Between the Pacific Ocean and the Central Mountain Range lies a city that represents Taiwan’s natural beauty and cultural diversity. It’s called Hualien, and despite being the largest metropolis on the east coast, it has a relaxing vibe you won’t feel in other cities. So, if you’re ready to see the valleys, mountains, historic sites, and other wonders, then let this list guide you. Here are the top ten things to do in this gorgeous city by the sea.
1. Taroko National Park
Established in 1986, Taroko National Park is home to stunning waterfalls, mountains, and marble cliffs. The most famous attraction is Taroko Gorge, which is 19 kilometers (11.8 miles) long. By joining the hiking activities, you won’t just get an up-close look at the natural gems, but also the historic Hsiangte Temple and Chengchun Shrine. The shrine was built in honor of those who lost their lives in the construction of the central highway.
Crossing the park’s 1.4-kilometer-long (0.86 miles) suspension bridge is the perfect opportunity for you to take photos of the caves and streams. The peaks reach over 3000 meters, and it contains a wide variety of flora and fauna. You can fill out an online application on the park’s website for interpretation services or for a park entry permit.
Taroko National Park
Address: 291, Fushi, Fushi Village, Xiulin Township, Hualien County
Opening Hours: 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Contact: +886 3 862 1100
Website: Taroko National Park
2. Liyu Lake
This is the largest lake in Eastern Taiwan, and it’s just 20 kilometers from the city. Liyu Lake offers plenty of family-friendly activities such as camping, biking, light boat sailing, and rowing. You can also just go for a stroll on the shore to marvel at the lush scenery and enjoy the tranquility. If you decide to visit around April, make sure you go in the evening to witness the awe-inspiring fireflies moving harmoniously above the freshwater. Bike rental fees are around 3 USD per hour while the light boat sailing costs around 10 USD.
Address: 100, Huantan N. Rd., Shoufeng Township, Hualien County 974, Taiwan
Opening Hours: 24 Hours
Website: Liyu Lake
3. Sixty Rock Mountain
Sixty Rock Mountain, also known as Liushishi, is situated on the eastern side of Zhutian Village. It reaches up to 800 meters above sea level, providing an unobstructed view of the surrounding landscape. According to locals, the mountain’s paddy field was the only one that could produce sixty Dan of millet during the Japanese rule, hence the name. August and September are the best months to visit because it’s the season where the daylilies bloom. The sight of the colorful flowers and the Coastal Mountain Range are enough to make you say that your trip was worth it.
Sixty Rock Mountain
Address: Zhutian Village, Fuli Township, Hualien County
Opening Hours: 24 Hours
Duration: around 3 hours required
Website: Sixty Rock Mountain
Nature appreciation continues at Shihtiping, which is located about 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) north of Kankou. The site was formed after volcanic rocks extended beyond the sea. On your visit here, you will surely notice that the rock formations are not like any others found in the east coast. Absorb the blissful sound of the waves while you marvel at not only the rocks, but also the rich plant life. You can also drop by the Visitor Center to learn more about the area’s sea life and vegetation, through illustrations. There’s a camping area as well if you want to spend the night.
Address: Fengbin Township, Hualien County
Opening Hours: 24 Hours; Visitor Center is open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Contact: +886 3 878 1452
5. Pine Garden
This garden, which is located at the city’s highest point, was a military base of the Japanese army during the early 20th century. Now, it has become one of Hualien’s most popular tourist destinations. You can explore the former command center and see the centuries-old pine trees up-close. There are over 200 trees in this area, all of which are well-preserved. The view of the city center and the Pacific Ocean is also worth seeing. If you ever get tired of strolling around, feel free to relax on the benches. Complete your journey by purchasing a few items from the souvenir shop.
Address: 65, Songyuan St, Hualien City, Hualien County, Taiwan 970
Price: from 2 USD
Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Contact: +886 3 835 6510
6. Hualien Fishing Harbor
Another way to fully appreciate Hualien is to experience its culture firsthand. Go for a walk on the docks of Hualien Fishing Harbor for an opportunity to witness the exciting life of the friendly local fishermen. You will see boats of different colors, fishing nets, and the day-to-day activities of the workers. There’s also a market where you can buy different types of seafood dishes and have them cooked in the restaurant.
Hualien Fishing Harbor
Address: Gangbin, Hualien City, Hualien County 970, Taiwan
Opening Hours: 24 Hours
7. Stone Sculpture Museum
精選文化局歷年所典藏的3件大型作品及14件小型石雕作品帶到臺北展出，企圖在喧囂城會中彰顯島嶼邊緣石雕之大美，突顯反璞歸真之藝術價值。Posted by 花蓮藝文漫遊 on Thursday, 16 February 2017
Since Hualien is well-known for its mineral stones, it has paved the way to some of the most talented sculptors. Take a good look at the masterpieces of these artists at the Stone Sculpture Museum in Wenfu Road. It’s the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, and it also features stone carvings from international artists. Prepare to be astounded by the collection of both modern and traditional works. You can learn more about the art form and its rich history at the audio and video area.
Stone Sculpture Museum
Address: 6, Wenfu Rd., Hualien City, Hualien County 970, Taiwan
Price: from 1 USD
Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Contact: +886 38 227121
Website: Stone Sculpture Museum
8. Martyrs' Shrine
Martyrs’ Shrine not only offers a splendid view of the city and its surrounding mountains, but also an opportunity to appreciate history. The shrine, which is situated on a hill in Meiluen Park, was originally called Karenko in 1915 during the Japanese rule. In the 1980s, the KMT changed it to Martyrs’ Shrine to commemorate the national heroes who died during World War II. On your visit here, pay your respects to the fallen soldiers and then, explore the beloved temple. You will surely love its neo-Chinese style.
Address: 970, Taiwan, Hualien County, Hualien City
Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Contact: +886 903 929 170
9. Suhua Highway
Suhua Highway is placed between Hualien and Yilan, and it provides a marvellous view of the cliffs and the blue sea. The most famous attraction is the white Chingsui Cliff, which is named as one of the country’s eight wonders. You can stop over on the side of the road to take pictures or just admire the natural treasures. The cool breeze will certainly give you a relaxing feeling. In order for your trip to be safe, make sure you drive slowly and watch out for curves and falling rocks.
10.Dongdamen Night Market
Opened in July 2015, Dongdamen Night Market is where you should go if you want good food and a fun time. There are over 400 stalls in the area offering a wide variety of aboriginal and Chinese dishes. Don’t forget to try out the favorites such as Guangdong, Henan, stone grilled barbecue, and fried wild boar. The market also has stalls where you can enjoy darts, pinball, and many other games.
Dongdamen Night Market
Address: 50, Zhongshan Rd, Hualien City, Hualien County, Taiwan 970
Opening Hours: 5:30 PM to 11:30 PM
Contact: +886 977 690 913
Website: Dongdamen Night Market
Good vibes all throughout
Nature, culture, and history are all present in this charming city. Apart from that, the locals are also known to be nice and friendly. Many people have claimed it to be the most beautiful seaside metropolis in Taiwan, and it’s hard to disagree. Leave the bustling areas for a while and enjoy the serenity of Hualien now.
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