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Hualien ‘n’ Karoko Gorge: Pretty Things!

05 Feb

That perfect moment when all you can hear is the breeze and the crashing of the river far below. All you can see is beautiful forest and clouds climbing over the mountains. Just you and nature.

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The view from my 1km hike straight up a mountain.

Taroko Gorge! Where all your wildest outdoorsy dreams come true.

The gorge is about an hour bus ride away from Hualien, a small city on the east coast of Taiwan. I stayed for two days, wanting some time away from the Taipei metropolis. Def worth it.

Highlights were the stunning views of the gorge, obvs, but also learning a little of the area’s history. During the occupation, the Japanese set up outposts throughout the gorge as part of their “aborigine pacification” campaign. What’s more, the construction of the road through the gorge was so dangerous that thousands of workers fell down cliffs or drowned in the river. Just to make things even better, typhoons rage through the area so frequently, that they have had to replace one of the bridges three times in the past twenty years. Crazy.

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Nice and peaceful without a typhoon.

At first, I wasn’t too impressed by thetown of Hualien, but it grew on me. It’s a little more chaotic than Taipei, if only because of the mysterious lack of sidewalks. But the residents are laid-back, and a huge park on a hill right in the middle of the city was a pleasant surprise. Also, this poster. Huuuuh?

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I've never understood anime, but this takes it to a whole new level.

Qixingtan, a beach near Hualien, was a pleasant last event before heading back to Taipei. I rented a bike from a shop on the beach for $3.39… for as long as I wanted that day. Crazy.

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The water was freezing. Tropical paradise yes, swim resort no.

There’s also an airbase in Hualien, which meant F-16s buzzing town on their final approach. Loud, but entertaining. And a stark reminder that Taiwan is an island under pressure from its big communist brother to the west.

Now it’s time for one more day in Taipei, then onward to Hong Kong!

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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Travel

 

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