Wednesday Wanderlust: Taiwan (Hualien)
Taiwan Taiwan Taiwan! One of my favourite Asian countries! Taiwan is an island in East Asia which to some is still part of China, a debate which is hard to win when talking to the citizens of China. However, for me Taiwan is a separate country which speaks Mandarin, same as mainland China, which I could actually practice here even though most people spoke amazingly great English. Their patience with my poor Mandarin was commendable, so thank you for that.
Once again, this trip was super short & tried to see as much as I could on the trip. In the first part of the trip, the weather wasn’t on my side - rain! Never mind! When landed, I tried to find my way to the train station where I could catch what I thought a high speed train to Hualien, the east coast of Taiwan. This is when I found out that there are no high speed trains running on that coast, only on the West all the way down South. So, I had to hop on a local train, which took 3 hours or so, without an allocated seat. The train was full & I wasn’t the only one standing. At this point it was kind of the only choice of transport to get to my destination, without getting a taxi, however, it might have been an adventurous idea to hire a car & drive myself. If only my trip was that tiny bit longer, I would have done it!
Once arrived to Hualien, I was looking for my Wow Hostel (83 Gualian 1st Rd, Hualien City) which was literally across the street from the station. Perfect location with amazing views, great staff, fantastic organised trips. That same night I booked a tour to & around Taroko National Park & was off to explore the city. Tried out local beer at a local bar where I made some local "friends" & was “forced” to do karaoke which is a HUGE thing in Asia.
Early next morning, hopped on the van with a few more travellers & headed for the mountains. The scenery was beyond gorgeous. The rivers, streams, gorges, waterfalls, the greenery, trails. The Shakadang Trail was a lovely place to spend some time in, listening to the water trickling & birds singing. The tour bus takes you to the main attraction areas so be prepared for masses of people but it’s still beautiful & you are given time to explore the area by yourself. At the end of the tour we were taken to one of the beaches which had the most beautifully decorated stones I’ve ever seen. It was almost like they were decorated on purpose. Gorgeous!
Next morning, I was up super early with a mission! The weather has turned for the better & was going to be able to see the sunrise. I headed for the beach while exploring the city on the way there & back before jumping on the train to do some surfing up North at Wai’ao.