Taiwan: The Best Way to See Taroko Gorge

If your visiting Taiwan, you’ll not want to miss the countries’ number 1 tourist attraction; The Taroko Gorge National Park.  The park sits on the north east corner of the island and is surrounded on all sides by steep mountainous slopes that have been carved out by the river that runs through it.  There are a number of different ways you can visit the park and each one has its benefits.  Below we’ve outlined the various ways to explore The Taroko Gorge National Park.


Though its easy enough to book a tour of Taroko Gorge from Taipei, most people base themselves out of Hualien, located just outside the park.  Hualien is a medium sized town that offers everything a traveler/tourist might need including food, lodging, scooter rental and tour organization.  It also has a small Taiwanese night market where you can fill up on Stinky Tofu.  A closer jumping off point is Taroko Village, although there are limited options for hotel, food and tour bookings.

Below we’ve listed the 5 ways that you can visit The Taroko Gorge with brief descriptions of each.  Good luck and have fun!

Bus Tours:

This is the most popular way to see the gorge, but keep in mind that doesn’t mean its the “best” way to see the gorge.  The main benefit to booking a bus tour is that it will be “stress free”.  You can book one from Taipei or Hualien, everything will be taken care of and you don’t have to worry about missing a thing.  On the flip side, you’ll loose any sense of adventure and will feel like cattle being herded from stop to stop.  At the end of the day it depends on how much time you’re willing to dedicate to the gorge (this is an efficient option).  Prices stretch the gamut from $650 to $5,800 TWD depending on type and duration.

Jump On/Jump Off Shuttle:

This option is similar to a Bus Tour but with more freedom, no audio tours and no meals included.  With this option you’ll be able to see the gorge at more of your own pace but you will most likely spend a lot of time waiting around for a shuttle if you decide to take a little more time at a particular area.  It’s also cheaper at around $250 TWD for one day and $400 TWD for two days.

Scooter Rental:

This provides you with the most freedom by far!  Scooters can be rented from Hualien or from Taroko Village (AKA Taroko Archway), but riding from Hualien can be a bit long.  Your best bet is to take a bus from Hualien to Taroko Village and rent one from there.  In Taroko Village you can rent a scooter for approximately $400 TWD per day plus gas.  The downside of renting scooters is that you will need to navigate the gorge on your own, dodge packed roads of tour buses and brave the elements if it decides to rain.  Over all, its a fun and affordable way to see the gorge.

Taxi Rental:

If you’ve got the money and don’t want to worry about driving then a taxi is a great way to go.  You can hire a guide, avoid the elements and sit in a comfortable seat.  But as expected, you’ll pay for the convenience.

Public Bus:

In theory it can be done, however its not a common choice.  The buses are infrequent and hard to spot.  In most cases, it’s probably not worth your time.  For a few more dollars you might as well just jump on a shuttle and see the entire park in one day rather than be at the mercy of the public bus.

That’s all folks!  Our hope is that you’ll now be able to make good decisions on how to best see this great park.

January 29, 2013