Tianxiang is the main village in Taroko Gorge. Set amidst a picture-perfect dramatic mountain landscape, there is little doubt why it’s on most tourists itinerary in Taiwan.
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Where is Tianxiang
Tianxiang is located in the middle of the gorge, along the central cross-island highway, in Taroko National Park. It’s the main place where you’ll find accommodation, food, and a camping. There is a 7-11, but no gas station, so make sure you fill-up in Hualien City before entering the gorge.
If you’re into hiking, Tianxiang makes for a really nice base as there are a few hiking trails that begin right there, or just a short drive away. Tianxiang village also has a few pagodas and temples, some of which cling to the side of steep mountain faces, like you’d see on ancient Chinese paintings or postcards.
By any means, it’s one of the coolest places in Taiwan, and it should be way at the top of your list of places to see on the island. Getting to Tianxiang from Taipei is convenient, the ride can be as fast as 2 hours to the entrance of the gorge, if you catch one of the fastest trains.
Things to do in Tianxiang
- Visit Xiangde Temple and Tianfeng Pagoda
- Hike the Baiyang Trail
- Relax in Wenshan Hotspring (if it’s open)
- Ride a scooter along the scenic cross-island highway
- Join a rafting / river-tracing tour
- Take pictures of the jaw-dropping landscape
There aren’t that many options for hotels, hostels, B&B in Tianxiang, and for that reason, prices are quite high by Taiwanese standard. A lot of people stay in Hualien City and only take a day-trip to Taroko. It’s surely a viable alternative and it will allow you to have more options for eating. Taroko isn’t food galore and it turns many people off.
The Tienhsiang Youth Activity Center is really popular, because it’s one of the cheapest places to stay in Taroko.
I’ve stayed at the Youth Activity Center a couple of times in the past, and found it totally suitable for a night or two. It’s got basic amenities and the rooms are showing their age, but it is kept very clean and the staff is nice and helpful. There’s not doubt that room prices are a bit higher than you’d pay in Hualien, but this is the price to pay to spend the night in the Gorge. It is totally worth it! It makes a great, comfortable basecamp to explore Taroko Gorge and the surrounding mountains, valleys, and waterfalls. You can check room prices, and make a reservation here.
Camping in Taroko
There is a campground where you can stay for free just up north from Tianxiang Village, past the tunnel where the Baiyang trailhead is located. It’s not really a campground, it’s actually just a parking lot by a river. There’s a bathroom available on site. Read more about camping in Taroko Gorge.
Where to eat / Restaurants
The main complain from most tourists to Tianxiang is the lack of decent restaurants. It’s pretty bad to be honest. I mean… it’s very basic! There are some food stands by the bus station, across from 7-11, where you can get Taiwanese sausage on a stick, coffee, plates of veggies and meat, as well as some aboriginal snacks like rice wrapped in bamboo.
Lyushui Service Center Restaurant and Cafe
In my opinion, one of the best places to eat near Tianxiang is the Lyushui Service Center Cafe 綠水合流. There is a nice terrace outside where you can enjoy the views and fresh air, and the food is good and affordable. You won’t find anything better for this price in Taroko Gorge. It’s only open for lunch.
Business Hours: 11:30 to 13:10
Address: Xiulin Township, 天祥隧道4-2 號, Hualien County
Phone Number: 03 869 1466
The easiest way to get around Tianxiang is simply by foot. The village is compact and you can get anywhere within 10 to 15 minutes.
You can travel from Taipei City to Taroko Gorge by train. You can board at Taipei Main Station 台北車站 and disembark at Xincheng Station 新城站. From there, you could rent a scooter, or take a bus to Tianxiang. The fastest train from Taipei to Xincheng is the Puyuma, 2 hours, 403NT$
Hualien Train Station to Tianxiang in Taroko Gorge by Bus
Taroko Route Bus 1133A from Hualien Bus Company travels from Hualien Train Station to Tianxiang and the following destinations: Qixingtan, Xincheng Station, Taroko Visitor Center, Shakadang Trailhead, Buluowan, Yanzikou, Lushui, Changchun Shrine
Bus 302 travels from Xincheng Station to Tianxiang and stops along the following places:
Liiko Hotel, Asia Cement Factory, Fushi Elementary School, Taroko National Park Headquarter, Shakadang Trail, Changchun Shrine, Xipan, Swallow Grotto, Cimu Bridge, Heliu Campground, Lushui
Getting here from other parts of Taiwan
If you are traveling to Tianxiang from Taichung, Changhua, Miaoli, Hsinchu, Taoyuan, or Nantou, you can first take the train or HSR to Taipei, then take another train to Xincheng.
If you are traveling from the central part of Taiwan, on the west side of the Central Mountain Range, it’s also possible to drive a car, ride a scooter, take a bus, or hitchhike through Hehuanshan along the Cross-Island Highway #14 and #8. This memorable road trip can also include other memorable destinations like Sun Moon Lake and Aowanda.