Hualien City compels visitors to Taiwan to venture to the other side of the island. The less chaotic, frantic and urban side of the Central (Chungyang) Mountain Range, in other words. To explore Hualien, a city of 110,000 people, is to confab with a different part of Taiwan altogether, miles from the skyscrapers, scooters and night markets of Taipei and Kaohsiung.
Indeed, the gateway to the relatively quiet, castoff east coast and Pacific Ocean half of the island is a far cry from the maniacal congestion of the national capital. The emphasis in Hualien City is on scenic areas, from Cisingtan to Mei Lun Mountain Park, Taroko Gorge to the rest of the Central Mountains.
Hualien’s Top 10
10. Tzu Chiang Night Market is a seductive hive of activity in Hualien.
5. Hehuanshan National Forest Recreation Park is a pre-eminent oasis on the island.
9. County Stone Sculptural Museum shows why Hualien is the “City of Marble”.
4. East Coast National Scenic Area spans some of the most spectacular scenery in Taiwan.
8. Hualien Fish Mark is a throwback and good place to commune with locals.
3. Cisingtan Scenic Area is top flight for ocean ecology and recreation.
7. Liyu Lake (Carp Lake) is a premier national forest recreation park.
2. Yushan, or Jade Mountain, is the foremost summit in Taiwan. 125 mi/200 km from Hualien City.
6. East Rift Valley National Scenic Area is perfect for cyclists and lovers of geothermal waters.
1. Taroko National Park is home to the most famous scenic landmark in Taiwan, Taroko Gorge.
- A Mei Wenhua Village – This historic village in Hualien offers a glimpse of the rich past of the region.
- Henan Temple – This temple in Hualien is a great place to learn about the religious history of the area.
- Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village – Located just outside of Hualien, this historical attraction allows visitors to imagine what life was like in ancient Taiwan.
- Chung Tai Chan Monastery – Working monastery just outside of Hualien offers visitors a chance to see how monks live.
- Wen Wu Chao – Home to many historically important buildings including the Wen Wu Temple of Sun Moon Lake.
Hualien Art & Culture
- Shihtiping – Come see an ancient fishing village that is still very much a part of the culture of Hualien.
- Chi-lai-bi Lighthouse – This cultural attraction can be seen from all over the city.
- Cihui and Shen’an Temple – A great example of local architecture.
- Taroko Gorge – The national park houses important cultural monuments and great hiking trails.
- Centre for Traditional Arts – This art centre houses great traditional Chinese art.
- Nanbin Night Market – The largest and most famous night market in Hualien.
- Hualien Fish Market – Come get the freshest seafood in Hualien and stay to eat.
- Tseng’s – This eatery is famous for its local delicacies, such as mashed sticky rice.
- Thann Specialty Store – This unique Hualien store features many of the plant and herbs from the region.
- Parkview – Located inside a hotel, this Hualien shopping centre offers a little bit of everything.
Gay & Lesbian Hualien
- Lover’s Karaoke – A favourite spot among the local gay and lesbian community of Hualien to sing the night away.
- Zhong Shan Park – This lovely Hualien park is known as a great place to meet new people of all types.
- Guo Xing Sauna – This gay sauna is a favorite spot to relax and take a steam in Hualien.
- G5 – This gay and lesbian disco outside of Hualien is a popular nightspot known for its dance floor.
- Jump – This hotspot near Hualien holds monthly dance parties that cater to the gay and lesbian crowd.
- Tungmen – One of the best areas in Hualien to do some hiking.
- Tienhsiang – The scenery along these hiking trails make them a favorite of outdoor enthusiasts.
- Bashiendong Cave – This system of caves in Hualien is a popular place to take a hike.
- Ching-Shui Cliff – These geologic formations in Hualien offer great views and photo opportunities.
- Chishingtan Beach – Although not great for swimming, this Hualien beach is a popular place to take a stroll.
- Take a hike around Fuyuan Forest.
- Ride your bike around Hualien’s Gangbin Bike Trail.
- Hike to the top of Loshan Waterfall for great views of Hualien.
- Raft or kayak on the LiWu River in Hualien.
- Swim in the beautiful waters near ChiChi Beach.
Day and weekend trips to the Central Mountain Range lure many to Hualien City. The city is the principal portal to the remarkable East Rift Valley section of Taiwan, one of the inimitable must-see areas of the island.
Hot springs in Hualien County lure international tourists and Taipei residents alike to soothe aches and cares away.
The International Stone Sculpture Arts Festival takes place every two years and serves as a tribute to Hualien County’s chief export.
The Summer Harvest Festival is a vital event for many aboriginal tribes in Taiwan.
When To Go
Hualien is a popular holiday spot for domestic tourists. With that, the best time to visit is outside of weekends and national civic holidays. If you prefer to explore notable scenic areas like Taroko and Yushan without crowds in the way, try to target a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
Like the rest of Taiwan, Hualien has a monsoon, humid subtropical climate. Rather predictably, air quality is superior to Taipei. Temperatures in the wet season from May to October run from 73°F (23°C) to 88°F (31°C) while the “dry” season sees a drop from 61°F (16°C) to 81°F (27°C). On the whole, it rains 20 days per month, minimum, in Hualien.
Spring, in the esteem of many observers, is the best season to experience many of the natural wonders that dot the east coast of Taiwan.
Most visitors to Hualien arrive via Taipei. Though not far distance-wise, the drive is approximately five hours. Hualien Airport is tiny and handles the odd domestic flight and international charter.
Express trains, however, can often navigate the journey in less than four hours. Grab a spot on the left side of the train for incomparable views of the coast.
Hualien City is small enough to explore on foot or via bicycle. Scooters, ever-popular in Taiwan, abound of course. For day trips to national parks and the like, rent a car, hire a taxi or book a tour bus.
9 hotels in Hualien, TW
Situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Chungyang Range, Hualien Chateau De Chine Hotel offers holidaymakers a convenient base while exploring the area. Guests can easily visit popular tourist... More
No.139, Guolian 5th Rd., Hualien City, Hualien County 970, Taiwan (R.O.C.) Map
Classic City Resort Hualien is a modern hotel with European-themed accommodations set next to the train station that caters to discerning travellers in this side of Taiwan. Guests at this... More
No. 99 -1, ZHong Mei Road, Hualien City, Hualien, Taiwan Map
Offering tasteful accommodations that provide views of picturesque natural attractions and access to top points of interest, Li Shiuan International Hotel Hualien makes for an ideal base for... More
-Cullinan hotel is well-positioned in Hualien City, Cullinan Hotel is the ideal point of departure for your excursions in Hualien City. With its location just 1km from the city center and 8km from... More
Moroccan Holiday Suite Hualien welcomes guests to experience the North African hospitality, comfortable accommodation and quality services. Famous attractions located at convenient distance from... More
With modern accommodations set conveniently close to local attractions and transport links, Liga Hotel Hualien creates an ideal starting point for travellers seeking to explore this city in east... More
The hotel has an atrium styled restaurant and a library, where travellers can experience premium services at an affordable price. More
Sophisticated and elegant, Fullon Hotel Hualien delivers deluxe accommodations combined with friendly service in downtown Hualien. The property offers discerning travellers convenient access to... More