To be honest, there’s not terribly much around Hualien (花蓮)- I found it notable mostly for being the nearest city to Taroko (太魯閣), which has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful places in Taiwan. And it lives up to its reputation:
This is going to be a photo-heavy and text-light post.
My first night in Hualien, I made a couple of new friends, and we went off to explore Taroko together!
Since we wanted to see all of Taroko in a single day, this meant waking up at 6am to catch the first bus. And standing on the bus for an hour, all the way to Taroko , since the bus is overbooked. Yuck. But anyways, once we got to Taroko Gorge, we took the bus all the way to the last stop, then worked our away back to the entrance. The bus doesn’t go all the way into the gorge (you need a private car or motorcycle to see everything), but it stops at a lot of scenic spots and hiking trails.
Tianxiang (天祥): nice views!
Lushui (綠水 – blue water):
From Lushui, my friends and I went on a hiking trip of sorts:
Great view from the hike:
Jiuqudong (九曲洞 – tunnel of nine turns): great views, but when I visited, the trail was closed due to falling rocks.
Yanzhikou (燕子口 – swallow grotto):
Back in Hualien, my new friends and I visited the coast of Hualien:
Then, we rented bikes and traveled north along the eastern coast of Taiwan, towards the mouth of Taroko National Park. The waves along the coast were huge.
It was a really nice biking path, with great views, including one of an old bunker!
Near the mouth of Taroko gorge, we chanced upon a village nestled in the valley, with beautiful views: