Day 3 began early as we need to take the 7:08am train from the Taipei Main Station to 花蓮. We woke up around 6am and its was obvious that we are taking the morning very well.
Reached the station and it took us some time to find out which platform was the right one. We learned that you need to find that correct track and platform, even the carriage number matters.
The ride itself took about 3 hours and when we reached, it already 5 past 10am.
Now 花蓮 is a city by itself, not as bustling and crowded as Taipei, but nonetheless a very scenic place. We have booked a taxi driver, 呂先生 before we left Singapore. From what we read in forums, he is highly recommended as a guide / driver when in 花蓮 for his helpfulness, knowledge of the place itself, his humor and jovial nature. The cost for his services was NT$2200 (about S$100) per day and he will also bring us to some famous eateries and well as the hotel for the night. We met up with him outside the station but not before i take picture to show that i was there.
Censored my face and replaced with Kon’s instead.
Following this was a 20min drive to a shop where 呂先生 recommend us to buy 便當 for our lunch later. My choice of a chicken drumstick set looked good.
Then its another 15min drive to the Taroko Gorge, aka 太魯閣 which is basically a super big and long valley.
The entrance to the gorge. The river is flowing from the left to the right in this picture and after the bridge you see in a distance, its the Pacific Ocean!!!
As we ventured deeper, we came to realise that this sightseeing trip will not be a walk in the park even though the air was very cooling and the air is refreshing. Some of the paths are rocky and one has to constantly look out for falling rocks, especially me when i was holding the camera. Its just too big for me to keep in my pocket, a pity because that place is so beautiful and one cannot help but stop and keep taking photos.
Right after the entrance, about 5 min drive up the mountains, we come to this big red bridge where we are allowed to climb down the stairs and walk.
The pathway below is not easy on the feet; its rocky both below and above, water is dripping on my head and its barely enough for two to walk abreast.
But deeper we walked and the rewards of breathtaking scenery makes it all worthwhile.
See how blue the water is.
The walk below the red bridge took us about 45min and we haven’t reached the end. I supposed we could walk all day but we hurried back to where our guide was waiting for us.
The pic above is known as 燕子窟. The holes you see on the cliff are supposedly homes of the sparrows (but we don’t see any).
Sometimes we take the car in, but most of the time, we walked. Its the only way we can slowly enjoyed and take in all the scenery.
The pic above is a small suspension bridge. Its pretty nerve cracking to walk since the bridge will swing and sway even at one’s own weight. Somemore the sides of the bridge are no taller than my waist. Feel so vulnerable then.
Past a cafe (yeah, there are some cafes up there for you to rest/pee and grab something to eat/drink) and continue on the way up. Played around with my camera to get the above pic.
We reached a place where there was resting spot and viewing platform. Settled down there for lunch since its already 1pm.
Chicken drumstick never taste so good before. So hungry were we that we ignored our guide as he was trying to tell us more about the area and focused on our 便當 instead. Now that i mentioned it, i do feel kinda bad.
After lunch, we continued and visited a temple. One of my friend, being the most energetic, climbed the long flight of stairs to reach the pagoda above while another friend and i rested below.
What came next was to be the most shag of the whole taipei trip. Our guide, seeing that we are 3 fine young men, decided to bring us UP to another temple and scenic spot. Its stairs for the first 30min and then a not so gentle slope for another 15min. My thighs are burning and i was panting but our guide is barely breaking a sweat.
The view from the top. The temple is the on the right.
The walk down was faster and slightly more dangerous since we were anxious to get to level ground and rest. We need to go through another suspension bridge though.
With this, the walk around Taroko Gorge ends. Our guide see that we cannot make it liao, so decide to bring us back to the town. but first, he dropped us at the 七星潭. Not sure why was this place called when we can see the Pacific Ocean instead of a lake.
Its the PACIFIC OCEAN!!!!!!!
Even though the wind was strong and bone chilling, we cannot help but feel extremely excited. The fatigue was forgotten and we raced to touch the waters. Hahaha…
Then we were brought to our hotel, or rather, its a 民宿. The outside of the building did not suggest that its a classy place, even more so when we see the signboard on the floor!
We were brought to our room. And as the owner of the place brought us up the stairs, he was telling us we are getting the best room and given a 30% discount given that we are brought here by our guide, his friend. I tot, chey, wat best room lah.
And what i see when the door was opened dropped my jaws. Its big, white, clean and comes with two king sized beds. There is a balcony, overlooking the beach and Pacific Ocean. The bathroom is filled with decorations that do nothing to suggest that this is a normal room. I had stayed in hotels in Hong Kong, Thailand, Taipei, KL, Singapore but i can tell you, this is the best room i have ever stayed in this far in my life. Its not cheap too, at NT$3000 a night originally, its also the most expensive. But what the heck, i think we deserved it.
I do not have any photos of the room but i will upload one soon.
We reluctantly left the room and our guide brought us around the town in his cab, telling us where to get the famous local delights and then played firecrackers with us. Its just too dark and i am still not good enough with my camera to take any pics.
The local delights.
Dumpling soup. A bit regret after taking this because its so filling that i barely have space for whats to come.
Pork Ribs noodle. I skipped this because the portion is simply too big.
After dinner, we walked back to our cosy room and settled for the night.
The night was too good, the room was too comfortable and the sea too smoothing for us to sleep early. We grabbed a drink each and sat at the balcony to enjoy the night until it became too cold.
The morning after, picture of the balcony.
Start of Day 4.