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Meta Vacation Day 3: Hualien Coast

One of the nice things about Taiwan is that it’s an island. A small island, in fact. So if you’re feeling that your metavacation could use more ocean and less mountain, that’s a relatively short car ride away.

Hualien Coast

Hualien Coast

We drove down from the mountains of Taroko National Park (太魯閣國家公園) back to Hualien (花蓮) with the intent of driving along the eastern coast of Taiwan to see the sights. For whatever reason, there’s a whole bunch of road construction going on in the area. Even where there isn’t construction, a lot of the roads have single-lane portions, often without people directing traffic in them. This means lots of fun games of Chicken with the many tour buses in the area.

We headed to the Shipiting (石梯坪) which is along the eastern coast of Taiwan.

Map of Shitiping

Map of Shitiping

Specifically, we ventured to the Shitiping Camping Area, with nice, raised wood structures for tents and everything. We weren’t really there to camp or anything, but, again, the area is right next to the Pacific Ocean, and that’s awesome. While driving to Shitiping, we actually encountered a large group of cyclists who were doing a race or event in the area. Combined with the frequent spots of construction that turned to the roads into 1-lane roads, the games of Chicken got that much more exciting.

Shitiping Camping Area

Shitiping Camping Area

Unfortunately for swimmers, this part of the coast seems more or less too dangerous to actually go into, with all the rocks and everything. Whole lot of fishers though, since that’s a much lower-risk activity in this area.

Shitiping Coast

The Rocky Coasts of Shitiping

Something that I had forgotten about up in the mountains is that Taiwan is sub-tropical. This means that it’s hot and humid as hell, even in early March. After walking around in the moist heat for a while, I was more or less ready to give up. Then I saw it.

Vending machine

My mechanical saviour

There’s nothing quite like a vending machine more or less in the middle of nowhere (well, it’s actually at the visitor’s center, but it’s pretty far) to revive you. We headed to a legit seafood restaurant for lunch.

Seafood Restaurant

Legit Seafood Restaurant

How do you know the place is legit? You order stuff, and the guy takes it out of the water tank and brings it back into the kitchen. Then it pops up on a plate on your table.

Seafood prep

Legit lobster preparation

Also, the bikers we encountered earlier? We found all of them at this restaurant (it’s a big restaurant). Sharp-eyed readers will notice the bikes and biking apparel in the above photo.

We headed back to Hualien… and then right past it as we headed to Qixintan (七星潭), which is also, you guessed it, next to the ocean. We stayed at the Bellevue Hotel (望海樓民宿).

Bellevue Hotel

Bellevue Hotel

The hotel was great: free wifi, guy running it was awesome, good views, nice rooms. But more importantly:

Free bikes for use at hotel

See those bikes? It could be yours.

Given the popularity of riding bikes by the beach, the hotel also had bikes that guests could take… for free! Awesome. My sister and I then fulfilled a long dream of riding a tandem bike.

Tandem Bike


These things are fairly difficult to ride, by the way, especially if the tires are kinda flat like ours were. The back kinda swings out like in a FWD car, which makes for fun opportunities to weave through inattentive vacationers in your way. Protip: the heavier person goes in front. When we tried it the other way around, the slightest movement from the heavier person (me) changes the direction of the tandem bike. We rode our bike pretty much as far as the path would take us. More specifically, until we hit stairs.

End of the path

End of the road.

For dinner we went to a nearby restaurant called Wilderness Ranch (原野牧場).

Wilderness Ranch

Wilderness Ranch

Their specialty seems to be goat’s milk and western food. Apparently, they actually keep goats and chickens and the like in the back, next to the parking lot. When I heard one of the waitresses mention that, I changed my order from seafood to lamb.

Baked Lamb Pasta

Baked Lamb Pasta

The food’s quite good. All that cheese is goat’s cheese, which definitely gives it a different flavor.

The next morning, we woke up to the rising sun.

Sunrise over peaceful waters

Sunrise over peaceful waters.

Apparently the hotel owner has been taking videos of the sun rising each morning. During breakfast, they play some of these videos along with some easy listening music. Makes me think that running a small, nice hotel (or classy restaurant with goats) next to the beach wouldn’t be so bad.

Posted in Taiwan Travel.

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2 Responses

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  1. Chuan says

    Shipiting or Shitiping? I think the first one is more awesome because it involves the action of shipit.

    Great post =D

  2. The Bonkler says

    Unfortunately, it’s Shitiping (石梯坪), but if you wanna read it as Shipiting, I approve and encourage it.
    SHIP IT!

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