Malusu.. It was our second day in Taiwan.
At the dawn we took an half hour flight from Taipei to eastern part of Taiwan, to the city of marbles: Hualien. I liked Hualien on the very first moment i saw it, seemed like a cozy countryside.
Today, from Hualien we were going to Taroko Gorge, world’s deepest marble canyon. It was drizzling when the bus ride started, after some time we entered the national park gate and then the journey began..
Our first stop was the Bridge of 100 Lions before we entered the tunnel. Made by marble and decorating sides of the bridge. these lions each seemed to have different moods and interesting to look at. Below is my fave. This particular one seemed mischievous and
The tunnel looked historical so we took few pictures before continuing our trip to meet Taroko Gorge, which on my ear sounded like a person’s name. The beautiful scenery folded in front of our eyes while we rode pass the tunnel. WOW! I am not a nature person and i think “WOW!“ if i could felt like this seeing it, anyone would be awed by it. jagged marble cliffs, river and waterfalls..
I wanted to soak all in!
The river.. I was amazed by it and it took me couple of minutes to realize why? It is in turquoise color.
Swallow Grotto was our next stop, it’s a rock cliff with natural potholes on its surfaces as a result of the river and groundwater erosion. We walked trough it and saw the most beautiful part of the marble cliff. I was humbled by nature and the yearly marathon that takes place in November came into my mind, it would be cool to be a part of it, running trough these u shaped canyon with spectacular views.
After coming out from Swallow Grato, we stopped for some mid-morning snack. Fine by me, i just had coffee in the airport. When i asked mom recently, what was her fave moment of our Taiwan trip. She said it was when we stopped for tea on our Taroko Gorge day. Her answered made me smile ear to ear :)) It has been our mother-daughter tradition to go out for coffee whenever i am back to my hometown (which is not often enough) so i understood and was touched her answer. Tea house is an eastern equivalent of coffee shop, a place to chat, meet, date; but serves tea (think “Olong” instead of “black no sugar”). I have been wanting to visit one ever since we reached Taipei and i was thrilled to go to a tea house with a scenic view. We ordered rose tea and it came with small buns. Yummy !! and yes, indeed we shared precious memories there.
After the rose tea we stopped at few more places with wonderful views. The weather was getting chillier but it was all too good. I breathed the fresh air and enjoyed more of the panoramic views of the cliffs with mist on top. If you a nature lover, hiker or adventurer please do visit this breath-taking gorge, you will LOVE it. It is a great escape from our daily hustle bustle.
Mom was already starving when we finally had lunch at Leader Village Taroko restaurant, located on mountain area, Bruwan. I had soup, delicious sun fish, bamboo rice. BAMBOO RICE people! , mushroom, vegetables and chopped tomato for side dish while Mom had a vegetarian set. We each got to drink rice wine in boar cups, cute !! The boar was hiding behind mint tea cup. Lunch was very very nice and so were the staff.
I got sometime after lunch to explore a bit, the whole place oozed in nature beauty and gave relaxing vibe and apparently it is a hotel, you can actually stay here and learn about Taroko aborigines !! If only I knew about this earlier, I most definitely would ! it reminded me of Koyasan, Japan. Speaking of Japan, i finally got to cross another one my Japan-to-experience list here, to see Sakura flower.
After lunch we rode back to town but not before stopping and taking picture of Eternal Spring Shrine, located right above the waterfall streams, this was my most favorite picture of our Taiwan trip. I actually had seen it before many times without knowing that it was located in Taroko Gorge. From where? Taiwan travel pamphlet i saw everyday when i took public transport to work.
I heard someone said “it looked like a painting” and i couldn’t agree more. It was so peaceful to look at.
I also heard that Taroko Gorge has a hot spring, called WenShan, worth to visit. Unfortunately mom was not into getting half naked in front of strangers so we passed. If you have been or going to be there, I would love to hear your experience.
Other than marbles, Hualien is also famous for its mochi (cake made of pounded rice). I stopped by to get some, peanut and kiwi flavoured for my besties. Both tried and taste-approved by mom. Hualien mochi can be the best souvenir alternative to pineapple tarts for people who have been to Taiwan especially Taipei before. Packed with mochi and other local snacks we boarded the train back to Taipei.
Hualien train station brought back my childhood memory as it looked similar with the station we used to take trains from 20 years ago, even the trains were the same color. Once i got settled down into my seat, i do what i like to do the most, do people watching, because train passengers has always been extra interesting.
Honestly, I have never heard of Taroko Gorge before I did my research for Taiwan trip but it ended up becoming the highlight of our trip. It held up to its name, which means beautiful in the original tribe language, as one of the seven wonders of Asia along with Taj Mahal, Bali and Bagan temple.
When you visit Taiwan, give a night or two for Taroko Gorge and Hualien, you won’t regret it.
Goodbye Hualien, you have been beautiful.