During our trip in Taiwan, we also visited 花蓮 (Hualien) with Tiffany’s cousin and his family. Hualien is located on the east side of the island and spans most of the eastern coast. It is basically a giant valley formed with the central mountain range on the west and mountains along the coast on the east. There are also lots of rivers, lakes, and even hot springs in the area.
[Sorry for the poor photo quality–this segment of our trip took place after we’d destroyed the camera]
- Taroko National Park: One of the main attractions in Hualien is 太魯閣國家公園 (Taroko National Park). Unique with its tall mountains, steep gorges, and beautiful waterfalls, Taroko National Park is truly gorgeous. We went on 白楊步道 (Baiyang Trail), which leads to 水簾洞, a cave that has a waterfall inside it. The beginning of the trail is a tunnel that is located half way through another half-tunnel. Even though you can see the exit of the tunnel, I suggest you bring a flashlight as there are no lights inside the tunnel. After the tunnel the trail opens up and you’ll walk past gorges and waterfalls. At the end of the trail, there’s a cave that has a waterfall inside that creates a stream that flows out of the cave. You will most likely get wet inside the cave so keep your electronics safe.
- Li-Chuan Aquafarm: Fun place to fish for clams. They even cook it for you at their on-site restaurant.
- Liyu Lake: Great for biking around as a way to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
- ChiShinTan Beach: Known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Taiwan.
- 東大門夜市 (Dongdamen Night Market): This huge night market basically combined all of Hualien’s smaller night markets into one. It has all your traditional Taiwanese night market food, plus some sections featuring Chinese and aboriginal cuisines. Besides a variety of delicious food, it also has fun arcade-type games and entertainment; sometimes live performances take place on a small stage in the center.
- 炸蛋蔥油餅 (Fried egg scallion pancake): Adding a fried egg makes every dish better. They stuff/wrap an egg inside the scallion pancake and then fry it until it’s super crispy on the outside. The yolk however stays semi-runny and each bite is a awesome combination of the crispy pancake, egg, flavorful yolk, and their sauce. It is one of the most delicious things we ate in Taiwan. You HAVE to try this if you ever visit Hualien. The place does get quite busy with long lines and they do sell out, so plan accordingly. You can call ahead and reserve your order for pickup.
- 海埔蚵仔煎 (Oyster pancakes): This oyster pancake joint has the best oyster pancake we tried in Taiwan, and we’ve tried a lot of them since it’s one of Tiffany’s favorite things to eat there. Opened in 1973, this hole in the wall restaurant only sells oyster pancake and oyster soup. Their oysters are fresh and the oyster pancakes were delicious. There’s really not much else to be said. Give it a try and you’ll know what I mean.
- 瑞穗牧場 (Rareseed Ranch): Beautiful ranch with cows and a few ostriches for some reason. They sell fresh milk and lots of tasty dairy treats.
- 吉蒸牧場 : Another farm where you can get super fresh milk. It tasted better than the other ranch’s milk, in our opinion.
- 五霸焦糖包心粉圓 (Caramel boba shaved ice): This shaved ice is made with boba and other toppings covered with shaved ice, caramel, and condensed milk. It was very unique and tasty. We enjoyed it even though it was cold and rainy that night.
- TOP 烘焙房 (TOP Bakery): Their 羅宋麵包 (Russian bread) is very famous in Taiwan. It is super soft and fluffy on the inside, with a nice, creamy texture. It is also glazed with some special salt to enhance the flavors, making it highly addictive and difficult to stop eating.