Does sliding down waterslides, jumping off platforms and doing back somersaults into the water all sound like fun to you? You would be mistaken to think we were at the latest and greatest water park. But guess what? We did all of these activities and more River Tracing in Taiwan!
What is River tracing?
River tracing can best be described as a cross between hiking, rock climbing and swimming. It is THE activity to do in Taiwan and one of the best ways to explore Taroko National park.
How to book?
We booked a half day afternoon tour through KKDay which is a site that offers local tours at discount prices. We were very lucky that a) we could still book river tracing, as during Winter a lot of tour operators shut because it is too cold and b) that we were the only people on the tour so we could go at our own pace.
Our tour operator was River King who we highly recommend. The level of difficulty and pace for us was just right with enough thrills to keep us interested. And even though we couldn’t speak the same language as our tour guide we managed to follow his instructions and safety tips using a combination of hand signals and language translation apps. Thank goodness for technology, as although Dean has had a number of Mandarin lessons, unfortunately “Where is the bar?” wasn’t going to help us in this situation.
What’s involved with River Tracing?
We did the river tracing in Emerald Valley which is about half an hour drive from where we were staying in Hualien City. When we arrived we had to get geared up (wet suit, harness, helmet, lifejacket and non-slip water shoes) on the side of the road in a tiny pitched up tent. That in itself was an experience!
After gearing up, we had a short walk through a pitch black cave and a nice easy hike to the river. Once at the river we started to wade our way up stream through the freezing cold water, over rocks and mini waterfalls. Along the way there are rest spots to swim and take in the views over the valley. We finished the river tracing at a beautiful green secluded pool which had a natural waterslide and we had fun swimming around, sliding and jumping off platforms while our guide made us some delicious noodles.
Image credit to River King
Where can I go River Tracing?
We advise booking a tour, as they will have all the necessary equipment and take you to a place to suit your skill level. While there are a number of tour operators who can take you river tracing, read the reviews beforehand as some customers have complained about other companies just taking them for a hike and finish with a swim in the river without any rock climbing or slides and jumps.
What is the cost?
Our tour through KKDay was ~$28USD per person. Which we thought was a bargain!
Who can do River Tracing?
Anyone with a moderate level of fitness can do River Tracing. You need to be comfortable swimming and climbing up rocks as well as walking for about 3 hours (for the half day tour). It is an activity that both kids and adults can enjoy. Honestly it was so much fun and we can’t wait to do it again!
If you are interested in other beautiful sites to see while in Taroko, check out our blog post.