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.
Literally meaning "papaya" in Mandarin, the sweetness of the Mugua River Gorge area is hard to miss. A region in Taiwan blessed with beautiful, crystal clear rivers, waterfalls, lush forests and unique aboriginal culture, this is one of the best ways to spend a day while in the Hualien area.
The Stunning Mugua River Gorge
A River Valley Unlike Any Other
Literally meaning “papaya” in Mandarin, the sweetness of the Mugua River Gorge area is hard to miss. A region in Taiwan blessed with beautiful, crystal clear rivers, waterfalls, lush forests and unique aboriginal culture, this is one of the best ways to spend a day while in the Hualien area.
Listed as one of the East Coast “highlights” in the Lonely Planet Taiwan Guide Book, this area has earned an international reputation that is well deserved. Within the Mugua River Gorge itself and in the surrounding area, there are an astounding number of wild and wonderful places to explore, including Emerald Valley, Tongmen, Liyu Lake, Wunlan, Zimu Falls, the Miyawan River, Rainbow Falls and more!
So put on some comfortable clothes and your walking shoes, bring along your swimsuit and a towel, and let’s go on a journey together to explore the wondrous destinations in and around the Mugua River Gorge!
The classic jumping off point for adventures to the Mugua River Gorge, Hualien City is a mellow beach town located on the East Coast of Taiwan. Nestled amid the surrounding green mountains, this is the easiest place to access tours of the Mugua River Gorge, Taroko Gorge National Park and so much more. There are also plenty of great places to eat in Hualien, so grab some “dan bing” for breakfast (a green onion pancake wrapped around fried eggs), before taking off on a wild journey into the forest!
Our first stop is Emerald Valley. This hidden valley, tucked away amidst the forest, is filled with several pristine swimming holes of clear, emerald coloured waters. Making one feel as if they’re in their own jungle hideaway. Though nearby Mugumuyu (a.k.a. Mugumuki) was long a hot spot for Chinese tourists, since it’s closure in 2016, the tourists have yet to discover the equally beautiful waters of Emerald Valley just 5 minutes away. It takes some hiking to get to, thankfully, so it’s not Tour Bus accessible!
Lying at the foot of Liyu Mountain, this tranquil lake is the largest freshwater lake in Hualien County. The name Liyutan, literally means “Carp Lake”, and stories vary as to the origin of the name. Did the lake used to be filled with carp? Does Liyu Mountain look like a carp when viewed from across the lake? Is the entire lake the shape of a carp when viewed from the sky?! One thing is for sure, the beauty and tranquility of the lake is the reason so many travelers have stopped for a rest by its shores. Visit in April and enjoy a marvelous sight as hundreds of fireflies come out in the evening, making the whole lake shimmer with lights! Check it out on a Hualien Rivers & Valleys Experience, a Mugua River Gorge Tour or a Butterfly Valley Tour!
The Miyawan River
Well off the beaten path, the Miyawan River is another nearby jewel of Hualien. With some of the best swimming holes around and the secret Rainbow Falls trail, the Miyawan is a wonderful place to visit year round. For a fun time swimming at the Miyawan, check our exclusive Hualien Rivers & Valleys Experience!
Speaking of waterfalls, there are so many amazing waterfalls in the Hualien area, and among them is the stunning Zimu Falls. Lying off a little trail near the aboriginal village of Tongmen, at Zimu you can find numerous blue swimming holes, only this time with a gorgeous waterfall to accompany them! There are no trail signs to Zimu falls, so it is highly recommended that you use a guide to get there.
Tongmen & Wunlan
The aboriginal villages of Tongmen & Wunlan also lie deep within the Mugua River Gorge. While Tongmen is famous for its hand crafted Truku Machetes, Wunlan is famous for its traditional longbow archery! Maybe if you’re lucky, you can catch an archery competition while you’re there or even have a chance to try a traditional wooden longbow yourself.
Visiting The Mugua River Gorge
With so many amazing spots to explore, the Mugua River Gorge is a must see for anyone visiting Taiwan. Far and away the easiest way to see all of this is to contact Island Life Taiwan and take one of our two different all-day, one of a kind visits to the Gorge . Either our easy, fun day out with lots of swimming on our Hualien Rivers & Valleys Experience or the more difficult back country hiking on the Mugua River Gorge Adventure. If you’re not already planning on travelling there yet, put it on your bucket list, because it’ll be an unforgettable experience of nature and culture!
Download Your Free 2018 Hualien Visitors Guide Here
About Island Life Taiwan
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!