Meet your private local guide upon pickup from your Taipei city hotel in the early morning. Depending on which option you select, take the two-hour express train or drive for several hours to the town of Hualien by private air-conditioned vehicle – with stops for breaks and views along the way. Your guide will transfer you to Taroko Gorge Gateway to begin your private tour of this spectacular region.
Gaze with awe at the sheer marble cliffs of this remarkable gorge and the Liwu River that flows through its rocky landscape. Visit the Eternal Spring Shrine, one of the most photographed scenes around the gorge, where small temples were built to memorialize those who lost their lives in the construction of the central cross-island highway. Then stop for lunch at Leader Village Taroko, a sublime mountain hideaway serving aboriginal-inspired dishes.
Afterward, travel with your private guide through Swallows Grotto, a 12-mile (20-kilometer) section of the highway that runs through tunnels carved into the vertical sides of the gorge from Taroko to Tienhsiang. Drive through 38 tunnels, including the Tunnel of Nine Turns – a stunning part of the gorge where numerous hiking trails begin.
When you reach Tienhsiang, embark on a walking tour of the small village, a frequent stop for travelers to Taroko National Park. Check out the Tienhsiang Lodge and nearby amenities as you walk along shaded walkways and take in the photo-worthy landscape. Catch sight of Hsiangte Temple and its pagoda, situated on a hilltop and reached by a suspension bridge over the Liwu River.
Next, your guide will accompany you onto the scenic Lushui Trail, an easy hiking trail that includes magnificent views of Taroko Gorge and the Liwu River below. Follow the trail as you climb uphill at a mild pace, then cross a suspension bridge before making your way onto an exposed cliff – wide enough for two people – with safety railings along the entire cliff segment.
When you’ve returned to your car, continue to Chi Hsing Beach for a stroll. Finally, visit the Hualien Stone Sculptural Park and a marble factory before your guide returns you to Taipei by express train or private vehicle.