Taiwan - Hualien/Nantou Day 2!

We set off to Hualien via the TRA, it's probably the only transport to Hualien I believe. The journey will take about 2hr30mins from Taipei Main Station to Hualien county. Tim and I opted for the Tze Chiang train, which is the fastest travelling train in TRA. We booked our tickets online, initially I was skeptical cause we didn't really know how to read the words, plus we weren't sure of how their train system works. Honestly, it's as easy as ABC and trust their system with your booking. One very important thing to note is their trains leave on time, like on the dot, so you've got to be there early probably 30mins earlier to travel at ease.

Tripadvisor helped us a lot with our travel plans to Hualien, we got to know of this taxi driver who does a full 8hour tour of the scenic spots in Hualien. Which cost us 5000NT equivalent to about SGD220, hiring a tour guide when visiting Hualien for the first time is so worth the while. Why? Because you'll probably be lugging a backpack if you're staying in Hualien for an entire day, you get private tour of the island. Meaning you won't have to squeeze with 20people on a huge tour bus, and you get a better view and spot to take pictures without random heads photobombing your picture. Generally during the period we went, there weren't many tourist so we were really really lucky.

Hualien is a true beau, during February the cherry blossom season fills the land with pretty pink flowers which you can never find in a hot city climate in Singapore. SO if you're down with nature, I really do recommend, and even if you're not it's worth the try because you'll never know it may just be love at first sight. I've read and people have compared Hualien to Switz mountains, I'd tell you not to be too hopeful with that. Because afterall, swiss mountains are way more gorgeous than what you'll get in Hualien, still beautiful nonetheless.

Our first touristy destination was this clear blue beach. We didn't spend much time here, unlike those touristy groups. So fact of Taiwan, use a tour guide only if you really think you can't get your way around, if not Taiwan is pretty easy to get around!

We then moved on to the mouth of Taroko George! It is amazing, I left out a whole chunk of pictures I took, cause I don't wish to spoil it for you. I've left only pictures which we stopped by to take en route up up the top of the mountain where it was 5-7degrees! :D I LOVE THE COLD!!!

After enjoying the view, we knew we didn't want to waste no time and got on the road again. This time to the swallow grotto's cave! I think you've got to be a nature enthusiast to fully enjoy the works of nature. If not you could take this 10-15minutes walk from the start of the cave to the end, for photography practice. I was constantly asking Tim if there's Bird's nest, and of course trying to search for one. FAILED. 

After walking through the grotto's cave, Mr Gu showed us around more, pointing out a indiana jones head structure on a mountain. I didn't pin this up, cause I want you to experience it yourself. It's too obvious on camera. (: And explained to us that the monument below is about this man who built up the roads of Taroko George for locals and tourist to experience. 

About another 5 minutes drive later, we stopped by a couple more places. But this was more significant, as it required courage and the fear of flimsy-looking bridges. I once believed that if you walk from the start till the end of a bridge, and hit the bridge's end. Make a wish, and it'll come true. That's what I said. It's a silly motivation for me to overcome my fear of bridges, I'm sure you have your's too.

So we went up higher and higher, as we got higher, I did feel a little uncomfortable due to the decrease in oxygen supply up in the mountains. But it was bearable, and Mr Gu did accommodate with me and had a few more pit stops before we reached our next gorgeous destination! Very thankful to him!

So then we reached our next stop, and it was breathtaking! Really really breathtaking. (: 

This is one of the pit stops we stopped to enjoy the cold wind! (:

 Oh!! It was the sakura season and everywhere up in the mountains had beautiful cherry blossoms!! I love cherry blossoms and would love to experience those in Japan someday! (: Lovely lovely.

After a couple more twirly wirly trip up the moutain, we finally reached our food stop! :D We arrived at this lovely mountain cafe, probably the only source to food. We loved the atmosphere and ambience of this cozy little cafe. 

 This one of their specialty dish, obviously chicken in their special sauce, it had black pepper I believe. But it was so GOOD I wish I had ordered this dish instead of my hot bowl of noodle. Had more flavor to it compared to my noodle soup! (:

This was what I had, I'm not sure what it contains, but it was different and very light. Something I really needed after a dizzy trip up the mountain. I loved that meatball there, really tasty, and definitely handmade (:

This was by far the best dish! Mountain Cabbage, it tasted super super sweet! Like all they did was blanche it, and added a tiny bit of salt and that just sealed the deal! Seriously you got to love their vegetables! Major tasty! :D

After our lunch, we headed off to the top of the mountain, the highest peak! It was so cold!! like 5degrees! I love it, even though I lost my hands to the cold. (: Very scenic I have to say, would have been more beautiful during winter and spring!

We took another 30mins drive to Nantou, where our Min Su (Homestay) - Misty Villa was located at. We stayed for a night, but wish we had more because the place was just too lovely! Dinner was prepared by the family, and we enjoyed thoroughly, we had wanted to skip dinner to travel around. But I'm glad we stayed on, clearly I love the vegetables, egg and fish most! Most lovely and homely dish throughout my trip in Taiwan. 

Before dinner we walked around the area, and visited this small Russia tourist spot. This place is definitely made for couples and young children, or for the old to relax. But really and clearly for couples who are dating, we didn't stay long because we weren't that fascinated. So we retired early and went back for dinner and watched Animal Planet in our room. Families with kids should visit, to engage them with nature, and take more beautiful photos of your children! (:

 That's about all for my trip in Hualien!! Will post up another soon!! (: There's more... so hang in there with me!

Here's the contact for Miss/Mr Gu in Hualien: http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/mom88168

1 comment:

  1. Hi Adora, thank you for sharing, I plan to visit taiwan and follow your itinerary going to hualien/nantou. Would you share the transportation going back to taipei from nantou?