I know firsthand how difficult it can be to navigate a foreign country when your command of the local language is poor at best. That’s one of the reasons why I try to take notes in my travels. The result is Travel Logistics: Taiwan. I’m starting a list of the transportation, hotel, and tour arrangements for my trips around the country. Hopefully this will be a useful resource for fellow travelers. If you have questions, please feel free to drop me a line.
Getting to Haulien by train
From Taipei, take the Tze Chiang Express train from Taipei Main Station (three to four hours, scenic). Check the English version of the Taiwan Railway site or head straight to “quick query” on the right side. Read about my experience on the train here.
Just a short walk from the Hualien train station. The lovely owner, Chi, speaks English and is extremely helpful. The rooms are clean, and they offer a light breakfast and tea in the morning f you forget yours, shower shoes are provided and you can rent a towel. NT $450 (USD $14) per person per night. You can also rent bikes from the hostel. (Tel. 03-8362-756)
The guide named Jim speaks English. Half day tours from $1200 NT. They pick you up at your hotel around 8 a.m. Half-day tours end around noon. Don’t bring your camera. Photos of your adventure are included and posted on their web site. A lot of fun! Tel. 03 857 6000
Taroko Park is a decent bus ride away from Hualian and due to the size of the park and infrequent buses within its perimeter, a tour is a nice option. A local, English-speaking tour guide for Taroko National Park is Paula Lieng. She will pick you up at your hotel in her van that seats about seven people and drive you around the park, stopping for about half an hour at each of the highlights. The cost is $NT 700 (USD $21) per person for the day including lunch. Amigos hostel can set this up or call Paula directly at 092 011 3332. Note: The restaurant that serves you free lunch also serves as a jade shop, where you are urged to browse. I was disappointed in this development at first, but it’s still a good tour at a good price and there is no obligation to buy.