There are many bicycle routes in and around Hualien that will allow you to discover beautiful vistas of the East Coast but also countryside neighbourhoods, hiking trails, and waterfalls.
There are several warning signs along the way about the Black Bears of Taiwan (as well as snakes, wasps, leeches and rock slides) and it’s starting to get on my nerves all those stories about deadly animals, to the point where I completely overreact and jump with fear at the sight of… a bird flying away. So long for my cold sweat followed by my laughter.
When I travelled down from Taipei to Hualien, my main reason was that I really wanted more nature, more crazy-wild sceneries and let’s face it: I was craving to go hiking again. I guess this is why I fell in love with Taroko (and the whole Hualien County) right away.
I knew the rock formations I came here to see were there, on the other side of the road. By the sea. But there was a path just here, leading to the mountains. I couldn’t help but follow it. It was a bit muddy and slippery and started to get narrower and narrower as I walked into the jungle. The butterflies and dragonflies were dancing all around me, in a festival of colours.
It seems like time has frozen, nature has taken over the land after a kind of cataclysm. The Resort looks like it’s still welcoming guests, but the villas nearby are dusty, messy and seem to have been forgotten for a long time. The pool’s empty. I feel like I’m walking into a forgotten world. Jurassic Park, Walking Dead, Lost, The Drowned World, I am Legend, just name it, it could have happened here.
On that day, our hearts chose Shifen, this town in the north-east of Taipei, which is famous for three things: its old streets, its lantern festival and its waterfalls. The train transports us in the very heart of the town, and many tourists are taking the advantage of the track’s position to make some original pictures. We’re no different. It’s way too tempting!