Monday, June 17, 2013

Taiwan 10 days Travel, Hualien Part 1 or 2 (Taroko Gorge, @Home Minsu, Hualien City Center)

So on day 2 of our 10 day trip, we engaged a driver to take us from Cingjing to Hualien. It is supposed to be a very enjoyable journey, whereby we can stop by many famous attractions to take photos. But unfortunately, the heavy rain at Hualien a few days before our trip, caused massive amount of huge rocks to collapse and blocked up the only road to Hualien from Cingjing. 

fallen rocks

The driver sent me the photo of the destruction caused and suggested another route. Cingjing –Yilan – Hualien. Which is a very longgggg journey, and we wouldn’t be able to visit many attractions that we wanted initially. No choice cause that’s the only way via Taxi. Else we would have to cab down to Taichung, take TRA/HSR to Taipei and take TRA down to Hualien again. 

The driver told me it will take 90 days for the road to be functioning properly again. So I believe if you are going Taiwan in July or August 2013, and you are intending to travel between Cingjing and Hualien via the mountainous road, you got to check carefully! As of now, the road is open for small cars for 10 mins every 2 hours. 

And monitor this website for more updates:

Our driver is damn good. He’s a very honest and nice. Not those tiko chaps. (Yes we met tiko chap driver on our trip, always happens) People familiar with Taiwan will know that the journey from Cingjing – Yilan – Hualien is very long compared to Cingjing – Hualien. Not only did he not charge us extra from the additional mileage he had to travel, he also offered us a longer service. 

By right our journey should only take 8 hours. 9am-5pm. But ours ended from 9am-7pm because of the longer journey. He did not short change us anything. That made us very touched. What’s more? He started driving from Hualien to Cingjing to fetch us from 3am. Wah we felt damn bad.

This is the driver with the girls :)
CJ Chen 陳崇仁 
WhatsApp / Line :+886920669234

Oh ya! He speaks a bit of English! Plus point I guess.
So like I mention, because of the long journey, we took a 4 hours straight ride from Cingjing to Yilan. Prepare your pills for motion sickness downhill. This journey is damn mountainous and motion sickness inducing. Then we finally arrived at Yilan and we took a break.

Yilan Traditional Cultural Center 宜蘭國立傳統藝術中心

To say the truth, I’m more of a scenery/nature type of person then to visit cultural center or art museum or unless it’s like a site visit. Like I would rather visit harry potter filming venue than to see harry potter filming items. (So Singapore’s harry potter exhibit is quite mehish to me)

Here is like a tourist place. 


The cultural street and yes it was still raining that day. Much better than day 1 though.

Caramel-coated fruits! (Which can be found in many night market)

Caring for our tummy and some of the food we ordered.

The soup... damn weird taste

Bento. Some aunty asked the boss whether she can take home the tin. ._.

I have no idea what is this place. LOL.

Palace maid escaping

Ducks spotted 

Such lovely ducks! Just look at their colours! I think they belong to the lake behind. Are they mandarin ducks?

Spotted this poster which looks massively wrong, LOL.

Reminds me of Japan. 

That’s all of the cultural center. We didn’t have a lot of time. Then we began our journey down to Hualien. Which is the start of yet another mountainous journey. Anyway I think my motion sickness improved after this journey. I didn’t experience any motion sickness thereafter.


Qingshui Cliff 清水斷崖


Stopped by the mountainous route to take this photo. I think in good weather, the view should be splendid.
Us looking abit daze cause we were all snoozing before that.


Taroko Gorge 太魯閣

And then we finally reached Taroko Gorge. So if the route wasn’t disrupted, the places that we can cover are WulingMt. HehuanGuanyuan Cloud seaBilu Sacred TreeTianxiangCimu BridgeSwallow GrottoChangchun ShrinePark Headquarters
map of Taroko Gorge

With the road closure, we only visited the behind few. Damn sad cause I’m actually more interested in the front few cause I find it damn lame to just visit landmarks. Like if I go Paris, I will feel lame to just visit Eiffel Tower actually. 


Cimu Bridge (Motherly Devotion Bridge)

I have no idea this is actually an attraction @.@

Yea we walked quite a distance to take this photo


Shakadang Trail 砂卡礑步道

I think there is another entrance for this. The main entrance. But we entered from the Cimu bridge. Yes we climbed down from that red bridge. Lol.


My face looks very bloated and swollen that day @.@ I think cause I eat and sleep and eat and sleep

Anyway I think if you walk all the way in, which will take around 20 minutes or more, the view will be changed. But when we reached there it was quite late, some taiwanese tour guide who was bringing a tour there told us not to go in too deep cause when it’s dark it can be quite dangerous. Safety first so we turned back after a short distance.


Eternal Shrine 长春祠


The orange thing in the center. Yea that’s the shrine.


Braving the rain.

That’s all we visited. And we head off to our Minsu at hualien! (Review on the Minsu at the end of the post).

Taroko Gorge is just 25 mins drive from Hualien! By the time we arrived at our Minsu it was already 6.30pm. We promply dropped our stuff and hurried out. Our cab driver is so nice that he waited for us to drop our stuff and drove us to the city center.

花蓮市中心 Hualien City Center 

Hualien is famous for their Muah Chee, so you can find many shops selling Muah Chee there. We bought like many packets of Mush Chee. LOL. The city center isn’t really like a night market. It’s more like a place with many small shops, and some street stalls. Our Minsu’s owner gave us some recommendations on the more famous food and we went on a hunt for them, while trying out some other food. 


The famous Xiao Long Bao shop that they recommended. Yes that’s right xiao long bao. Yuzhi and I had our moment of embarrassment when we went to the counter, ordered Xiao Long Bao, point at the above bao and asked the lady what is that. ._. 

We only ordered enough for each of us because we still want to try other stuff. I think another table of Singaporeans ordered like a few long of Xiao Long Bao and we heard the guys said, "Never going to eat bao".


Enticed by the poster, we went in.


Fruits Waffle which I cannot remember how it tasted like anymore. Oops. And that’s the second time I’m eating ice-cream that day. Marathoning ice-cream the entire trip. 

Found another recommended place


Really Daebak! We tried something similar later on in Taichung and this still wins! The Fen Yuan is damn chewy and nice! And yes we ate so much Fenyuan and pearl on this trip that we are probably poisoned. (If you watched the news)


Came across this stall in one of the alleys

Look at that amount of osyter!


Uncle doing his thing


Got to be the best 蚵仔煎 (o ah jian) we ate in the entire Taiwan. HAHAHAH. Ok luh we ate in Kaohsiung’s night market and Shilin Night Market. So this is the winner among the 3. Highly recommended by my friends. (Since they always eat o ah jian, even in Singapore, and obviously Singapore’s is not even worth mentioning. LOL)
That’s all the photos I took, though we bought other food like papaya milk, kiwi milk and some other food which I can’t remember. NICE! #happyinthetummy
Then we retreat back to our Minsu to rest!


@Home Minsu

One of the Minsu we really love a lot! The pricing is slightly expensive, but it’s really very homey. It’s run by 3 ladies, and it’s a terrace house converted into a Minsu. So it’s really like it’s name.


Wooden flooooor!! But their blanket is real small ._. Luckily yuzhi likes sleeping near the centre cause I love to sleep by the edge. 

A very very big room with 2 sofas, which we used it to put our stuff instead. 


Not sure if you can visualise, the toilet is quite big. And although toilet paper is allowed to be thrown into the toilet bowl, it clogged. ._. But they helped us unclogged. So I guess, don’t throw too much toilet paper into the toilet bowl at once.
Breakfast is also nice! (Photo in next post)

At Home B&B @Home像個家民宿 
No.32, Ln. 51, Mingren 1st St., Ji’an Township, Hualien County 973
+886-978 753532


The view from our Minsu’s Balcony at 6am. ._. The sun rises damn early. But the main point is, sunshine after the rain!!! :D 

And we are all ready to tour Hualien!


You are now reading Part 1 of Hualien, continue reading!
1) Cingjing: Part1 and Part2
2) Hualien: Part1 and Part2
3) Kenting: Part1 and Part2


  1. hello ! Love your recent taiwan post - very detailed and helpful. Will you be posting the remaining 8 days of your trip ?

  2. Hellow ym!

    Thanks for reading! Yup I will posting the rest of the trip! I just posting another one, Enjoy! :D

  3. Hi Jane, sounds like you have a wonderful time in Taiwan... we are also thinking of doing Taiwan in Dec'13 but we never did a DIY tour on our own. Will you be able to share with me your travel plans during this 10 days for us to beef up our trip plan.. actually, our plan is quite similar to yours as we want to do more of the nature and scenery than city. so your info will be useful for us to look at and maybe plug it into our trip planning (if you don't mind sharing).. Thanks, Derrick

  4. Hi!

    Chance upon your blog while plannning a trip for hualien! Would you recommend your driver while driving through mountainous regions?



  5. Hi Glenn,

    Yup I think he makes a good choice!


  6. Kai Sin12:14 PM

    Thanks.Love your blog and your detailed description and pictures.
    Can you advise what is a good way to travel from cingjing to hualien?
    I have a family pf 3 adults and 2 toddlers.
    I know the journey is pretty long so I wonder how I can break it up but I don't intend to visit the gorge.
    Thanks for your advise.

  7. Anonymous8:48 AM

    Hi, may i check with u from cingjing to hualien or cingjing to yilan is nearer? And theres no shorter route? It has to b 8hrs? Isit better to include sight seeing while travelling there? Thank u!

  8. Hihi,

    I think cingjing to hualien is nearer though I cant be 100% sure! Normally it's not so long, but because of the landslide tt happened during our trip, the driver had to make a detour. And yup! It's better to include sight seeing on the way!

  9. Hi Kaisin!

    I think the journey isn't tt long now since the road should have cleared up!

  10. Hello ! a lovely blog you have there :) i am planning to go to yilan and hualien, but am not sure how many days i should stay for each town. do you mind advising me on how many days i should took ?

    thanks alot !

    1. Hi Joanne! Thanks for reading! :) I haven't been to Yilan exactly so I'm not too sure on that. But I would recommend at least 1 full day in hualien! If possible you can make it 2! Cause you can actually go whale watching and also see fire flies! But I think it's better to engage a driver! Save time and they know the places better! :D

  11. Hi! This is a lovely post with really great pictures! I am also planning a trip in taiwan from Cingjing --> Taroko --> Hualien. May I know how much did it cost you to hire the your driver?

    1. Hi Mindy! If I never remember wrongly, it should be 5k for Cingjing -> hualien!