The Best Things to do in Taiwan: 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.
All of this and SO MUCH more can be found in our 2019 Hualien Visitors Guide. We hope you enjoy!
1. Visit 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 busus 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
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
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)
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.
Several suspension bridges await you on the trail as well. Bring plenty of water and snacks as there is nowhere to obtain either on the trail. Trekking poles can be helpful as well for the steep portions. 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
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.
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!