Okay, here comes another one to add to the list of things you should be doing in Taiwan. I know, I know, the list is growing longer and longer and my praises for this country just keep accumulating, but I’ll stop raving when it stops being such an amazing place, so you might have to read a few more yet.
Taiwan is a country steeped in history and culture. Walking through a city or a town here is an endless adventure in itself – from sitting down to eat, to working out whether you just suddenly wound up in Japan, or China, or Holland, or on a Native American island, and that’s barely scratching the surface. But Taiwan’s more urban civilisation falls short of the awe you’ll get from walking through its mountains, driving its coasts and exploring its islands and coral reefs. Its mountains climb endlessly and its water sparkles more blue than a photoshopped postcard.
One of my favourite things about Taiwan is the fact that there is still a real and alive tribal culture here and it has somehow merged with a modern more Chinese society to a very impressive extent. Taroko gorge has been home to tribal people for thousands of years, and given the state of the landscape, that being vertical stone walls seemingly touching the sky, carved up by a gushing blue river, it seems amazing that people have managed to build a home here.
Nowadays, it’s completely open to the public and is home to some of the best hiking trails in Asia. Visitors are offered hard hats before entering (entirely optional if you’re more fashion forward) from the frequent rockfalls – given that Taiwan is the landslide capital of the world and very frequently welcomes an earthquake, this doesn’t seem like such a silly idea. The road curves with the river, impressively carves through the rock faces and leads you deeper into Taiwan’s beautiful mountains. But, once you’ve stepped out of your car and put on your walking boots, the views will only get better.
Many of the hiking trails require a permit and are foreshadowed with warnings such as ‘beware of big hornets, poisonous snakes, rockfalls and large drops’, so if you’re one for adventure then it’s probably an ideal location to hang out for a few days. I’ll see you there.