Hualien City (花蓮市)
While not large in size, Hualien is the most prosperous city in eastern Taiwan. It has all the amenities needed for living, good rail links, hotels, homestays, shopping malls, and night markets. The famed Jinsanjiao (Golden Triangle) Shopping District is the busiest commercial area in the city and is also where most of the attractions and distinctive small stores are located. While the various attractions can be reached by public transport, downtown Hualien is suited to exploring by rented motorcycle or bicycle.
Getting There: From Hualien Railway Station take a local bus to Zhonghua Road, then walk to places of interest.
Jinshanjiao Shopping District
Formed by Zhongshan Road, Zhongzheng Road, and Zhonghua Road, this has always been the busiest and most prosperous part of Hualien. Being combined with neighboring streets and the old railway shopping district, it has become the main shopping area for visitors to Hualien. No matter if you are looking for gifts, distinctive small shops or tasty food, you will find satisfaction here. The shopping district also includes Hualien Railway Culture Park and Hualien Cultural Creative Industries Park.
Hualien Railway Culture Park
This park is divided into Hall 1 and Hall 2, both separated by a road. It was formerly the control center for the Eastern Railway Line, responsible for overseeing all railway engineering projects. Today it is a place for displaying cultural relics. The LDT103 locomotive on display in the park, over 70 years old, is a precious cultural relic.
Add: [First Building] No. 71, Zhongshan Rd., Hualien City (花蓮市中山路71號); [Second Building] No. 460, Fujian St., Hualien City (花蓮市福建街460號)
Tel: (03) 833-8061
Hours: [First Building] 9:00-17:00; [Second Building] 9:00-00:00 (closed on Monday)
Hualien Cultural Creative Industries Park
Formerly the Hualien Distillery, this park mostly retains the old factory’s original appearance. It is ideal for taking pictures and wandering about. The old buildings now have exhibition space, shops selling design products, and eateries. Markets and concerts are held outside on an irregular basis.
Add: No. 144, Zhonghua Rd., Hualien City
Tel: (03) 831-3777
Dongdamen Night Market (東大門夜市)
This is Hualien City’s largest night market. Its floor was laid using local black and white granite, giving it a distinct local flavor. There are over 400 stalls, providing everything from food, to daily-use items to games. Street artists can be seen as well in this bustling market. Some of the snacks are so popular that you have to wait in line, including roast chicken leg meat, ice made with local seasonal fruit, rolls with sausage and salty pork filling, as well as freshly roasted clam flavored with Taiwan Mountain litsea. Locals and visitors alike flock to Dongdamen Night Market to taste its various snacks and experience its bustling atmosphere.
Add: No. 50, Zhongshan Rd., Hualien City
Gongzheng Buns (公正包子)
This is the most famous bun shop in downtown Hualien, open 24 hours a day. There is a high chance that you have to wait in line. The famed soup dumplings have a relatively thick, chewy skin, and a juicy filling.
Add: No. 199-2, Zhongshan Rd., Hualien City
Yixiang Bianshi (液香扁食)
Open more than 70 years, this eatery sells one item only: bianshi (dumplings). The meat used for the filling is tasty pork hind leg. The skin of the dumplings is thin, they have a smooth texture, and are served in a light and sweet broth.
Add: No. 42, Xinyi St., Hualien City
Hours: 10:00-13:30, 16:00 until sold out; closed on Sunday
Miaokou Black Tea (廟口紅茶)
This breakfast joint has been open for decades. Its most interesting feature is a steel pipe that leads to a second-floor storeroom. It has a two-layer structure; the outer layer holds circulating cold water, and the inner layer is a drink pipe. Open a tap and ice-cold black tea, sour plum soup, and other drinks flow out.
Add: No. 218, Chenggong St., Hualien City
Hsinwei Soy Sauce (新味醬油)
This handmade soy sauce brand has been in existence for almost a century and many well-known restaurants in Hualien use its products. Since taking over, the third-generation owner has added new creativity such as bringing out first-press soy sauce and soy sauce made using deep sea water. A fermented tofu DIY experience can be booked in advance.
Add: No. 134, Bo’ai St., Hualien City
Two Lakes Bikeway (兩潭自行車道)
The Two Lakes Bikeway starts at Der-Yen Beach Botanical Park then enters the Qixingtan Scenic Area, which offers beautiful sea views, passes through downtown Hualien, and ends at Liyu Lake in Shoufeng Township. It has a total length of 36 kilometers and it takes about four hours to ride it one way. The route takes you along a stretch of straight coastline, a fishing harbor, historic buildings, and a scenic lake in the northern part of the East Rift Valley. It offers ever-changing scenery and views of both mountains and ocean. Those who want to complete the ride in one day can start at Qixingtan, which is closer to central Hualien, or set out from Hualien Railway Station (both spots have bike rental places). The northern and southern sections can also be enjoyed at a leisurely pace over two days.
Biking in HUALIEN — Two Lakes BIKEWAY
Pacific 3D Landscape Park (太平洋3D地景公園)
This park was created by merging Nanbin and Beibin parks; it covers an area of about 27 hectares. The 3D colored drawing art has transformed the park into an outdoor seaside art gallery. Many visitors take photos in front of the various realistic 3D colored drawings on the park’s walls.
Add: No. 138, Haibin St., Hualien City
Four-Eight Highland (四八高地)
This highland was formed by the collision of the Eurasian Plate and Philippines Sea Plate. It has an elevation of around 48 meters, offering expansive views of the coastal scenery. When the weather is fine, the magnificent Qingshui Cliffs can be clearly seen in the distance.
Location: Close to intersection of Hai’an Rd. and Huadong Rd.
Hualien County Stone Sculptural Museum
Hualien has an abundance of rock and mineral resources and produces a large amount of marble and jade, which is why it’s known as “the home of stone.” For this reason, it has also become a stone sculpture center where many stone sculptors reside. To preserve Hualien’s precious stone sculpture artworks, the local government established the Hualien County Stone Sculptural Museum, which is dedicated to stone sculpture culture research and education.
Add: No. 6, Wenfu Rd., Hualien City
Tel: (030 822-7121
Hours: 9:00-17:00, closed on Monday
Pine Garden (松園別館)
Surrounded by a pine grove, this site was opened in 1942 as the Hualien Harbor Department of Military Affairs. Because of it being located on a high point, during World War II it was a Japanese Imperial Army command center. It was later listed as a historic site. Its grounds have a large number of pine trees over 100 years old and numerous other plants. The building is now used as a venue for arts exhibitions and is also a great place to enjoy afternoon tea.
Add: No. 65, Songyuan St., Hualien City
Tel: (03) 835-6510
Hours: 9:00-18:00, closed on second Tuesday of each month
Shiting Hakka Restaurant (石庭客家小館)
Add: No. 140, Ziyou St., Hualien City, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 832-6116
Hours: 11:30-14:00, 17:30-21:00
Traveling Further － Xincheng (新城)
Qixingtan is the name of an arc-shaped bay in Xincheng Township, a coastal stretch of about 20 kilometers. The bay’s pebble beach is about 100 meters wide. The ocean water is clean with a distinct blue color. There was a quiet fishing village here, but now it has become a famed local scenic area due to its pristine natural environment and well-planned trails, pavilions, bikeways and other recreational facilities.
Location: Hai’an Rd., Xincheng Township, Hualien County
Getting There: From Hualien Railway Station take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus No. 1133 (Taroko Route) and get off at Qixingtan (七星潭) bus stop.
Xincheng Catholic Church (新城天主堂)
This is a Catholic church and a Japanese Shinto shrine side by side. It is one of four boat-shaped churches in Taiwan. When the church was built in 1956, the remains of a Shinto shrine from the Japanese colonial period on the site was preserved, resulting in the unusual sight of church and Shinto shrine coexisting seen today. The walls of the church are covered in vines. Inside, the atmosphere is solemn. The windows on either side have stained glass and a baptismal font and confession area are at the back.
Add: No. 64, Bo’ai Rd., Xincheng Township, Hualien County
Getting There: Take a train to Xincheng Railway Station.
Taroko National Park (太魯閣國家公園)
Taroko National Park is renowned the world over for its magnificent marble gorge, which has almost vertical walls. Featuring rock walls, cliffs, gorges, winding tunnels, exposed rock strata, rivers, waterfalls, and other natural wonders, Taroko is one of the must-visit places for international visitors to Taiwan.
Waterfalls offer some of the best sights in the park, the most notable being Baiyang Waterfall, Changchun Waterfall, and Lushui Waterfall. Swallow Grotto and Tunnel of Nine Turns are amongst the most magnificent natural wonders of the gorge as well as its narrowest section; paths have been built for visitors to enjoy the scenery to the fullest. Numerous holes can be seen on the marble rock face opposite Swallow Grotto. In spring and summer, swallows can be seen shooting across the cliff or nesting in the holes. Tunnels of Nine Turns is a series of tunnels that twist and turn; here visitors can enjoy stunning gorge views.
Add: No. 291, Fushi, Fushi Village, Xiulin Township, Hualien County
(花蓮縣秀林鄉富世村富世291號) (Taroko National Park Administration)
Getting There: From Hualien Railway Station take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus No. 1133 (Taroko Route) and get off at Taroko Visitor Center (太魯閣遊客中心) bus stop.
Traveling Further － Ji’an (吉安)
Ji’an Hakka Artist Village (吉安好客藝術村)
Situated in Ji’an Township, this was the first government-operated Japanese immigrant village in the Japanese colonial period. At the time, a large number of Hakka people from western Taiwan were recruited to come to Hualien to grown tobacco, setting off a wave of Hakka migration. Located in what was the immigrant village, idle army camp space was renovated and re-planned and the result, Ji-an Hakka Artist Village, now has displays on immigrant village history, Hakka culture, and local industry. It is also a place for local artists to display their works.
Add: No. 477, Sec. 3, Zhongshan Rd., Ji’an Township, Hualien County
Hours: 9:00-16:00 (closed on Monday)
Getting There: From Hualien Railway Station take bus no. 1131 or 1139 and get off at Qingfeng 9th Street (慶豐九街) bus stop.
Ji’an Shrine (慶修院)
This county-listed historic site was the belief center of Japanese immigrants in the Japanese colonial period and today is the most completely preserved Japanese-style temple in Taiwan, exuding the charm of Japan’s Edo period. It retains precious cultural relics such as a statue of Acalanatha, 88 stone Buddhas, and the 100-time stone and, in line with Japanese religious ritual, has a hand wash house for visitors to cleanse themselves. There is a sales area that provides food and drink and a Japanese bath robe experience. On special occasions activities such as the New Year Eve bell ringing are held.
Add: No. 345-1, Zhongxing Rd., Ji’an Township, Hualien County
Hours: 8:30-17:00 (closed on Monday)
Getting There: From Hualien Railway Station take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus No. 303 (Hualien Route) and get off at Ji’an Shrine (慶修院) bus stop.
Starbucks – Huilan Branch (星巴克 洄瀾門市)
Located next to New Paradiso Shopping Mall, this is Taiwan’s and Asia’s first container Starbucks – a Starbucks coffee shop outlet housed in shipping containers. It was designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The exterior of the containers is covered in special symbols telling the story of the container’s travels around the world. The store front has various colored decorations that give it a bright and lively look. This is Hualien’s newest popular spot for checking in.
Add: No. 505, Sec. 1, Nanbin Rd., Ji’an Township, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 842-0014
Hours: 7:00-18:00 (closed on Sunday)
Getting There: From Hualien Railway Station take bus no. 301 and get off at Paradiso (新天堂樂園) bus stop.
Jixiang Hakka Rice Dumplings (吉鄉好客粽)
This store selling Hakka sticky rice dumplings was established in 1979. It has received the “Hualien Best Gift” award in the past and is a must-visit place for visitors to Hualien. The interior has a pronounced Hakka style. The dumplings are made using local ingredients, the most distinctive feature being the addition of preserved radish. As well as dumplings in various flavors to choose from, braised pork rice, four spirits herbal soup, and other Taiwanese snacks are available.
Add: No. 448, Sec. 3, Zhongyang Rd., Ji’an Township, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 857-7775
Qun Zhuo Snack Foods (群酌小吃)
Add: No. 61, Dongli 1st St., Ji’an Township, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 853-5906
Hours: 11:00-14:00, 17:00-21:00
Shoufeng Township is located to the south of Hualien City, bordering Ji’an Township to the north. The rivers that run through Shoufeng Township and its geographical location, characterized by mountains to the rear and ocean in front, give it its beautiful scenery. It is often the first stop for travelers who visit the East Rift Valley. Among the popular scenic spots here are Liyu Lake and Li Chuan Aquafarm. Due to its relative closeness to downtown Hualien, Shoufeng has also been chosen as location for Far Glory Ocean Park, Promised Land Resort & Lagoon, and other amusement parks and resorts that attract many visitors.
Liyu Lake (鯉魚潭)
Liyu Lake is about 30 minutes from downtown Hualien by car. It is eastern Taiwan’s largest lake, covering over 100 hectares. The southern side of the lake is the site of Chinan Forest Recreation Area and a camping ground; on the eastern side is Mt. Liyu, a popular paragliding spot. The lake is circled by a dedicated bike path that is around five kilometers long. Visitors can enjoy the lake scenery by riding a bike or going out on the lake in paddle boats. There are quite a few cafés and restaurants on the lakeside and on nearby streets where you can enjoy afternoon tea or a seafood meal.
Liyu Lake Visitor Center (鯉魚潭遊客中心)
Add: No. 100, Huantan N. Rd., Chinan Village, Shoufeng Township, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 864-1691
Getting There: From Hualien Railway Station take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus no. 303 (Hualien Route) and get off at Liyu Lake Visitor Center (鯉魚潭潭北遊客中心) bus stop.
Lu-Fung Taiwan Jade Workshop
Fengtian jade (nephrite) is a special product of Shoufeng Township, also known as Taiwan Jade. Fengtian Village was Taiwan’s main jade processing center in earlier times, well-known for producing various jade accessories. Lu-Fung Taiwan Jade Workshop originally engaged in jade accessory processing and has, in recent years, transformed into a tourist factory. Visitors can try their hand at jade accessory DIY and have fun grinding jade with their own hands.
Add: No. 91, Zhongxiao St., Shoufeng Township, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 865-2323
Li Chuan Aquafarm (立川漁場)
Established in 1971, Li Chuan Aquafarm’s main business operations were originally aquaculture and freshwater clam processing, but it later took on a tourism function and developed into a recreational fishery operation where visitors can experience harvesting clams amongst other things. Its restaurant has a set menu, three house specials of which are very popular with diners: Special Flavor Clams is aromatic, savory, and tasty; clams are rich in vitamins and calcium and are a nutritious food that is widely believed to protect the liver; Steamed Silver Perch is rich in collagen and, without any bones, it is suited to all ages, as well as believed to be highly efficacious for female skin care; Roasted Fish with Salt is a Taiwan tilapia covered in a thick layer of salt that locks in the sweet flavor; the dish has no fishy flavor and is fresh and delicious. All aqua products used are cultivated onsite, are organic and toxin-free, and can therefore be consumed without worry. Room temperature products are also sold, such as clam essence, clam tablets, and clam flavor soup packs, all making very good gifts.
Add: No. 45, Yuchi, Shoufeng Township, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 865-1333
Hours: 8:00-20:00, digging clams until 17:00
Getting There: From Hualien Railway Station take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus No. 303 (Hualien Route) and get off at Li Chuan Aquafarm (立川漁場) bus stop.
Villa Home (雲山水)
Originally a scenic spot known only to locals, Villa Home has become known far and wide because of its magical wonderland-like scenery, attracting many visitors. December to January every year is the best time to view the deciduous cypress forest. The grounds have 26 types of family Palmae plant, a broadleaf wood, seasonal flowering plants, and a large grass area. The highlight is Dream Lake (Menghuan), which covers an area of around four hectares. Water falling over a dam and a stone path across it add to the dreamlike scene.
Add: No. 42-2, Sec. 2, Fengping Rd., Shoufeng Township, Hualien County
Getting There: From Hualien Railway Station take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus No. 303 (Hualien Route) and get off at Fenghua Reproductive Hall (豐華再現館) bus stop.
Peaceful Valley (小和山谷)
Housed in a 100-year old former residence near Shoufeng Railway Station, Peaceful Valley café was originally a maternity room. The dishes served are all creations of the proprietor, the house specials including pumpkin curry rice and handmade ice cream. The café takes on a romantic air when the lights go on after dark.
Add: No. 43, Shouwen Rd., Shoufeng Township, Hualien County
Hours: Monday & Tuesday 11:00-17:00, Friday-Sunday 11:00-18:00, Wednesday & Thursday closed
Getting There: From Shoufeng Railway Station walk for about 10 minutes.
This was the first city/township in Taiwan certified by Cittaslow International as a “slow town.” It retains simple rural village scenes, tobacco-drying sheds from the Japanese colonial period, and offers diverse local cuisine. There are no crowds of people and little traffic on the streets, time passing slowly. Fenglin is the perfect place to ride a bike and experience slow living, well away from the fast pace and bustle of the city.
Getting There: From Hualien Railway Station take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus No. 303 (Hualien Route) and get off at Fenglin Station (台鐵鳳林站) bus stop.
Lintianshan Forestry Culture Park
This was once one of four big forest stations of Taiwan. Construction of log transportation facilities began in 1938 and a community with complete facilities and services were established to house the workers and their families. The station’s prosperity faded when a ban on cutting natural forest was imposed in 1987. The site retains a large number of buildings from the Japanese colonial period and the largest cluster of Taiwan cypress houses in Taiwan. After the government took it over, the old forest station was transformed into a cultural park and opened to the public. The old rail tracks and buildings are rich in historical character and are popular places for taking photos and checking in.
Add: No. 20, Senlin Rd., Senrong Borough, Fenglin Township, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 875-2100
Hours: 8:00-17:00 (closed on Monday)
Getting There: From Hualien Railway Station take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus No. 303 (Hualien Route) and get off at Lintianshan Forestry Culture Park (林田山林業文化園區) bus stop.
Tobacco-drying Sheds (菸樓)
A unique feature of Fenglin are its tobacco-drying sheds, dating back to the Japanese colonial period when the Japanese government encouraged residents to grow tobacco, which was a high-value crop at the time. The sheds are brick structures once used to roast and store the tobacco. There are still around 30 such sheds existing in Fenglin; they have lost their original function but are a distinctive local feature.
Hakka Cultural Museum (客家文物館)
This museum displays the historical tracks of Hakka migration to this area beginning with the Japanese colonial period and preserves folk cultural relics such a farming implements, photos and models of traditional buildings, straw hats and straw or palm-bark rain capes. Retired local school principals serve as guides on an irregular basis, sharing stories about local history, religious belief, and industrial development etc. with visitors
Add: No. 164, Zhonghua Rd., Fenglin Township, Hualien County
(花蓮縣鳳林鎮中華路164號) (inside Fenglin Park)
Tel: (03) 876-2625
Hours: 8:30-17:00 (closed on Monday)
Fenglin Principal Dream Factory (校長夢工廠)
Teaching has long been a popular choice of profession for Fenglin locals and there are over 100 former school principals among its residents, winning it the nickname “home of principals.” To commemorate generations of educators from the town, in 2004 an old Japanese building was transformed into this local-history museum. Every day, local elders and retired principals and teachers serve as volunteers who continue to pass on the humanistic charm of Fenglin.
Add: No. 16, Minsheng St., Fenglin Township, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 876-4779
Hours: 8:30-12:00, 13:30-17:00
Feng Colorful (花手巾植物染工坊)
Established by the Fenglin Culture and History Association, this place sells Hakka-style dyed cloth and handmade artworks made by local women. Cloth dyeing DIY experiences can be booked in advance. Using natural dyes, at the workshop visitors can create their own unique pattern and take away the cloth as a souvenir. Bicycles can also be rented; while waiting for the printed cloth to be dyed and dried, a leisurely bike tour can be taken of the small town.
Add: No. 164, Zhonghua Rd., Fenglin Township, Hualien County
(花蓮縣鳳林鎮中華路164號) (inside Fenglin Park)
Tel: (03) 876-0905
Fragrant Grass and the Old Tree (芳草古樹)
This is the only homestay/restaurant in Taiwan that is housed in a former tobacco-drying shed from the Japanese colonial period. The grounds cover almost 10,000 square meters with a large camphor tree over 200 years old at the center. Guests who stay overnight and ordinary visitors alike can dine at the Hakka restaurant. It has an old-time air inside and, in places, the original structure has been left exposed on purpose (mud and straw were mixed and left to dry and used as building materials). Diners eat while immersed in the old barn’s history.
Add: No. 71, Zhonghe Rd., Fenglin Township, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 876-0437
Hours: 10:00-14:00, 17:00-20:00
Ming Xin Ice and Fruit Shop (明新冰果室)
This shop sells old- time flavor shaved ice and freshly made lemon juice. The house special peanut, adzuki bean and runner bean ice comes in a hearty serving and comprises of runner beans and adzuki beans that are cooked until soft. Crispy peanuts are sprinkled on top of the shaved ice and condensed milk is added. Condensed milk is also added to the freshly made lemon juice, giving it a sweet and sour taste.
Add: No. 26, Xinsheng St., Fenglin Township, Hualien County
Youweng Garlic Chive Stinky Tofu
Along with Ming Xin Ice and Fruit Shop, this another of Fenglin’s representative popular eateries. Stinky tofu is fried to perfection then cut open. Minced garlic and soy sauce are poured on, then local chopped fresh locally sourced Chinese leek is added. The Chinese leek, which is soft, sweet, and not at all hot together with the hot fried tofu combine to create a dish that is soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, and very tasty.
Add: No. 20, Sec. 2, Zhongzheng Rd., Fenglin Township, Hualien County
Ru Yi Ting Restaurant (如意亭美食)
Opposite Fenglin Hakka Cultural Museum, this restaurant is regularly visited by locals. Inside you can a menu on hanging bamboo sections, giving the restaurant a rustic air. Authentic Hakka dishes are served such as stir-fry ginger slices with pork intestines and other stir fried dishes. The dumplings and noodle dishes are also popular.
Add: No. 160, Zhonghe Rd., Fenglin Township, Hualien County
Hours: 11:00-14:00, 17:00-20:00 (closed on Monday)
Shin Kong Chao Feng Leisure Farm
This is a well-known tourist farm in eastern Taiwan. It has dairy cow, animal, and bird areas as well as a children’s play area. In its orchard, lemons, avocados, bananas, pomelos, and other fruits are grown. Visitors can pick their own fruit from October to April. More than 500 dairy cows graze the 70-plus hectare grazing area. Various dairy products made on site are sold and calves can be hand-fed by visitors. The farm also has a large meadow where people can frolic to their heart’s contents; you can also ride a bicycle around a lake to enjoy the charming lakeside scenery. There is also a large European-style garden, with different flowers throughout the four seasons; also, amongst the various leisure options, hot-springs bathing can be enjoyed at Erzi Mountain Hot Spring.
Add: No. 20, Yongfu St., Fenglin Township, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 877-2666
Getting There: From Hualien Railway Station take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus No. 303 (Hualien Route) and get off at Shin Kong Chao Feng Leisure Farm (新光兆豐休閒農場) bus stop.
Guangfu Township is in the central part of eastern Hualien County, with Fenglin Township to the north and Ruisui Township to the south. It is a long and narrow plain in the East Rift Valley. With rivers winding through and plentiful rainfall, the area has a rich ecology. Guangfu was a sugar production center during the Japanese colonial period and many buildings and cultural relics connected to the sugar industry remain, such as Hualien Sugar Factory, which is famed for popsicles made on site.
Matai’an Wetland (馬太鞍濕地)
At the foot of Mt. Maxi, this is a natural swamp that has an abundance of ecological resources. In summer, the romantic sight of a large expanse of lotuses can be viewed. Guided tours are offered, led by experts who explain the wetland ecology to visitors. Another thing not to be missed here is wild vegetables such as the fruit of the breadfruit tree, the hearts of Margaret Rotang Palm, Areca stem, and water dropwort. There is a viewing platform in the wetland from which you can enjoy views of the Coastal Mountain Range and the East Rift Valley. There is also the wooden building Red Rice Hall and Seed Hall where you can learn about local special products of Hualien, such as red rice and seeds collected from all around. Visitors can engage in DIY activities such as making wild vegetable waffles, adding fun to their trip.
Add: No. 60, Daquan St., Guangfu Township, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 870-1861
Getting There: From Hualien Railway Station take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus No. 303 (Hualien Route) and get off at Hualien Sugar Factory (花蓮糖廠) bus stop.
Hualien Sugar Factory (花蓮糖廠)
This factory was established in 1921. After production stopped it became a leisure space for the public. The old factory buildings and facilities remain, and a large amount of historical and cultural material has been left. The site is like a sugar industry museum. There is a neat row of old houses beside the factory; the best-preserved cluster of Japanese-style wooden buildings in all Taiwan. These Taiwan cypress houses, once used as employee dormitories, are now providing accommodation for visitors. Part of the fun of staying here is taking a bath in a big wooden tub. Ice in various flavors, sweet and creamy ice-creams, and slightly sweet popsicles are sold in the factory. Enjoy one unhurriedly sitting beside the nearby koi carp pond, passing some leisure time. Other fun things to do here include enrolling in DIY courses and touring the factory by bicycle.
Add: No. 19, Tangchang St., Dajin Village, Guangfu Township, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 870-4125 ext. 200
Getting There: From Hualien Railway Station take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus No. 303 (Hualien Route) and get off at Hualien Sugar Factory (花蓮糖廠) bus stop.
Danongdafu Forest Park
Located between the Central Mountain Range and Coastal Mountain Range, Danongdafu Forest Park is Taiwan’s first lowland forest park. It has rich natural ecology and offers flower viewing in spring, firefly and bird watching in summer, and maple tree viewing in winter, displaying different charms through the year. In spring a sea of colorful flowers can be enjoyed in front of the spacious park’s visitor center. The ingenious installation artworks on the grassy area are popular spots for visitors to take photos and check-in. In March-April every year, after dark, myriad fireflies appear as specks of light flying around in the grass and undergrowth, so numerous that it’s hard to take one’s gaze away. The park has north circle and south circle bikeways. Autumn is the best time to cycle here, riding along at a leisurely pace, admiring the beautiful maple forest as the leaves turn from yellow to red and soaking up the romantic autumn atmosphere.
Add: No. 31, Nongchang Rd., Guangfu Township, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 870-0870 ext. 9
Getting There: From Hualien Railway Station take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus No. 303 (Hualien Route) and get off at Danongdafu Forest Park (大農大富平地森林園區) bus stop.
Known as the most beautiful township on the Tropic of Cancer, Ruisui Township has the Coastal Mountain Range and then the Pacific to its east and the Central Mountain range to the west. To the south is the Wuhe Highland where a large amount of black tea is produced. Ruisui is blessed with an abundance of tourism resources and has been well-known for many years for whitewater river rafting on the Xiuguluan River. With its substantial black-tea production, highly developed dairy industry, and its hot-spring resources, Ruisui is a renowned travel destination in Hualien County that combines agriculture and tourism.
Wuhe Tea Plantation (舞鶴茶園)
The Wuhe area was originally a coffee growing area, however, from the 1970s, due to the climate and soil being suitable for tea growing, it gradually developed into a renowned tea production area. Driving across the Wuhe Highland, you can see tea plantations stretching out as far as the eye can see, with 30-40 plantations that grow and produce their own tea scattered across the area. Each owner has his/her own special way of making tea. The main tea produced here originally was oolong but, in recent years, its honey-scented black tea has become well-known as well. Princess Coffee tea plantation, which produces honey-scented black tea, is a must-visit scenic spot for visitors to Wuhe. While the black tea with honey fragrance is the house special drink, coffee and pomelo flower green tea are also very popular.
Wuhe Tea Plantation – Princess Coffee (舞鶴茶園-公主咖啡)
Add: No. 336, Sec. 2, Zhongzheng S. Rd., Wuhe Village, Ruisui Township, Hualien County (花蓮縣瑞穗鄉舞鶴村中正南路2段336號)
Tel: (03) 887-0222
Getting There: From Ruisui Railway Station take bus no. 1137 and get off at Pharmacist Tancheng (藥師壇城) bus stop.
Fuyuan Forest Recreation Area
Fuyuan Forest Recreation Area has various forest trails, suspension bridges, a waterfall and the Butterfly Valley, well-known as a place to watch butterflies and taking a hot-spring bath. March-August every year is the best time for butterfly watching in Butterfly Valley, with more than 30 types of butterfly fluttering through the air. The best times to see fireflies are March-May and September-November. With a large area of forest, Butterfly Valley is now fully managed by a hot-spring resort operation. Visitors can enjoy a hot-spring vacation as well as the rich ecological environment. There is a camphor tree forest that covers around 70 hectares, a perfect place for forest walks. Both the mountain trail and creek-side trail lead to beautiful Longyin Waterfall. From the 15-story high Longyin Bridge, magnificent bird’s eye views of the Fuyuan River valley below can be seen.
Add: No. 161, Guangdong Rd., Fuyuan Village, Ruisui Township, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 881-2377
Getting There: Self-driving or taking a taxi is recommended. Guests staying at the Butterfly Valley Resort can make use of the resort’s pick-up service Fuyuan or Ruisuir railway station.
Ruisui Hot Springs (瑞穗溫泉)
Ruisui Hot Springs is one of the three main hot-spring areas of Hualien. It was developed by the Japanese in 1919. It has slightly alkaline carbonate spring water. When the iron in the water oxidizes after meeting the air it forms opaque yellow crystals that have a slight rusty smell. It springs are therefore also known as “Gold Springs.”
Getting There: Take a train to Ruisui Railway Station.
Rareseed Ranch (瑞穗牧場)
Nestled against the Central Mountain Range, the pure water of Ruisui Ranch allows sweet pasture to be grown and it is then turned into excellent milk that is sold across Taiwan. Not just a well-known milk brand, the ranch is also a well-known tourist operation. It has a visitor center, food service department, outdoor café, cycle path, and other facilities. Here, visitors can not only enjoy freshly milked and boiled milk, they can also view dairy cows and an ostrich strolling around on the meadow. This is well-suited for family visits; animals can be fed by hand and children can run free and play in the spacious park area. The ranch’s food service department provides various fresh dairy products such as milky steamed buns that are fried golden and crispy, firm and creamy cheese cake, fragrant nougat etc. These are all must-tries well-received by visitors.
Add: No. 157, Neighborhood 6, Wuhe Village, Ruisui Township, Hualien County
Tel: (03) 887-6611
Getting There: From Ruisui Railway Station take bus no. 1137 and get off at Maliyun (馬立雲) bus stop.
GRAND COSMOS RESORT Ruisui, Hualien
Yuli & Fuli (玉里•富里)
Located in the southernmost part of Hualien County and bordered by Taitung County, Yuli and Fuli townships are famed rice-growing areas in Hualien that offer scenes of endless rice fields. As well as simple rural village charm, recreational farming is highly developed here; some farms provide DIY activities and some local communities provide visitors with an experience of rural village life. Yufu Bikeway, which crosses two tectonic plates, and Sixty Stone Mountain, which is covered in orange day lilies in August-September, are well-known scenic spots.
Yufu Bikeway (玉富自行車道)
Roughly 10-kilometers long, the Yufu Bikeway is the only cycle path in the world that crosses two tectonic plates. The bikeway starts at Yuli and ends at Fuli’s Dongli Bicycle Station, offering expansive views along the route with endless rural scenes on either side. Feel the thrill of cycling across the fault line when crossing the Xiuguluan Bridge! The bikeway follows the route of the former railway between Yuli Railway Station and Antong Railway Station. The railway had to be relocated because the ground was rising by two to three centimeters annually due to the Eurasian Plate and the Philippines Sea Plate pressing together. The former railway was then transformed into the bikeway to create what is probably the world’s only bikeway that is getting higher as time goes by. Due to the gentle gradients and pleasant scenery, the Yufu Bikeway is well-suited for family rides. Different scenery can be enjoyed along the route in the four seasons.
Getting There: Take a train to Yuli Railway Station.
Dongfon Des Glaneuses Organic Farm
Dongfeng is the largest organic rice production area in Yuli Township and has endless rice fields. Dongfon Des Glaneuses Organic Farm mainly grows organic rice and pomelo, but also cultivates organic wheat September to February the following year when rice is not grown. The most special activity offered on the farm is DIY organic-beer making, one of only a few places in Taiwan where you can try your hand at this. The most special activity offered on the farm is DIY organic-beer making, one of only a few places in Taiwan where you can try your hand at this. The DIY process is guided by an expert instructor. During the heating stage, locally-made beers can be sampled.
Add: No. 71-3, Difen, Donfeng Borough, Yuli Township, Hualien City
Tel: (03) 888-0181
Getting There: From Yuli Railway Station take bus no. 1135 and get off at Tiefen (鐵份) bus stop.
Yuli Food (玉里美食)
Yuli offers quite a few tasty traditional snacks, with Yuli noodles probably the best known. Walk down the main street in Yuli and every few hundred meters there is an eatery selling Yuli noodles. The dish comprises of chewy noodles that resemble traditional Taiwanese oil noodles, with broth made from pork bones poured on and then beansprouts and pork slices put on top, with chopped spring onion added at the end to bring out the flavor. What seems as simple dish is very tasty indeed.
Luoshan Village (羅山村)
Luoshan Village is well-known for its mud volcano landscape, handmade tofu, and Luoshan Waterfall. Visitors can use brine from the mud volcano to make tofu with their own hands; they can also view Luoshan Waterfall in the distance from nearby Luoshan Big Fish Pond and see the strange sight of the mud volcano and endemic coastal plants on the trail, marveling at the wonders of nature. Local Big Nature Experience Farm provides visitors with a DIY tofu-making experience using self-grown organic soy beans. The beans are ground, boiled, filtered, mud volcano brine is added, and then the semi-finished tofu is pressed in molds by visitors. The finished tofu is topped with mustard and soy sauce for a natural and nutritious farm taste. Also, traditional Hakka meals made with local ingredients are provided and should not be missed by visitors to the farm.
Add: No. 39, Donghu, Neigborhood 9, Luoshan Village, Fuli Township, Hualien County
Getting There: From Fuli Railway Station take bus no. 1137 and get off at Luoshan (羅山) bus stop.
Sixty Stone Mountain (六十石山)
Sixty Stone Mountain, Mt. Chike, and Mt. Taimali are the three big orange daylily growing areas in Eastern Taiwan. These are ideal places to see a sea of orange day lilies when the flowers bloom August-September. On the east side of Zhutian Village in Fuli Township, Sixty Stone Mountain has an elevation of around 800 meters. It is part of the Coastal Mountain Range. After driving up a winding road, you are presented with endless country scenes spread out as far as the eye can see, a few farm buildings and pavilions scattered around the orange daylily fields, creating a simple but beautiful countryside picture. During the orange daylily season, local restaurants offer various dishes made with the lilies and local leisure farms provide various rural-village experiences and DIY activities to enrich your travel experience when visiting Sixty Stone Mountain.
Getting There: Self-driving or taking a taxi from Fuli Railway Station is recommended.
East Rift Valley: RUISUI and YULI
HUALIEN Railway Trip — Through the EAST RIFT VALLEY
Along the Amazing Pacific Coast of HUALIEN
Sidewalk Safari: Roadtripping from Taipei to Hualien on the East Coast of Taiwan