10 Things you MUST NOT miss in Hualien

Located on the eastern coastline of Taiwan, Hualien is a beautiful little city that attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists annually. Hualien, sometimes referred to as the prettiest city by the sea, is set deep in Taiwan’s aboriginal heartland. It is renowned for being the entrance to Tarako National Park, and also the place where you can find the biggest port on the eastern coastline of Taiwan. With a population of more than 200,000 people, Hualien is a magnificent city that offers visitors the chance to relax, unwind and experience massive fun. If you are looking for the best place to enjoy staying close to nature, experience unforgettable moments in one of the many beaches and explore rich aboriginal culture, Hualien is just the best place to be!

1. Taroko National Park

太鲁阁公园 - Tài Lǔ Gé Gōng Yuán (Taroko Park)

Famous for being the most diverse national park in Taiwan, Taroko National Park is surrounded by sheer seaside cliffs and impressive inland mountain peaks and is one of the top tourist destinations in the country. The main attraction in the park is the Taroko Gorge as it offers some of the most spectacular sceneries in Taiwan. Take a stroll around the gorge and discover ancient china in a unique way. There are also several hiking trails, which offer superb vantage points for some of the most spectacular features. Other amazing attractions worth exploring in the park include Nanhushan, Qilai Ridge and Qingshui Cliffs.

 

2. Qing Shui Cliff

清水断崖 – Qīng Shuǐ Duàn Yá (Qing Shui Cliff)

The Qing Shui Cliffs, designated as one of the Eight Wonders of Taiwan, are a group of cliffs located along a 21 km stretch of beach. The tallest peak, Qing Shui Mountain towers around 2408 m from ground level. The charming beauty of these beautiful attractions are the beautiful mountains rising vertically out of the ocean and the colorful waters ranging from navy blue to light blue to emerald green. The water is a beauty to behold, but don’t be fooled by the spectacular nature of the water, as there isn’t a beach where you can swim. Beware of falling rocks and strong waves while walking on the beach!

 

3. Taiwan Jade

Image source: Mosaika

Image source: Mosaika

Hualien is renowned as one of the best jade production centers the world all over. Each weekend many vendors set up their stalls to sell beautiful items made of jade, as well as jade-like stones. Buyers from different parts of the world visit in search of bargains. Taiwanese jade is very popular among locals as you can see them wearing necklaces with jade stones, jade bracelets and/or jade rings. It is believed that wearing jade attracts good fortune and prevents evil occurrences. Hualien is a place to immerse in a remarkable jade market experience.

 

4. Mukumugi Valley

Image source: Tripadvisor

Image source: Tripadvisor

Mukumugi valley is one of Taiwan’s best-kept secrets. It was shut down for 3 years in 2002 and only allows 600 local visitors and tourists daily – 300 in the morning and 300 in the afternoon. The magnificent scenery and rich fisheries are a major attraction here. Renowned for its sparkling stream and aboriginal culture, Mukumugi is a place to enjoy swimming in the crystal clear waters. If you are looking for a place to experience authentic indigenous culture and enjoy great tasting local dishes, plan a trip to Mukumugi Valley and check out the local vendors. Visitors are expected to have an Entry Mountain Permit before they can have access to the stunning attractions.

 

5. Farglory Ocean Park

Image source: Wikimedia

Image source: Wikimedia

This park is located in Hualien county and just 10km from the city. It is Hualien’s biggest man-made tourist attraction, which focuses on marine ecology. Farglory Ocean Park features different aspects of ocean and marine life ranging from thrilling water rides, bumper boats, dolphin shows to roller coasters and much more. For those looking for a perfect getaway from the bustling city life, this is the best place to be. The park stands out as not just being a place of fun and entertainment but also offers visitors the chance to get up close and personal as well as learn more about several marine creatures including seals and dolphins. One of the park’s most unique features is its live sea lion and dolphin shows, where visitors can see some amusing acts performed by these sea creatures. These live shows is a must see for everyone as I guarantee you will leave with a smile on your face!

 

6. Shitiping

Image source: Tokaikko

Image source: Tokaikko

Located on the northern part of Kangkou (Harbour) Village, Shitiping (石梯坪) which literally means “Stone Stairs Platform”, is a famous scenic spot along the Huatung coastal route. On the North of Shitiping is a massive hole within the rock which is a result of many years of wave erosion. This hole is mostly used as a resting place for visitors and picnickers as well. Your trip to Shitiping will be considered incomplete without dropping by the visitor center where you will find illustrations and explanation of the sea life, topography and vegetation, thus making your trip more exciting and educative.

 

7. Liyu Lake

Image source: Ah-hong.com

Image source: Ah-hong.com

Located at the foot of the Liyu Mountain in Shoufeng Township’s Chinan Village is the Liyu Lake. It is considered the largest lake in the eastern region of Taiwan. There are plenty of activities worth exploring here including bicycle tour, kayaking, light boat sailing, and taking a stroll along the beautiful lakeshore. Check out the Liyu Lake Visitor Center where you will find loads of educational materials which says a lot about Liyu Lake and East Rift Valley. One of the best times of the year to visit Liyu Lake is in April when you will see lots of fireflies flash above the lake, making the whole area glitter.

 

8. Hualien’s Matyrs’ Shrine

Image source: Vtourist

Image source: Vtourist

The Hualien’s Martyrs’ Shrine is one of the best spots in Hualien to catch stunning views of the city and its surrounding. Here you’ll also find the Karenko Shrine, one of the popular Japanese shrines dating back to 1915. Hualien’s Martyrs’ Shrine was built to commemorate the nationalist heroes that passed away during World War II. This neo-Chinese style temple complex is perched high on a small hill at Meiluen Shan Park and is one of the most significant spots in the city, where visitors and locals alike not only come to worship but also enjoy excellent views of the city and its surrounding.

 

9. Sheng An & Cihui Temples

Image source: Tripadvisor

Image source: Tripadvisor

If you are looking for the best place to catch a glimpse of major religious beliefs in Hualien City, then you should consider visiting Sheng An and Cihui temples. These traditional Taoist temples are usually filled with worshippers and religious rituals full of smoke and noise. In both temples, you can find the Queen Mother of the West (西王母) being worshipped. She was honored as the highest ranking among the female deities as well as the wife of “Jade Emperor”. There is usually a birthday feast held in honor of her name annually, and widely celebrated all over the city. She stands as a symbol of immortality and protection.

 

10. Hsiu Ku Luan River

Image source: Tripadvisor

Image source: Tripadvisor

The many winding rivers found on the eastern region of Taiwan makes it a perfect spot for rafting and the Hsiu Ku Luan River is considered one of the most spectacular in the area. There are lots of reliable tour companies that organize rafting tours to this beautiful spot. With its 22km of fine grade rapids to run, rafting on the Hsiu Ku Luan River is one of the most remarkable activities worth doing. While gliding down, visitors will enjoy beautiful scenery along the way. Your trip to Hualien city will be considered incomplete without visiting the Hsiu Ku Luan River.