Today I’m taking you to Taroko National Park in Hualien
today and to see one of the top ten sites of Taiwan.
Getting to Hualien is easy. I usually take a train
from Taipei, and the ride is about two hours. Moving
around Taroko is slightly trickier, but the Taiwan
Tour Bus Taroko Gorge Tour makes it simple. They’ll
pick you up at Hualien Station or your hotel and drive
you around in a van with wifi and a tablet that will
tell you what you’re looking at in four different
languages, including English.
We're on the eastern coast of Taiwan. That’s the Coastal
Mountain Range, and behind me over there is Cingshui
Cliff, one of the top ten sites of Taiwan.
This is Taroko National Park, which covers about 92,000
hectares, or 355 square miles.
This is Swallow Grotto, where in the spring and summer,
swallows come and enjoy a mid air buffet of insects
that are carried up by rising air currents.
The name “Taroko” comes from the indigenous tribe
Truku, who used to live here. “Truku" means something
like “plateau in the mountains where you can live
and watch for enemies.”
This is Bruwan, once the home of the Truku people.
“Bruwan” in Truku means “echo,” which you can hear
when it's quiet.
There are a few hotels in Taroko, some luxurious,
some really basic. This one is in between, and I like
it because it has its charms. The manager, who is
of Chinese descent, prides himself in running an all
local Truku staff, and giving the kids a chance to
help pay the bills at home and for their tuition.
He knows how each of the kids are doing in school,
who's in a choir, who’s on the basketball team, who
doesn't do their homework, who is trying to get into
the police academy, what the situation at home is…and
seems to truly care for them. It’s heartwarming. Culturally,
it also gives the performers a chance to practice
and pass down traditional songs and dances.
Some people say that the most beautiful thing in Taiwan
is its people. I might have to agree with this one.
But Taroko comes in a close second. You should come.