Sunday, August 15, 2010

~ Past Holiday Experiences 9 - Taiwan Oct-Nov 2005 (Day 3) ~

29th Oct - Day 3: We signed up for another guided tour by Marshal Hotel - 太魯閣之旅(一日遊).


Our first stop is touring around the Hualien Airport which primarily serves the domestic flights. If you look around the airport (the floorings, pillars etc), you will see that it has a modern setting build with granite, marble, steel and glass.

Hualien (花莲) is located in eastern Taiwan and it is the largest city in the country.  In addition, it is also one of the biggest producers of marble in the world. We have the opportunity to visit one of the marble factory outlet (near the airport) and being guided on how the marbles are made from raw materials to polish shiny stones.

Taroko National Park 太魯閣國家公園 is famous for it's marble gorge. The mountains, rivers and sheer gorges forms a spectacular view to the entire park. We were also being warned by the tour guide that there are cases of fallen rocks on the road and trails especially after heavy rains. Hence we are instructed to keep within the sheltered trail and not to stand out into the open areas.

Following the guided tour, we experienced the nature walk within the Taroko Gorge and it's beautiful nature scenic surroundings.

Changchun Temple from afar

Swallow Grotto - Steep cliffs tower beside the roaring stream dozen of marble paintings hang there with colourful streaks. The cliffs are filled with small caves which serve as a natural nesting place for the spring swallows. They bring life to this quiet valley in the daytime. Thus, the name Swallow Grotto. Here, the tunnel is winding and dangerous. Cars go through a main tunnel which is joined by a narrower tunnel for visitors.

Tunnel of Nine Turns (九曲洞) - Chiuchutung is one of the most popular attractions due to its outstanding features. The steep cliffs facing each other and the rushing river streams below makes it dangerous to explore. We see signboards to beware of falling stones and we were told of cases where people died due to such accidents. Looking at the natural formation of the cliffs and the entire landscape is truly magnificent and which is why it is a favourite tourist spot.

Qixingtan - 七星潭(石雕公園) : The beach at Qixingtan is made up of stones and pebbles. There is a stone sculpture park and it is surely windy here. It is nice to sit by the beach to enjoy the sea breeze and we also picked 7 stones back home. :)

We walked a lot and had a great time at Hualien. There are many beautiful and scenic spots around and although it drizzled in the night, our moods are not dampened at all. Tomorrow morning, we'll be taking the train up to Yilan.

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