The first time I planned to go to Hualien was in October of yesteryear, train tickets and hotels were already booked, but when I was close to the departure date, I suddenly fell ill. Until this year, my friend came to visit, so the two of us planned to travel to Hualien, Taiwan, a majestic but equally poetic natural land of Taiwan’s jade island. So, where to go in Hualien? Let’s check out our top rated 9+ must go places in Hualien, best places to visit in Hualien (Hualien places to visit, Hualien attractions) as well as suggested 3 days in Hualien (Hualien itinerary) as follows!
- Hualien 3 days itinerary — The suggested Taiwan Hualien itinerary & How to spend 3 days in hualien perfectly?
- What to do in Hualien? — 10 must, best things to do in Hualien & top things to do in Hualien
- Hualien travel blog — How to spend 2 days in Hualien (Hualien 2 days itinerary) perfectly?
- Taiwan itinerary 10 days — What to do & How to spend 10 days in Taiwan perfectly?
- Hualien travel guide — Top things to do & must go places in Hualien, Taiwan
How to get to Hualien?
There are many types of transport from Taipei to Hualien such as train, bus, plane or even bicycle (this case will be discussed later). However, the most convenient way will be by train, from Taipei you can go to Nangang MRT station that is connected to the TRA (Taiwan Railway Administration) system, from there go to the train station to catch the train to Hualien.
There are two types of trains: Local train and express train. If you take the local train, it takes about 3 hours and 15 minutes, and the express train takes only about two hours. Of course, a one-way local train ticket is only about NT$270, but the express train will cost you NT$419 in your account. I like to be fast, so I chose the Puyuma Express train, which departs at around 10 am, arrives at Hualien train station around 12am noon.
Before getting on the train, I took advantage of walking around Nangang station and bought some cakes to bite on the train, in case I arrived and have to spend time to go to the hotel, it would be past lunch time.
I have never been to Hualien, but the way from Taipei has teased the natural scenery that really makes people admire its majesty.
The high mountains sometimes appear in front of our eyes, sometimes hidden in the clouds, creating a sense of fantasy. On the other side, the waves of the Pacific Ocean undulate through each window of the train. In my opinion, the scenery along the east coast of Taiwan is much more beautiful than the road on the west coast (the way to Taichung/Nantou).
To illustrate this beauty, I will leave a picture that I took in the Venus Gallery in Hualien Harbor Waterfront Recreation Area below:
The train arrived in Hualien on time, we quickly picked our luggage to the gate, the taxi driver arranged by the hotel was already waiting to pick us up to the hotel.
Hualien is quite small and at first glance, it feels quite rustic, peaceful, different from the vibrant and bustling city of Taipei. There is no public transport here, the main means of transportation are cars and motorbikes.
The street is quite undulating in the way of going up and downhill, so riding a bicycle around the street is not possible. You can rent a motorbike or a tram for a little adventure on your own.
If you take the train station and Hualien bus station as the center (these two places are next to each other, only a few tens of meters away), there will be two main routes for Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus serving tourists from here. The first line is going north to Taroko National Park. The second line will head south towards Liyu Lake. So, if you are not near the train station, you will have to take a taxi from the hotel (as in our case). If you want convenience, you can book a hotel around the station, then walk to the bus station.
Where to go in Hualien: Best places to visit in Hualien, Taiwan (# hualien places to visit)
Two Lakes Bikeway (# hualien places to visit)
When it comes to Hualien, we immediately think of Taroko Park. However, for those who love cycling, Two Lakes Bikeway is a very popular road, no less than the bike lane around Sun Moon Lake which was voted by CNN as one of the ten most beautiful cycling routes by CNN.
Part of the National Bicycle Path Network, the route is named Two Lakes because it connects Qixingtan Beach and Liyu Lake, and most of the route will be meandering along the sea route through a variety of places such as Hualien Harbor Waterfront Recreation Area, Hualien Niaotashi park, Beibin park, Nanbin, etc. Visitors can rent bicycles or walk to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Ocean right in front of their eyes.
Two Lakes Bikeway is planned as a completely dedicated cycling route to ensure there is no conflict with other vehicles such as cars or motorbikes. The total length of the road from Qixingtan to Liyu is about 35 km, however, no one forces us to complete it, depending on our strength.
On the way, we can stop anywhere to admire the beautiful sea view, breathe in the fresh air, that feeling of relaxation is the most beautiful experience.
The starting point of this route is the beach of Qixingtan. Known as the most beautiful arc-shaped beach in Hualien, this place always attracts many tourists to check-in every year.
The special feature of this beach is that you can see the majestic Qingshui cliff, and at night we can enjoy the lights of Xincheng and Chongde areas.
The beach here is not the type of “blue sea, white sand, yellow sunshine” but all rocks. Big rocks of all shapes and sizes separate between the land and the sea like proud bodyguards lining up a horizontal line that requires you to make an effort to overcome to enjoy the close-up of the “rough and calm, loud and quiet” waves.
The beach here is almost no one bathing, but mainly watching the scenery and playing with the sometimes violent waves…
… sometimes it’s so soothing
The next place to visit is Hualien Harbor Waterfront Recreation Area. It was once the warehouse of Hualien Port and has now been converted into an exhibition space that includes the Venus Gallery.
While walking, I saw a large group of bicycles coming and stopping in front of Venus gallery cum the only refreshment cafe around here. When I asked about it, I found out that they were tourists from Singapore who came to join the Bike tour and cycled from Taipei to here.
I thought I heard wrong, so I asked again in surprise and admiration. It takes a very strong physical strength and steel spirit to be able to overcome such a long distance on their own because there are many women and quite old people in the group.
In the evening, while walking around the Dongdamen night market, I met several people in this group. Hualien makes a great stop before continuing on a further cycling journey to Taitung.
We also took advantage of visiting Venus Gallery to eat ice cream and walk around to admire a bit. This place is also not very big, and displays all kinds of things from paintings to sculptures, furniture, etc. Because the captions are all in Chinese, we can only satisfy the “look” of them, but we don’t understand anymore…
Leaving this place, we continue to Niaotashi Park.
It is said that once upon a time, when Hualien was not the Hualien of now, people rowed to this place and built a fishing village that they named “Niao Ta Shi Zai Fishing Village”. The name “Niao Ta Shi Zai” comes from the huge coral reef in the Hualien Sea with a lot of sea birds.
This village has many characteristics in culture as well as fishing, but had to be relocated in 1979 when the government built the fourth project of Hualien Port. Today, “Niao Ta Shi Zai” has become a name in the history of Hualien in particular and Taiwan in general.
The end of the Two Lakes bikeway that we visited was Nanbin Park.
Taroko Park (# must go places in hualien)
We spent a whole day in Hualien for the national park whose name means “wonderful” and “beautiful”.
Arriving at Hualien bus station, we were given a numbered card to board the Tourist Shuttle bus. Because we already have an Easy card, we don’t buy a pass for tourists. I also took a picture of the schedule of stops and the time of the car to watch the time in advance.
Since this park is full of mountains, the Taiwanese government constructed a lot of tunnels through the mountains and after a while I noticed that there was almost only one way.
The journey of the bus will go through all the important spots of Taroko such as Shakadang trail, Buluowan, Yanzikou, etc., but the way back and forth will be two different roads, so there is no same attractions. At first I saw the two points separated by a few minutes, so I thought I would get off at one point and then walk to the other, but that thought was completely wrong because going through the tunnel, it’s fast and the road here is not friendly for walkers.
We got off at Yanzikou. Seeing the word “Swallow” here, everyone must have imagined that it has something to do with this bird.
This place has a lot of swiftlets (Pacific Swallow) nesting in the rock holes. Visitors can mostly see swiftlets here all year round, but spring and summer are the breeding seasons for these birds. Sometimes I see a black streak fly by, so fast that I can’t even see it.
Crossing this suspension bridge will reach the other side of the gorge. However, at the top of the bridge there will be a door that is locked and managed by a park employee. The door is only open to allow visitors to enter this suspension bridge when that visitor has registered three days in advance.
We took a bus to another famous spot, Changchun Temple (Eternal Spring Shrine). This part of the river has almost dried up, so there is only stone, gravel left, you can walk. However, it is not possible to go down because it is locked.
The temple is nestled between the marble cliffs on the top of the waterfall, creating a spectacular scene like a picture that nature and people create together so that everyone who comes here has to admire.
Changchun means eternal spring, implying that nature here always has strong vitality.
The bridge itself has a bright red color like a dot in the middle of a blue sea of sky, trees and mountains, which also has a story of its own.
Changchun Bridge was built in the 1960s when the trans-island highway was formed. After half a century of service, the bridge was severely damaged and closed for safety in 2013. Then the new bridge – the one we see here today – was rebuilt along with site, kept the prototype as the old bridge and came into use from April 2014.
Steel for bridge construction was supplied by a German company and sold to the French government to build narrow gauge railways in Vietnam, but due to the war, it could not be transported to the destination, so it was brought through Thailand and passed through many hands before arrival in Taiwan.
Hualien with a small area, but the scenery here is really impressive. Unfortunately, on this trip to Hualien, we have not been able to visit some other places such as Liyu Lake, Qingshui cliff or Daylily flower farm at Liushidan Mountain… Taroko Park alone, I felt that one day was not enough.
Saying beautiful words forever can’t be compared to seeing with your own eyes. If we have the opportunity, we will definitely come back one more time to continue to experience the natural beauty bestowed on Hualien.
Where to stay? (# 3 days in hualien)
Below we recommend more best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels from $20 with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, to and from Hualien you can refer to
- Hualien Day Tour from Taipei
- Taroko Gorge Day Trips from Hualien
- Hualien Taroko National Park Private Car Charter
- Taroko Gorge, Swallow Grotto, & Seven Star Lake Day Tour
- [10% Off + 1 Extra Free Day] 4G SIM Card (TW Airport Pick Up) for Taiwan from Chunghwa Telecom
- 4G SIM Card (TPE Airport Pick Up) for Taiwan from Far EasTone Telecom
- [Sale – Taiwan Food Promo] Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) Discounted Ticket from Taipei
- Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) Discounted Ticket from Taoyuan
- THSR Exclusive Discount One Way Ticket from Taoyuan (Two Tickets for the Price of One)
If you have 3 days in Hualien, let’s check out our suggested Hualien itinerary 3 days here. Are you finding more top things to do in Hualien: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Hualien travel guide — Top things to do & must go places in Hualien, Taiwan.