In this series, we will be introducing the things to do in Hualien Taiwan – Located along the Eastern coast of Taiwan. If you have ever researched on the things to do in Hualien, the location that is everyone’s to-do list is Taroko Gorge. So, let us start with that and we will talk about the rest shortly after.
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Transportation – Getting to Taroko Gorge
Before we really begin, let us start with your transportation options, presuming you are already in Hualien Taiwan. For the most budget-friendly option, you can consider a mix of taking the bus and walking. You can take the bus from Hualien Train Station and travel your way to Taroko Gorge. Unlike Taipei, buses in Hualien are very infrequent, so make sure to check the bus schedule.
Warning: Google Maps does not recommend all the public transportation options available (from our experience) so it would be good to consult the visitor centre at the train station for alternative ways.
The next option is to rent a scooter or car. We definitely recommend renting a scooter. Once you exit the train station, there will be lots of stores competing for your attention! So you should be able to get a reasonable price (~300 to 600 TWD for one day) We prefer this more flexible option as you are able to customise your trip and explore the places the buses do not pass by.
Another possible choice would be joining a day tour. This is suitable for those who want a more relaxing trip without having the need to plan and navigate. Most half-day tours will bring you the recommended places to take in the scenery so all you are required to do is be on time for the tour. However, the downside would be strict schedule, needless to say.
If you enjoy the convenience of day tours, check out these tours from GetYourGuide!
Sightseeing – Taroko Gorge
Taroko Gorge is huge (it cuts across 3 counties!) so you probably won’t be able to see EVERYTHING. There are many hiking trails and sceneries. Two of the most popular and easy trails are Shakadang Trail and Swallow Grotto Trail. The former is 4.4km long which is filled with many different rivers. Swallow Grotto Trail is only 1.4km long and you get to visit holes where swallows once nested (hence its name!)
For the more adventurous, head over to Zhuilu Old Trail. A round trip on this trail is about 6km but what it is famous for is the very narrow path situated 700 meters above canyon floors. Compared to the first two, this is slightly more challenging. For safety reasons, you will need to pay and apply for a permit for this trail.
Other than the 3 above, there are many more which you can find out here.
Taroko Gorge in Hualien Taiwan is also filled with many different sights for you to stop by. Eternal Spring Shrine, Cimu Bridge, Qingshui Cliffs and Tianxiang are places you can easily rest at if you have a scooter. At Tianxing, there are a few food options available near the old bus station. It is also where the only 7-11 in Taroko National Park is located at, so come here to stock up on your snacks!
Sightseeing – Eastern Coast
Apart from Taroko Gorge, the eastern coast is another popular stretch for visitors. One of our favourites is Chisingtan Scenic Area where you get to see sands which are more black-ish in colour. From there, you can travel your way down to Hualien Harbour and enjoy some seafood. Near to the city centre, the Pine Garden is also worth visiting.
Image Source: Starbucks
Continue your journey along the eastern coast until you reach Starbucks. This is not just any other Starbucks. It is famous for its exterior which is made out of containers. It is definitely a good place to get your coffee fix while snapping a few photos.
Taiwan’s Specialty – Night Markets
Dongdamen Night Market has a section where it promotes its aboriginal food and culture. Head over there and try some of their food. It is also filled with a wide variety of food options with tofu fries, Zha Dang Cong Yu Bin being our guilty pleasures. Nearby Dongdamen, you can walk over to Fu Ting Guanguang Night Market and see what they have to offer too.
Hualien Taiwan is mainly a county for sightseeing and is filled with hidden gems. Within the city though, you can check out the Eastern Railway Site and A-Zone. Farglory Ocean Park, river shrimping, river rafting and paragliding are also adventures that are highly raved but we, sadly, did not manage to go due to time constraints.
If you ever try any of these, be sure to let us know your experience!
Where to Stay in Hualien
Last updated on December 29th, 2019.
This post is also available in: 简体中文 (Chinese (Simplified))