Hualien was the first place that I was on my own in Taiwan and I was terrified. I was on what I was hoping the right train. Then I got off in what I hoped was Hualien. Then I walked what I hoped was the right direction to get to my hostel. Then I stood outside my hostel and hoped someone would let me in. Then I checked in and hoped I would meet people. That was the only thing that didn’t happen.
I spent my time there wandering around aimlessly and drinking coffee. I was avoiding eating because I couldn’t read anything and couldn’t tell what restaurants were even open. I was too cold and too unprepared. I was actually by myself the whole time and the only one in a six person dorm. But I still really liked Hualien.
The streets felt festive for the New Year. The little pink cookie things I found were delicious. The girls that worked at my hostel were super friendly and helpful. I walked twenty minutes the wrong direction, but ended up at a little pavilion by a river instead.
Things might not always seem that good at first, but they get better. Everyone I met there, which really wasn’t all that many people, was really nice and was willing to help if I needed it. I probably would have packed up and gone home if Hualien didn’t go well. Maybe not home, but I would have gone anywhere else. I’m glad it went well.
- It’s super easy to get here by train from Taipei and Kenting.
- Spend an afternoon just wandering around the market. There is so much to see.
- If you’re there on a weekend, go to the Cultural and Creative Industrial park. It’s a great place to get local souvenirs.
- Don’t be afraid to just wander around. I felt totally safe here on my own and I even got myself fairly lost, but I found a great park by the river, so it was alright.
- It’s a great base for visiting Taroko Gorge.
Have you been to Hualien? What did you do there? What did you think of it? Do you want to go?