Hualien is home to many little gems waiting to be explored. If you are headed for Hualien and have a few days to spare after visiting the renowned Taroko Gorge, you will find it worth your while venturing down Highway 9 and Highway 11.
Reference link: Hualien Tourism Guide Map
Reference link: East Rift Valley National Scenic Area
Highway 9 sits between the Central Mountain Range and the Coastal Mountain Range，cutting through the East Rift Valley (花东纵谷). The route is flanked by seemingly endless verdant pasture fields and is highly scenic. There are plenty of hiking and biking trails along the way, offering amazing views of mountains, valleys, and fields of rice, tea, pomelos and what not. Attractions along Highway 9 that make for a good day trip from Hualien include Liyu Lake (鲤鱼潭), Mataian Wetland Ecological Park Area (马太安湿地) and Guangfu Sugar Factory (光复糖厂) in the Guangfu Township (光复乡), and Ruisui Township (瑞穗乡) etc.
|Liyu Lake (Image obtained from: http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/19942880.jpg)|
|Mataian Wetland Ecological Park (Image obtained from: http://cityhotel-hualien.blogspot.sg/2010/10/blog-post_4258.html)|
Highway 11 travels down the east coast spanning about 180 km across Hualien and Taitung, with stunning coastal views to boot. Besides the numerous beaches, small aboriginal villages can also be found along this coastal route. Baqi Lookout (岜崎瞭望台), Jiqi Beach Recreation Area (矶崎海水浴场), Fengbin Township (丰滨乡) and Shihtiping (石梯坪) are some of the highlights along Highway 11.
|Shihtiping (Image obtained from: http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Taiwan_2009_East_Coast_ShihTiPing_Giant_Stone_Steps_FRD_6476.jpg)|
|Jiqi Beach Recreation Area (Image obtained from: http://www.eastcoast-nsa.gov.tw/Portal/Content.aspx?lang=2&p=203020001&area=1&sid=63)|
Exploring Highway 9 and Highway 11 may be said to be best done on a scooter. However, fret not if you can’t ride one, for there is always the option of public transport! Below are links for the railway and public bus which you can use to check schedules and routes when planning for your day trips. Happy planning! =)
Taiwan Railways Administration (台铁列车时刻查询系统):
Hualien Transportation Bus Co Ltd (花莲客运班车时刻查询系统):