Few regions have benefitted from Taiwan’s recent tourism boom as much as the east. New hotels and B&Bs have appeared throughout the counties of Hualien and Taitung, giving travellers who plan ahead an enticing range of accommodation options. Bear in mind that the better places get booked solid at weekends and during peak periods such as summer and around Chinese Lunar New Year.
Butterfly Valley Resort
Located inside leafy Fuyuan National Forest Recreation Area, this luxury establishment isn’t as pricey as it seems at first, as big discounts are available mid-week and dinner is included. What’s more, there’s no additional charges for pickup from Hualien airport or railway station and use of the hot-springs pools.
East Town 26
With a reputation for impeccable yet friendly service, this recently rebranded hotel is about as central as is physically possible in Hualien City, and has earned a ‘100% thumbs-up’ rating on TripAdvisor.
Park City Hotel
Located conveniently close to the centre of Hualien, and thus a good option for those who like urban comforts and conveniences, the 116-room Park City Hotel has pretty much everything a tourist could want, except a swimming pool.
This exceptionally cosy and well-regarded B&B is within walking distance of Hualien’s railway station and thus a good base for those who plan to get around by public transport. With just seven rooms, it gets booked up quickly by repeat customers who aren’t fazed by the owners’ lack of English.
Hualien Tourism Sugar Factory Guesthouse
The name is mundane but the place is rather special. What used to be the official housing of senior managers at Guangfu’s long-closed sugar refinery has been converted into a distinctive set of lodgings. These 1930s Japanese-style bungalows feature tatami mats, wooden bathtubs and other colonial-era fittings.
Park City Hotel
Located conveniently close to the centre of Hualien City, and thus a good option for those who like urban comforts and conveniences, the 116-room Park City Hotel has pretty much everything a tourist could want, but lacks a swimming pool.
Eating out in Hualien and Taitung
A recent influx of outsiders drawn by East Taiwan’s wonderful environment – not all of them Taiwanese – has added greatly to the diversity of the region’s culinary scene. It’s now a lot easier to find good Western and vegetarian food, with the artist/hipster magnet Dulan (25 km up the coast from Taitung City) emerging as a little town boasting good eats.
Lovers of seafood passing through in late autumn or early winter may want to stop in Chenggong, a fishing town famed for its black marlin. Many of the fish caught are eaten in Taipei or Japan, but some end up in local restaurants clustered near the harbour.
Given the east’s demographics, it’s no surprise aboriginal cuisinesare much in evidence. A good bet for those eager to try this kind of food is Mibanai Indigenous Cuisine Restaurant in central Taitung. Other Austronesian restaurants can be found near Guangfu, and in smaller towns both on the coast and inland.
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