Pedal Taiwan’s Ultimate Guide to: Hualien
Despite being a relatively small and undiscovered island for western tourists, the variety of environments and lifestyles across Taiwan are simply astounding. From the cold, rich waters of Keelung in the north, all the way to the tropical pacific beaches of Kenting in the south, Taiwan really has it all. Here at Pedal Taiwan, we believe that every inch of this incredible island should be explored by everyone, so we’re here to bring you our expert advice on where to go and what to see all across the island! Of course, the best way to see this fascinating paradise is with a Pedal Taiwan cycling tour!
Having visited Taipei in a previous post, we continue our journey around this fabulous island by taking the train (with our local expert guides of course!) down the east coast to Hualien.
Hualien county is a cyclists paradise, containing the stunning rift valley and the world-famous Taroko gorge. We’ll cover these natural wonders in another post, however, as this is a local’s insights in where to go, and of course, what to eat, in Hualien City.
First things first though, you’ll need somewhere to stay. Hualien draws in tourists from all over the country as well as international travellers visiting Taiwan, so there are plenty of good hotels and hostels. However, of all the places to stay in Taiwan, the absolute tip-top favourite of the Pedal Taiwan team is World Inn in Hualien! Run by a lovely couple, Aga and Una, there is nothing they don’t know about Hualien!
Furthermore, they’ve created a real family home feel to their hostel that means whether it’s your first night, or you’re returning for your twentieth visit (which believe me, people do!!) you’ll instantly feel..well, at home!! One final note on hotels; Hualien is a really popular location for Taiwanese tourists, so if you’re planning to travel there on a national holiday or Chinese New Year, make sure you book well in advance because everywhere will be fully booked if you turn up on the day!
With accommodation sorted, it’s time to see the sights. For history lovers there are a few landmarks to visit, like the old military building at the Pine Garden, but to be honest at Pedal Taiwan we’re much more the outdoorsy sorts! Rather than visit some old buildings, why not jump on a bike (or rent a scooter if you’re feeling a little sluggish) and head towards Liyu Lake.
Really only known about by locals, and not particularly well advertised to foreigners, Liyu Lake is one of the most beautiful spots in Taiwan and is the perfect place to relax, have a picnic, and swim in the crystal clear waters. If you’re really lucky you might also get to see the Taiwanese canoe racing which occurs here from time to time!
Having worked up an appetite and dusk approaching, its time to head back into the city, and more specifically towards what thousands of Taiwanese tourists come for every year – the night market.
Originally in the busy and cramped city centre, the night market has been moved down to the seashore where the new space afforded it has made it one of the biggest and most modern night markets in the whole country. There is probably no Taiwanese food that you can’t find here. One of our guides assures us that you could come every night for a month and never have the same thing twice!
Our favourite is probably the super fresh oyster omelettes (the oysters are caught that day, from the sea about 100m away!) and for something really different, you should try the French Coffin. Originally from Hualien, its basically french toast filled with various savoury fillings like black pepper beef or gong bao pork and then refried to seal it….not the most healthy, so extra important to have swum earlier!
Of course there’s far more to explore in Hualien, but as with all of these things, we’ve given you a taster but the best way to experience it is to go and discover it for yourself!
For more information on Taiwan, and how you can explore this magical country by bike, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our tour dates here
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