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Hualien Tour Guide
10 REAL Reasons Why Using a Tour Guide in Hualien is a Great Idea
We’re often asked: “Why should I use a tour guide or adventure service in Hualien when I’m a DIY-er with loads of travel experience? Why would I need someone to show me around when I can just explore on my own?”And the truth is, you don’t. But we think you can see a heck of a lot more and have a way better experience when you do! Here are 10 REAL reasons using a tour guide in Hualien is a great idea.
1. Much More Efficient
Unlike Thailand, Central America or other popular DIY travel locations, Taiwan has very little tourist infrastructure in place to facilitate DIY style travel. Slow infrequent buses, a lack of English signage, license restrictions for renting scooters, etc.
That’s not even mentioning what it’s like to drive a rental car or scooter in Taiwan. Yikes!
The possibility that you could spend half your precious time in Hualien just trying to figure out where to go and how to do it is very high. A guide knows where to go, how to get there, the best time to go to beat the crowds and more.
It is very possible you will see and experience more on an 8 hour tour with an efficient guide than a full day or two trying to figure it out on your own. Vacation time is precious, why waste it!
2. Up to Date on Trail & Road Closures
The newest Lonely Planet Taiwan that arrived in May 2017 lists at least three highlights on the East Coast that have been closed for more than a year. Guidebooks are outdated long before they’re even published.
While it might be easy to find out online if the Eiffel Tower is closed, trails and parks in the Hualien Area have no such online presence. Hualien is typhoon country, so imagine spending half a day trying to get to the “perfect swimming” hole you read about, only to find it was destroyed by a typhoon over a year ago. Guides know what’s closed and can often take you to awesome alternatives the guidebooks don’t know about!
3. Intimate Knowledge of the Area
There is so much to learn about Hualien. It’s storied history, its geology and ecology, its culture and more.
From the geologic forces that created the largest marble canyon in the world (Taroko Gorge) to the Taiwanese aboriginal cultures that were the predecessors of indigenous cultures from Madagascar to Easter Island and everywhere in between. A good guide can impart information in a way that enhances your visit and educates as it entertains.
4. Equipment and Supplies
Let’s say you find out the location of one of Hualien County’s numerous amazing waterfalls. Then when you go, you discover you have to hike through a long curving tunnel to get there, and you don’t have a flashlight. Then you get to the river and find out you have to hike up the river, but you don’t have the proper shoes.
Note: Western water shoes don’t work well on the slippery river rocks of Taiwan
Finally, you get near the falls, but you don’t a have a rope to get the last 20 feet up! A good guide will have everything you need. From proper water shoes, gear and safety equipment to toilet paper, hand soap and flashlights. A good guide’s got you covered.
5. The Food
When you’re traveling in a foreign country, sometimes it can be hard to find good food.
Maybe you take the easy route and just go for western owned restaurants with English menus, 7-11 curry bowls or pre-packaged rice boxes. That’s all well and good, but it just isn’t experiencing everything Hualien has to offer. A guide can introduce you to numerous local dishes and traditional roadside delicacies you otherwise may never have known about!
Taiwan has some of the best food in Asia, eat it up!
Safety is always a concern when travelling in a foreign land. Taiwan is no different. For example:
Driving a rental scooter or car in Taiwan is a risky proposition. With large Tour buses hurdling down the road at dangerous speeds, the unpredictability of other drivers is more a concern than your own skills. Using a guide that provides transportation and is familiar with the roads and driving conditions takes the worry away.
There are numerous poisonous snakes in Taiwan. And all of them live in the forests in and around Hualien. A good guide will clear the path ahead on the trail for you and will also know where the closest treatment location is should someone need it.
Currents are strong and flash floods DO happen. The ocean is beautiful around Hualien and the swimming excellent. That being said, the currents can be deadly and a proper guide will know where it is safe to swim. Same goes for the rivers. Flash floods happen every year and a good guide will know where it is safe to swim and when it is time to leave the river.
7. Secret Spots
The tourist maps tell you one thing, the guide books another, and that other guest at the hostel another yet. But a guide who lives in Hualien year-round will know all the secret local spots.
And let’s be honest, those are usually the best! There are so many things to do in Taiwan, let someone who lives here show you the best of them.
8. Fun Activities
Going somewhere new and looking around can be a blast. But there are so many fun things to be done that you just might not know about. This is where a good guide can be especially helpful. A good guide will have activity ideas that maybe you never even thought of!
Tasting jumping live prawns, taking an afternoon swim in a secret swimming hole, eating lunch IN the river, not beside it! Without a guide, who knows what you might miss out on.
9. Ease and Convenience
There is something special about taking a step back from the planning to just enjoy your vacation sometimes. Being picked up, taken for a wonderful day out and then returned to your hostel/hotel is one of the great pleasures in life.
Yeah, you could stay up in your hotel all evening planning the next day’s itinerary, OR you could just send an email or make a call and let a guide do all the work for you. Allowing you extra time to go to the night market and try that stinky tofu everyone is talking about!
10. More Fun Together
Whether you are a solo traveler, a couple, a group of friends or a family, joining a guide or small group tour can add a whole new quality to an experience. The quality of sharing in a wonderful day together.
We here at Island Life Taiwan, love what we do. We love the beauty and adventure of the East Coast and enjoy more than anything sharing it with our guests.
We hope you come join us soon!