On our third day in Taiwan, we visited Hualien County which is known for its vast mountain ranges and its beautiful coastline facing the Pacific Ocean. Though this is the biggest County in Taiwan, only 7% of it is occupied by people. Interesting right?
Well, things are just starting to get exciting, read on for more stunning spots in Hualien!
TRANSPORTATION AND PREPARATION
Pre-book a taxi. Why pre-book a taxi? Well, we found out that there is no comprehensive point-to-point bus or train system yet within Hualien. Buses operate within the main city on a predictable and regular basis but exploring inner County through a “hop-on-hop-off” bus could be very challenging. Tourist spots are 45 minutes to 1.5 hours apart from each other, so a DIY trip could be time consuming and difficult.
Here is a highly recommended tour-guide-taxi driver that can both speak English and Chinese. I liked how he was very professional yet caring and accommodating of our needs. Also, he gave us a reasonable rate for a seven-hour day trip.
Meet Jason Huang, our ever reliable and awesome driver-tour guide
Advance Train Reservation. It is important that you reserve your trip to Hualien at least two weeks in advance. We booked in the TRA website to secure our seats and exchanged the confirmation slip with the actual tickets at the TRA counter in Taipei Main Station. We already got our tickets on our first day in Taipei.
Plan your itinerary. In our case, we were specific of what we wanted to see. We informed Jason (our driver-tour guide) about this and he advised us of some spots that were under construction. We culled this out from our list and came up with something solid to visit within the County. Below are the specifics of our Hualien trip:
Reminder. Check the weather condition in advance and check for road closures. You may coordinate this through your preferred taxi driver.
GETTING AROUND HUALIEN
The clean and fresh air of the countryside was pure bliss. We enjoyed our “open window” ride a lot apart from filling our eyes with the magnificent view of verdant mountains and luscious trees around.
First stop was the Qingshui Cliff. I specifically requested this since we wanted to avoid being there with bunch of tourists.
We could not get enough of this breathtaking place directly looking at the Pacific Ocean! Too bad, we could not linger here for too long.
Taroko National Park Shakadang Trail
Mirror image: we were snapping photos of each other from the opposite sides of the road
It was a good one hour walk on the trail but the experience was refreshing and fun
Below the trail is a very clear stream of water with colorful stones
We could not help but stop every now and then to appreciate the magnificent beauty of the place
There was a hilarious story behind this photo. My bestfriend was asking me to pose here, however, I suggested that it would appear more “dramatic” if I sort of push the stone. With a straight face, she was like: “that is not a drama, that is comedy”! I was really laughing my heart out when I heard it!
At the end of the trail, there is an entrance going down to the stream where we had these:
Bestie practicing her yoga pose
Just like a child, bestie was enjoying the cold water and the small waves
Me sticking to my “queen of the forest” peg
Imagination is everything: for some, these are just an ordinary stones, but for others they see this as a Cathedral!
After our one hour trek inside Taroko, Jason drove us to the nearest eating place. The food here are relatively pricey compared to Taipei but food in Taiwan are generally very good.
Just before we headed to our next destination, Jason volunteered to take a photo of us outside Taroko National Park.
For safety measures, everyone is required to wear helmets before exploring the place.
We had to walk under this tunnel to the other side of the road while enjoying a leisurely view of the river, cliff, and the gorge.
We didn’t know wearing helmets could also appear “fashionable”!
Longest suspension bridge I’ve seen by far. Cry!
Everything about the gorge is truly remarkable! Limestones are everywhere too!
Bestie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What are you planning to do?
Whew! We came out in one piece – we were survivors! Yahoo!
Immediately after Swallow Grotto, we headed next to Eternal Spring. Honestly, there are just too much awesome places to see in Hualien!
We also got the chance to visit this very beautiful temple in the mountain and…
embrace the teaching of internal peace
Finally, our last stop before we headed back to the train station was this beautiful Qixingtan Beach. The wind here is very strong so extra caution is encouraged.
I know you all had a wonderful time browsing through the wonderful destinations within Hualien. Stay connected for the second part of our Day three in Taiwan!