Hualien And Taroko Gorge: 3 Day Itinerary And Sightseeing Guide

Things to do in Taiwan - Places you must visit in Taiwan - Bucketlist places in Taiwan - Qingshui Cliffs Taiwan East Coast

The East coast was my favorite part of Taiwan and I have only seen a small section! There are steep cliffs, a stunning blue ocean, marble mountains and green jungle. It’s also much less populated than the rest of Taiwan, only 4% of the Taiwanese live on the East Coast.

We spent 3 days (plus 1 travel day) in Hualien and used this relaxed city as a base to explore the famous Taroko Gorge and the gorgeous Qingshui Cliffs.

Hualien guide: what to do in and around Hualien in 3 days

During our 1 month trip I was surprised about the low number of (Western) tourists in Taiwan (except in Taipei), it’s such a beautiful country and well worth a visit!

When I was researching where to go in Taiwan, Hualien was the first place on my list. Why? Because the Taroko Gorge is very close to Hualien and the pictures on Google made it immediately clear this place was a must see!

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Besides the amazing Taroko Gorge there are lots of other things to see and do in and around Hualien. Which is why I put together this guide to help you plan your trip!

Below you can find the map of our 3 day itinerary, Hualien highlights, information about our accommodation and what to eat in Hualien.

Hualien 3 day itinerary: map & highlights

Hualien sightseeing: highlights day 1

The weather forecast hadn’t been great for this day (unsurprising since monsoon season was about to start), but we were very lucky: blue skies and only a bit of rain at the end of the day.

Things to see and do in Hualien Chisingtan area

After picking up our scooter (read about transportation to and around Hualien below) we drove to Chisingtan, then turned north and followed the scenic road along to coast. In the distance we could already see the famous cliffs…

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And the views kept getting better and better… I couldn’t stop marveling at the beautiful color of the ocean. And the impressive steep cliffs of course!

Qingshui Cliffs Taiwan - Top Things To See And Do in Hualien Qingshui Cliffs Taiwan - Top Things To See in Hualien

After peeling our eyes away from the breathtaking cliffs we turned our scooter around and drove to Taroko Gorge, one of the nine national parks of Taiwan. We picked up a map of the area at the Tourist Information Center and entered the gorge.

Shakadang Trail in Taroko Gorge National Park Taiwan Hualien East Coast

Our first stop in Taroko Gorge National Park was the Shakadang Trail. This easy trail leads along the Shakadang River, it was a fairly busy trail but still very nice!

Swallow Grotto trail Taroko National Park Taiwan Hualien East Coast Taiwan Swallow Grotto trail Taroko Gorge Taiwan

Next up was the Swallow Grotto trail (pictured above), you can either drive this path or walk (20 minutes one way).

Xiulin Township Best Beef Noodle Soup Taroko Gorge Taiwan

We had lunch in Xiulin Township (beef noodle soup of course, a Taiwanese specialty;-) before turning around and driving back the same way, all the while admiring the steep marble cliffs around us.

Eternal Spring Shrine Taroko Gorge Taiwan

On our way back we quickly stopped at the Eternal Spring Shrine, but by that time it had started to rain and we quickly drove back to Hualien to relax in our cosy hotel room.

Hualien sightseeing: highlights day 2

The next day we hopped back on our scooter and instead of driving north we went south. We passed Nanbin Park where I had a lot of fun taking this picture:

Nanbin Park Hualien Taiwan - things to see and do in Hualien

‘Too bad’ I’m already married, it would have been an original way to propose;-). Anyway, via the bridge at Ji’an we entered the so-called ‘East Coast National Scenic Area’ and scenic it was! We drove along the coast and came along the Farglory Ocean Park. We didn’t go in but it looked like a lot of fun!

Farglory Ocean Park East Coast National Scenic Area Taiwan Hualien

At the tiny village of Shuilian we turned inland, a very adventurous drive! The road kept getting bumpier and muddier so we drove very carefully… But the views along the way made it worth the effort!

HUALIEN AND TAROKO GORGE: 3 DAY ITINERARY AND SIGHTSEEING GUIDE

If you decide to drive this road, be careful and make sure you have enough petrol. We didn’t come across any other people and the road didn’t look like it was used a lot.

Hualien itinerary

Anyway, we had a lot of fun driving this deserted road and eventually made it to the West side of the peninsula.

Liyu Lake Sightseeing around Hualien East Coast Taiwan

Via the Yuemei bridge we crossed back to the mainland and drove to Liyu Lake, our final stop of the day (because it started to rain again). I really liked this Southern loop because unlike Taroko Gorge, there were very few other tourists!

Hualien sightseeing: highlights day 3

Unfortunately it rained almost the entire day, but we made the most of it by sampling the local cuisine. We found the best baozi and located Hualiens famous onion egg pancake (see pictures below, exact location marked in the map at the start of the post).

Best things to eat in Hualien Taiwan baozi Best things to eat in Hualien Taiwan egg pancake scallion pancake

I’m a huge coffee addict, but every once in a while I try to mix things up. In the cute Seven Beans coffee shop I tried their signature hot chocolate which was divine and perfectly suited for the rainy weather. We also found a great Japanese restaurant serving big bowls of steaming ramen, nomnom…

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And of course we couldn’t skip the famous Dongdamen Night Market! Luckily the rain stopped around 6pm and we sampled several delicious snacks at the market.

Dongdamen Night Market Hualien Taiwan

Hualien travel budget

Average daily travel budget Hualien and Taroko Gorge Taiwan

I mentioned this in my other Taiwan posts as well, but traveling in Taiwan is surprisingly affordable! During our 3 days in Hualien we spent approximately €68 per day (for us as a couple, so €34 per person).

This budget includes the scooter rental (and petrol), transport from Taipei to Hualien and back to Taipei, our accommodation and all the costs for food. Below you can find more information about our accommodation, how to travel to Hualien and how to get to Taroko Gorge.

Where to stay in Hualien – Honey B Trip B&B

Where To Stay In Hualien Taiwan Budget Accommodation

This was our favorite accommodation in Taiwan because of the cute Bee theme design! Our room was very big with a super comfortable bed. We even had a sofa and small desk. The bathroom was modern with an excellent shower.

The hotel also has a really cool family room with a castle, I can imagine it must be a dream come true for little children to sleep there. I don’t have a picture of this room but you can see it on Agoda.

On the 2nd floor there is a hot and cold water dispenser, plus any additional items you might need during your stay (towels, toiletries, water bottles, maps of the area, bus schedules, etc). WiFi was very fast.

The hostess was very friendly and helped us rent a scooter. We couldn’t have done this without her, read more below…

Accommodation information

Duration of our stay: 4 nights.
Price: €25 per night for the weekdays and €33 for Friday night.
How to book: check Honey B Trip B&B on Agoda and Booking.

How to travel to Hualien from Taipei

There are several ways to travel from Taipei to Hualien. The fastest way is to take the express train, a ticket costs 440NT and the journey takes about 2 hours. However, these tickets are often sold out.

We traveled to Hualien with a combo-ticket, you can buy this ticket at the Taipei bus station. From Taipei we took a bus to Luodong and at Luodong we boarded the train to Hualien. A combo ticket costs 222NT and the trip takes around 3 hours. Altogether it was a very comfortable trip and in my opinion the lower ticket price is worth the extra travel hour.

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How to get around in Hualien

For our sightseeing activities we rented a scooter. As I explained in my Kenting National Park post, it isn’t easy to rent a scooter in Taiwan as a foreigner. You either need a Taiwanese license or an International Drivers License which clearly states you can drive a motorcycle.

However, in Hualien we were in luck because the friendly owner of Honey B Trip B&B helped us! She went with us to the scooter rental company and talked with them in Chinese. I am a 100% certain we wouldn’t have gotten a scooter if she hadn’t vouched for us.

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But don’t worry if you cannot get your hands on a scooter (or don’t want to drive one), you can still visit  Taroko Gorge! Taiwan has excellent public transport and there are several buses a day from Hualien to Taroko Gorge. More information and the bus timetable can be found on this site.


That’s everything about our 3 day trip to Hualien! Do you want to read more about traveling in Taiwan? You can find my other posts here.

Planning a trip? Check out the Phenomenal Globe Travel Planning Library and my Travel Resource page!

Spend 3 perfect days in Hualien and Taroko National Park, on the East Coast of Taiwan. Rent a scooter & follow this 3-day itinerary! Includes a map with all the highlights, travel budget, advice about accommodation and transport information (how to get from Taipei to Hualien and from Hualien to Taroko Gorge). Spend 3 perfect days in Hualien and Taroko National Park, on the East Coast of Taiwan. Rent a scooter & follow this 3-day itinerary! Includes a map with all the highlights, travel budget, advice about accommodation and transport information (how to get from Taipei to Hualien and from Hualien to Taroko Gorge).

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4 Comments

  1. What an adventure, Lotte! Ever since I went to Hong Kong I have wanted to explore more of Asia. The colour of the sea in your photos takes me back to the crystal blue ocean in the Bahamas. Stunning!

    • It was definitely an adventure! I love Asia… The people are so kind, the temples are beautiful, the food is the best in the world and nature is spectacular. Though you make the Bahamas also sound pretty good;-)

  2. Thank you for existing!
    You make me travel in my mind 🙂 !
    Much love, please continue!
    Ange

    • Hi Ange, thank you so much for your kind comment, you made my day! I’ll write many more travel stories for you:-) Lotte

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