river view, the view is spectacular. The pleasant sound of mountain and river stream, It was extremely comfortable to just relax by the balcony.
The second time we booked a family suite with a garden view, we could infused a little bit of our multicultural experience by enjoy the indigenous dance from our balcony. The room is spacious, and it comes with a few mini-games for the family.
Things to do in Taroko National Park
We prefer slow travel, therefore we left our evening available to enjoy the facilities in the hotel. However, if you have the plan to go big like most people, there are many activities offers in the Park.
Silks Place Toroko offers a half-day tour for both morning and afternoon, as well as a full-day tour. We booked a half-day tour and spend most of our day around the hotel.
Scooter is another good option to navigate the Park, again please do note that the road in the Park can be curvy and narrow. Vehicles are passing on both sides of the way, pay extra attention to the road condition is a must.
There are eight official trails
- Shakadang Trail 4.4km
- Changchun Trail 1.35km
- Swallow Grotto Yanzikou Trail 1.37km
- Tunnel of Nine Turns Trail 1.9km
- Lushui-Heliu trail 2km
- Baiyang Waterfall 2.2 km
- Huitouwan (Switchback) – Lianhua Pond 3.7 km
- Chongde Trail 320m
Xiangde Temple, located at one of the most beautiful spots in Taiwan, it is a bit hard to climb up the stairs. However, the breathtaking panoramic view of the town is offering up there if you can make it to the top.
If you are staying at Silks Place Taroko, the entrance of the Xiande Temple is walking distance from the hotel.
Simply beautiful and appealing to see the shrine from far down. Changchung shrine locked in a steep and high cliff, you can hike to the shrine by crossing the bridge, and there’s an underground path available. Unfortunately, we did not have the chance for an internal visit. The entrance gate was closed on both of our visits.
The local guide shares several great stories about the trail. ChangChung shrine was built to honor the people who passed away during the construction of the Toroko road, all their names are carved on the wall. The hike was quite an elevation seeing from the ground, but the view is fantastic up there.
Swallow Grotto Yanzikou Trail
Saving the best for last!
If you wish to have slow family travel like us and wanted to pick a “must-go” place, then that will be Swallow Grotto Yanzikou “trail.”
Swallow Grotto is the main landmark of the gorge with a breathtaking view on the cliffs. The narrow canyon on both sides features the smallest and deepest sections of the Liwu River. 700-meter cliffs are covered with fantastic marble texture that has been carved for thousands of years.
Though the name is “trail,” but the 1.37km paved way is on a flat surface, definitely a kid-friendly trail. I believe it is compulsory to wear a helmet into the Grotto to avoid the unexpected falling rocks. Free helmets are available by the park management at the entrance of that section.