Taroko National Park (Part 2) : From Tunnel of Nine Turns to Tien-Hsiang to Eternal Spring Shrine

Tunnel of Nine Turns

We came back to the bus and continued our journey in Taroko Gorge. And we drove towards the Tunnel of Nine Turns. Here, I had a chance to see the scenery inside the bus. The Jiuqudong (Tunnel of Nine Turns) was constructed in 1996, so that the visitors can view the rock folds, joints and faults of the marble cliffs. The two cliffs are so close to each other, and it looks like they are joining to each other if seen from afar. This section has the reputation of “Nine Turns of the Coiled Dragon”. I discovered that “Nine” for Chinese means “many”.

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Scenery from Tunnel of Nine Turns

Tien-Hsiang

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We reached Tien-Hsiang or Tianxiang Village where the hotel restaurant is located and where we had our lunch that day. We were divided into two group and sits surrounding a huge circle table. At the restaurant we had a chance to eat local delicacies. Pardon me of the food specifics, as I don’t knew the menu of what we ate, all I knew was its Taiwanese cuisine. Though, I was not really good in food stuff, but I love to eat, who doesn’t? Right? The menu that was served was as just enough to all of us to fulfill our bellies and to keep us going in our adventure in the park.

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Hotel Restaurant

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After our lunch, we went outside to see a bit of the village. I walked around, I found local stores and bought post cards as my personal souvenir of the place. I also found a monkey strayed around the corner where people approach it just to take an up close photo. I continued strolling in the area then I saw bridges. First was Zhihui Bridge,  second was Pudu Bridge towards Xiangde Temple at the mountain side. I enjoyed the scenery in front of me and thinking that it is such  beautiful and serene place.  I took more photos before I decided to go back to the bus.

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Zhihui Bridge and Pudu Bridge

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Zhihui Bridge with the Background of Xiangde Temple Area at the top

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Xiangde Temple Area at the top

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Pudu Bridge

Snapshots along the way before reaching Cihmu Bridge

Cihmu (Cimu) Bridge

We had a brief stop at Cihmu Bridge to appreciate the scenery that it has to offer. I approached the bridge and went to the waiting shed or pavilion nearby located at higher ground, a great point to take photos in different angle of the place. At the waiting shed, there were scenery found to be amazing. I did enjoy the quick visit we made in the bridge.

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Waiting shed or pavilion

“Cimu” in Chinese means motherly devotion. The bridge has connection to the legend where the area is known as “Heliu” where two rivers meet. A child near the edge of the river has been swept away by large current of water. Every day the mother’s child go to the river and pray for her childs safety and hope to come back to her.

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Liwu River from Cihmu Bridge

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Cihmu Bridge

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Liufang Bridge that we passed by

Eternal Spring Shrine (Changchun Shrine)

The last stopped we had in Taroko National Park was in Zhangchun Bridge. There are lots of scenery to see here. First was the famous Eternal Spring Shrine or Changchun Shrine which visible even from a distance, the shrine gives a photographic view because of its location, because of its falls underneath, because of the greenery background that surrounds it, because it stands at the mountain side and because of Liwu River at the bottom of it. One thing that I learned while I was here was when I read the information near the bridge about the shrine. Because there are many people died building the Central Cross-Island Highway, Eternal Spring Shrine was built to commemorate the men who lost their lives on it.

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Taroko Eternal Spring Changchun Shrine

After appreciating the scenic view of Eternal Spring Shrine, I saw as well the Guanyin Dong, the building or temple at the top. Then, we walked and passed Zhangchun Bridge. While at the bridge I saw Liwu River in another angle to appreciate it more. The tour in the park gave me this thoughts that Liwu River is all the way with us through the entire journey in Taroko Gorge, I had seen its different beauty in every part of the park. A truly magnificent river for me. We passed the tunnel road of Zhangchun Bridge to go to the bus as we nearly heading back to Hualien city. Before I jumped in to the vehicle, I saw Taroko Changuang Temple Suspension Bridge and Gate to Changuang Temple.

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Zhangchun Bridge

Liwu River at Zhangchun Bridge

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Guanyin Dong

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Taroko Changuang Temple Suspension Bridge

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Liwu River and Zhongbu Cross-Island Highway

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Gate to Changuang Temple

My tour in Taroko Gorge is a day tour and I already admired the park. I am wondering what if I had a chance someday to hike some part of this beautiful national park. I hope I will be given a chance. Until then.

 

 

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Taroko National Park (Part 1) : From East Gate to Shakadang Trail to Swallow Grotto

In my 3 days in Taiwan, I took a day tour during my 3rd and last day as my final adventure in the said country. I know that I haven’t seen much yet of the city but I wanted to see a national park during my visit in Taiwan and with that same reason, I booked Taroko Gorge day tour online before I ended my travel and before I flew back to Manila.

It was Monday, January 9, 2017. I put back all my stuff in my small luggage backpack and prepared myself early in the morning. I checked-out past 5AM in the morning and sit in the cafe within the hotel / hostel that I stayed in Taipei and waited for my tour to pick me up. In few minutes, the car arrived, I stood up and went outside and a man looking for me reading my name. I responded that its myself and he told me to hopped into the car. Inside the vehicle I found other tourists. Next, our car traveled to Taipei Main Station and from the parking area we walked towards the station that will bring us to Hualien. Our tour guide informed us that we will take the train and once we reached Hualien Station, we will meet Josephine, our guide in Taroko Gorge National Park. Then, he gave our train ticket. While we were waiting for the right train that we need to take, I introduced myself to the 4 people in the same tour. One couple from London, a French women student from Hongkong and a male solo traveler like me.

When the train arrived, we checked the train car from our tickets. The French woman and I had the same car in the train but our seats were apart from each other and the three were in another train carriage, therefore I traveled from Taipei Station without talking to someone. I set the alarm in my phone in case I may fall asleep in the train while traveling. And I did fell asleep but I woke-up from time to time. Since I was sitting at window seat, I was able to capture some photos along the way before reaching Hualien Station.

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River border between Yilan County and Hualien County near the coast before passing Heping Station

River before reaching Xincheng Taroko Station

We reached Hualien Station and two of us from the same train car look for the rest of the three and came together in a group. As advised on us of our guide in Taipei, we have to specifically meet Josephine just near the stairs after we just get-off the train. We waited and went down, then we go back upstairs. Then we met Josephine.  After she met us, we walked a bit inside the station and then she mentioned that there was another group that she was waiting as well, that’s when I realized that she handles more than one group travel tour company. She advised us to do what we need to do in the station while we were waiting for the rest of the group to be completed according to her list. Then, after we were assembled completely, we went out towards our bus at the parking.

Josephine speaks English in Chinese tone but its understandable.  She’s friendly and lively when speaking and she tried her best for us to laugh a bit. She also speaks Chinese and Japanese while on the tour. That’s quite a skill, speaking 3 languages in a tour. Along the road she started explaining some of the places that our tour bus was passing by which shows she definitely knows the place.

Taroko National Park East Entrance Arch Gate (East Gate)

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Taroko National Park East Entrance Arch Gate

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Jinwen Bridge

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Liwu River from Taroko East Gate

After sometime, we reached the entrance of the park called Taroko National Park East Entrance Arch Gate. Here, we stopped a bit to see the arch gate and its surrounding areas such as Jinwen Bridge and Liwu River. Near the gate, we had a glimpse of Zhongbu (Central) Cross-Island Highway.  Next, we were back to the bus, we crossed Jinwen Bridge, we passed Taroko National Park Tourist Information Center and we stopped at Shakadang Bridge.

Shakadang Bridge, River and Trail

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Shakadang Bridge

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Shakadang Stream / River

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Shakadang Trail

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Shakadang River along the Shakadang Trail

I had this tense and funny experience while in Shakadang Trail. Our tour guide, gave us time to get down to Shakadang Trail from the bridge so we can walk a bit in the trail to take some photos in the area. Not knowing how long the trail really is, because of my fascination with the beauty of Shakadang River, I walked probably more than kilometer distance of the trail that resulted me to be late 10 minutes of returning to the bus. When I was walking back, when Shakadang Bridge had been visible to me, I felt concerned because I was not able to see the tour busI had from where it stopped which just few steps from the bridge stairs to the trail when I got-off. Then I walked fast and hoping that I was never left behind. 11 AM was the return time to the bus and I was still walking in the trail. I did a walkathon and passed so many walkers along the trail, then climbed the stairs as fast as I can, my hopes rose when I saw buses after the bridge near the tunnel road. I was near the buses and don’t knew what’s next to do when I don’t even knew my bus tour plate number. So I checked the nearest bus to me and looking for a familiar face. Then I passed another one and Josephine was just outside the bus. I felt relieve when I saw her. I apologized to her and to the people inside the bus for being late because of my negligence to return on time.

Some snapshots while inside the bus looking towards Liwu River while we were driving at Zhongbu Cross-Island Highway after Ningan Bride going to Swallow Grotto.

Yanzikou (Swallow Grotto)

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Swallow Grotto

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Swallow Grotto Trail

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Swallow Grotto Road Tunnel/Thruway

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Potholes on the Cliff Face along Swallow Grotto Trail

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Cliff Faces along Swallow Grotto Trail

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Swallow Grotto Trail Photos

I was back at the bus, the tension that I felt died down and I felt relax again as our bus were moving along road. Inside the bus, I looked at my window and continued to see the park while inside of it. We stopped a few minutes again, then I realized that Josephine picked-up the safety hats that we will be using as part of our itinerary in the national park and each of us get our own hat. The safety hat was not different from the hard hat that construction worker that are using, with that in my mind,  I just thought that maybe its important as part of our safety in the tour.

The bus stopped again near Swallow Grotto or Yanzikou. Then our guide checked all of us if we were all wearing our safety hat and  she signaled us that we can get-off the bus. It is a road thruway that looks like a tunnel where we had a chance to walk inside with viewing deck to see Potholes on Cliff Faces and portion of Liwu River.

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Swallow Grotto Trail with Liwu River

The walk that we did which started from Swallow Grotto Trail ended up to Jinheng Park, just before Tunnel of Nine Turns Trail. When we reached Jinheng Park, we saw another scenic spot – a beautiful rock formation in the gorge. There was this thing that our tour guide was telling us to find in rock formation which is the “Indian Chief”, honestly, I was having a hard time to find it myself maybe because the way I looked at the rocks and the angle of my eyes towards the rocks. And in the end, I found the famous “Indian Chief” face that curves in the rock. After enjoying the scenery at Jinheng Park, I decided to go back to the bus and before I jumped inside of it, I enjoyed the view of Liwu River from Jinheng Bridge.

Until then.

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Indian Chief Rock formation

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Liwu River from Jinheng Bridge

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Jingheng Bridge

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Ludan River from Jinheng Bridge

 

 

Life Of Others : Tien-Hsiang Monkey

Life Of Others (Post#10) : Tien-Hsiang Monkey

One of the things to see while walking around Tien-Hsiang Village is to see monkey astray in the ground. The monkey that I saw was near the local store just beside the river and its own location was a great viewpoint for a wonderful scenery with the background of bridges and temple at the mountain side. The photo is part of Taiwan Experimental Travel Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.

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Featuring Our World : Eternal Spring Shrine (Changchun Shrine)

Featuring Our World (Post#6) : Eternal Spring Shrine (Changchun Shrine)

The last stop we did while touring Taroko Gorge National Park was Eternal Spring Shrine or Changchun Shrine. An ancestral shrine of Eternal, Long or Spring. One of the picturesque point in the park. The architectural style of the shrine was after famous Tang Dynasty Temple. It commemorates the memory of 225 veterans who died constructing the highway. The spring water pouring beside it is called Changchun Falls. These photos are part of Taiwan Experimental Travel Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.

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Picture Frame : Shakadang Stream

Picture Frame (Post#5) : Shakadang Stream

When I walked a part of Shakadang Trail, I never expected such an amazing crystal like water stream that flows to Shakadang River. It’s one of the reason why my walk continued to be farther and farther that I almost compromised the tour and resulted of my being 10 minutes late to return to my bus. These photos are part of Taiwan Experimental Travel Adventure Photo Collection January 2017.

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