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Published: September 24th 2008
18th August 2008
"One of the chief aims of this Taiwan trip was to spend sometime in Hualien, which I've read it often but never had a chance to see it for myself ..."
Three hours on the Tze Chiang Express (自强号)
down the eastern coast of Taiwan brought me to the charming city of Hualien. With a population of only 15%!o(MISSING)f Taipei, the city has maintained a relaxed and laid-back pace by the sea. I had come to Hualien on a 3 days 2 nights mission to the Taroko Gorge, eastern Taiwan most popular destination.
It was a bonus that the city itself is interesting on its own. Staying at the city centre was great as I was within walking distance to many of the food and shopping outlets. Hualien is a relatively young city with little cultural baggage. There were not many historical sites to bog down the average visitor.
Anyway, armed with a copy of the Hualien Cafe Map (花莲美食地图),
I decided to start my own version of 食字路口
along the busy stretch of Zhong Zheng Road. One afternoon was definitely not enough to take in all the foodies but I was
satisfied with what I tasted and saw.
My day ended at Nan Bing Night Market (南滨夜市)
. It is actually a makeshift night market along the sea front of Nan Bing Park (南滨公园)
. Every evening, stall holders would set up their foodshops in this park. My NT100 dinner was the tender beef steak on hot plate. It was delicious and the portion was just right for my stomach. Auntie "Steak" was friendly and she was surprised that I had come all the way to Hualien on my own.
As far as I could recall, the people whom I spoke to could not really differentiate me from the rest of the Taiwanese folks. Probably, I could "camouflage" myself well with my local lingo. In Taipei, I was stopped 3 times by the locals who asked me about road directions. I was glad that I managed to pin-point the correction directions on 2 occasions.
• Visitors to Hualien should based themselves in the city centre where most of the action is. It is located within 15 minutes by car from Hualien Train Station. The Train Station area seems to be quiet even during day time.
time between Taipei and Hualien could reduce to 2 hours if you manage to catch the popular "Taroko Express" (太鲁阁号)
. The carriage is brand new and comfortable.
• Taiwan Tour Bus offers 1 Day Tour of Taroko Gorge at NT988 including a sumptuous lunch at Grand Formosa Regent. A good place to start looking is Hunters Tour.
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