Hualien lies in the eastern coast of Taiwan. Train journey from Taipei will take about 2 to 3 hours, depending on the type of train. Train ticket cost around NT$400. We took the train from the Taipei station. The train headed to the north-east of the Taiwan island before turning south. The train journey was pleasant, and we had simple lunch on the train. The food (rice with chicken) was OK and the train was clean and punctual. The only grumble I had was due to the noisy mainland woman sitting in front of me. Some people really need to learn to speak more softly in order to be more considerate to others.
The eastern coast of Taiwan is quite rugged. The main mountain range runs from north to south, and flat coastal land on the eastern Taiwanese coast is generally narrow. There are secluded beaches against backdrop of mountain and cliff. However, these are not fine sandy beaches, but pebble beaches.
As the train approaches Hualien, I could see several large cement manufacturing plant along the coast. I am sure the limestone for cement production is sourced from the nearby mountains. Besides being eyesores, these factories can also emit considerable dust. Therefore I wasn’t that happy with what I observed, though I understand people do need jobs and economic development.
When we got into our inn, we were told that the room was under repair. They gave an alternative accommodation at another homestay and taxi fares to get there. It’s further from the train station, but nearer the beach. The room was comfortable and spacious and they even put a coffee machine in our room. Bicycles were made available for us, which we then used to cycle to the beach area. We took about half an hour to cycle to a park by the sea.
The most popular night market in Hualien is the Zhiqiang night market. We had to take a taxi there. There were long queue at several stalls. We opted for oyster omellete and smelly taufu again.
Next … Hualien Part 2