"Hua-lien (chinese: ªá½¬¿¤¥«)" Hualian by sunnywong
Hualian Travel Guide: 94 reviews and 262 photos
Hualien (ªá½¬), though it is the largest settlement on Taiwan's rugged east coast, is known to most visitors only as the nearest city to Taiwan's premier scenic attraction, Taroko Gorge (¤Ó¾|»Õ). Certainly, this natural marvel is one of Asia's most spectacula sights and should not be missed; but of the millions of tourists who flock to Taroko every year, too few take the time to explore Hualien itself. This is a shame, as the city has a lot to offer and displays a subtle but unique charm of its own.
Hualien was connected to the rest of the island only by the perilous highway that clings to the coastal cliffs all the way from Suao 110 kilometers to the north. This highway was little more than a path before a wider road was carved out of the towering rock by the occupying Japanese during the 1920s.
Streets Paved in Marble
Hualien's only other major road link with the outside world is the narrow and tortuous Central Cross-Island Highway. This remarkable feat of engineering, blasted and hacked through the mountains by demobilized soldiers, was completed in 1959 at the cost of 490 lives.
Hualien is one of the biggest producers of marble in the world. Last year, the quarrying operations around Taroko Gorge produced nearly nine million tons of the decorative stone. This has led to Hualien being dubbed "City of Marble" by the local tourist authority. Hualien even has a temple built almost exclusively of marble: the opulent Temple of Eastern Purity, just off Kungyuan Road.
The road that enters the city from the north is lined with dozens of marble shops selling everything from truck-sized slabs of the rock down to the ubiquitous (and more portable) polished marble eggs.
Another good place to buy locally made products is the Central Tourist Night Market on Chungshan Road. The market is sponsored and supervised by the local tourist authority, so prices are reasonable and rip-offs rare.
Hualien has other night markets, notably at the intersection of Kungcheng and Chungshan roads, and on Nanping Beach. The former is an ideal place to eat, having many stalls selling the area's famous seafood dishes and Hualien's specialty, a sweet, sticky, chewy substance made from white rice called mashu (³ÂÁ¦).
Ami and Atayal Tribes
One of the defining factors of Hualien's character is its large population of aborigines. Aboriginal culture is regarded by the government as an integral part of the island's heritage. Numerous Ami song and dance performances are held by groups around Hualien, and the Ami Cultural Village outside the city has become a popular tourist attraction.
Taroko Gorge National Park Guide Map
<font face="Bookman Old Style" size="4"><font color="#008000">Further Links:
<a href="http://www.eastcoast-nsa.gov.tw/index.php"><b><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:14"> East Coast National Scenic Area Administration Website</b></a>
<a href="http://www.tbrochtb.gov.tw/"><b><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:14"> Hua-Tung National Scenic Areas Administration Website</b></a>
<a href="http://www.tbroc.gov.tw/tbroc99_asp/tour_info/user/T200_2_1.asp?AREA_ID=1901"><b><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:14"> Hua-lien Tourist Guide (Chinese Only)</b></a>
This park is noted for its grandeur and magnificent marble canyon landscape. The marble strata was cut & corroded... more travel advice
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