Friday, May 6, 2016

TIME FOR TAIWAN : TRANSPORTATION AND THINGS TO DO IN HUALIEN



I just came back from Taiwan last Monday. I am still adjusting to the reality mode of life after a week long holiday. WTH! The worst part after a vacation.

My flight landed in Taipei around 2:50pm and from there I took airport bus to the Taipei Main Station for my train to Hualien at 5:40pm. I reached Hualien around 8pm. Goshhh!!! my whole day gone. Anyway, its my choice. So I will stop my complaint here. kekeke

How to get to Taipei Main Station from Taoyuan Airport?

I took a Kuo Kuan Bus to Taipei Main Station which cost me NTD125. The journey around 1 hour. The bus is every 10 minutes so don't worry. Everything is very proper , systematic  and convenient in Taiwan.

If you are not a bus type , you can take Cab but it will cost you around NTD900 - 1,200. Your choice!


How to go to Hualien from Taipei?

Tze-Chiang Limited Express is the fastest class. There are different types of Tze Chiang Limited Express, Taroko Express and Puyuma Express and these takes about 2 hours to reach Hualien and cost is the same which is NTD440/way. I took Puyuma Express mountain line. Make sure to get left hand side seat for awesome view along the way. 

You can also take bus but the journey will be around 3 hours. That is why I opted for Train. Train will be more comfortable. More leg room too.

Tips :

1. Purchase ticket online in advance with seat reserved for both way meaning to Hualien and back to Taipei. You can purchase online 2 weeks before departure date and redeem the ticket at the Train Station. Seriously the train always fully booked especially when weekend or public holiday. I was told even a normal days it will be hard to get a ticket too. I met one lady who end up stranded in Hualien because she didn't buy ticket in advance. Don't take this tip for granted or you need to pay for extra days accommodation and all your travel plan will go 'hair wire'!

2. Get yourself a bento from the train station. Like that old man in the photo. Many food to buy at train station. You will be spoil with choices. Its 2 hours journey though! I settled for shrimp rice roll from 7-11. Thats my dinner for my first night landed in Taiwan.

3. You can bring luggage because the compartment above head is quite spacious for luggage. So don't worry!

Getting around Hualien

- Well you can rent a motorcycle if you have valid international license. Some shop even rent out if you don't have license. But please don't make trouble at other people country.

- Rent a bicycle is only for short distance for your safety.

- The best way is to join a group day trip or hire a yellow cab for yourself.

I hire a cab driver for myself since I don't like to tour around with stranger. I paid NTD3,000 for a day trip to Taroko Gorge and NTD1,000 for half day trip to Mukmugi Valley. Well, if you can bargain lower will be better but I am that type who have diamond in my mouth when come to bargaining things.Shy la....and plus I am alone so don't want problem in other country plus people also wanna make a living, right! So kind of me...ahak ahak


Things to do if you have 2 full days in Hualien

1st day itinerary

Enjoy the magnificent view of Pacific Ocean at Qingshui Cliff


Walk through Swallow Grotto and trekking on the Shakadang Trail at Taroke Gorge


Brave yourself to walk on hanging bridge at Taroke Gorge


Visit to Aboriginal Village



Have fun riding the bicycle while enjoying the awesome beach view.


Evening Stroll at Chishingtan Beach


Second day itinerary

Be prepared to walk for at least 2 hours to witness the magical and awesome view at Mukumugi Valley



You can swim and play around with tame fish in this crystal clear non polluted water and enjoy the fresh breeze air.

Night time eat all you can at Tungtamen Night Market which is also combined with Aboriginal market section.

There you go...a simple itinerary if you happens to have 2 full day at Hualien. Personally I prefer to be at Hualien rather than in Taipei. Maybe because I am from small town girl, so the layback and close to nature environment suits me well. The people are generally friendly and helpful. I was label as aboriginal girl in Hualien because I look like one from those tribes. Goshhh!!! Every where I went people recognize me well because I look different from them...I guest!

I went to Hualien with limited mandarin skills. Just a basic one and the rest was all body language and yet we understand each other well. Just be polite and don't forget that smiley face. Respect people and people will treat you well too.

 I did lots of walking and climbing the hills and stairs in Hualien so when I reached Taipei my weak leg almost make me fall and collapsed. WTH!

Oh! forgot to mention ,first time in my life experience earthquake when I was in Hualien. At first thought 'invisible thing' is playing around by shaking my bed hard while I was trying to sleep. haihhhh... I glance at my watch and it show 11:17pm and the light was on too. It stop for a while and the shaking came back mild just for a while few minutes later. Oh! then I realise I am at Taiwan where earthquake is very usual here. Then when I checked online there is strong-felt earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.6 struck northeastern Taiwan. A strong shake at Yilan and Hualien. Apparently, it was a talk in Hualien the next day according for my cab driver. No damage and no casualties reported. Phewwww!!! Thank God!

To download this article for offline reading or travel directions to the attractions highlighted in this article click here.

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