The Stunning Mugua River Gorge Tour Mugumuyu Mugumugi
Mesmerizing, clear blue waters and rich green forestry. If you’re lucky enough to be in Taiwan and you love experiencing incredible natural beauty, you have GOT to visit the Mugua River Gorge. The name “Mugua” means “papaya” in Mandarin, and the sweetness of the area abounds. A region in Taiwan blessed with beautiful, crystal clear waters, waterfalls, lush forests and unique aboriginal culture; it is a terrific way to spend a day while in the Hualien area. This area is listed as one of the East Coast “highlights” in the Lonely Planet Taiwan Guide book, and for good reason. Within the Mugua River Gorge itself and in the surrounding area, there are numerous places to explore, including Emerald Valley, Tongmen, Liyu Lake, Wunlan, Zimu Falls, the Miyawan River, Rainbow Falls and more! So put on some comfortable clothes and your walking shoes, bring along your swimsuit and a towel, and let’s go on a journey together to explore the wondrous destinations in and around the Mugua River Gorge.
The jumping off point for adventures to the Mugua River, Hualien is a beach city located on the eastern coast of Taiwan. Nestled amid the surrounding green mountains, this is the easiest place to access tours of the Mugua River Gorge (Island Life Taiwan offers great all day adventures to the Gorge). There are also some great places to eat in Hualien, so grab some “dan bing” for breakfast (a green onion pancake wrapped around fried eggs), before taking off on a wild journey into the forest!
Our first stop is Emerald Valley. This hidden valley is tucked away amidst the forest and is filled with several pristine swimming holes of extremely clear, emerald coloured waters. Here one can feel like they’re in their own jungle hideaway, as it’s not a very frequent stop for tourists. Though nearby Mugumuyu (Mugumuki) was long a hot spot for Chinese tourists, since it’s closure in 2016, the tourists have yet to discover the equally beautiful waters of Emerald Valley. It takes some hiking to get to, thankfully, so it’s not Tour Bus accessible!
This lake lies at the foot of Liyu mountain and is the largest freshwater lake in Hualien County. The name “Liyutan”, literally means Carp Lake. Stories vary as to the origin of the name: Did the lake used to be filled with carp? Does Liyu mountain look like a carp when viewed from across the lake? Is the entire lake the shape of a carp when viewed from the sky?! One thing is for sure, the beauty and tranquility of the lake is the reason so many travelers have stopped for a rest by its shores.
Well off the beaten path, the Miyawan river is another nearby jewel of Hualien. With turquoise swimming holes aplenty and the secret Rainbow Falls trail, the Miyawan is a wonderful place to visit year round.
Speaking of waterfalls, there are a number of amazing waterfalls in the Hualien area. Among them is the stunning Zimu Falls. Zimu Falls lies off a little trail near the aboriginal village of Tongmen. Here you can find another blue swimming hole, only this time with a gorgeous waterfall to accompany it.
Tongmen & Wunlan
There are two aboriginal villages in and around the Mugua River Gorge. The Tongmen & Wunlan villages. While Tongmen is famous for its hand crafted Truku machetes, Wunlan is famous for its traditional longbow archery! Maybe if you’re lucky, you can catch an archery competition while you’re there or even have a chance to try a traditional wooden longbow yourself.
If you are in Taiwan, or are planning a trip to Taiwan any time soon, you must make it a point to stay in Hualien and visit the Mugua River Gorge. The easiest way to see all of this is to contact Island Life Taiwan and take one of their all-day tours of the Mugua River Gorge. If you’re not already planning on travelling there yet, put it on your bucket list, because it’ll be an unforgettable experience of nature and culture.