On Tuesday morning, we decided to get an early start and head to Hua-lien so we could spend the day seeing the city instead of wasting a day traveling.
We took the subway to Taipei Main Station and found our way to the HSR(High Speed Rail) and TRA(Taiwan Railway Admin) area. We knew we wanted to go south and east but we didn’t know the name of the line. We were helped by another friendly Taiwanese that spoke no English but we knew enough Mandarin in order to communicate what we wanted. The train left in 25 minutes and was a little more than we were told by the Information Center but it was coming from the Automated Machine and that was the price 441NTD/person=$14 for a 2hr and 10 minute train ride.
The train was so nice and very comfortable. As we arrived in Hua-lien we went straight to the information center as we forgot to write down the directions to our hostel, Colorful Taiwan. After getting a map and directions from the info center we headed to the hostel. We were very hungry at this point since we skipped breakfast(not intentionally) and now it was lunch time.
Once we arrived at the hostel, Gloria, pointed us in a direction of some food and let us leave our bags there since our room wasn’t cleaned yet. We fueled up and came back to the hostel to relax then set out on a walk around the town. We walked and walked and walked for over 3 hrs and finally had to bring a taxi back because our legs hurt too much to make it the rest of the way. We ordered in Domino’s pizza for dinner and just hung out that evening.
The next day was my birthday and we went River Trekking for 8 hrs.
On Thursday, we rented a scooter for 24 hrs for 400 NTD=$12.70. We had read that you could either take a taxi to Taroko National Park for 2,000 NTD, go on a tour bus(not for us) or rent a scooter. It was the most fun way; having the breeze blow in your face while going through the gorge and also gave us independence of seeing what we wanted.
We spent a good 5 or 6 hours going to Taroko, sightseeing around and returning back to Hua-lien as it was about 40 minutes north of town. We decided we need to return to One Way restaurant as the food was AMAZING. All local and organic food from the local farms and it was Western style food. I am getting hungry just thinking about it.
Friday morning we had the scooter until 1pm so we mapped out a route heading down to see the East Coast Scenic Area that we kept seeing signs for throughout Hua-lien. We drove to Jici Beach recommended by our hostel. There were only 2 other people at the beach and the sand was REALLY hot. We walked in the water for awhile and took pictures, then decided to go further south to a little town, Fongbin, where there was a road that cut East over the mountain range and we could cut back North on another Scenic Route called East River Valley.
We got to see more countryside and visit parts of Taiwan that were really small and not many cars on the road. It is nice when we travel to other cities and countries that we stop and get off the beaten path to see the road less traveled.