The Best Things To Do In Hualien

Our Favorite Hualien Attractions

Island Life Taiwan is your #1 resource for all things Hualien! Our blog is loaded with informative articles by locals and our unique tours and experiences are top rated in the area. Check out all we have on offer!

Basecamp Hualien City

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.

The 5 Best Hualien Beach Spots!

Your Hualien Beach Guide

From the mountains to the sea, Hualien is a spectacularly beautiful region with plenty to explore. Looking for a place to gaze out at the ocean or maybe take a dip? Here are the 5 best Hualien Beaches!

1. Qixingtan Beach

Qishingtan Beach Hualien chishingtan beach

The most stunning beach area in the immediate Hualien City area, Qixingtan Beach is a sprawling stone covered beach with sweeping views galore. A common stop at the end of Taroko Gorge Tours, Qixingtan Recreation Area can have a small crowd in the late afternoon/evening. Thankfully, the beach and adjoining parks are so massive that it’s easy to get away and find your own quiet place to relax.

Swimming is NOT ALLOWED at Qixingtan, as the current is very strong here, but many people dip their feet in the cool, clean waters.

This is also a great place to ride a bicycle as there are many bicycle rental shops and paths throughout the abutting grassy park and bluffs. In addition, there are bathroom facilities, food vendors (think street snacks) and even showers to rinse the saltwater off your feet.

2. Jici Beach

One of Many things to do in hualien, a Taroko Gorge Tour in Hualien, Hualien Tour of Taroko Gorge National Park

There is a reason Coastal Highway 11 is so often listed as a one of the best stretches of road in all of Taiwan. About 30 minutes south of Hualien City is the best swimming beach in the Hualien Area. Jici Beach! Great for swimming in the summer time and surfing in the winter, Jici is one of only a handful of sand beaches along the central East Coast. Bathrooms, showers, changing rooms, snacks and drinks are all available at Jici. If a lifeguard is on duty, expect to pay a 100 TWD entrance fee.

To spend a killer day checking out some awesome stuff on the East Coast, we highly recommend this  Epic East Coast Explorer Tour which visits Jici beach and other amazing places along the stunning Highway 11.

3. Niushan Huting (Cow Mountain) Beach

What to do in hualien. East Coast Hualien tour Shihtiping on east coast tour

Niushan Huting or “Cow Mountain” sits hidden in a cove off Coastal Highway 11. The winding road down into the valley brings you to a hidden beach oasis surrounded by green mountains on all sides. A real “secret cove”.

An eclectic aboriginal B&B by the beach hosts a small cafe, bathrooms and an amazing collection of outdoor sculptures. Well worth the 50 TWD entrance fee. Enjoy an ocean swim (weather permitting) or take a lazy walk in the sand with your feet in the water. Lay out on the grassy hillside for a picnic or a little sunshine. One can easily spend hours relaxing in this stunning locale.

Cow Mountain beach is also visited on this East Coast Explorer Tour.

Continued Below

So Much More To Discover in Hualien!

4. Chongde Beach

One of Many things to do in hualien, a Taroko Gorge Tour in Hualien, Hualien Tour of Taroko Gorge National Park ATVs

Just north of the entrance to Taroko Gorge National Park lies this wide swath of beach leading right up to the towering Qingshui Cliffs. The best way to visit this Hualien beach is with Island Life Taiwan’s exclusive ATV add on to all Taroko Gorge area tours. No bathrooms, no facilities. Just EPIC views.

5. Beibin & Nanbin Beaches

These two recreation areas are directly across the road from the Hualien Nightmarket in downtown Hualien City. Pressed for time? Rent a bike and explore these lovely parks and stone beach areas with views of the Hualien port and beautiful sunrises. Swimming is not permitted as there is a steep drop off just a few feet into the water.

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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!

We’d Love to Help You Plan the Perfect Hualien Visit!  

Download Your Free 2019 Hualien Visitors Guide Here

 

things to do in hualien

Hualien tours, taroko gorge tours, taroko park and more

Taiwan Nature Attractions

For lovers of nature, Taiwan offers a shocking wealth of unique natural beauty and landscapes. From soaring green mountains to sprawling beaches, spectacular rivers to bizarre geologic wonders, there are countless adventures to keep you busy in the great outdoors. Here are just a few of the must-see destinations for nature lovers in Taiwan.

1. Taroko Gorge: 1-3 days

Taroko gorge trails in Taroko Park

The number-one item on anyone’s Taiwan nature agenda has to be Taroko Gorge National Park. Easily visited from Hualien City on Taiwan’s green East Coast, here you will have your choice of beautiful nature hikes amidst the largest marble canyon in the world. Towering cliffs, gushing waterfalls, turquoise rivers, and hundreds of species of butterflies, birds, insects, reptiles and mammals make this one of the most abundant natural areas in Asia.

While there you can add a day to hike the famed Zhuilu Old Trail,  a, former tribal hunting path carved into a cliff 700 meters above the gorge. Or, drive up 3,000 spectacular meters to the Hehuanshan Mountains to see rolling hills of pygmy bamboo high above the tree line. The massive Taroko Gorge National Park can’t be missed!

2. Hot Springs: 1-2 days

Taiwan sits along a geothermal hotbed and is home to countless rejuvenating natural hot springs. The Hualien-Taitung area alone boasts more than 20 different wild hot springs and hot spring resorts that you can visit! Looking for a relaxing day away from Hualien? Look no further than the Butterfly Valley Hot Springs in Fuyuan National Forest.

Feeling more adventurous? Be sure to take the long journey to the wild Lisong Hot Springs from Taitung. Nestled at the base of a river valley, the green mineral covered cliffs around Lisong are unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. The trip is not for the faint of heart, but well worth the effort! 

3. Kenting National Park: 2-3 days

This national park is a natural treasure filled with an impressive array of plants and animals. The forested park is fringed with beautiful beaches along the Bashi Channel, and people come from all over the world to swim, snorkel, and surf in the brilliant blue water. The interior of the park is no less beautiful, so don’t spend all your time at the beach if you visit! Be sure to take a stroll or a hike along the paths so you can appreciate the unique biodiversity around you.

4. The Beaches: 1-2 days

One of Many things to do in hualien, a Taroko Gorge Tour in Hualien, Hualien Tour of Taroko Gorge National Park
Taking a dip at Jici Beach

Taiwan is an island, so there are plenty of opportunities to relax on beaches. While the beaches of Taiwan aren’t all great for swimming, many being rock beaches rather than sandy beaches, they are still wonderful for relaxing and enjoying the tranquil sounds of the ocean. The Kenting area has the best sandy beaches, Baisha Beach and Little Bay being two of the best, but there are other sandy beaches throughout the island.

Niushan Huting (Cow Mountain) beach south of Hualien is one of the more beautiful.  This along with Jici Beach and others can be visited on this Epic East Coast Explorer tour from Hualien. 

5. Shihtiping: 1/2 day

Shihtiping on east coast explorer tour in hualien

A unique geologic wonder, Shihtiping is a bizarre coastal landscape where volcanic rock burst from the sea, and then was eroded over countless eons. Towering rock formations and incredible tidal pools teaming with sea life abound in this strange world between Taitung and Hualien. Off the shore, you can snorkel amidst coral reefs and see countless sea creatures, or just wander on the rocks among the crystal pools spying fish, crabs and more in natures aquariums.

This spectacular location is also visited on this popular Epic East Coast Explorer tour from Hualien. 

6. Lao Mei Green Rock Troughs: 1/2 day

If you enjoy the ocean, this is another special twist on your typical beach day. Lao Mei Beach in Xinbei, near Taipei, is home to a wild vista unlike any other in Taiwan. Here, the rocks at the edge of the sea appear as though there are a thousand nearly-straight trenches carved from the beach to the water! In the late winter and early spring, the rocks are covered with green algae that add a bit of magic to this already interesting place.

If you love nature and plan to visit Taiwan, you will never run out of amazing places to explore. You really won’t find destinations like these anywhere else in the world.

Other Wonderful Nature Locations

Alishan National Park, Green Island, The Walami Trail, The Liji Badlands, The Mugua River Gorge, Yuemeikeng Waterfall, Sixty Stone Mountain, The Qingshui Cliffs and More!

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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!

We Hope You Enjoy Your Visit!

Cow Mountain

The Hidden Cove Of Niushan Huting

There are few places in the world like Niushan Huting. This hidden beach cove and recreational area along Taiwan’s scenic East Coast could be one of the more memorable things you can experience during your visit to Hualien County. If you appreciate the little charms in life and enjoy getting off the beaten path, Niushan Huting just might be one of  your favorite things to do in Taiwan.

So come, answer the call of the wind and sea. Surround yourself with natural beauty and rustic simplicity. Peace and tranquility will never be a stranger when you take a visit to Niushan Huting

History of Niushan Huting

“Niushan Huting,” translates to cow mountain, a rather odd name for a beach one would think. Yet long ago, before this area was on the map, the rolling green hills surrounding this small bay were a place for local aboriginal tribespeople to graze their cows and other livestock. Then, in the mid 20th century, an outpost for the Taiwanese military was constructed here in the hidden cove, before eventually being destroyed by a typhoon. It wasn’t long before nature reclaimed the land, sweeping away the remains of the base to leave the beautiful rural area we can all now enjoy.

Niushan huting on an east coast explorer tour from hualien

Today, nestled on the property is a rustic bed and breakfast built by aboriginals from the area. Formed as a small group of cabins along the hillside and adorned with driftwood art, it is a perfect escape into the rural world of Taiwan. In fact, Martin Scorsese even filmed scenes here in 2016 for his film Silence, the rustic structures of Niushan Huting on the picturesque cove serving as a stand-in for 17th century Japan!

Don’t Forget the Camera!

Known for its stunning views, one can gaze out at the endless blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean, or turn your chair the other way and marvel at the grandiosity of the Coastal Mountain Range. Niushan Huting offers endless photo ops, and is a great place for travel bloggers and avid Intagrammers. You’ll also love photographing all the quirky corners of this beautiful place. Everything is made of driftwood, from the cabins to the décor. It’s outdated in the best way—cozy and comfortable, while maintaining a quaint antique feel. You won’t find silk sheets and a spa tub here, but you will find the whispers of the wind in a still rural setting and a certain feel of communing with nature. There is also a sprawling hillside lawn with aboriginal wood carvings to explore.

Go Off the Beaten Path

You’ll also have plenty of space to take it all in at Niushan Huting, as you’re not likely to run into anybody who will disturb your reveries while you are here. Not many tourists, especially foreigners, know about this place, and the steep cracked winding road down from Highway 11 is certainly not tour bus friendly. Niushan Huting is truly a rustic paradise nestled into the beautiful lush greenery of the Eastern Taiwan coastline you just can’t miss!

Where is Niushan Huting?

Niushan Huting is located at the edge of the Pacific Ocean off Taiwan’s famed scenic Highway 11. Here, you can enter the recreational area for just 50 NT Dollars. This price is well worth it for the private beach and grounds alone, but you can also redeem it at the eclectic café for food and beverages. Sipping a coffee while out for a stroll on the gold-sand beach is the perfect way to while away a relaxing morning!

How to Get There

Niushan Huting is a about 40 minutes from Hualien City in a rural area or Hualien County. You can take a day trip here as part of Island Life Taiwan’s East Coast Explorer Tour while visiting Hualien, or make a whole weekend out of a visit to this place. Whichever you decide, just be sure to visit! You’ll never again find a place quite like Niushan Huting.

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Download Your Free 2018 Hualien Visitors Guide Here

 

things to do in hualien

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!

We Hope You Enjoy Your Visit!

Taiwan Travel

Hualien & The East Coast

A small Island nation located in the Pacific Ocean with the Philippines to the south, Japan to its northeast, China to its west, and the vast Pacific Ocean to its east, Taiwan is home to vibrant culture, modern cities, sandy beaches, ornate temples, natural hot springs and dramatic mountain terrain. The presence of such beautiful landscapes and rich culture have made the country one of the top havens for international tourists in recent years. Here are the Top 5 things to do on the East Coast.

1. Visit Taroko Gorge National Park

One of Many things to do in hualien, a Taroko Gorge Tour in Hualien, Hualien Tour of Taroko Gorge National Park

One of nine National parks in Taiwan, the spectacular Taroko Gorge National Park is so vast it spans three counties across Taiwan’s East Coast – Hualien County, Taichung Municipality and Nantou County. It is possibly the most remarkable and diverse spot in Taiwan for tourists to walk amidst massive canyons, lush mountain forests, rushing rivers and waterfalls, abundant wildlife, and a wide variety of different ecological settings.

Take an early start Taroko Gorge Tour to visit some of the cant-miss sights before the tour bussus get there. Some top spots include the Eternal Springs Shrine, Changuang Temple, The Tunnel of Nine Turns, Shakadang Trail, the Qingshui Cliffs, Cimu Bridge, Swallow Grotto and more.

Your visit to Taiwan just wouldn’t be complete without a day or more at Taroko Gorge National Park!

2. Swim in the Mugua River Gorge

Hualien Rivers & Valleys Tour

If you’re lucky enough to be in Taiwan and you love experiencing incredible natural beauty, you have GOT to visit the Mugua River Gorge. An area in Taiwan blessed with mesmerizing, crystal clear waters, waterfalls, lush forests and unique aboriginal culture; it is a terrific way to spend a day while in the Hualien area.

This area is listed as one of the East Coast “highlights” in the Lonely Planet Taiwan Guide book, and for good reason. Within the Mugua River Gorge itself and in the surrounding area, there are numerous places to explore, including Emerald Valley, Tongmen, Liyu Lake, Wunlan, Zimu Falls, the Miyawan River, Rainbow Falls and more!

3. Cruise Down the East Coast

One of Many things to do in hualien, a Taroko Gorge Tour in Hualien, Hualien Tour of Taroko Gorge National Park

Stretching between the Pacific Ocean and the Coastal Mountain Range lies the stunning East Coast National Scenic Area. Home to dozens of awesome spots including beaches, gorges, coral reefs and more, the magical drive down Taiwan’s Coastal Highway 11 is an absolute must experience.

Some highlights include Niushan Huting (Cow Mountain), Jici beach, Fanshuliao Gorge and the unreal Shihtiping. A spectacular coastal rock formation created by the constant tectonic collisions of the Earth’s plates and millions of years of oceanic erosion, Shihtiping is a remarkable place you have to see in person to fully appreciate.

The easiest way to spend a day exploring the East Coast from Hualien is with this fun and popular East Coast Explorer tour.

4. Hike the Zhuilu Old Trail (Jhuilu Old Trail)

Taroko gorge trails in Taroko Park, Zhuilu Old Trail tour

Do you like heights?! Do you like the idea of walking on a 90cm wide trail carved into the side of a cliff, 700 METERS above the canyon floor?! Did we mention, no ropes or guardrails? Welcome to the Zhuliu Old Trail. An old Truku tribal hunting path, widened slightly by the Japanese military during their occupation of Taiwan, this trail is a once in a lifetime experience for the daring amongst us. The 6 km roundtrip hike is not for the faint-hearted as you will spend between 3 to 6 hours in total hiking up and down the trail. The 2.5km hike up the mountain to the cliff portion often requires rest stops to catch your breath and coming down requires breaks to give your knees and thighs a rest.

This trail REQUIRES SPECIAL PREARRANGED PERMITS and has very regulated access. Book ahead as a limited number of permits are issued each day. This trail is most typically visited via a Zhuliu Old Trail Tour that will arrange all necessary permits and transport.

5. Try Some Local Delicacies at the Dongdamen Night Market

Hualien Night Market,Hualien restaurants, best restaurants in hualien

Since the emergence of Hualien’s Dongdamen Night Market, Hualien’s local cuisine has become a must experience stop on any trip to Taiwan’s East Coast.  When the sun sets, the sprawling marketplace becomes an energetic scene ready to entertain and placate any visitor’s taste buds.  Food stalls line the promenades, live local musicians take the outdoor stage and carnival games a plenty are sure to entertain the kids at heart.

An entire section dedicated to local aboriginal cuisine offers plenty of new taste experiences for the curious traveler. All in all, the Dongdamen Night Market is a wonderful, lively place to try local food and experience entertainment with friends or family. All without draining the pockets.

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So Much More To Discover in Hualien!

While seeing all of the spots on our list by yourself would be difficult, Island Life Taiwan offers well-constructed day tours to most of these places and so much more. There are so many things to do in Taiwan and Hualien County, why would you not?

Download Your Free 2019 Hualien Visitors Guide Here

 

things to do in hualien

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!

Hualien tours, taroko gorge tours, taroko park and more
We Hope You Enjoy Your Visit!