Friday, December 17, 2010

Taiwan -- Day 5 Cont'd Taroko Gorge and The Leader Hotel

One of Taiwan’s National Parks, the Taroko Gorge is really a wonder of nature.  It should be on The Must-See List of every visitor to Taiwan. 

Taroko Gorge
 It is located at the crossroads of the old Su-hua (Hwy No.9) and Central Cross Island highways (Hwy No.8). This serves as the eastern gateway to the Park. The road through the Gorge is paved and well marked with signage.   There is single lane traffic in each direction and many tunnels to pass through and bridges to cross. In some areas the road narrows and alternating traffic have to use the same lane.  This is controlled by automatic traffic lights.  The road is quite busy with large and small tour buses, as well as individual travelers, bikers and cyclists. 

Taroko Gorge

There are many designated scenic spots along the Gorge as well as trails for hiking and places to swim.  The Taroko Terrace houses the visitor’s information centre.  It is definitively worth stopping to find out more fascinating information about the Gorge, its culture and flora and fauna.  The Taroko Gorge is quite a unique and complex area due to extreme altitudes and climates.  



Cola Mark from Bike Hugger, always ready to ride

Taroko Gorge
After walking around Tianxiang we drove halfway down the Gorge again to Buluowan and The Leader Hotel. Fantastic! What an experience. The Leader Hotel has 32 Semi-luxe cabins surrounding a large green open area. Circling around you to the south is the lush Tower Mountain and its waterfalls and below you to the north is the Liwu River. The main house of the hotel is the check in area, eating areas, store and also the entertainment stage. We checked-in, were given umbrellas and walked along the path to our cabins.

One of the most magnificent places on earth, The Leader Hotel, Taroko Gorge

Bev, Wireless Mark and I took a walk along the path that winds behind the cabins.  The path is made of paver stones and is quite slippery when wet. You really need to have a good pair of non-slip walking shoes in Taiwan. There is amazing flora in the area as well as incredibly large spiders and some venomous snakes. After a short ramble we returned to the cabins and sat on our combined porch and drank wine (Lindeman’s Shiraz bought at 7-11), listened to the night sounds and admired the astonishing view and thanked our good fortune and the Taiwan Tourism Board for arranging for us to stay in one of the most unique and beautiful places in the world.

Warning along the path

HUGE leaf

Since The Leader hotel is quite isolated on its plateau we were eating dinner in the hotel that evening.  It was scrumptious. Our first course was a quick drink of millet wine shooter served in a little clay pig.  Then the most beautifully cooked steak that melted in your mouth. All the food was served in a beautiful compartmentalized wooden tray.  Our steamed rice was served inside a hollowed and split piece of bamboo. I believe that we were served the IDAS Tribal Meal.  After dinner, Taroko Aborigines that operate the hotel had a cultural and musical performance.  We retired to our porch again, listened to the downpour, and finished our wine before heading to bed about 10p.  We had a long ride scheduled ahead of us the next day.

The Leader Hotel Dinner

Another Giant Spider, this one along the pathway

John our Tour Leader relaxing on this deck and Kate grabbing some photos.

My room at The Leader Hotel. It may not look it but the bed was super comfy.

Half of my bathroom at The Leader Hotel

My bruises, post-endo

Bev, Kate and I at The Leader Hotel

The cabins are set up in duplex style around the park area with a shared long front southern-style porch.  The aboriginal-style, raised cabins have two single beds which are low style on the floor but super comfortable. The bathroom was great and modern with a large shower area but no tub.  We had satellite TV, Wi-fi and minifridge.

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