Taroko National Park, Taiwan

Photo: Silks Place Taroko
Photo: Silks Place Taroko

You’ve been hiking uphill all day. You started at the humid coastal cliffs. Butterflies led you up the beginning of the path. You moved through the cooler canyons and the waterfalls along the Liwu River. And you finally made it to the high alpine forests. You passed the Eternal Spring Shrine, the Swallow Grotto, the Jinheng Bridge, and the Tunnel of Nine Turns. Surprised deer run off the carved road when they hear your footsteps. And though you can’t see them, you can hear monkeys through the dense foliage.

This peaceful oasis is in Eastern Taiwan. Far from the skyscrapers, the bright lights, and the chaos of New Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Taichung. Taroko National Park is one of eight national parks on the island. It was established in 1937 under Japanese rule, abolished by the Chinese, and re-established in 1986. The park is full of marble, and it’s the only place in Taiwan where jade is found.

Photo: Silks Place Taroko
Photo: Silks Place Taroko

Most hikes lead to campsites. Or basic shelters, if you’re lucky. So you’ll be surprised to see Silks Place Taroko in the clearing. The mountainside resort overlooks the gorge. You can hear the sound of rushing water from the balcony of your room, which is decorated in a modern Chinese style. The resort is meant for relaxing and revitalizing. Focus on your breathing in the yoga room. Relax your muscles in the sauna or a steam bath. Jump in the infinity pool to cool down. Have a sake beauty mask at the Wellspring Spa. And watch a moonlight movie on a bean bag under the stars.

From Silks Place, you can walk to Tianxiang and see the Xiangde Temple and the Tianfeng Pagoda. Autumn is just about to begin. The first leaves are starting to turn gold and red. But they still hang on to the branches. Bike along the Lushui Trail. Or go for another hike on the riverside Shakadang Trail or to the hot springs on the Wen-Shan Trail. And return to the resort to watch the sun set from the jacuzzi. The only problem: you may never be able to pitch a tent again after such a relaxing hiking trip.

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