Considered one of Taiwan’s jewels, the magnificent Taroko Gorge lies a half-hour north of Hualien. The Central Cross Island Highway, a narrow mountain road with sharp twists and turns, snakes along the base of the park’s main gorge and offers jaw-dropping views of solid-marble cliffs, deep canyons and the rushing Liwu River. You'll find stunning scenery along the entire route, but several attractions are especially worth a stop. Walk through the Tunnel of Nine Turns, which offers some of the best views of the gorge, the river and the soaring cliffs on the side opposite the trail. At the Xiangde Temple, there are ornate prayer halls, pagodas and statues.