Dali Datong: 10 things you need to know before your hike

So you have booked a trip to Dali Datong Villages with us (or am planning to head there yourself), now what?

What do I bring? What’s the weather like? How do I prepare for my trip? What’s the accommodation like?

Hiking in a foreign country, and to a remote area no less, can be a little unsettling. But not to worry, we’ve got you covered 🙂  Here are some tips for you to prepare for your trip to this oasis cut away from civilisation.

1. What is Dali Datong?

Nestled in a valley within the mountains of Taroko National Park, the indigenous villages of Dali and Datong are inhabited by the Truku (Taroko) tribe, and are the last remaining settlements of the Truku aboriginals. The 2 villages have a tiny population of less than 50, most of which are the elder generation that enjoy their traditional way of life, and choose not to relocate to the nearby towns.

In an effort to preserve the culture and heritage , the trails leading to, and the villages, are listed as protected areas under the Taroko National Park authorities.

 

2. Since the area is protected, would we need special permission to hike to these villages?

Yes, hikers must register for a mountain entry permit with the National Police Agency before heading to Dali and Datong villages. We will apply for the permits for all our travelers, so don’t worry, you won’t be trespassing!

 

3. How far do I have to hike?

The hike to Dali Datong is a challenge. Each day covers a distance of 10 – 15km, and an ascent/descent of 800 – 1,000m. On top of that, you would need to factor in the weight from your overnight pack: usually another 5 – 10kg.

Our guide/s will adjust the pace and routes according to your group’s fitness level.

 

4. What terrain will we be hiking through? Do I need special hiking equipment?

The trails to Dali and Datong are mostly on rocky trails through forested areas. Special equipment is not required, but hiking shoes/trail running shoes are strongly recommended as it will be slippery if it rains.

 

5. What do I need to pack?

Essentials:

  • 1L – 2L of water

  • Snacks/Tidbits (nuts, biscuits, sweets)

  • Personal medication (Please notify us in advance if you have any pre-existing condition that our guide/s need to be aware of)

  • Towel

  • Poncho or Waterproof Jacket

  • Moisture wicking clothes

  • Sunscreen

If you are not experienced in hiking with the weight of an overnight pack, do try to pack as light as possible.

 

6. Will I be able to refill my water along the way?

There won’t be any place to refill water on the hike up to Dali and Datong villages. However, you will be able to do so once your reach Datong village.

Typically, most people will need 1L during winter, and 1L  – 2L during summer.

 

7. What about our meals?

There will be no place to purchase any food once you start the hike. Some of the accommodations in Datong village offer dinner, but always remember to book in advance.

If you have booked a tour with us, our guides will bring along your lunch/dinner for Day 1, and breakfast for Day 2. You simply need to prepare your own snacks 🙂

 

8. What is the weather like at the village?

Hualien has a sub-tropical climate, with a humidity of 65% – 85%. Temperatures range between 10’C in winter to 38’C in summer.

Temperatures in Datong village are about 5’C lower than the city

 

9. What is the accommodation like? Do I need to bring my own sleeping bag?

As the aboriginal homes are in a remote village, amenities are basic. Here’s what will be provided:

  • Mattresses and blankets. The room is a large space that is shared among all guests staying at the home.

  • Hot Shower. Toilets/Showers are shared between all guests.

  • Potable Water

  • Soap/Shampoo


10. Is there any mobile coverage/WiFi at the village?

No. As this is a remote area, most mobile signals do not reach Datong Village. You might get mobile signal intermittently during your hike up to Dali and Datong village, but will most likely be completely cut off once you reach Datong Village.

If you are hiking without a guide, we recommend you take your own safety precautions (e.g. Satellite phone, First Aid Kid).

 

And lastly, remember to get a good rest the night before and have a hearty breakfast.

Happy Hiking!

 

 

Taiwan Cycling Tours – East Coast & East Rift Valley

Overview

Enjoy the best of both worlds in this 2D1N tour that allows you to explore the most scenic coastal route in Taiwan (Highway 11), ride past expanses of rice paddy fields, and coast along valleys bordered by mountain ranges (East Rift Valley).

While this journey is not strenuous as most of the route is on flat roads, this is a route that requires endurance and stamina as it covers 335km over 2 days.

Day 1 starts from Hualien City, and involves a 170km route along the coastal highway, Route 11. Consisting mostly of flat and straight roads along the coastline, the route ends at Taitung City. On Day 2, start from Taitung city, and head back to Hualien City through the rift valley, Route 9. A 165km journey, the roads are mostly flat, with short distances in between requiring small elevation gains of less than 100m.

 


Important Info

Inclusions

  • 30-speed City Bike
  • Support Van (Driver & Mechanic)
  • Tolls surcharge
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Hualien City pick-up & drop off
  • Photographs of your tour

Exclusions

  • Cycling gear (Helmet, shoes, clothes)
  • Entrance fees
  • Souvenirs and personal expenses
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Gratuity (optional)

 

Additional Info

  • This tour needs to be booked a minimum of 3 days in advance.
  • Bookings are subject to availability of our guides. Kindly note that submission of a booking request does not automatically confirm your booking.  
  • Pick up time is approximate and varies according to your hotel/B&B location and traffic conditions.
  • Transport will be via an air-conditioned mini van.
  • To process travel insurance for each participant, passport name and number for all participants are required at the point of booking.

 

Deposit & Refund Policy

  • A deposit of 10% of the total price is required before your booking is confirmed.
  • Deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable.
  • If the tour is unable to proceed due to extreme weathers conditions (e.g. typhoon, earthquake), the deposit will be refunded.

Itinerary

[DAY 1: East Coast/Route 11]

07:30 Pick-up from your hotel/B&B in Hualien

  • Hualien City
    – Cycling Route start
    – 0k, 0m.
  • Yanliao
    – 14.3k, 0m.
  • Xinshe
    – 44.2, 0m.
  • Shitiping
    – 64.9k, 0m.
  • Lunch
  • Changhong Bridge
    – 68.9k, 0m.
  • Three Saints Island
    – 111.0k, 0m.
  • XiaoYeLiu
    – 158k, 0m.
  • Taitung City
    – 170k, 0m. Cycling Route end.

17:30 Drop-off at your hotel/B&B in Taitung City


[DAY 2: East Rift Valley/Route 9]

07:30 Pick-up from your hotel/B&B in Taitung City

  • Taitung City
    – Cycling Route start
    – 0k, 0m.
  • Luye Town
    – 25.6k, 0m.
  • Brown’s Avenue
    – 50.5k, 0m.
  • Chishang Town (Lunch)
    – 51.5k, 0m.
  • Yuli Town
    – 81.7k, 0m.
  • Ruisui Town
    – 102.0k, 0m.
  • Guangfu Town
    – 121.0k, 0m.
  • Hualien City
    – 165k, 0m. Cycling Route end.

17:30 Drop-off at your hotel/B&B in Hualien City

Taiwan Cycling Tours – Taroko National Park

Overview

With towering marble walls, subtropical forested canyons and crystal clear rivers, Taroko gorge boasts phenomenal views, and has been acclaimed as Taiwan’s version of Yosemite.

Starting from Hualien City, this route is a fairly easy journey spanning over 60km with a slight ascent of 270m, and allows you to visit the iconic spots of Taroko National Park.

 


Important Info

Inclusions

  • Cyclist tour guide
  • Road Bike
  • Hualien City pick-up & drop off

Exclusions

  • Cycling gear (Helmet, shoes, clothes)
  • Entrance fees
  • Souvenirs and personal expenses
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Gratuity (optional)

 

Additional Info

  • This tour needs to be booked a minimum of 3 days in advance.
  • Bookings are subject to availability of our guides. Kindly note that submission of a booking request does not automatically confirm your booking.  
  • Pick up time is approximate and varies according to your hotel/B&B location and traffic conditions.
  • Transport will be via an air-conditioned mini van.
  • To process travel insurance for each participant, passport name and number for all participants are required at the point of booking.

 

Deposit & Refund Policy

  • A deposit of 10% of the total price is required before your booking is confirmed.
  • Deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable.
  • If the tour is unable to proceed due to extreme weathers conditions (e.g. typhoon, earthquake), the deposit will be refunded.

Itinerary

08:30 Pick-up from your hotel/B&B in Hualien

  • Hualien City
    – Cycling Route start
    – 0k, 0m.
  • Qixingtan
    – 8.4k, 0m.
  • Shakadang
    – 26.2k, 60m.
  • Swallow Grotto
    – 33.4k, 247m.
  • Eternal Spring Shrine
    – 39.9k, 85m.
  • Hualien City
    – 65.5k, 0m. Cycling Route end.

17:00 Drop-off at your hotel/B&B in Hualien


 

Taiwan Cycling Tours – King of Mountain

Overview

Popularly known as KoM, King of Mountain is a legendary cycling route spanning 105km and rises from sea level to 3275m elevation. Starting from Hualien City, this challenging journey will pass through Taroko National Park and ends at the summit of Hehuan mountain.

The day starts off with a visit to the iconic spots of Taroko National Park: Swallow Grotto & Eternal Spring Shrine, and then drive up to 1,600m to begin you cycling tour.

During the trip, you will have support by van escort, and a bicycle mechanic. There will also be pit stops along the way should you need to rest.


Important Info

Inclusions

  • 20-speed Road Bike
  • Support Van (Driver and Mechanic)
  • Tolls surcharge
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Hualien City pick-up & drop off
  • Photographs of your tour

Exclusions

  • Cycling gear (Helmet, shoes, clothes)
  • Entrance fees
  • Souvenirs and personal expenses
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Gratuity (optional)

 

Additional Info

  • This tour needs to be booked a minimum of 3 days in advance.
  • Bookings are subject to availability of our guides. Kindly note that submission of a booking request does not automatically confirm your booking.  
  • Pick up time is approximate and varies according to your hotel/B&B location and traffic conditions.
  • Transport will be via an air-conditioned mini van.
  • To process travel insurance for each participant, passport name and number for all participants are required at the point of booking.

 

Deposit & Refund Policy

  • A deposit of 10% of the total price is required before your booking is confirmed.
  • Deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable.
  • If the tour is unable to proceed due to extreme weathers conditions (e.g. typhoon, earthquake), the deposit will be refunded.

Itinerary

You can choose to complete the full 105km, or start from 38.1km (448m elevation.)

 

06:30 Pick-up from your hotel/B&B in Hualien

  • Qixingtan
    – Cycling Route start.
    – 0k, 0m.
  • Tianxiang.
    – Cycling Route start.
    0k (38.1k), 448m.
  • Xibao Elementary School
    8k (46.1k), 915m
  • Xinbaiyang Service Station
    26.7k (64.8k), 1644m
  • Bilu Sacred Tree.
    41.3k (79.4k), 2150m
  • Guanyuan Gas Station
    52.6k (90.7k), 2374m
  • Dayuling
    56.8k (94.9k), 2565m
  • Wuling.
    65.4k (103.5k), 3274m. Cycling Route end.

15:30 Drive back to Hualien

17:00 Qingshui Cliff

17:30 Drop-off at your hotel/B&B in Hualien


 

Places to eat in Hualien

So you’ve spend a long day hiking all the trails and seeing the beautiful sights Taroko National Park has to offer, and you’re starving! Luckily, there’s no shortage of places to eat in Hualien. Be it traditional Taiwanese food, Thai food, sushi, steaks, or even American style barbecue, Here are some of delicious foods/restaurants in Hualien:

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