As we drive away from Taipei towards Hualien, the tall buildings start to recede and lush greens start to take over. The mountains seem to be dripping with vine covered trees and fog is rolling over the peaks. The road hems the mountains edge to the coastline. The sights are so beautiful they almost distract you from the multiple near death experiences you have while trying to keep pace with the local drivers and not pull a Thelma and Louise.
We left Taipei immediately after picking up our rental car. Getting out of the Taipei was a little– eh, difficult. We pulled into two separate parking lots that must have been for locals and you needed a pass to lift the exit gate. Yup, once wasn’t enough for us. I mean, can’t a girl stop and get some candy without such nonsense!? Then there was the time we missed our exit and it took us on a 30 minute detour. ugh. But we did make it out of the hoopla of the city and into the stunning coastline and mountains of Hualien.
Hualien is a remarkable county that runs down most of Taiwan’s east coast. Though it is known for Taroko National Park, it is littered with hundreds of beautiful spots. With the sea on your left and the mountains on your right, you never really know where to look or point your camera!
During our trip planning we could not decide on our route. Rt. 9 ran through the mountains, Rt. 11 took you along the steep cliffs and coastline. We came to the conclusion that we would just have to see both. So we wove in and out, in and out, stopping two nights in Hualien. Everything else we found on our way south to Maolin county.
Visit some old aboriginal homes.
I still have a few more Taiwan post to share with you, which I promise I will write more quickly. If you have any questions just comment below and the rest of our Taiwan Itinerary can be found here!