While towering mountains and never-ending fields are scattered throughout the island, the sheer beauty of Hualien is lionized throughout Taiwan, with tourists from both within the country and abroad visiting and witnessing the region’s unforgettable views first-hand. Located on the east coast, facing the azure blue waters of the ceaseless Pacific Ocean, and almost fully covered in mountains, Hualien looks like it has come straight out of a postcard. With a blend of natural beauty, cultural marvels and hospitable locals, not only is Hualien worth a visit, but it may be hard to leave!
Natural Wonders of Hualien
On top of every travellers to-do list whilst staying in Hualian is the Taroko Gorge; known as one of the seven wonder of Asia, visitors are drawn to its smooth marble cliffs and deep tunnels, which serve as the backdrop to the Liwu River. Trail down the river to the Tunnel of Nine Turns, or hike up to the Eternal Spring Shrine, a quaint temple that overlooks the waterfalls. With Taroko translating to “magnificent and beautiful” in the language of the indigenous Truku tribe, you’ll soon realise that there is no more appropriate name for this spectacular gorge.
Whale-watching is a popular activity in Hualian; you can get on a boat that takes you out into the ocean, where you can view playful dolphins, and a whale or two… if you are lucky! You can also cruise the coast on a bike; with lush green mountains and flowery fields on one side, and the vast Pacific Ocean on the other, the sceneries makes biking in Hualian a thrilling experience.
Aboriginal tribes are a reason many people are fascinated by Taiwan; with an intriguing history and colorful customs, the aboriginal tribes are proud to retain their cultural heritage, especially within Hualian. That is just one reason to check out places such as the Ami Cultural Village, home to the Ami tribe, and where you can watch traditional aboriginal dancing.
The venerated Xiangde Temple is another unmissable site; with an intricate seven story pagoda, this landmark is snuggled up within the mountains, giving you the feeling of peace and tranquility.
In order to sample the regional delicacies of Hualien, one must pay a visit to one of Hualien’s night markets; Zi Qiang Night Market provides the largest variety, with the popular First BBQ Stall, where you can try unusual but succulent snacks, such as chicken heart and liver, all cooked and served conveniently on skewers. Da Chang Bao Xiao Chang, also located in the night market, serves the much loved Taiwanese sausage.
Situated in the Golden Triangle business district of Hualien City is Gong Zheng Bao Zi, a popular joint for steaming dumplings, from where you can also enjoy the energetic bustle of the city.