Yini had to go back home and work but us five boys continued our exploration of Taiwan’s east coast. Our train arrived in Hualien on Sunday evening, we found a hotel a stone’s throw from the train station, then went out for dinner and bought a few strange snacks to share in the hotel room.
On Monday morning we rented a couple of scooters, then rode out of town to famous tourist destination Taroko Gorge. Axel and I have been there before, but the spectacular lime stone cliffs, rivers and waterfalls make it well worth another visit.
Collecting a map at the visitor’s center, we headed to the Swallow Grotto trail. It was more spectacular than any trail I’ve walked in the area, sheer drops right at the edge of the (fenced) trail and little caves on the cliff face on the other side of the ravine.
A few shots from the Swallow Grotto
After the Swallow Grotto we got back on our scooters and rode deeper into the gorge to Tianxiang at the far end of the tourist area. We stopped there for some late lunch then went to have a look at the nearby temple.
With only few hours to spare until sunset we hastened to the trailhead of the Baiyang trail, and walked through the arrow straight tunnel to the path on the other side. Winding our way along unguarded tracks and through unlit tunnels, stopping along the way to take various photos of the view, we made it to the water curtain cave at the end.
The entrance tunnel of Baiyang trail
With the not altogether warm weather, and lack of extra clothes we opted out of walking through the watery cave. With daylight fading we walked back towards our scooters, arriving at the road just as it got dark. We rode home in the darkness on surprisingly well kept roads, found some steak for dinner then finished the night with drinks and snacks in the hotel room like before.
Now we are on the train back to Hsinchu where we will meet up with Yini, our friends Anna and Sofie who finally made it back to Taiwan. But for now it is just us five brothers in arms of this east Taiwan tour.