Cycling down the Taroko Gorge

The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
77 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 60
Time of year visited
Primary Tags
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How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
55th/372 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 20% SUMMARY RATING: World Class


Taroko Gorge on the east coast of Taiwan is stunning.  Steep, bright and beautifully cut marble walls, lush vegetation, mountains, and cascading waterfalls all the way down.  Cycling this is one of the highlight experiences for any trip to Taiwan


One big tip – stay at the Taroko Lodge who can drop you off at the top of the gorge for a nicer cycle downhill.  Whilst not super hard, the cycle up from the Visitor Centre, at the entrance to the valley, to just past the Tianxiang area, where most people finish, is around 20km / 1.5miles and with a net uphill of around 500m / 1650ft.  For sure its a nice challenge for the 1.5 hours or so, but it can be a little bit of a slog uphill.    If you stay at Taroko Lodge, which is a nice old-school homestay, they can arrange to rent you bikes and drop you off anywhere on the gorge, which takes the slog out of the whole experience.  I took a very leisurely 2.5 hours to cycle from the bridge by Tianxiang back down to the Lodge.  Bloody loved it


#1 Having a super chilled out downhill cycle as you watch the stunning scenery go by

#2 Exploring some of the hidden gorges and bridges a bit further up from the typical tourist starting point of Tianxiang, and having them largely to yourself

#3 Cycling through the marble (yes, marble) sided tunnels of the gorge

#4 Walking on some of the pedestrian bridges to the various Buddhist sites scattered throughout the gorge

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone