Away From the Concrete Jungle – Taiwan Trip #9

March 4, 2009 at 11:23 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

Itchyfingers took a train from Taipei City for a two days escape into the nature. The train station was big and it took us a while to figure out where to buy tickets. :p When we finally got our tickets to Hualien at NT445 (S$19 +) we were puzzled as to why was there a need for two separate sizes tickets, cos normally tickets come in perforated form where the staff would tear the smaller portion away. Well, we would find out why very soon…:p

sign
Sign showing platform number as well as car number for easy boarding

Trains in Taipei were very punctual. After settling down in our seats, we found out why the need for two separate pieces of tickets…

tick2
The bigger pieces of tickets

tick
At the back of the seats in front of us, a tiny ticket slot let you insert the smaller
piece of ticket. This is so that passengers could have a good rest while the ticket officer 
could check and collect the ticket stubs without having to disturb them. What
a nice thought from the train company!

collect1
There….collecting tickets. The two angmohs were the only other foreign
tourists on board our car…These two were able to speak Mandarin, the
one in striped tee was trying very hard to converse with the Taiwanese
girl besides him…and we had a fun time listening to him struggling with
his vocabulary…heeee….

Taroko National Park is located in the east of Taiwan. It lies across three administrative areas – Hualien County, Taichung County and Nantou County. Taiwan’s Central Cross-Island Highway crosses the park, which is at the eastern end of the highway. Famous for its marble gorge, Taroko National Park alone has an area of 92,000 hectares (approximately 227,336 acres). It is one of the seven national parks in Taiwan and was named after the Taroko Gorge, the landmark gorge of the park. The name, Taroko, means the “magnificent and beautiful” in the Truku aboriginal tribe’s language. 

The train took slightly more than two hours to reach Hualien and according to our guidebook, the next bus service to the national park was around 2pm. As the winter sun set much earlier and taking the bus would mean reaching the park later, we decided to take the cab which cost us a good NT1,000 (S$45) as compared to the bus which cost only about NT145 per person. 😦 

After breaking our budget taking the cab, the driver had to leave us in front of the only hotel in the town of Tianxiang. We ‘ran’ out after checking the rates…:O We decided to try Tisu Boy’s friend’s recommendation at this 天祥青年活動中心 place. Wow, gotta have good leg muscles cos you need to climb up a slope…especially so if you are carrying your bags looking for accommodation like us. Should have asked the driver to send us direct there! Luckily the place turned out to be simple but decent, and only cost a fraction… 8)

visitor-ctre
Visitors’ centre at the town, Tiansiang, named after the historical hero Wun
Tiansiang

hi2
Tiansiang used to be home to the Tabido, a group of the Taroko tribe…

We settled our lunch at the town since the hostel cafe seemed a bit quiet at the time…

shop
We went in this shop as the owners were more enthusiastic in touting for
customers…

The guidebook did rate the stalls in the town as not so good…and true enough they were just so so…:p

food
Our second time eating the stinky beancurd, the first being in Hong Kong. 
The unappetizing looking soup was made from a flower called
Daylily
a bit strange for my taste…
  

fried-rice
Fried rice with prawns….the chilli was the best thing…burrp!

With tummies full, time to burn some fat and start walking before the sky turned dark…

Walking down the road was like walking along the road at Frasers Hill, but here you see the gorge with the water gushing.

rd
Look up you see rock cliffs, look down you see water….look left and right 
before you cross the road…:p

tunnel2
There were a few of these tunnels cutting through the cliffs…one of the
longest was more than 400 metres…

gorge
Part of the gorge…

marble
A close up of a marble rock..

We continued walking until we saw a few tour buses at a drop-off point next to a information centre with cafeteria. There we also saw this lovely tree…

tree
Wow…what tree was that?

plum
The plum blossom! Sweet!

We were attracted by a flock of birds on a tree at the opposite side of the road but they flew away when a group of senior citizens walked past. 😦 We reckoned they were taking a walk along one of the trails and decided to follow the locals to see if anything interesting up there…it turned out to be quite a nice walk….

Check out where the trail led Itchyfingers to in the next post! 😀

Also see related posts:
> Shit Happens – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #8
Gorilla in the Mist – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #7
It’s a Cat! No! It’s a Bear! – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #6
Wow Cow! Holy Cow! So Many Cows! – CowParade @ Taipei, Taiwan Trip #5
Gong Xi Fa Cai! – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #4
Holy Cow! – CowParade @ Taipei, Taiwan Trip #3
Wow Cow! – CowParade @ Taipei, Taiwan Trip #2
Buy One Get One Free! – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #1 

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