So after a good night’s rest, we got ready for breakfast early. We had arranged to meet our driver at 9am or so. We didn’t linger over breakfast but just had a quick meal and headed to meet the driver.

Let's touch some clouds today!

The driver, Ms Gu, was punctual and is a rather soft-spoken lady. After a round of introductions, we told us about the itinerary for the day. So first, she sent us to do some morning exercise at a short trail.

The first trail we got sent off to

It was drizzling (in fact, it drizzled the whole day…brrrr) and she provided umbrellas. 🙂 Umbrellas which also doubled as walking sticks! Lucky for the umbrellas as the weakly me certainly needed help up and down those slopes 😳

Although the trail is short, we spent quite a bit of time on it as it was our first view of Taroko Gorge, so we slowed our paces ‘wooo’ and ‘wow’ here and there 😉

View from the trail

Another view from the trail

Before we started on the trail, Ms Gu told us that we would come upon a short tunnel which would require a torchlight. So she loaned us a small torchlight for us to make a safe passage.

A warning for the tunnel ahead

We then met Ms Gu at the end of the trail and she then brought us to CiMu bridge. Ms Gu gave us a brief history of the war the aborigines had with the Japanese. Very intriguing history!

CiMu Bridge

Then Ms Gu showed us the ‘Frog Prince’ of Taroko Gorge. Can you spot the ‘frog’?

The CiMu bridge with the 'frog'

Ms Gu was lovely, always offering to take photos for us at all the sites 🙂

Next stop was Swallow’s Grotto. Swallow’s grotto has been closed to cars for a while now as the rocks keeping falling down. In fact, falling rocks are common in the gorge, so, helmets are required at some places.

Overhanging rocks along the grotto

If my weakened body and mind remembered what Ms Gu said correctly, those holes seen in the following picture are those for swallows to make their homes, hence the name ‘Swallow Grotto’.

Views from Swallow Grotto trail

And here is the famous Aborigine of Taroko; pretty good-looking dude huh? 😎

The famous aborigine of Taroko Gorge

Along to way to the next destination, we saw this non-waterfall.

See the 'weak' waterfall

Unexpectedly clear turquoise water

While driving to the next destination, Ms Gu said ‘Alright, get your cameras to shoot on the right when I said so.’ So without knowing what our camera is capturing, we started clicking away when she said ‘Start clicking.’ Turns out the instant she told us to start capturing image was the point where we would get all of the 3 temples into one single picture. Once we’ve passed the ‘correct angle’ while driving on the roads, we wouldn’t be able to capture all three temples on the same photo.

The three temples which together formed our next trek

So we were driven to the temple at the top for us to start our trek. We didn’t venture into the temple so couldn’t give more information on it.

And this bridge led us to the start of our trek.

Bridge that led us away from the temple to set us upon our long trek

Apparently, we had to go uphill before we could go downhill! 😮 As we move along the trek, we would, at times, still see the temple from which we departed from a distance.

Another view of the temple

So along the trek, as we huffed and puffed, we reached the pit stops that Ms Gu said we would. Phew, at least, that means we wouldn’t make headlines in the papers as missing tourists in the Taroko 😛

A pit stop

Now, while we have red ants in Singapore, I have never seen ants so big and red. 😈

1st time seeing such red ants

Along the trek, we were encouraged by the sight of our driver, albeit at a distance away. The idea of us reaching the cosy comfort of the cab made us press on. Although we would press on no matter what, determined as we were to avoid making headlines in the local newspaper! 😛

Where our driver waited in comfort for us

So after several short pauses and a lot of huffing and puffing, we finally reached the lowest and the 3rd temple! 😀 😎

We descended from the temple on the left to the right

It was a pretty temple with a waterfall. Hung around there for some picture taking.

High shutter speed picture

Ms Gu congratulated us on successfully ‘surviving’ the gorge when we finally met up with her.
We were starving by that time and we had lunch at the place where all the cabs congregated at.
And this was the view we had from our seats 😛

Waterfall from the temple maketh a lovely picture

To be honest, I didn’t expect much from the food served as the area is a highly touristy one. We ordered the traditional aboriginal food sets. And expectations of the food became even lower when we waited for what felt like a long time for the food to arrive.
But surprise, surprise, 😯 😉 the food was actually quite good!
These were what we had….

Pork set

Chicken set

The dishes go very well with rice served in the bamboo! For the pork set, the rice was the glutinous type and it was purplish in colour. Sure made for some pleasant eating! 😆
But as there were 3 of us (did I not mention my mum joined us for the trip?), the 2 sets we ordered to share weren’t quite sufficient. Especially after the long long trek we had!
Besides, this item on the menu was quite tempting! 😀

Rice Dumpling

The rice dumpling was quite yummy!! While the food was not haute cuisine, but it was simple food that warmed the heart and filled the stomach! 😛

Then we were driven to the QingShui Cliff. This trip required an additional fee as it is located offsite of the gorge. I’m not quite sure why its called a broken cliff in Mandarin, because a cliff is a cliff ain’t it? I think Ms Gu explained it but did I ever mention that generally, Singaporeans command of the Chinese language isn’t very strong, or at least in our party of 3, our command of the language wasn’t on par with that of the Taiwanese. So as a result, we sometimes don’t get the full explanations or information got lost in translation from the one who thought she understood what was said. 😳 The rain hasn’t stopped all day and as such, the view of the cliff wasn’t as good as it must have been on a good weather day. 😡 But one could imagine just what a view it would have been…

QingShui Broken Cliff

Thereafter, we were taken back to the gorge where the last stop for the day was ShaKaDang. The main attraction at ShaKaDang is the beautiful clear turquoise water. Indeed, the water was so clear and so green-blue it definitely rivals what I’ve seen at Maldives.

Start of ShaKaDang trail

Lovely turquoise water

If you look properly, there is a trail along the main trek where one can go down to the waters. Well, of course we went down to the trail for a closer look in a bid to decipher how in the world could water be such a beautiful shade of colour 😛

Ground level

I believe we took over an hour for the ShaKaDang trail, which is on flat ground, save for the ladder for that requires some climbing to gain access to the trail. The way in was a slower as we stopped to take photos every now and then while the walk out was pretty fast.

With that, our tour for the day is done and Ms Gu drove us back to Silks Place where we had a well-deserved massage and went for the Chinese food at the Chinese restaurant. We were happier with the chinese food we had than the food at the other restaurant where a buffet was laid out.

After a good dinner, we went for the performance by the aborigines. It was a solo performance by a man and as a result slightly less entertaining than the couple who performed the night before.

Ahhh, t’was a good day with some exercise and good food. But yours truly was still not feeling quite well. Off to get a good night sleep!

View of the cab from lobby at Silks Place