Five star scenery, five star lunch, five star driver between our hotel and the train station, four star bus. Barely half a star for Josephine, the host. And zero stars for the accuracy of the tour description!! The write-up implies a fully guided tour lasting from about 6:30 am until 7:30 pm. Well, don't get your hopes up! They pick you at the predetermined time, and were bang on there, with a quick trip to the train station. The driver then walked us to the platform and there we were to wait for 30 minutes until the train came. He then left. We sat there and it was not exactly warm until the train came. We road the semi-fast train about 2 hours to the destination. We had expected a guide explaining things along the way - should have brought our guide book to read it ourselves. We were met as expected by Josephine who told us she knew everything so we would not stop at the gorge's visitor/info centre. Well, she told us about five things the whole tour. The scenery was spectacular, and we are glad we went, but this was not a guided tour. And to top it off, she hustled us along as usual with these tours and then we stopped at another train station so SHE COULD BUY TICKETS FOR HER HOLIDAY!! we waited on the bus about 10 minutes for this, which was not long, but still...and the last place, she described as a jade factory, was the usual high priced, high pressure sales of jade and other jewelry. To be fair there was about 5 minutes of information about jade, granite, etc., but then the pressure sales. Despite their assurances of the best prices, I had bought a bracelet at Taipei 101 a few days earlier for about half the price they had it at. One of the guys on our bus said he haggled and got a small figurine for half of the starting value, so maybe that could work? We did not buy anything there.
The trip was well planned and executed. Ideally for this tour a 2 day itinerary is better but I had no choice. Nevertheless, Josephine and her team was very competent and pleasant to deal with. She knows the Gorge inside out and speaks decent English. Taiwan is a beautiful country and i strongly recommend opting for this tour.
Josephine the tour guide was fantastic !....I wanted to take her home with me.....huge knowledge, warm and friendly and huge personality-this lady is terrific!...Thank you Josephine.
Definitely recommend this great trip to ToroKo Gorge. Food was also great at the 5 Star Hotel at the top of the Gorge.
Train Trip was ok and comfortable, a long trip of 3 hours, but faster on the return on the fast train.2.5 hours.
Also thank you to all the staff involved in the pick up from the hotel, and return.
Peter Bali, Indonesia
Great trip. small group of 12. picked up at hotel, guided to railroad train and car. picked up
at Hualien. lunch was very, very good, we were hungry and there was food left over.
vegetarians were accommodated with special dishes. no one was left hungry.
the tour itself was remarkable. with stops at a monastery.
taroko gorge was beautiful with lots of panoramic views. tunnels and roadways were
carved from the side of mountains.
The driver dropped us to railway station platform and only tell us what time the train is departure and not describe what kind of train then he left and not waiting for us catching the train. We catch the wrong slow train which came just few minutes early but arrive half an hour late to the schedule. Frantically we rushed to the information desk and asked to contact the travel agent. Fortunately the guide was able to return to pick us.
The tour was so so. We still have plenty of time and should visit more place in Taroko Gorge but instead we were taken to marble and jewellery shop and the Hualien beach. The tour guide, Josephine has a heavy accent which some time is hard to understand.