After having a taste of the Hot Springs of Taitung, we were headed to Hualien county, located on the mountainous eastern coast of Taiwan. And going into Hualien, we were certainly not going to miss Taroko Gorge, so we made it it our first stop there. The bus made its way up the mountaineous region and dropped us at the Tunnel of Nine Turns. We took the well known trek down the mountain which gave us chance to have a close up look of the magnificent gorge that was carved up by the river a long time ago. However walking down had its share of lurking danger in the form of falling rock. We were given helmets but that was just scant protection against the impact a falling rock can make. There was a scary moment too when a rock the size of a small papaya dropped just a few meters away from our group. We completed the walk in about 30 minutes and headed towards the town.
There was a short pitstop at a Jade Factory for a salespitch on Jade and other stone pieces. It was already dark when we stopped for dinner. We arrived at a normal house, looking nothing like a restaurant, that had a few tables laid out for us. However this was the best food we had for our entire trip. The food was mainly organic, with free-range chicken and wild boar, and tasty glutinous rice.
There was more activities after dinner and like all Taiwanese towns, Hualien also had a Night Market. Although there was not much of a crowd in this sleepy town. The highlight of the Market was that it was loacated just next to the beach, and this allowed activities like firing fireworks and setting free ‘Heaven Lanterns’. The flying lantern bit was quickly over due to strong winds but we had a good time lighting up the skies with fireworks of all sizes and colour.