A couple of months ago I got the opportunity to Live Like A Local with the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, and I’m still in awe of the experience. While I had an idea of what to expect in Taipei, a world class city, I had zero expectations of what the coast would be like. Would there be beaches? Would there be surfing? Would there be a more laid back vibe? I spent a few nights in Hualien and Taitung in Eastern Taiwan to find out!
Here are some of my recommendations on what to drink, eat, and see on Taiwan’s gorgeous eastern coast.
Where To Stay
- Azure Hotel Hualien: this hotel has all the creature comforts I could ask for; free bike rentals, spacious rooms, amazing breakfast, and tons of power outlets. While it’s not walking distance from Hualien station (I walked with luggage and sweat more than you’ll ever know), it’s a short taxi ride.
What To See
- Taroko National Park: this stunning park stretches through a gorge that leads from the mountains to the sea. It’s a 30 minute bus right from Hualien’s main station, and it’s a must-see on your visit. Visitors can enjoy all sorts of activities there like hiking, birdwatching, and more. Unfortunately I went during a typhoon, so I had to cut my hike on the Shakadong Trail a bit short but it was home to some of the most beautiful turquoise water I’ve ever seen. Taroko reminded me of a mix of the Sierra Nevadas and Jurassic Park. Lush and green, but also had a rocky alpine vibe towards the higher areas.
- Taitung Forest Park: rent a bike and ride through this park! It’s flat, paved, and has an array of ponds, trees, flowers, and tunnels to explore.
- Taitung Arbor White Shanties: this dilapidated home has a really interesting urban legend behind it. You can’t miss it while walking through Haibin Park!
- Taitung Thean Hou Temple: the local sea goddess temple is opulent and visually striking. It was a short bike ride from the Forest Park and waterfront area and was beautiful around sunset.
- Sanxiantai Bridge: if you take any of the Dulan Forest-bound busses going north, keep an eye out for this monument on the schedule. I loved seeing the majestic Sanxiantai Bridge in real life; it has eight arches symbolizing the eight Chinese immortals.
What To Eat
- Hualien Dongdamen Night Market: this is a huge night market that has plenty of seating, carnival games, and international cuisine.
- I Chu Ice Churros, Hualien: I’m a sucker for over-the-top sweets, and I first spotted this spot on Instagram. Their churros and ice cream desserts are certainly Instagram-worthy, and this place even has a few different photo backdrop opportunities.
- Bistro Tea Cake, Taitung: after a long bike ride around Taitung, I found this cute tea cafe next to Thean Hou Temple. I got an iced tea to cool me down and give me a caffeine kick to fuel me for the ride back to the hotel.
- Taitung Night Market: for a smaller night market experience, this spot is perfect. Big enough to have some variety in food and drinks, but small enough to visit in under one hour.
Big thanks to My Taiwan Tour for coordinating the logistics of my visit not just to Eastern Taiwan, but the entire country. If you are planning a trip, you definitely should check out their packages.
Like this post? Be sure to read some of my other travel or Asia posts for more inspiration. A lot more travel content is to follow as I work towards my 30 by Thirty travel goal. Thanks for reading!
The water would be where you would find us. Great views and some water and that is all we need lol. Looks like a great experience.
Terri Ramsey Beavers says
I love that pink building and oh my goodness at the views. The structures are so fascinating as well. If it wasn’t so cold out, I could picture me jumping into that gorgeous water.
Tina Hogan Grant says
Beautiful. Looks like you had a fantastic time. I love those stairs! Great artist
Myrah Falco Duque says
What a fascination destination. Has been on my bucket list forever!
Ruth I. says
I didn’t know there are so many fun places and things to do in Taiwan. I would love to know how much would it roughly cost, I need to save up for a Taiwan trip!
Khushboo Motihar says
Taiwan is such a beautiful country! I would love to try I Chu Ice Churros. 🙂
Rahul Sharma says
I have visited so many times for business tour in Taiwan. But I never get time to explore things and places. Now i am excited to explore all those places that you have shared in your blog. Thank You.
Leigh Anne Borders says
Looks like a beautiful place to visit. I definitely want to make it here.
Ayesha Farhad says
I have been hearing so much about Live like a local! Have to check the out when I am travelling! Those ice cream churros look so delish!
Crystal Gareau says
This looks interesting. I bet it was so fun to ride the bicycles. Lovely photos too.
Heather Johnson says
That hotel looks really amazing! I would love to travel to Taiwan someday!
Wow, partnering with an international tourism bureau GOALS!! This is a perfect quick reference guide. I hope you partner with more countries in the future and continue to create these. The photos and descriptions together is way more helpful than just words.