Hualien is considered one of the most enjoyable cities in Taiwan for various reasons. Its location alone makes it very convenient, in fact Hualien City is located on the East Coast between the Pacific Ocean and the Mountains which means it offers attractions and activities for everyone. We enjoyed a bit of both from the beach to the hikes on the mountains.
Even though Hualien is a very popular stop for tourists and Taiwanese people too, we didn’t find it particularly crowded and still enjoyed the local life and traditions as we usually like to do.
This has also something to do with the help of our amazing Couchsurfing host Dai Dai. She took and showed us the best spots of the area, just another reason we both love CouchSurfing! 🙂
Here are our top 5 recommendations for you to enjoy the city as much as we did, hopefully they will come in useful should you find yourself in Hualien.
Tip #1 – Qixingtan Scenic Area
Here is by far our favorite beach on our travels, it might not be the classic white sandy beach everybody dreams of, but we loved it. We defined it the most tranquil and stony beach heaven in Taiwan.
Qixingtan beach is the best place to relax, watch the stars at night, enjoy the breeze from the Ocean or go for one of the multiple scenic trails.
View Qixingtan Beachin a larger map
Tip #2 – Ziqiang Night Market
If you are looking to sample the traditional local Taiwanese food, this is the best place to go.
There is a variety of food for everybody’s taste, from Taiwanese specialties to Japanese and Cantonese dishes. There are plenty of fresh juices and smoothies made in front of your eyes, needless to say that we filled up with those. So good!
If you fancy stopping in a more ‘trendy’ place a bit different from the plastic tables and chairs of the usual stalls (although we like them because make the all market experience more real), within the market there are more fancy places with a funky design with music on and people serving cocktails to go with your food.
View Ziqiang Night Market in a larger map
Tip #3 – Taroko National Park
If you are a fan of hiking, you’ll definitely enjoy a great day out at the Taroko Gorge.
It’s not far to reach from Hualien with the very well organized buses catchable in front of the train station or by scooter if you want to go at your own pace and in complete freedom.
We liked it and felt in love with its stunning sceneries of cliffs and rock formations while listening to the rushing river or waterfalls making their way through the natural canyons and valleys.
It’s definitely a must go! 🙂
View Taroko National Park in a larger map
Tip #4 – Pine Garden
Pine Garden used to be the Japanese Military Control Centre (ideal place for its location) is now an amazing garden with over 60 pine trees and a space for art and literature exhibitions and performances.
This relaxing garden offers an amazing view overlooking Hualien City, the port and the river which makes a very strategic location that explain its past.
It’s completely free to visit the art exhibitions, the garden itself and the surrounding area.
View Pine Garden in a larger map
Tip #5 – Best Taiwanese Breakfast in town
We’ve been lucky enough to try the best local Taiwanese breakfast ever.
In Hualien there is a tiny breakfast shop without a name (but we can provide the exact location, see the map below) that serves delicious homemade food that involves a lot of dough based and deep fried dishes. We stuffed our faces with different kind of flat breads some filled and some plain, steamed buns, Taiwanese egg pancakes all served with some delicious Doujiang, which is soybean milk.
Simply delicious and not expensive!
View the best Breakfast Shop in Hualien in a larger map