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.