A sprawling mini-metropolis on Taiwan’s eastern coast, Hualien lies between majestic mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Along with nature parks, cycling paths, landscaped gardens and a lively harbour district, Hualien is a gateway to Taroko Gorge.
Things to do in Hualien City
Temples and shrines unveil the history and culture of Hualien, particularly the Temple to the Lords of Three Mountains. A hub for the Hakka religion, this temple pays homage to deities at the nearby Dushan, Mingshan and Jinshan mountains. Stroll the gardens of Meilun Shan Park for sweeping city views and pay your respects to fallen soldiers at the hilltop Martyr’s Shrine.
Pop into Fogstand gallery to see experimental art from Taiwanese and Asian artists, then spend an evening at Dongdamen Night Market. Sample classic street food, such as spring rolls, coffin cake, stewed ribs and tropical fruit drinks. Enjoy a traditional Taiwan tea experience at Miaokou Red Tea and treat the kids to Taiwanese shaved iced and sweet rice soup at Xindi Daily.
Get some fresh air at Meilunshan Park or head further out for hiking in Taroko National Park. You can marvel at cascading waterfalls and marble cliffs as well as the 16-kilometre-long Taroko Gorge. Bring your camera along for spectacular shots of caves and streams from the park’s suspension bridge.
Drive about 30 minutes to Liyu Lake for fishing, sailing, cycling and canoeing. If you visit in spring, keep an eye out for fireflies glittering over the water at night.
Getting around Hualien City
You can rent a car at Hualien Airport just north of the city limits or pick up a vehicle or scooter near the train station in town. Taxis provide flexible transportation, while buses offer day passes.