The first time I set my eyes on Taroko National Park in Taiwan, I fell in love with it. Fate had decided that the time we stayed at Taroko, it had to be a gloomy so much so I was tempted to unsaturate all my photos of the gorge and turn them into black and white photos just like what I did for the feature image for this post. In fact, we had less than 18 hours in Taroko. I have decided that I have to come back again and spend a few days to explore the beauty of Taroko.
We made our two-hour journey by train from Taipei to Hualien followed by a comfortable short ride in a coach to Taroko.
Taroko National Park is one of the nine national parks in Taiwan. Taroko Gorge is nicknamed the Marble Gorge. It is a 19km long marble-walled canyon. Taroko, in the language of Truku aboriginal tribe who resides in the area, means magnificent. According to Wikitravel[-, the park has 144 species of birds, with 10% indigenous to Taiwan. Over 30 large species of mammals are inhabitants of the park including deers, boars and bears.
Rainfall is abundant year round. Be careful during typhoons or when there is extended heavy rain because of landslides and rockfall. There are 15 scenic and hiking trails throughout Taroko National Park. These hikes range from 20 minutes one way up to three hours one way.
Silks Place Taroko
Silks Place Taroko was formerly the Tian Hsyang Lodge. This five-star hotel is currently branded under FIH Regent Group which also has other properties including the Regent Taipei, Silks Place Yilan, Wellsprings Yilan and Just Sleep. FIH Regent Group took over the property in 1991 when the hotel was Grand Formosa Taroko and rebranded it to Silks Place Taroko late 2009. It is the only five-star hotel in Taroko.
The hotel underwent a reconstruction revamp adding in the natural elements of mountain, water, stone and wood. Some of these include wooden gratings, marbles, woodcarvings and huge landscape windows. The concept designs the work of two designers Irving Huang and Nancy Hu.
The hotel has 160 rooms and suites with 10 room types on the Resort Floor and The Retreat Floor. The hotel is split into 5 1/2 levels –
- Basement 1 – Kid’s Club Floor – The Sauna, Indoor Pool, Kid’s Club and Meeting Rooms
- Level 1 – Garden Floor – Meiyuan Chinese Cuisine, Wellesley Western Cuisine, Fragrant Herb Garden and Resort Rooms
- Level 2 – Entrance floor – The Gallery, Front Desk, Wellspring Spa, Resort Rooms
- Level of 3 – Retreat Floor- The Retreat Suites and Living Room
- Rooftop – Tennis court, Outdoor Pool, Fire Place and The Retreat Lounge
- Rooftop 2 – Gym and Yoga
I spent a night in one of the 70 sqm Garden View Suites on the Retreat Floor overlooking the courtyard. Less than 18 hours to be exact. The Gorge View Suite offers a much more magnificent view of the Taroko Gorge during the day. Guests on the Retreat Floor get access to The Retreat Lounge where they can help themselves to free-flow of wine during happy hour and all day beverages, snacks and access to computers, books and magazines. The lounge is open from 7am to 11pm.
The suite features a balcony, complimentary mini bar without replenishment, bottled water, coffee and tea, hairdryer, Wellspring Spa bathroom amenities, bidet toilet, daily newspaper, wifi, LCD flat screen television with satellite, individually controlled air condition and electronic safe.
The bathrooms are equally spacious. With two sets of basins opposite each other, you and your significant other can brush your teeth or cleanse your face at the same time while not having to fight for space. The bath tub is separate from the shower area while the bidet toilet lets you clean up after you take a dump with much ease and convenience.
I was particularly impressed with the level of details in the bathroom. Aromatherapy is available if you need it. A soft cushion and bath salts are provided should you decide to soak in the bathtub. The Wellsprings Spa Tropical Magnolia products have a comforting scent keeping your relaxed and smelling like a flower. The ginger hand soap can be brought back when you check out. A resealable bag is provided so you can pack the soap. I have yet to come across any other hotel that provides a resealable bag so you can bring home the bar soap.
The outdoor pool on the rooftop offers a panoramic view of the gorge and vast greenery. Tan on the deck chairs in the afternoons or read a book and breathe in the fresh air. In the evenings, the corners of the pool are lit up with open flames. And during the winter, you can swim in the indoor heated swimming pool at Basement 1.
Three jacuzzis of different temperatures let you relax beside the pool. Great to take the aches away from your hike around the gorge.
At the other end of the pool closer to The Retreat Lounge is the Fire Place where guests can enjoy the tranquillity of the surrounding mountains and forest after dusk.
Dining at Silks Place Taroko
Indulge in the Taroko Gorge Banquet where you get to enjoy local delicacies using local and seasonal vegetables and game as well as millet wines outdoors by the pool. In the event of inclement weather, in our case, the banquet is brought into the Retreat Lounge.
The banquet starts off with a welcome beverage of Taiwan Pine Juice, Wild Mint Honey Tea and Millet Wine. Pictured above are the Buluowan Appetisers. The appetisers were sufficient to fill my appetite. There was a dish of pumpkin with osmanthus sauce; pig skin salad; bitter melon with plum sauce; vegetable fern salad; salted pork with garlic sprout; dry-cooked Oldham bamboo shoot; seaweed salad and fried banana.
You’ve got to try the mountain wild vegetables. The other dishes in the banquet include mountain hot dishes, Formosa BBQ, Jungle Stapled food as well as seasonal fruits and Taiwanese desserts.
This banquet is quite a discovery and serves a minimum of 10 guests up to 25 guests at NT$2,500+10% per person. Time to plan that trip with your friends and family and pamper yourself.
Breakfast at The Retreat Lounge is also quite a treat. There is a choice of either porridge with a tray of eight side dishes or a hot dish of savoury bean curd with its own eight condiments.
Silks Place Taroko is located at 18 Tian Hsyang Road, Shiou Lin Village, Hualien County 972, Taiwan.
This story was made possible by FIH Regent and Silks Place Taroko.