Hualien Country

HOW TO GET THERE
 

CKS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

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The CKS International Airport - (take the buses of Guo-Guang Motor Transit Co., Jian-Ming Motor Transit Co.) - Sung-Shan airport - Hualien airport

KAOHSIUNG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

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Kaohsiung Xiao-Guang Airport - Hualien Airport

Hualien is the meeting point of the Central Cross-Island Highway, Suau-Hualien Highway, and highways leading south to Taitung. Apart from the natural beauty of the city, Hualien also offers tourists many other attractions: the waterfront Seaside Park; Nanbin Park with its numerous marine sculptures, the "Hawaii of the East" Resort built in Polynesian style, reef walking and rock collection at Chishingtan, and the Buddhist Jingsz Temple. At 108 meters in height, Mt. Meilun is the landmark of Hualien; it is also the site of Jungjeng Park, and this provides fine views of the city. Facilities in the park include a children's playground, footpaths, and an old railway locomotive. The park also contains an exhibition hall with displays of seismographs that were used to detect earthquakes beginning in 1933 but have now been replaced by more modern equipment.


NATIONAL PARK

  • Taroko National Park
    Historical Background : Taroko became a national park in 1986, including Hualien County, Nantou County and Taichung County. It is the second largest national park in Taiwan. Taroko is famous for its spectacular mountains and marble canyons. Cliffs and canyons stretch along Li Wu River. Four million years ago, the island of Taiwan was formed by the collision of plates. After millions of years of wind erosion, the marble rocks were exposed and cut by Li Wu River, creating impressive grand canyons. From Tsing Shui to Nan Hu Peak, the drop height is 3,742 meters. Such special geography has also bred special flora and fauna in this area.
    Cultural Highlights : The waterfalls characterized Taroko National Park and the most famous ones are Pai Yang Waterfall, Yin Tai Waterfall, Chang Chun Waterfall, and Lu Shui Waterfall. Yen Tze Kou and Chiu Chu Tung are the most impressive natural scenes in Taroko and the canyons here are the narrowest. Tourists can appreciate the natural beauty along the tour track. Swallows nest on the cliff, chirping and flying back forth. The Taroko monumental is designed in Chinese style and Chang Chun Temple is to remember those who sacrificed their lives for building the central highway.

     

NATIONAL SCENIC AREA

  • East Rift Valley National Scenic Area
    The East Rift Valley National Scenic Area covers the inter-mountain valley in Hualien and Taitung counties, but does not include nine urban planning areas within the valley of the National Dong Hwa University special district. The total area is 138,368 hectares. The East Rift Valley National Scenic Area Administration was established on April 15, 1997, to take responsibility of the area's development work, and a total of NT$500 million will have been invested in this area by the end of fiscal year 2000.
     

  • The East Coast National Scenic Area
    The East Coast National Scenic Area, known as "Taiwan's last unspoiled land", stretches 170 kilometers down the east coast of the island from the mouth of the Hualien River in the north to Shiauyeliou (Little Yeliou) in the south. To the east it is bounded by the Pacific Ocean; to the west rises the Coastal Mountain Range. The land here consists of volcanic rock, classic rock from deep beneath the sea, and shale that has been pushed upward- and is still being pushed upward- by tectonic action. Weathering, erosion, and accumulation have produced a wide range of landforms here, including coastal terraces, sand and pebble beaches, shoreline reefs, inshore islands, and capes along with sea-eroded platforms, trenches, and caves. This varied topography provides habitat for a rich diversity of flora and fauna. The East Coast is the primary homeland of the Amis aboriginal tribe. Amis villages' dot the coastline, and the harvest festivals that they hold in July and August every year offer visitors an opportunity to gain insights into the culture of this unique people. Before the Amis settled here there were prehistoric peoples who came and went, leaving a rich store of artifacts and ancient sites that can still be seen today. Among the more modern cultural features of the coastline are enchanting temples, churches, and quaint fishing villages. This rich store of natural and cultural assets prompted the Tourism Bureau to establish the East Coast National Scenic Area in 1988, and to engage in the active development of the leisure resources here.
     

FOREST PLEASURE GROUND

  • Chi Nan Forest Park
    Historical Background : Chi Nan Forest Park lies in Shoufong, Hualien County, established in 1981. It is in the south of the Carp Lake and is 5 hectares in area. It was a transportation center for the logging industry in the past. Therefore, there is a timber museum in the park, exhibiting the machines and history of the logging industry in Taiwan. This park overlooks the Carp Lake and has very beautiful scenery.
    Cultural Highlights : The rails, carts and tools for the logging industry are still preserved in the forest. The timber museum is located in the center of the park and it has a complete collection of historic documents, introducing the development of the logging industry in Taiwan. The cable car used for transportation of timber in the past is now used to transport tourists. Tourists can camp, barbeque and fish in the park.

     

  • Chrnan Forest Recreation Area
    Located in Fonglin Town, Hualien County, Pinglin Recreational Farm covers an area of 726 hectares. It makes use of the alluvial deposits of Shoufong Stream to grow such crops as guavas, avocados, starfruit, lemons, oranges, and peaches all the four seasons of the year. Another part of the farm is devoted to educational plantings of medicinal herbs and flower beds. In the dairy area and petting zoo area, visitors can get close to cows and other animals. Other facilities include a landscaping area, camping and barbecue area, a creek stocked with loaches to catch, and a visitor center.
     

  • Fuyuan Forest Recreation Area
    The Fuyuan Forest Recreation Area is located in the mountain foothills three kilometers to the west of Fuyuan Village in Rueisuei Township. In addition to having the largest stand of camphor trees of any recreation area in Taiwan, its 190 hectares also features a butterfly valley (where the butterflies swarm from March to August) and scenic waterfalls. As you stroll along the footpath through the camphor forest, you can learn all about the area's insects, birds, trees, and other vegetation from the explanatory plaques that are positioned there. Fuyuan Stream, which runs through the recreation area, offers an abundance of boulders in interesting shapes as well as intermittent hot springs. Following the stream upwards into the gorge, and you will soon come to a series of waterfalls that cascade over sheer cliffs.
     

  • Ho Huan Shan
    Historical Background : Mt Hehuan sits at the junction of Nantou and Hualien county, and it consists of seven linked peaks that make up the Hehuan Mountain Group. Mt Hehuan stands three of four hundred meters above sea level, and it is situated where the northeast monsoon meets the Pacific air currents, so that the humidity is high when the cold fronts arrive each winter. Besides, the windward slope of Mt. Hehuan is less steep, and the entrance into the valley there is shaped like a pocket, allowing for thick snowfalls, and resulting in the only skiing field in Taiwan.
    Cultural Highlights : Mt. Hehuan and the greater Mt. Nan-Hu are both places which accumulate the most snow in the wintertime. But because the road to Mt. Hehuan is more accessible, it has become the most popular skiing and snow viewing grounds in Taiwan. The snow on Mt. Hehuan is formed by two air currents which follow the Lan Yang Creek and Li Wu Creek to Mt. Hehuan; the air currents converge and rest above Mt. Hehuan, and formulate snow upon the arrival of the cold fronts. Snow may accumulate to over one meter during winter, providing the only natural skiing ground in Taiwan. Kur-Nan Pass, which lies below Shihmen Mountain, acts as the diving line for Li-Wu Creek and Da-Jia Creek. Huge imposing boulders sit at the source of these creek. Not far from Kur-Nan Pass is a small path used by hikers, that leads to the top of Shihmen Mountain within 20 minutes hiking distance. Shihmen Mountain is approximately 3237 meters high, and it is one of the hundred peaks of Taiwan.

     

FARM / SCENERY

  • Chilai Ridge
    The forbidding cliffs facing Mt. Hehuan to the south, across a deep valley, belong to Chilai Ridge , a magnificent, saw-tooth knife-edge that stretches for 30 kilometers from north to south. Although quite dangerous, particularly in its southern part, the ridge can be negotiated for its entire length, and presents one of the most exciting and challenging mountain walks in the whole of Taiwan. Hiking the Chilai Ridge is an adventure that should not be lightly undertaken. This is particularly because camping overnight is required, and cold, wet weather and high winds can make this particularly dangerous. Moreover, there is no drinking water on the ridge proper, so you have to bring your own supply. Starting from Hehuan Cottage the path to Chilai initially goes downhill before rising for 200 meters or so, then plunging another 600 meters into a valley below. From here, it is all- uphill, and steeply at that. After about an hour of pushing through forest and tall bamboo, a series of round huts is reached, which can be used for overnight accommodation. This is also the last place to obtain water before the end of the ridge. The trail ascends steeply over ground made treacherous by tree roots. With increased altitude, the forest becomes sparser until it is replaced by a mass of broken rocks. After negotiating a rocky gully, there is a long traverse across rock and scree until a final ascent to the top of the ridge.
     

  • Pinglin Recreational Farm
    Located in Fonglin Town, Hualien County, Pinglin Recreational Farm covers an area of 726 hectares. It makes use of the alluvial deposits of Shoufong Stream to grow such crops as guavas, avocados, starfruit, lemons, oranges, and peaches all the four seasons of the year. Another part of the farm is devoted to educational plantings of medicinal herbs and flower beds. In the dairy area and petting zoo area, visitors can get close to cows and other animals. Other facilities include a landscaping area, camping and barbecue area, a creek stocked with loaches to catch, and a visitor center.
     

  • Suao-Hualien Highway
    In addition to the Central Cross-Island Highway, another road that offers considerable attractions for the tourist is the old Suao-Hualien Highway. First opened to traffic in 1932, this 118-kilometer-long road was the first government-built road in the area, but its origins go back to 1874, when a road was first cut between Suao and Hualien under order of the imperial Chinese government. North along the road from Hualien is the Chungde Control. In the early stages of its development, the road could carry traffic in only one direction at a time, and vehicles had to wait at the control station for convoys going the opposite direction to pass. It rapidly developed into a spot where travelers would stop to enjoy the scenery, have a snack, and buy souvenirs. At the northern mouth of Chungde Tunnel, 182.5 kilometers along the Suao-Hualien Highway, is the Shiahai Trail. This is a perfect spot to view the Pacific Ocean. A walk of 10 minutes down the trail brings visitors to a shingle beach featuring limestone formations and a variety of rock-growing plants. The 20-kilometer stretch of highway between Chungde and Heping is the most tortuous and spectacular section of the Suao-Hualien Highway. Cliffs of gneiss and marble from sheer drops of more than a thousand meters, and the road winds its way precariously between the cliffs on one side and the ocean on the other. After this stretch, the road runs through to Heping and Guanyin, funnily reaching Nanau and Dungau. In the vicinity of Nanau, the Wushr Promontory protrudes majestically into the Pacific Ocean, dividing the Suao-Hualien coastline into the Nanau and Dungau bays. Dungau is a major producer of lilies; moreover, the Japan Current brings this coastal area a rich annual harvest of fish.
     

  • The Carp Lake
    Historical Background : The Carp Lake is located in Shofong, Hualien County. The Carp Lake used to have abundant carps and the area is 104 hectares. It is the largest inland freshwater lake in Hua Lien. In addition, the Carp Lake is also famous for its beautiful scenery, attracting many tourists. However, due to the development of out-ring highways, the number of tourists has declined. Therefore, local people have endeavored to conserve the environment and set up resort hotels, hoping to revive tourism around the Carp Lake.
    Cultural Highlights : The Carp Lake is suitable for camping and picnicking. Surrounded by mountains, the Carp Lake is tranquil and peaceful. Tourists can sail on boats to appreciate the beauty of nature. The tour track around the lake is 4 kilometers long and tourists can either walk or ride bicycles along the track. In addition, gliders are also available here with the guidance of professional trainers.

     

  • The Central Cross-Island Highway
    The 277-kilometer Central Cross-Island Highway was opened to traffic on June 5, 1960 to provide access to the resources of Taiwan's East Coast and mountain regions. The project also provided work for many demobilized soldiers.The Central Cross-Island Highway extends from Taroko in the east to Dungshr in the west. It follows the old Hehuan Alpine Road that was cut by the Japanese along an aboriginal trail. Manual labor had to be used for most of the construction work, for the trail wound through tortuous ravines and under cliffs, and the mountainside was steep and friable. Less than three kilometers along the highway are Changuang Temple, Taroko Tower, Eternal Spring Shrine, and Eternal Spring Waterfall Scenic Site. The Eternal Spring Shrine was rebuilt in 1958 as a memorial to the 212 workers who lost their lives during the construction of the Central Cross-Island Highway. It houses a statue of Buddha and a roll of honor carved in stone. In 1982, the provincial government erected Taroko Tower next to the Eternal Spring Shrine in memory of three visits to the area by the late President Chiang Kai-shek. The second floor contains a bronze bust of Chiang Kai-shek and is also an excellent lookout point.
     

  • The Hua-tung valley
    Hua-tung has beautiful scenery, abundant natural resources and unique cultural attractions.The Hua-tung valley, surrounded by the central and coastal mountain range, is located right where two massive tectonic plates, the Philippine Plate and the Euro-Asian Continental plate, collide. The collision between these two plates causes the formation of fault lines. The erosion by the Hualien, Hsiukuluan and Bunan rivers helped to diversify the geological variety in the Hua-tung valley; resulting in valleys, falls, hot springs, streams, riverbeds, alluvial plains, faults and swamps. The altitude difference in the Hua-tung valley is more than two thousand meters, and crosses both tropic and sub-tropic zones. The location and the aqueous environment have resulted in abundant wildlife in this region.The Hua-tung valley is home to both aboriginal and prehistoric cultures. The Shiaopa historic site, located in Rehuei Township, is one of the prehistoric cultural relics. There are nine aboriginal tribes in Taiwan. Four of them, the Amei, Atayal, Bunun and Puyuma tribes, inhabit the Hua-tung valley. The Amei tribe is famous for its folklore singing and dancing, clothing and sacrificial culture. The Atayal is the only tribe that has facial tattoo customs. Matriarchal society is prevailing in the traditional Puyuma tribe. Millet is deeply involved in the sacrificial culture for the Bunun tribe. One sacrificial song called Pasibutbut is famous worldwide.
     

  • Whale-and Dolphin-Watching Activities
    The east coast of Taiwan faces the Pacific Ocean and is blessed with abundant marine resources.Many dolphins have been sighted off this coast,and migrating schools of large whaleshave been as well.Species sighted here include humback whales,blue whales,sei whales,grey whals,killer whales,etc.Now whale-and dophin-whatching has become a new eco-tourism activity in eastern Taiwan.
     

GENERAL

  • Antong Hot Spring
    The Antong Hot Spring is located on the bank of Antong Stream southeast of Yuli Town. The clear water of this alkaline spring is clear but has the unpleasant odor of hydrogen sulfide. It emerges from the ground in copious quantities at a temperature of 66 degrees Celsius. It is said to cure wounds, skin ailments, and gastric complaints, among other things. Visitors here can choose between a Japanese hot-spring hotel and a modern-style hostelry.
     

  • Baiyang Trail
    The entrance of the Baiyang Trail is located about 300 meters from Tianshiang on the Central Cross-Island Highway. Near Wenshan, hikers will come upon the tunnel that is the beginning of the Baiyang Trail. Along the trail there are six tunnels of different lengths that provide a certain frisson as groups feel their way through the semi-darkness. The longer tunnels have solar-powered lights. This trail is particularly popular with locals, for it has an atmosphere of mystery and romance. A turn in the trail at the end of the third tunnel offers an excellent view of Datszjili River, and at the end of the sixth tunnel the truly spectacular goal of the trail, Baiyang Waterfall, comes into view. The water roars as it plunges into the deep pool that it has worn in the rock. The Baiyang Suspension Bridge offers spectacular views of the waterfall and the river valley. A seventh tunnel leads to a cave behind the falls;because of the danger of falling rocks, this area is closed to the public. Although this trail is not physically challenging, additional clothing may be necessary to ward off chilly air in the vicinity of the Baiyang Waterfall and back takes approximately 1.5 hours.
     

  • East Coast : Fanshuliau
    Located at the 28-kilometer mark down the Highway 11, Fanshuliau offers views of two strongly contrasting types of topography, both created by the Fanshuliau River: a wide valley made up of accumulated sediment, and a narrow, vertical-walled gorge which has been cut through the mountains by the relentless wearing action of the flowing water. The gorge is somewhat similar to the famous Taroko Gorge, and offers the most remarkable vistas of this type of terrain on the East Coast. A local legend has it that the aborigines living here in the distant past so revered courage that they promised to make chief whoever could vault across the gorge. Many young braves tried; all fell to heir death. The bamboo poles that they used in their attempts survived, however, becoming a living bamboo grove that still thrives in the gorge today.
     

  • East Coast : Jigi Bay
    At the 37-kilometer point along Highway 11, differential erosion has formed this beautiful, curved bay edged by a sandy beach about 2.5 kilometers long. This beach, the closest to Hualien on the East Coast, is ideal for camping, swimming, playing in the water, or simply relaxing. The Bachi Recreation Area, located high on the mountainside at the northern end of the beach, is the perfect place for a bird's-eye view of the graceful curve of the bay and the waves breaking on the shore.
     

  • East Coast : Shitiping
    The shoreline at Shitiping, which is situated at the 65-kilometer point on the coastal highway, was formed when volcanic rock worn smooth by sea erosion was uplifted in layers that resemble stone steps-which is just what the shrti of the name means. The geological structure here is made up of whitish-gray volcanic tuff that is strikingly different from the rock seen in other parts of the East Coast. A wide variety of coastal vegetation and sea lives make this an excellent place to observe the coastal geology and marine ecology. The Visitor Center at Shitiping contains illustrations and explanations of the local topography, sea life, and vegetation that help make your visit more educational as well as interesting. There is also a campground where visitors may spend the night.
     

  • East Rift Valley : Liyu (Carp) Lake
    Carp Lake is located in Shoufong Township, just south of Hualian. With an area of approximately 104 hectares, it is the largest lake in this region; its size caries somewhat, however, with the amount of rainfall.
    The lake is encircled by a four-kilometer road that can be walked in about an hour. Popular activities include camping, picnic, and rowing on the lake. When the weather is favorable paragliders take off from Mt. Liyu just to the east of the lake, adding splashes of color to the green mountain landscape.

     

  • Eternal Spring Shrine Trail
    The starting point of this trail is the tunnel that leads from the highway to the Eternal Spring Shrine. This is definitely a trail for those who don't mind exerting themselves; for although it is not long, it is extremely steep. Those who suffer from vertigo should probably avoid this trail as well, for it has an intimidationg bridge-crossing, and part of the trail also follows a mountain ridge, which falls away steeply on either side. Reaching the highest point of the trail takes about 25 minutes of walking along a path that zigzags up a steep slope. The highest point is marked by a bell tower. Most people make this their resting point, but the very best views can be obtained from a point about five minutes further along, where all the grandeur of the mountain peaks and billowing clouds is revealed. From this point on, the trail leads downhill, a welcome rest for weary legs. About 20 minutes along the trail is the Dungtianshianfu , a cave shrine carved into the rock. Visitors can dimly see a statue of Buddha and Buddhist murals in the semi-darkness of the cave. To the left is Taroko Tower, half-hidden in the wild grass. The trail then leads on to Changuang Temple. From here there is a road back to the Central Cross-Island Highway from where hikers can return to Eternal Spring Shrine.
     

  • Flora & Fauna
    The ground cover in Taroko Gorge is primarily broadleaf forest , with tropical monsoon rain forest in the area between Taroko and the Tianshiang/Wenshan area. The cliffs provide habitat for a wide variety of rock plants, the most representative being a kind of bamboo called Luju; (Anundo donax).Other plants include the Chrysanthemum Morii Hayata and the Heteropappus hispidus oldhami, which are common along the Liushuei--Heliou Trail, and the Taiwan toad lily, which lines the Eternal Spring Shrine Trail. Chrysanthemum and bamboo grow in abundance near Lotus Lake and along the Meiyuan--Jutsuen Trail. Along the Shenmi Valley Trail, a profusion of bird nest ferns can be found growing on rocks or amid the broadleaf trees.
     

  • Guangfu Sugar Mill
    In addition to its sugar products, the Guangfu Sugar Mill is famous for producing more than 30 kinds of naturally flavored ice items. Many people who are traveling through the town of Guangfu stop here to enjoy a huge helping of refreshing ice cream in a cool pavilion beside a pool filled with colorful koi carp. If you are hungry, you can have an appetizing and inexpensive buffet meal at the mill's restaurant. Getting there: The mill is located approximately 50 kilometers south of Hualien. If you are traveling by highway bus, get off at the Guangfu stop. If you are driving, take Highway 9 south from Hualien to Guangfu and turn left on the road to the mill. Iced products supply: 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
     

  • Hongye Hot Spring
    Clear alkaline water at a temperature of 47 degrees Celsius fills the tubs at Hongye. This spa was first developed during the period of Japanese occupation (1895-1945) and still has a charming old Japanese-style hot-spring hotel.
     

  • Hua Tung Valley Tourist District
    Historical Background : Hua Lien and Tai Tung are located in eastern Taiwan, featuring beautiful scenery and unsophisticated local culture. It contains abundant tourist resources. In order to maintain such precious resources and to expand tourism, the government designated the area as a national tourist district in 1996. In 1997, the Jui Sui Whitewater Rafting Service Center began operation under the Tourism Bureau.
    Cultural Highlights : When traveling around the Hua Tung Valley, visitors can experience the nature and pastoral atmosphere in eastern Taiwan. The valley engages in agriculture and its geography, customs and communities area all related to its major industry. Scenic spots include Pei Nan Chu Lu, Lu Yeh Yen Ping, Kuan Shan Chi Shang, Fu Li Yu Li, Jui Sui Wan Jung, Kuang Fu Feng Lin and Chi An Sho Feng.

     

  • Lotus Lake Trail
    Between Shibau and Wenshan, 165 kilometers along the Central Cross-Island highway, is a point called Hueitouwan(return loop). This is the entry point for the Lotus Lake Trail. To get to the trail proper, follow the narrow path for three or four minutes and go through a small cave which leads to the first of the trail's bridges, the Chingshi Suspension Bridge. The journey to Lotus Lake ascends through 500 meters of altitude over 6.8 kilometers. A steep zigzag climb begins about 20 minutes into the hike soon after crossing the Jioumei Suspension Bridge.The forest along this trail is full of numerous kinds of birds, butterflies and small animals. By the lake are peach orchards and quite number of people still live in the area. In the nearby forests, you might even be lucky enough to see monkeys. Prospective hikers should prepare water and food for this hike, for the round trip journey will take about six hours at a leisurely pave and there are no kiosks from which to purchase supplies along the way.
     

  • Meiyuan-Jutsuen Trail
    This trail begins at the same places as the Lotus Lake Trail, but instead of crossing the Jioumei Suspension Bridge and heading uphill, it follows a level pathway along the course of the Tausai River. About three kilometers further on, the road forks. The road to the left leads to Meiyuan (altitude 850 meters), once a settlement of the now extinct Bulexengan aboriginal tribe. This is an area of plum and peach orchards and is an excellent place to rest and enjoy the scenery. Returning to the fork in the road, hikers can continue onward towards Jutsuen (altitude 1,350 meters). The scenery in Jutsuen is, if anything, superior to that of Meiyuan, and the residents lead an idyllic life isolated from the distractions of the modern world. It is important to bring adequate water and wear comfortable shoes during this long hike. During periods of poor weather, hikers must also be aware of the danger from falling rocks and landslides.
     

  • Puluowan
    Historical Background : Puluowan is a settlement where the Atayal tribe originally lived. Puluowan is surrounded by mountains, and during festive occasions, the powerful singing of the tribes people resonates among the valleys. Two or three hundred years ago, the Atayal Tribe decided to relocate, and some tribes people left their original homes in upstream Chuo-Shui River, and crossed over the Central Mountain Range to settle by Li Wu River and Mu Kwa River in Hualien. Puluowan was the settlement which the aboriginals of Taroko had built near the Li Wu River. The settlement was divided into upper and lower Puluowan, and was led by the two ruling clans. It was not until the Taroko Gorge Incident in 1914, and the Wu Sher Incident in 1930, that the Taroko aboriginals were forced by the Japanese to move out of the gorge, into flatland areas, like Fu-Shih hamlet and Sioulin hamlet in Sioulin Township. Puluowan, which is 370 meters above sea level, has a temperature that remains at an average of 21.5 degreed all year long. Puluowan is a double layered river steppe, with Mt. Ta standing on its south, and Li Wu River flowing on its north. It has abundant natural biological resources, which include varieties of tropical monsoon rainforest plants, and many animal species. The place is ideal for conducting natural observation activities.
    Cultural Highlights : The Puluowan Administration Station in Taroko Gorge National Park's Administration Center spent years cultivating the Formosan Wild Lily; now a sea of wild lilies bloom each year, from March to May. The lily fields near the Puluowan Tourist Center are a beautiful sight, which continually amaze and attract visitors. Puluowan is divided into upper and lower platform areas, and the most singular sight in the scenic walkway in the upper platform area. When the hanging tendrils of the banyan trees come into contact with the earth, it automatically curls around objects, creating the curious scene of vines embracing stones. The Atayal Cutural Center is a specially designed tourist area in Puluowan; it has an administration center, an Atayal culture exhibition area, a multimedia presentation center, and a circular theater. In the exhibition area, there are elderly Atayals demonstrating how they weave cloth and rushes in the traditional method. There are also 20 or so bamboo huts built in the Atayal style, where visitors may stay overnight.

     

  • Qunshui Cliffs
    The Qingshui Cliffs are the most outstanding feature of the highway that runs along the northeastern coast of Taiwan from Suao to Hualien. This part of Taiwan is a northward extension of the East Rift Valley, where two tectonic plates come together; it is a place, too, where the eastern face of the Central Mountain Range plunges precipitously into the Pacific Ocean. This 22.7-kilometer section of winding road is carved into almost vertical cliffs--the highest seaside cliffs in Taiwan--that soar more than 1,000 meters into the sky from the surface of the water. These cliffs are among Taiwan's "eight famous scenes," and they are indeed a world-class sight. When you drive the road along the cliffs you feel like you are suspended in thin air with the waves crashing beneath your feet, a sensation that makes you sigh in awe--and nervousness. Before the North-Link Railway opened up to provide an alternative route down the northeast coast, and before the road itself was widened, the Suao-Hualien Highway was, for many, a nightmare because it was so winding, so narrow, and so seemingly dangerous with a vertical cliff on one side and a sheer drop on the other. This describes the very special nature of the scenery here--scenery that when you have seen it once, you will remember always.
     

  • Rainbow Bridge
    This bridge, located at the mouth of the Hsiukuluan River is the terminus for rafters. At the time of construction, in 1969, it was the longest single-span bridge in Taiwan. It is said to resemble a rainbow, hence its name "long rainbow" bridge. Below the bridge lies an area of strangely shaped limestone rocks. With a little imagination, the rocks can be said to resemble many different things. Small boats make regular trips around the area should the visitor wish to see the stone formations up close.
     

  • Ruisui Hot Spring
    This is one of the three top hot spring spas in the valley, the other two being Hongye and Antung. Ruisui was first developed in 1919, with a public bathing area and Japanese-style hotel; and it is still in operation, with an open-air pool where visitors can enjoy a soothing soak and enjoy the fresh air at the same time. The spring water emerges from the ground at 48 degrees Celsius and is rich in iron; the iron oxidizes upon contact with the air and gives the water a yellowish tint, causing some first-time visitors to mistakenly think that it is unclean. The water has a slightly salty (indeed, salt crystals float on its surface), rusty taste; it is the only carbonate hot spring in Taiwan, and bathing in its waters is said to be an effective treatment for rheumatism and allergy-type skin conditions.
     

  • Shenmi (Mystery) Valley Trail
    The entrance to this trail is conveniently located only a minute or so from the entrance of Taroko Gorge, behind the Shenmi Valley Toll Station. To reach the trailhead, follow the path behind the toll station that leads down toward Liwu River. After crossing the stream, follow the bank until the river forks at the Shakedang tributary. The trailhead can be found nearby on the right bank of the tributary. One of the most notable features of this trail is that it requires numerous river crossings. While this may not appeal to those not wanting to get their feet wet, for those who have no objection to rolling up their trousers, or even getting into their wimming gear, it provides infinite potential. The trail itself is not particularly demanding, although it is wise to avoid it during the typhoon season when flooding can make the river crossings treacherous. Prospectors seeking the gold sand for which the river was known cut this trail during the Japanese occupation, Although the gold has been fully exploited, the sunlight on the clear waters produce a different and perhaps even more beautiful glimmering. After a swim in the cool waters, visitors can sun themselves on the boulders, After walking for about 25 minutes along the trail, hikers reach a platform. This provides an excellent view of the emerald green waters of Shakadang Stream and the folded strata of marble that form its banks. A wooden walkway leads away from the main Shenmi Valley Trail and follows the stream. On weekends, this is a very popular spot, and for those looking to enjoy the tranquillity of nature, continuing along the main trail probably offers greater potential. A leisurely progress to the top of the trail and back takes approximately 4~5 hours.
     

  • The Aboriginal Tribes of Taroko
    The various uplands along the Liwu River used to be the sitesof Atayal aboriginal villages. The Atayal are the The various uplands along the Liwu River used to be the sitesof Atayal aboriginal villages. The Atayal are thesecond largest of Taiwan's indigenous tribes. Over 200 yearsago, the Atayal lived mostly in the Jingguan and Lushan areas. Due to internal conflicts, a portion ofthe tribe followed hunting trails across the Central Mountain Range and came down the Liwu River where they settled, drivingout the Pingpu tribes. There were over 79 centers of Atayal habitation around Taroko Gorge, which were linked by anetwork of mountain trails. When the Japanese moved into this area in 1914, the Atayal people gradually moved from the foothills into the plains and some of their mountain trails have now become hiking trails. The Atayal people were mainly agricultural, but supplemented their livelihood with hunting and gathering. They are also known for their intricate weaving. Although there are still Atayal people living within the gorge, most of the tribe now live in Sioulin,Wanrong , and Jhuosi in Hualien County. The National Park Administration has constructed Atayal-type huts at Buluowan to give visitors a chance to experience traditional Atayal life. Buluowan was a center of Atayal culture; there are still traces of original tribal life here, with many ceramic, stone, and iron artifacts from prehistoric times. Buluowan is now a recreation center: in addition to traditional-style accommodation, it also has scenic walkways, an amphitheater, and an Atayal Arts and Crafts Center. At the Arts and Crafts Center, Atayal women exhibit traditional spinning and weaving techniques. Traditional handicrafts can also be purchased here.
     

  • The Lushui Trail
    One way to enjoy the beauty of Taroko Gorge is to hike the Lushui Trail. which starts near the 172 kilometer marker on the Central Cross-Island Highway. two kilometers from Tienhsiang.The trail is only two kilometers long and can be comfortably completed.
     

  • The Shiouguluan River
    The Shiouguluan River arises on the slopes of Mt. Xiugulian and flows its way 103 kilometers until it empties into the Pacific Ocean on the East Coast. It is the longest river in eastern Taiwan, and has abundant water all year round. The river follows a winding path, flowing past Rueisuei in the East Rift Valley and cutting a gorge through the Coastal Mountain Range on its way to the sea. This portion of the river is the most popular rafting course in Taiwan, with excitement- and thrill-seeking rafters being especially numerous from May to October. The Amis aborigine village of Qimei cuts the rafting section of the river roughly in half. During the first half the water is relatively placid, and allows rafting crews to develop their coordination and train their skills; the water flows much faster during the second half, which is relatively fraught with dangerous (but not very dangerous) rapids and eddies. Care should be taken here, lest you overturn your raft. The entire rafting trip takes three to four hours, probably with a stop at Qimei for rest and refreshment; the river drops 65 meters over the 22-kilometer distance of the trip, roiling over more than 20 sets of rapids of varying length and difficulty. Near the end of the trip, at Rainbow Bridge, the river widens out and becomes calm. The river bed here is scattered with large snow-white boulders that have been given the name of " Shiouguluan jade." The International Shiouguluan River Rafting Race, held in May or June each year, has become the most important rafting activity in Taiwan. If you have a taste for thrills and a spirit of adventure, then this is the experience you're looking for.
     

  • Tienshiang
    Historical Background : Tien Hsiang was upido in the aboriginal tongue of the tribe Tai Ya, because the Tupido tribal unit was living here. In memory of Wen Tien Hsiang, a Chinese scholar and general in the 13th century, Tupido was renamed Tien Hsiang after the completion of the central highway. In addition, there is a giant statue of Wen Tien Hsiang. Tien Hsiang is located near Li Wu River, and the geography is very special. The altitude of Tien Hsiang is 450 meters and the scenery is marvelous. After passing through Pu Tu Suspension Bridge, the stone stairway will lead to Tien Feng Tower and Hsiang Te Temple; the mountainous views here are spectacular.
    Cultural Highlights : One of the features here is the Tse Mu Bridge (Loving Mother Bridge). The bridge is 3 kilometers east of Tien Hsiang and is near the convergence of Li Wu River and Lao Hsi River. On the east side of the bridge is Tse Mu Pavilion, built by late president Chiang Kai-Shek in memory of his mother. In addition, Wen Shan hot spring is another scenic spot worth visiting. The hot spring is next to Ta Sha River. It is noteworthy that the aboriginal tribes once fought against the Japanese troops around the hot spring. Walk down the concrete stairway next to Tai Shan Tunnel on Chung Heng Highway pass through a suspension bridge, and you will find the hot spring beside the river.

     

  • Tropic of Cancer
    The Tropic of Cancer crosses the coastal highway at the 69-kilometer mark, which is also the boundary between Hualien and Taitung counties. The monument marking the spot here is the tallest of three such in Taiwan. At the time of the summer solstice, you can observe the passage of the sun along the tropic.
     

TAIWAN TOP 20

  • The East Coast National Scenic Area
    The East Coast National Scenic Area, known as "Taiwan's last unspoiled land", stretches 170 kilometers down the east coast of the island from the mouth of the Hualien River in the north to Shiauyeliou (Little Yeliou) in the south. To the east it is bounded by the Pacific Ocean; to the west rises the Coastal Mountain Range. The land here consists of volcanic rock, classic rock from deep beneath the sea, and shale that has been pushed upward- and is still being pushed upward- by tectonic action. Weathering, erosion, and accumulation have produced a wide range of landforms here, including coastal terraces, sand and pebble beaches, shoreline reefs, inshore islands, and capes along with sea-eroded platforms, trenches, and caves. This varied topography provides habitat for a rich diversity of flora and fauna. The East Coast is the primary homeland of the Amis aboriginal tribe. Amis villages' dot the coastline, and the harvest festivals that they hold in July and August every year offer visitors an opportunity to gain insights into the culture of this unique people. Before the Amis settled here there were prehistoric peoples who came and went, leaving a rich store of artifacts and ancient sites that can still be seen today. Among the more modern cultural features of the coastline are enchanting temples, churches, and quaint fishing villages. This rich store of natural and cultural assets prompted the Tourism Bureau to establish the East Coast National Scenic Area in 1988, and to engage in the active development of the leisure resources here.
     

HERITAGE / TEMPLE

  • Wuhe Tea Farm, Meagaliths, and Tropic of Cancer
    The Wuhe plateau, located in Rueisuei Township, is famous for its tea farms, which mainly grow and process varieties of partially fermented oolong tea. But there are other attractions as well: the tropic of cancer marker, and the Wuhe megaliths. The two two-meter megaliths stand upright beside Highway 9, about two kilometers from the Rueisuei Railway Station. Legend has it that they are the transformed bodies of twins who became husband and wife, and hid in this area to escape a sentence of death imposed upon them by their outraged tribe. Archaeologists believe, however, that they are the relics of a prehistoric civilization linked to the Beinan megalithic culture that existed at Beinan in Taitung. Not far away, on the left side of the road, a white monument in the shape of a sundial marks the location of the Tropic of Cancer.

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Information provided by Tourism Bureau, Rep. of China.

 

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