Tunnel of Nine Turns: Taroko Gorge

Reading Justin’s post about the world’s longest tunnels made me think of Taroko Gorge near Hualien, Taiwan. Taroko Gorge’s Tunnel of Nine Turns isn’t the longest in the world, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s one of the curviest. The tunnel cuts through the rugged mountains of the middle of Taiwan that separates the eastern part of the island from the western part where most of the people live.

The tunnel is exactly what its name says. The ruggedness creates the curves and makes for an interesting walk. Because this section is only open to pedestrians, you don’t need to worry about getting mowed over by a truck careening around a corner. In a few spots you can look through natural windows to the marble and granite rock face and lush trees that cover the gorge. Just walk a few steps; you’ll figure out where the lushness comes from. It is HUMID!! Bring water and a bandana to wipe off sweat.

Besides walking through the tunnels, there are hiking trails to explore and some temples that offer a view when you get to them. Of all the places I went in Taiwan, Taroko Gorge is perhaps my favorite because I didn’t expect its beauty. The first time I went here I was on a bus that crossed the country from west to east. I remember I had to drink a Coke to settle my stomach. The second time we took a tour from Hualien. We got to Hualien from Hsinchu, the city where we lived, on the train. [photo: Morgan Calliope, Flickr]