Taiwan’s Amazing Nature! (Hualien & Taroko Gorge)

Taiwan's most beautiful city!

April 20, 2023

After a month in Taipei, we had planned to spend two weeks in Hualien. A city recommended to us by our friends who own a tour company there! It’s a small city at the foot of some seriously beautiful mountains and the famous Taroko Gorge.

Most of our time was spent relaxing and enjoying the city & food. We did make a few excursions though. Our first trip was to Liyu Lake! It took longer to get to than expected. The first bus we caught had the driver smoking inside with the windows closed… we about died from the smoke. Walked off at the next stop. Then moseyed around town until we could find another bus 😅. We still managed to make it! We spent the whole day walking around the lake. There we saw lots of cool wildlife! Then unfortunately discovered Taiwan has sandflies… and a lot of them 💀. I got plenty of nice scars from their bites – just after my sand fly scars from Australia faded! Anyways, it was an awesome side trip! 

Another day we walked out to Qixingtan Beach. It is known for vacations and its views… and honestly could’ve done without that verrrry far walk lol. The beach was un-swimmable. It was totally cloudy so no views. The town was entirely empty. And then we waited forever at the bus stop. After the bus was very late we finally gave up and started walking home. Then guess what passed us no more than two minutes later? Yeah, the bus. Lol. So we trekked home in the dark. It was cool passing their air force base and seeing their fighter jets take off though! 

 

Then we finally made it out to Taroko Gorge. We somehow lucked out after being #47 on a waitlist and got permits to do the Zhuilu Old Trail. It is basically a trail carved out of the cliff face! Only 97 people a day are allowed to go. So we felt really lucky to get those! We didn’t realize that the buses to get there on time for our time slot totally filled up super early though! 

 

So once again, we missed our bus. The couple right behind us had the same problem. So we all decided to split a taxi to be able to make our trail time. We ended up hiking the whole trail with them and made new friends! 😃 and the trail was so beautiful!! Taiwan has some unreal scenery! 

We enjoyed it so much, we went back again. This time early to catch the bus. We caught it and were the first people on! BUT the bus had a major delay when a car in front of us was completely flipped over and we had to wait for it to be removed. Luckily it seemed like the driver of the car was ok! That day we did a trail called Swallows Grotto. It was short but had AMAZING views! And then another long trail through the gorge. It was… WOW! I’m surprised the place isn’t entirely blown out to be honest. It was gorgeous the whole way! 

We also rode our bikes allll over Hualien! One of the days we rode the opposite direction of Qixingtan. I think we ended up like 16 miles away from town!All of the way out of town we found a beautiful stretch of rocky beach with a cool old shrine. Above on the hills were some old military bunkers. We climbed the trail and found amazing views of the city. The best part? It was basically just us the entire day too! It doesn’t seem like that area gets any tourists at all!

 

After Hualien we had originally booked a route to head back to Taipei for a couple of days. The we were supposed to head to the Philippines for a month. Followed by a stop in Japan, then Hawaii to meet family…

Life had other plans though… so those plans changed. Which I’ll cover more in the following 
update.

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