I'll be in Taipei for 3.5 days over the Double 10th Holiday and would like to spend one day exploring Taroko Gorge and Hualien. Is the best way for a non-Chinese speaker to visit those sites by using a car and driver? If so, can anyone recommend a specific English-speaking driver? Or a particular agency to contact to attempt to arrange same? How easy is it to rent a car and drive to the east coast -- specifically, are the road signs beyond Taipei only in Chinese characters? What about travel by train -- is that a viable option? I'm not a big fan of organized tours, but will consider them if necessary.
When I booked the trip, I didn't realize that there would be a Taiwanese holiday while I was there, and only realized that there was when I started to seriously plan for the trip yesterday (at least I started planning before I got on the plane!). Since next weekend will be a holiday weekend, how crowded are the Gorge and surrounding area likely to be on the Saturday and Sunday? Or should I plan to visit the Gorge and Hualien on 10/10, and spend the weekend and Monday morning visiting the sights in and around Taipei? Also, any particularly special 10/10 related events I should try to see?
Finally, any specific recommendations on how best to spend my time on my day out?
Thanks in advance for the help.