Hi--my husband and I are going to Taiwan from Jan. 13-28. We'll be doing a 7-day silent retreat at Chung Tai Monastery near Puli from the 19-26. We are thinking we'll stay in Taipei for 3 days, then take the train to Hualien, spend 2 days at Taroko, and then get to the monastery and then back to Taipei for 2 days. My questions:
1. It looks hard to get to and from the gorge except through Taipei, but it looks gorgeous! Worth it to visit? And if so, can you get from Hualien/Toroko to Puli (where the monastery is) or should we just plan to go back to Taipei and then to Puli? Has anyone rented a car and driver to go from Taroko to Puli? The road sounds treacherous and uncertain.
2. Has anyone bicycled in the gorge in January? Wondering about weather and difficulty. We thought about going with a tour the first day and then hiking/biking on our own the second day.
3. Any must sees in Taipei, other than the national museum? any thoughts on how we spend our 2/3 days at the beginning and the 2 days at the end would be most welcome.
4. What is the best way to get to Puli from Taipei, if we don't end up going straight from Taroko to Puli?
Thanks so much for the help!