Called as "asia" canyon, makes TAROKO GORGE as one of top must visit place while you are in Taiwan. Many people comes here just for a day trip from Taipei or using private taxi service ( around NT$4.000 for a day trip) but here since we were backpacker i will share how we use public transportation.
HOW TO GO
From TAIPEI take train to HUALIEN or XINCHENG station (+/-NT$500)
and then from those station take local bus to Taroko (+/-NT$20)
You can see all the bus schedule down here. And no need to buy any ticket, you can use your easy card. Except you dont have it and want to buy daily day pass (+/- NT$200).
as you can see so many stops in the map but if you want to stop to all places and really do pro hiking, you need more than 3 days. So here i just give you
BEST 3 RECOMMENDATION FOR ONE DAY TOUR
TAROKO VISITOR CENTER
For you backpacker and NEED PLACE to keep your stuff will do hiking. This is the place. You can put your stuffs here for free & get some info about the best route for you, all you need to do just fill your identity. BUT don't forget this place just opens from 9am-5pm. So makesure you take your stuff before it closed.
ESTIMATE REAL TIME NEEDED: 4 HOURS
The famous photo spot i think HAHA since so many people here. But this trail no need to take a bus, just take a walk from Visitor center, and yeah. People said they need around 4 hours to done all the way till the end of beautiful rockies and blue water way but i just walked around 1 hour, bored, and back HAHA.
SWALLOW GROTTO TRAIL
ESTIMATE REAL TIME NEEDED: 1 HOUR
This is my favorite spot to be honest. It simple,short,and super beautiful. Caves and holes no wonder it called as swallow grotto even i didnt see any swallow around. And because of big caves, you can feel this place is much cooler than the other spot.
ESTIMATION TIME NEEDED:1 HOUR
It's the second furthest stop of Taroko gorge. ( the furthest is called TIANXIANG but we thought that just "bridge" so we decided to skip that) when we arrived to this bus stop hmmm looked only like a jungle and didnt want to get off the bus but the driver said it so pretty so yaaaa we were dumped by thr driver HAAHAHA we got off and hiked for less than an hour actually just for seeing abandoned jungle and view off the street from above. Hmm it just okey if you have lots of time but actually i dont recommend this.
THINGS TO PREPARED
Dont forget to bring it with you since so hard to find minimart INSIDE the national park, we only found once in Swallow gratto but the water also priced double.
We have done the whole day without eating and just milk breakfast. Right in-front-of the entrance gate of park, you can find small stall selling pork sausage for NT$30 and 3 for NT$100. we felt so recharged hikkkkk why tasted so good :(
I a bit tired with cities apartment stay so me and my friends decided to have one night at "nature" side. We chose AIRBNB you can also check it here. We falled in love since the first time we saw their room with wide windows and view. It cost us around NT$2.200/ US$70 included breakfast. Super affordable and peacefull.
it might be peaceful living in a middle of mountainous but there are no proper restaurant around for dinner HAHA my airbnb sells meal but yeah lil bit pricey. Since we were on budget, we had our dinner at 7eleven nearby HAHA thanks God atleast 7-eleven.
After all, we loved taroko gorge! The people were super friendly and humble. But if they have night market around it must be great LOL!