Exploring Local Culture in Hualien, Taiwan

Hualien (pronounced Who Lane) is located on the Eastern side of Taiwan and the largest city on this Pacific Coast. The population is about 275,000. The eastern side of the country is far more scenic than the western side.
Huge marble mountains can be found in the Taroko National Park. Mining of marble, processing, and rock carving are important industries to this region of the Country.

Our first stop was Ching-Shui Cliffs located inside the Taroko National Park. Magnificent cliffs rise vertically from the Pacific Ocean for nearly 13 miles along the coast. The marble striated cliffs have been designated as one of the islands “Eight Wonders”. It was very stunning and quite dramatic.

We got entertained by several monkeys in the trees near the viewing platform.

Our next stop was Pine Garden, which was a command post for the Japanese Navy during World War II. It was chosen for its excellent views and city, while partially camouflaged by the surrounding pine forest. The story is that this is where the Japanese kamikaze pilots were entertained the night before their fateful flights.

Next, we stopped in the city center of Hualien and did a walk-about for about 45 minutes. Their outdoor evening market opened while we were there and we had some great people watching.

We sampled several freshly made steamed dumplings from local street vendors (something we rarely do, but a tour guide recommended them and they were excellent).

Back to the Ship, we watched a dance troupe perform a number of Taiwanese aboriginal dances. The indigenous people of Taiwan are similar in culture to Polynesian, Malaysian, and Filipino peoples and there are 16 officially recognized indigenous tribes in Taiwan. The Amis is the largest tribe numbering over 200,000. It was interesting to us that the Chinese population actually migrated to Taiwan and colonized the island.

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