Here at Island Life Taiwan, we love showing people around the Hualien area. One of the most scenic and naturally beautiful areas in Taiwan, Hualien County sits like a green jewel nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the grandiose Central Mountain Range.
One of the most scenic and naturally beautiful areas in Taiwan, Hualien County sits like a green jewel nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the grandiose Central Mountain Range. Home to some of the most stunning locations in Taiwan with a rich, unique combination of traditional cultures, Hualien has become a must visit region for travelers looking to get away from the urban centers while in Taiwan.
From dramatic marble gorges and towering green mountains, to idyllic sandy beaches and turquoise waterfalls and swimming holes, there are countless Hualien attractions worth exploring. It’s sure to take your breath away… likely more than once. Searching for what to do in Hualien? Here are the best things to do in Hualien, Taiwan.
It's difficult coming to a new city and not knowing where to get a good bite to eat. Guide books can be outdated, and review sites can be rigged. So here at Island Life, we've made a list of all of our favorite restaurants from our time living here in Hualien.
It’s difficult coming to a new city and not knowing where to get a good bite to eat. Guide books can be outdated, and review sites can be rigged. So here at Island Life, we’ve made a great list of all of our favorite restaurants from our time living here in Hualien. International Cuisine and Local Taiwanese Favorites. You can find it below!
Salt Lick BBQ & Pizza – Mouth watering American style BBQ. Our favorites include the slow cooked Pulled Pork (sandwich or plate), the Seasonal Salad (best in town), the Gumbo, the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza and the Smoked Ribs. Also home to Hualien’s largest selection of Taiwanese craft beers on tap.
Address:No. 151, Zhongshan Road
Three Koalas Restaurant – Very reasonably priced American & Italian fare. Paninis, Personal Pizzas, Burgers and more. Our favorite is the steak sandwich with goat cheese and balsamic onion jam. A popular place for families.
Address:No. 122, Bo’ai Street
Farmers Kitchen – This delicious vegetarian restaurant serves a wide variety of dishes and grow their own organic produce locally. Our favorites include the spinach calzone, the Caprese salad and the chick pea cottage pie.
Address:No. 407, Zhongshan Road
Country Mothers– American/ European brunch restaurant with country home ambiance. Our favorites include the European Omelet with Dijon Sauce, the wholegrain waffles and the Eggs Benedicts with home fried potatoes.
Address:No. 34, Fuqian Road
Boom Burger– Affordable and tasty burgers, pizza, salads and more. Our favorites include the mushroom burger, the Hawaiian burger with fresh pineapple and the mozzarella sticks with garlic aioli. A good late spot near-ish the train station.
Address:No. 28, Zhuangjing Road
Dos Tacos – Classic Tex Mex cuisine such as tacos, enchiladas and burritos, this fun, sociable place is great for a beer and a bite. Several Mexican beers are available in bottles, and our favorite nibbles include the giant nachos and the sizzling fajitas. Not exactly authentic Mexican food but hey, it’s Asia! Salud!
Address:No. 92, Fuxing Street
Oh La La Crepery –French Crepery near the train station. Many tasty crepes and small French dishes to choose from. We like the banana Nutella crepe and the Beef Bourguignon.
Address:611 Zhongshan Road
Kimamaya Japanese Cuisine– This hip Japanese BBQ spot is a favorite among both locals and visitors alike. With a large menu of meats and vegetables to choose from, it’s a great place for groups to gather around a table center BBQ grill. Kimamaya uses fresh coals, not propane burners, so the flavor is better than many of the other spots locally. Our favorites are the steak and the mushrooms.
Address:No. 144, Bo’ai St.
Siam Thai Food – Delicious homestyle Thai restaurant with a limited but authentic menu. Our top choices are the Papaya Salad, the Lemon Pork Slice, the Pad Thai and the Holy Basil Pork Rice.
Address:No. 71, Fuxing Street
Sushi Express – Yes it’s a chain and yes it’s essentially “quick eats” carousel sushi, but the quality is surprisingly high and the variety excellent. At $30 TWD per plate, mix and match fresh sashimi, nigiri and specials like crab claws and grilled shrimp. Downtown location makes for convenience across the board.
Dongdamen Hualien Night Market – Located on the grounds of the old Hualien Train Station, this sprawling night market is the largest in Hualien County, and a must visit while in Hualien City. With hundreds of stalls of food, games, trinkets and more, prepare yourself for a wonderland of aromas as you pass by grilled steak and sausages, aboriginal delicacies, traditional Chinese favorites and of course… Stinky Tofu! With numerous carnival style games, this is a fun and safe place for families and all to enjoy a vibrant evening in Hualien.
Address:Located downtown off Zhongshan Road
Old Banyan Tree Restaurant– This bustling local place has an “English” menu with pictures and dishes come in good portions for sharing. Everything is delicious as this is one of our favorite Hualien restaurants.
Address:No.69 Mingzhi Street
He Jia Huan Nan Bei Yao – As if the name wasn’t already a mouthful, this well priced Taiwanese restaurant offers delicious meals that are a cut above the rest. From duck breast to pork feet, local greens to dumplings, this place is sure to have something for everyone. Though they don’t have an English menu yet, they do have pictures and the friendly staff are great at helping with suggestions.
Address:No. 228, Zhonghe Street
Dai Ji’s Wonton Soup– Another Hualien institution. In a town where wonton soup is considered a specialty, Dai Ji’s is widely considered the best. For 80 years this family institution has been preparing their dumpling soup and the recipe has never changed. Don’t fix what isn’t broken we suppose! With only a handful of tables, locals often sit on stools next to the shop slurping up their favorite soup after a long days work. Be sure to take advantage of the various condiments available to customize your soup with chili oil, vinegars and more!
Address:No. 120, Zhonghua Road
Zhou Steamed Dumplings – This decades old famous steamed bun shop serves a local version of Xiao Long Bao and is widely considered the best in Hualien. Grab a bag to eat on the street. Lines form on weekend evenings. Don’t forget the sauce
Address:No. 4-20, Gongzheng St.
Koufu Beef Noodles – This is a local favorite for a Taiwanese classic dish! Beef Noodles are a mainstay of Taiwanese cuisine, large bowls of simmering broth, noodles, vegetables and slow cooked beef pieces.
Address:No.533, Fujian Street
Ba Fang Yun Ji Fried Dumplings – These small chain shops of fried and steamed dumplings are inexpensive and delicious. At $5 TWD per dumpling, mix and match or try them all! Be sure to check out the sauce station as well. Veggie options available.
Wang’s Tea House – This tea house and restaurant offers relaxing atmosphere and a wide range of teas and snacks to choose from. A few set meals are available as well but most just come for the tea and tranquility. English menu available.
Address:No. 565, Zhongshan Road
Hai Po Oyster Omelet Stand– CHALLENGE FOOD ALERT! Wanna try something really different? This Hualien specialty looks like a trainwreck but is surprisingly tasty. Scrambled eggs with oysters, green onion and hot sauce. This is THE local spot.
Address:No. 88 Ziyou Street
Cifadahan Traditional Amis Restaurant – 30 minutes from Hualien but worth the trip, at this unique restaurant, one can sample some of the finest Amis aboriginal food in Taiwan. Known for their “stone soup”, this treat is prepared beside you in a large bowl made of banana leaves. Local wild vegetables, prawns and fish are added to the broth, and then large, hot stones are added to the bowl, cooking the soup right beside you! Also, you can try salt cooked whole fish prepared in charcoal, wild mountain vegetables or various other traditional dishes. Try visiting it as part of this Butterfly Valley Hot Springs & Aboriginal Food Experience.
Address:No. 16, Lane 62, Daquan Street, Guangfu Township
Based in Hualien, Taiwan (adjacent to Taroko Gorge National Park), Island Life Taiwan designs all of our unique daily itineraries to help you discover the rich natural beauty and culture of Taiwan, in the most enjoyable, and most immersive way possible. We’re dedicated to showing you the most amazing locations in eastern Taiwan, while having the most fun and avoiding the crowds. More than just a tour operator and adventure outfitter, our team truly loves showing this awe-inspiring part of the world to our guests, and when you love what you do, it shows.
So what are you waiting for? Contact us and let us help you pick the tour or adventure that’s right for you!
There are several options when making your way from Taipei to Hualien and back again. We’ve put together some info to help you along!
The Easy Options
Option 1: Take the Train
This is the most popular and affordable method of getting to Hualien from Taipei. The express trains (Taroko Express or Puyuma Express) will get you to Hualien in about 2 hours, while the non-express trains can take 3-4 hours. It is important to book your train tickets ahead of time, especially on weekends and holidays, as the trains do sell out. A one way ticket will cost NT$440 per person.