Part 1: Yilan, Hualien, and Taroko Gorge
When asking which part of Taiwan they should visit on their 1-2 week trip (this is the typical, but far too brief amount of time most backpackers allot to Taiwan in their round-Asia travels), the standard reply is: If you like history and culture, stick to the west coast. If you like scenery and nature, head to the east. Of course this is a simplistic breakdown of Taiwan’s diverse, abundant, and widely distributed attractions, but there is no denying that the east coast boasts a vast, sparsely populated coastline of unparalleled beauty.
It would be unfeasible for me to introduce every point of interest on the entire east coast with much detail in a single post like this. This is meant to be a general guide to the east coast and its highlights. Even that proved to be too long, so I’ve split it into two parts. To make sure you get notified when part 2 is published, make sure to subscribe to my blog at the top of the page!
These tips and photos come from multiple visits over many years, including a road trip by car with my family from Canada shortly after I first arrived in Taiwan in 2008, research trips for my book Taiwan in the Eyes of a Foreigner, and a 2016 scooter & train adventure from Hualien to the southern tip of Taiwan and back with my wife, two kids, sister and her boyfriend.
I have relied heavily on multiple editions of Lonely Planet Taiwan when traveling around the country, so some of my info inevitably echoes information provided in the book. I would strongly recommend the guidebook for a far more comprehensive list of sights and activities than I provide here, including heaps of information about cycling, but my guide does include some personal favorites not covered by the book, and intentionally leaves out many of the attractions that I feel aren’t worth a visit if you are short on time. I would also recommend the Bradt Travel Guide for Taiwan (see link below) by local travel veteran Steven Crook, which helped me find numerous new places of interest in Taiwan.
And finally, for accommodation, you’d probably be far better off taking advantage of online resources over what any guidebook has the space to do, but I will give some personal recommendations below for Hualien and Taroko Gorge, the most popular stops on the east coast.
Read the whole blog at Nick Kembel’s site: http://www.nickkembel.com/destinations/east-coast-taiwan-yilan-hualien-taroko-gorge.html