（written by 企鵝尾）
Today we will start off a series of blog posts regarding some of the best tourist destinations in Taiwan. If you are a foreigner living in Taiwan, and you have not visited any of these places then you have definitely not visited Taiwan at all!
Our first destination will be the magnificent and breathtaking Taroko Gorge National Park which is one of the most visited sights in Taiwan. Named as one of the seven wonders of Asia it is a destination known for its impressive marble cliffs and its name Taroko is said to mean “magnificent and beautiful”, which are words that do not begin to do it justice.
Located near the east coast of Taiwan it is an impressive 19km long canyon which contains many famous destinations. Some of the major must-sees include the Swallows Grotto, the Tunnel of Nine Turns and the Marble Bridge of Motherly Devotion.
Of special mention is The Eternal Spring Shrine which is one of the most photographed sights in Taroko Gorge. What most people don’t know is that it hides one of the most pleasant short trails in the park. After crossing the Changchun Bridge, one soon reaches the shrine and escapes to a much peaceful sanctuary devoid of other visitors. The gurgling sound of water rushing over the cliff edge matched with the cool shade offered by the shrine will definitely quieten any noisy minds.
Apart from the Canyon itself the park is also home to 144 species of birds and an incredible 251 species of butterflies. Taroko also contains almost half of all the animal species in Taiwan, including the Formosan black bear and wild boar
Most travelers are content with just touring the park in a bus, car or taxi, while taking in the majestic scenery. However for the adventurous, there are many hiking trails and some great places for swimming. The park may be visited at any time of year, but during weekends and holidays the park may be very crowded, especially on the road. To avoid car parking trouble you can definitely take a bus or even try out carpooling at Carpo.
The Taroko Gorge is definitely one of the treasures of the beautiful island of Taiwan, so be sure to check it out!