What a wonderful day on Day 3 of our Eastern Taiwan Tour! That was probably the first day we actually enjoyed ourselves. Lovely sunshine and beautiful hike at Taroko National Park, what more could we ask for?
In fact, the best hike we had in this trip was at Lushui Trail (綠水步道)! It was so stunningly beautiful you have to read this post, okay?
Bright and Sunny Day in Hualien, Taiwan
After a rather torturous day on Day 2, we decided to keep the pace slow. Although I’d woken up at 7am (sun rises early in Taiwan), I decided to let my travel partner sleep longer as he had fallen sick and was nursing an emerging sore throat. It was great that our Airbnb unit was spacious, comfortable and right smack in the middle of everything. So, we really didn’t mind staying in too, if we had to.
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Our original itinerary for today was to do River Tracing. But with the typhoon rain and mud situation witnessed the whole of yesterday, we didn’t think River Tracing would be a safe and wise choice. That’s fine. Maybe we could think of something else to do today over breakfast.
INFO: If you are looking for a family-friendly activity, you can visit Farglory Ocean Park. It is located about 20 minutes’ drive south of Hualien City. This tour provides pickup/drop-off services from your hotel in Hualien and includes ticket admission into the theme park.
And so we returned to Shandong Doujiang Dawang (山東豆漿大王). Let’s see what we ordered!
It was a typical Taiwanese breakfast and we absolutely treasure such immersive moments of eating like a local.
So, what’s next?
Our discussion over breakfast was more of me lamenting how ugly our photos from yesterday had turned out. Taroko Gorge was dark and gloomy and we were wet and looking extremely miserable, not forgetting the figure-less “raincoat” and scooter helmet that made us looked like mushroom heads.
So glad we had this discussion because all of a sudden, we knew where to go next. Yes, we would return to Taroko National Park. With today’s super bright and sunny weather, it would be a brilliant decision!
To those places that shut us down on Day 2, we would be back! Hiak Hiak Hiak Hiak Hiak *Evil Laughter*
Swallow Grotto: The touristy trail nobody wants to miss!
Yay! Swallow Grotto was opened today. We rode our scooter into the tunnel, parked it at the side and started to explore by foot.
Was it a tunnel or a cave? Whatever it was, the place was dark and the floor was still wet from yesterday’s atmospheric moisture.
Swallow Grotto allowed us to admire beautifully-eroded cliff walls. There were also small holes on those rock walls that served as nesting places for spring swallows.
Despite it being a unique sight, I didn’t experience any “wow” moments when I was at Swallow Grotto. It lacked something which I was unable to figure out. Perhaps, what I saw was exactly the same as what was seen online and there was nothing more to offer being personally there.
The trail was short and it ended at Jinheng Park which offered some basic facilities such as toilet and F&B.
Location of Swallow Grotto
See map location.
Cimu Bridge again!
Since there’s only one route through Taroko National Park, we passed by Cimu Bridge again while on our way to Lushui Trail. I couldn’t resist taking a photo with it even though I did that the previous day.
Well, at least, I looked more presentable today. Mission accomplished. Yesh!
Location of Cimu Bridge
See map location.
Lushui Trail: Our best hike in Taroko Gorge!
Lushui Trail was highly-rated online but wasn’t as popular as some other trails in Taroko National Park. In fact, not many people talked about it and I believe most tourists on group tours wouldn’t even be there. So we didn’t exactly have high expectation when hiking Lushui Trail (綠水步道). But it turned out to offer surprises after surprises.
Starting Point of Lushui Trail
You can either start your 2km trail from Heliu Campsite or Lushui Geological Exhibition Center, and you will end up at the one you didn’t start at.
We started ours from Heliu Campsite and were welcomed with lots of nature and greenery on rather flat and easy terrains. It was a well-maintained and scenic path.
Gorgeous Once-in-a-lifetime Waterfall!
How often do you see a waterfall running down your hiking trail?
At one part of Lushui trail, a waterfall flowed from high level over our narrow path carved out from mountain wall, before continuing its way down into the river. It was such a pretty sight, especially when we spotted a tiny rainbow over the waterfall.
Will you get wet? The answer is “Yes!” With or without umbrella or raincoat, you would definitely get wet. And it would be worth it! I was too lazy to put on my raincoat and decided to embrace the water, or let the water embrace me. LOL.
After being pounded non-stop by rain on previous days, I guess this was our rewards – fully-charged cliff-side waterfall. I’m not even sure if waterfall exists during drier climate. So we counted ourselves really lucky (after being unlucky for a while)!
Lushui in Chinese means “Green Water”. I think it’s supposed to be broken down into two words to mean Greenery and Water. During our visit, it was Greenery and Muddy River, until we saw the next surprise (see next section), and that’s when we knew how “water” came into the equation.
Clean and Powerful Rapid at Lushui Trail
There was a rapid just beside a bridge. Most people would just walk through the bridge and bypass the rapid. We didn’t. We couldn’t resist and started stripping into our swimwear and submerging ourselves into the rapid for a cool Jacuzzi session. The water was so clear, clean and rapid. I even drank it and it tasted great – Springwater, okay?
So glad we had our swimwear underneath. That was supposed to be in preparation for our onsen (hot spring) session at Wenshan Hot Spring, but it came into good use much earlier for us.
Warning: Please do not follow us in dipping in the rapid, as there may be risks involved. Just to emphasize again, the water flow was strong and powerful and the rapid wasn’t a part of the trail. It was off the trail.
You know what is monkey see, monkey do*? It’s not an insult to those who followed our out-of-norm decision to dip in the rapid. It’s just a human behavior and those who are in the stock market would know about this herd mentality. Yes, so we have these group of people who saw us enjoying a Jacuzzi session and wanted to join in.
Once again, please note that dipping in the rapid is not supposed to be part of the trail. It’s out of the trail. Please do not follow us unless you are fully aware of the risks involved and we do not hold ourselves responsible, okay?
*I don’t mean to refer to anyone as monkeys. It’s just an analogy.
Hiking Duration of Lushui Trail
So, there we have it – the best hike in Taroko Gorge was at Lushui Trail. In fact, we thought it was the best hike we had during our entire Eastern Taiwan Tour.
The hike was completed in 1hr 45 minutes return. Yes, we had to walk back the way we came from to retrieve our scooter. The duration also included a brief toilet break at Lushui Geological Exhibition Centre and not forgetting our cooling Jacuzzi session.
I highly recommend Lushui trail to all!
Tips: If you are travelling in larger group, getting a driver may be a better choice. Most trails are uni-direction and you can arrange for the driver to pick you up at the other end. For us, we did most of the trails twice – to and fro.
Location of Lushui Trail
See map location.
That’s all for the first half of Day 3. I’ll be back to share with you our visit to Wenshan Hotspring, Qingshui Cliff and a really delicious Japanese supper that’s not on the tourist map. Stay tuned!
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- Day 1 (pt 1): How to get from Taipei to Hualien!
- Day 1 (pt 2): How to rent a scooter in Hualien?
- Day 1 (pt 3): Hualien Dongdamen Night Market on a rainy day!
- Day 2 (pt 1): Taroko Gorge on a Rainy Day
- Day 2 (pt 2): Exploring Shakadang Trail and Chisingtan Beach
- Day 3 (pt 1): Best hike of Taroko Gorge was at Lushui Trail!
- Day 3 (pt 2): Explore Wenshan Hot Spring and Qingshui Cliff
- Day 4: Goodbye, Hualien. Hello, Luodong!
- Day 5 (pt 1): Chasing waterfalls at Wufengchi and Yuemeikeng
- Day 5 (pt 2): Around Yilan – Jiaoxi, Daxi Fishing Harbor, Lanyang Museum, Mr Brown Castle and Jimmy Park
- Day 6 (pt 1): Hiking Teapot Mountain in Taiwan, plus Nanya and Yin Yang Sea
- Day 6 (pt 2): Not in Awe with Shifen Old Street – but Shifen Waterfall deserves a visit
- Day 7: Last day in Taiwan: Explored Luodong and Taipei in one day (Day 7)