Hualien, Taiwan

Hualien Taiwan

Location:

The dock is within walking distance of town.

Sightseeing:

Located on a strip of land between the Pacific Ocean and the Central Mountain Range, Hualien is considered one of the most pleasant cities in Taiwan. Many tourists visit the city to enjoy the scenery and fresh air and also to tour the famous Taroko Gorge, which is located a few miles north of the city.

The Visitor Information Center for the Hualien area is located in front of Hualien Station (right side). Tel: 886-3-8360634, it is hosted by Taiwan Hospitality and Tourism College, that has been authorized, by the Hualien County Government since December 2004, to operated and manage the Visitor Information Center (VIC) at Haulien Airport as well as the Hualien Railway Station. These two centers provide general services such as tourism guide and tour bus information, home-stay information, bi-lingual traveling brochure, travel inquiry, emergency handling and so on.

  • Beibin Seashore Park, Nanbin Seashore Park and Meilun Seashore Park. A scenic area of palm trees and landscaped greenery that runs the full length of the city’s foreshore. The views over the Pacific Ocean are especially spectacular at sunrise.
  • The Abode of Still Thoughts. This small Buddhist temple at the foot of Mount North Jialiwan is the original facility of the world-famous Tzu-zhi Buddhist foundation. In keeping with the foundation’s ideals, the temple is very simple, and incorporates a Japanese style garden. Information on Tzu-chi’s international activities is also available at the temple.
  • Yenpin Prefectural Temple, near Zhongyang Road, sec 4. Established in the Qing Dynasty, this is the oldest temple in Hualien.
  • Pine Garden, Zhongmei Road (near the river). A peaceful garden with 63 pine trees.
  • Chishingtan, north of Hualien City (follow the bike path from Nanbin Seashore Park). Excellent vistas of the ocean, delicious seafood, friendly people, and a special goat restaurant specializing in goat milk coffee. The beach is popular for swimming, though as the tides and currents are quite dangerous it is important to stay near the coast.
  • Hualien County Stone Sculpture Museum at the Hualien County Cultural Center displays both traditional and contemporary stone sculptures. Open daily 9am-5pm. 

Tours/Excursions/Transportation:

The city center is small and easy to negotiate on foot, although scooters are available for rent several places around town for about NT$400 a day.

To get around in the cities, one best uses a taxi: They are cheap and plentiful.

There are roughly three groups of taxi drivers:

Touts: Stay away from them, you are about to pay a multiple of what you should pay, walk a half a block and you will find a honest cabbies.
The mechanics: They have build their own taximeter, with all consequences.
The honest cabbie: As the Chinese government is clamping down on mistreatment of tourists, this group is in the far majority( >90%), in fact the more south you go in China, the more honest people get. Make sure they put the meter on, otherwise get out!

Make sure the maps in your guide book have “english” as well as “chinese” characters, so you and the cabdriver can communicate by pointing at the map. Cabdrivers only speak chinese.

Nearby Places:

The Taroko Gorge is an impressive 19 km long canyon located in Taroko National Park. The park covers about 92 thousand hectares of springs, grottoes, waterfalls, and high cliffs that enchant visitors. Highlights of the Gorge include the Eternal Spring (Changchun) Shrine and the Shakadang Trail. In the back of the Changchun Shine, there are stairs leading to Kuanyin Caves, Taroko Tower , Bell Tower, and through a hanging bridge, so called “Heaven trail” to Changuang Temple.

Shopping and Food:

As in many Asian countries, night markets are a staple of Taiwanese entertainment, shopping and eating. Night markets are open-air markets, usually on a street or alleyway, with vendors selling all sorts of wares on every side.

Bargaining is OK and expected in night markets and small stores. Computer chain shops and department stores normally have fixed prices.

Currency:

The currency of Taiwan is the New Taiwan Dollar (NTD, but also referred to as TWD). An easy rule of thumb is that NT$100 roughly equals US$3. Plenty of ATM’s around.

Most hotels and department stores accept credit cards, most restaurants and small stores do not !

Communication:

English is sporadic spoken.

Internet cafes are plentiful, although you may have to wander around before finding one. Rather, Internet cafes in Taiwan should be called gaming cafes.

Opening Hours and Holidays:

There seem not set opening hours for stores, it seems as long as there are customers they stay open. Chinese New Year (about two weeks long) is the time when all the Chinese are traveling and transportation can be very hectic.

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Place Categories: Cruise Ports

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