One of the most beautiful areas to visit near Taipei, is the white marble cliffs of Taroko Gorge. Well known for its abundant supply of marble, its mountains, and the beautiful Liwu River; you can enjoy hiking, biking, river bank exploration, or admiring its spectacular views. Whether you are a serious hiking enthusiast, or a large group or family, Taroko Gorge has something to offer everyone, and it is possible to see it in a day. Here's how to get there.
There are 3 train stations that serve Taroko Gorge, National Park :
Taipei - Hualien- Taroko
- The train from Taipei to Hualien station takes around 3 hours (including a bus), so you could leave the city at 6 am and leave Taroko around 6 pm and get back to Taipei by 9 pm.
- This station has the largest frequency of trains from around the country so it’s most likely that you’ll come here as it is harder to get a ticket for the less frequent trains that service the other train stations near Taroko. Taroko Gorge main entrance is about an hour away from Hualien, but you can catch a public bus that will take you right into the park.
- Train tickets to Hualien Station from Taipei Main Station can be bought online two weeks in advance. Follow this link for timetables or to purchase a ticket. You can use your confirmation and passport numbers to print out your ticket at any 7/11 in Taiwan.
- There are 4 trains from 07:00 am - 07:40 am, leaving from Taipei Main station and will arrive Hualien station about 09:21 am, 09:25 am, 09:39 am and 10:01 am. It costs NT$440 per person.
- Once in Hualien, buy an all-day bus ticket for the Taroko Shuttle Bus. When you exit the station, make a left and walk all the way down the street until you see a bright orange building across the street. This is where you can purchase an all-day ticket for NTD $250.
- If you prefer to pay cash on the bus, a trip from Hualien to Taroko costs between NT$ 100 and NT$ 200 depending on how far in you go. If you go this route remember to have change, as bus drivers will not give any.
Taipei -Xincheng- Taroko
- Xincheng is a small town located nearby the front entrance of Taroko National Park and therefore is closer to Taroko Gorge than Hualien. However, the Taroko Express trains don't stop there. An option is to catch a local train to Hualien that stops off in Xincheng (not an express). It will cost around NT$ 283.
- Tickets can be purchased from the TRA counter at Taipei Main Station but it is advised to book the tickets 2 weeks in advance online, as they sell out.
- You can take a Tourist Shuttle Bus from Xincheng Railway Station to the National Park after getting off the train in Xincheng. The bus boarding point is just outside the train station. The traveling time should be around 10 minutes.
- To get on the first tourist shuttle bus from Xincheng to Taroko National Park at about 9:00 am, you should take the 6:25 am bus from Taipei. You can only visit the park during the day, so it’s best to start off early and make the most of it.
- Tianxiang is a village located towards the geographical center of Taroko National Park and the last stop for most visitors. It is, therefore, a convenient way to return to Hualien train station or Xincheng train station.
2. By Bus.
- At Taipei City Hall station ground floor, go to bus counters to buy combo tickets for a bus to Luodong station and a train tickets to Hualien.
- Buses stop 30 meters behind Luodong station. Walk into Luodong train station and show your combo tickets to tickets counter and staff will give you train tickets for next available local train to Hualien.
- If you want an express train, you must pay more but you might need to wait a long time so it could be better to just take the next available local train (which could stop off in Xincheng meaning you could avoid Hualien altogether)
- The following buses are available from Taipei Main Station: Capital Star bus :
Capital bus #1570 from Taipei City Hall station to Luodong station cost NT$120 per adult and NT$60 per child
When leaving Hualien, buy combo tickets at Hualien station and take the train to Luodong station. Walk out back of the station to bus counters, show your combo tickets and staff will give you tickets to take your bus to Taipei City Hall Station.
At Taipei City Hall station, go down to MRT platform to take MRT to Taipei Main station.
Kamalan Bus # 1915 from the 4th floor of Q Square Mall next to Taipei Main station. Cost per adult NT$ 141 and a return $ 254. NT$ $71 for children
When leaving Hualien, buy combo tickets at Hualien station and take a train to Luodong station. Walk out back of the station to bus counters, show your combo tickets and staff will give you tickets to take Kamalan bus to Taipei Main station.
- Hiring a car to see Taroko might sound great but beware, Taipei to Taroko Gorge is about 165 km of narrow winding small roads and heavy truck traffic.
- There also aren't many English road signs, parking is expensive and difficult to find, and you have to constantly be on the lookout for scooters cutting in front of you without warning.
- Additionally, Taiwan drives on the left, so for those that are not accustomed to left-hand drive, this could be an added stress.
- Consider a private driver who will know the best spots, and can drop you off if there is a parking issue and collect you when you need collecting (even in a different location if you want to walk). This will save you a lot of trouble.
- You will find many cab drivers in Hualien who will offer private tours and generally they will be trustworthy, but for peace of mind consider Ding Taxi or Own Rides for affordable private tours. You will be able to select your own itinerary and the guides come with experience and can speak English.