Taroko National Park

Taroko National Park in TaiwanIf you’ve heard of only one natural attraction in Taiwan, it’s probably the magnificent marble defile in Hualien called Taroko Gorge. This beguiling work of Mother Nature, the centerpiece of Taroko National Park, is a natural wonder that mustn’t be rushed.

The best possible way to appreciate its impossibly steep sides and twisting bends is to have a private driver-guide who can drop you at certain spots so you can walk for a while, then pick you up and take you on to the next scenic highlight. Don’t forget to look down into the vividly blue river, which is littered with bungalow-sized boulders.

Swimming in the river isn’t allowed, and the only hot spring within the gorge is now officially off-limits. That said, throughout the eastern half of Taiwan there are several spots where visitors can frolic in mountain creeks or enjoy an invigorating soak in geothermal waters. Our travel experts are happy to make recommendations and help you plan the trip of a lifetime.

Taroko National Park encompasses much more than the gorge after which it’s named. High-altitude hikers are drawn to peaks such as Nanhudashan (3,740 m / 12,270 ft) and Hehuanshan (3,416 m / 11,207 ft). The first is rated as one of Taiwan’s most beautiful mountains, while the second — accessed from Nantou County via a high-altitude highway — often sees snow in December and January. Before attempting any overnight hikes in Taiwan’s higher mountains, travellers should ensure they’ve arranged the correct permits and booked accommodation in mountain refuges.