Hualien County is on the east-coast of Taiwan.
|Northern Hualien (Hualien, Xincheng, Ji'an, Shoufeng, Xiulin)|
The main entry-point for the airport area. It is also the location of Taroko Gorge.
|Central Hualien (Fenglin, Guangfu, Fengbin, Wanrong)|
The traditional home of the Amis people, the area also has a strong Hakka culture.
|Southern Hualien (Yuli, Ruisui, Fuli, Zhuoxi)|
A good spot for enjoying outdoor activities, hot springs, and the local tea culture.
- 1 Hualien – Touristic centre of the Hualien County and base for exploring the nearby Taroko Gorge.
- 2 Guangfu (光復)
- 3 Ruisui (Rueisuei) – Ruisui is most famous for its hot springs; however, there are tons other things to do as well, see below.
- 4 Fengbin
- 5 Tianxiang – The final village inside of Taroko Gorge most tourists will encounter.
- 6 Yuli – Mostly a farming area, with a historic hiking trail nearby, the Walami trail, once used by the Japanese to keep on eye on Aboriginal villages in the mountains. Many sections have been wiped out, but you can do the first part as a day trip.
- 1 Taroko Gorge – An impressive canyon, 19 km (12 mi) long. The name, Taroko, means the "magnificent and splendid" in the language of Truku, the aboriginal tribe residing in the area.
- 2 Yushan – The highest mountain of Taiwan, is in Nantou County, and is also the name of the related national park in Hualien County.
Go to the Taipei Train Station (not to be confused with Taipei Main Station, the MRT station). Take the Ziqiang Train to Hualien, which is about a 3-hr trip from Taipei.
There are also cheap 50-min flights to and from Hualien from Songshan Airport, which is easily accessible from the MRT.
The bus station heading south to Taitung is to the left as you come out of the Hualien Train Station. Buses travel down the scenic Highway 11, and usually transfer in Jing Pu, near Big Harbor and the famous Big Red Bridge. Try the homemade dumplings at the noodle shop in Jing Pu while you're waiting.
Trains travel down the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area and are perhaps the most convenient way to travel from Taitung to Hualien. Spend a few days slowly making your way down this area. The sightseeing is the best in Taiwan for those that love nature and beauty.
History and culture
- 1 Eternal Spring Shrine (長春祠), ☏ . A mountainside memorial shrine that was built in honour of those who lost their lives building the nearby highway. The site offers picturesque views of the surrounding area.
- 2 Saoba Stone Pillars (掃叭石柱), ☏ . An archaeological site at Ruisui Township featuring a number of stone pillars from Beinan culture built during the Stone Age, around 3,000 years ago.
- 3 Chihsing Tan Katsuo Museum (七星柴魚博物館), No. 148, Qixing Street, Xincheng Township, ☏ . 08:30-17:30. A museum in Xincheng Township dedicated to dried bonito fish. The museum is accessible east from Beipu Station.
Parks and nature
- 4 Hehuanshan (合歡山). A 3,416-metre-high (11,207 ft) mountain in Central Taiwan which lies on the borders of Nantou and Hualien counties, within Taroko National Park.
- 5 Liyu Lake (take bus 303, 100 m right from the Tourist Information in Hualien; it does not go by the lake on certain days but directly to Shoufeng – align with the driver). A scenic lake good for a stroll or lunch, with boats for rent. There is also a mountain trail around the lake. Bus NT$54 one-way.
- 6 Matai'an Wetland Ecological Park (馬太鞍濕地公園). The wetland is at the foot of Mount Masi and spans over an area of 12 hectares, making it the largest wetland in the county.
- 7 Qingshui Cliff (清水斷崖 / Qīngshuǐ Duànyá). An impressive 21-km-long coastal cliff that rises 800 m above sea level on average. Its tallest peak, the Qingshui Mountain, rises 2408 m above sea level directly from the sea.
- 8 Xiangde Temple (祥德寺), ☏ . A large mountainside temple complex in Taroko Gorge.
- 1 Ruisui Hot Springs (Jui-Sui Hot Springs). Ruisui's pristine natural beauty is a must to experience during a trip to Hualien. Ruisui Hot Springs originated from the upper stream of Hongye Stream. The water from Ruisui Hot Springs is alkaline sodium carbonate, perfect for osmosis detox and cleansing, with a pH ranging between 6 and 7. The high altitude of Ruisui Hot Springs offers a magnificent view of the surrounding mountains and plains. Ruisui Hot Springs have helped boosted tourism in Ruisui, and Ruisui Organic Farms, especially the dairy products, is loved by all who visit.
- Siouguluan River Basin. Soak in the RueiSuei Hot Springs for an evening, then wake up in the morning and River Raft down the incredibly beautiful Siouguluan River basin down to Big Harbor, where you can then hop on a yacht at #96 Shi Ti Bay and head out whale and dolphin watching. The seafood in Shi Ti Harbor is the freshest in Taiwan, caught twice a day by local (mostly Aborigines) fishermen and delivered fresh to your plate!
- 2 Hehuan Mountain (Hehuanshan) (About a four hour drive from Hualien City.). It is a fantastic journey through the wonders of Taroko Gorge and past, ending in a treeless, absolutely different ecosystem. Hiking available ranges from easy to hard, and can be hiked on one day or multiple days, depending on the route you choose. English literature is available but very basic. It is possible to just set out on a trail and see where it takes you. Being a (mostly) treeless environment, it is difficult to get lost, but beware of the dangers of high altitude hiking - most peaks are above 3000 m.
- Mugua River Gorge (About 20-30 minutes from Hualien City). This collection of rivers, waterfalls and lakes are an excellent place to swim and see the rich diversity of ecosystems in Hualien County. Most easily accessed by organized tour, the Mugua river gorge is home to Liyu Lake, Emerald Valley, Zimu Waterfall, Rainbow Waterfall, the Miyawan river and more!
- Rent a scooter and hit the road on Highway 11. The beauty of the coastline in Hualien County can be enjoyed from this gorgeous stretch of highway. Although many buses and cars are also drawn here and many cite this as a cause for safety concerns, this is by most accounts false. Take care, drive responsibly, and always be careful when around traffic, but do not let anyone deter you from this drive. Pack a lunch and picnic on the coast with the turquoise ocean lapping at the coastline below. Buses and taxis will take you along this road also. Taxis are more personable (they will stop when you say 'stop') but buses are much cheaper. However, both pale in comparison to the experience of driving yourself.
- 3 Rareseed Ranch (瑞穗牧場). A tourist attraction ranch in Wuhe Village, Ruisui Township.
- 4 Farglory Ocean Park (遠雄海洋公園), ☏ . 09:00-18:00. A 51-hectare water theme parkin Shoufeng Township. The park is accessible southeast from Ji'an Station.
- 5 Lintianshan Forestry Culture Park (林田山林業文化園區), No. 99, Linsen Road, Fenglin Township, ☏ . The forest consists of former offices and residential buildings, dormitories, logging tools and machines, rail tracks, an elementary school, and a church. The site is divided into the forestry exhibition area, early settlement buildings, and the remains of Kangle New Village, administration and management area, and hiking trails.
- 1 Kuan Yun Youth Activity Center (救國團觀雲山莊), Guanyuan (near Hehuan Mountain), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Great for a stopover when coming from Taroko Gorge or Hehuan Mountain. It is an old building with a large dinning hall. The dorm rooms, however, are very pleasant with TV and shower (and warm in the winter). They only host people under 40, but this policy does not seem to apply in off-season. They also serve optional dinner for NT$200 per person. NT$500/bed (including breakfast).
- Sun Moon Lake – A beautiful lake nestled among tall mountains, just a few kilometres south of Puli and the main reason why many people come to Puli, a picturesque and relaxed town in Nantou County. This lake is one of Taiwan's most popular resorts.
- Hehuan Mountain – A beautiful mountain range and decent hiking spot half way towards Taroko Gorge.