Taiwan’s east coast is were you’ll find all the scenic parts of the country. The west coast is where the majority of the population lives and thus where all the major cities are. However, if you want to see spectacular scenery and ‘get out in nature’ the east coast is definitely the place to go.
The specifics of traveling from Yilan to Hualien
The distance is about 115km, depending on where you start and end in each city. The road you want to travel on is highway 9. This highway allows bikes and cars, it’s literally one road between the two cities and it travels along the coastline, occasionally ducking into the mountains.
There are plenty of places on the way you can stop and admire the views, get fuel, eat, and rest. The journey took me about 2.5 hours traveling an average speed of 50kph, this included a couple of rest stops.
I traveled in winter, try and do it in the summer!
I finished working at the end of November, which is well into winter, so I had no choice but to travel during the least desirable time of year to do it! This sucked in two ways: it was cold and wet. The road was wet despite rarely seeing rain, so it can make it a tad more difficult during the slightly bendier and steeper sections of the road. If you go slow it’ll be fine. It’s not raining the whole time, it’s just always damp.
Despite being a bit chilly and damp it was an enjoyable ride, everywhere you look you can see something pretty. Whether it’s the looming mountains to the right, or the ocean expanding out below you to the left. There are lots of moments for picturesque shots.
What do you see?
During this ride you get to drive through the mountains and along the coast. As it was so cold and wet I didn’t really stop anywhere specific along the way, I just stopped whenever I wanted to take a photo or check out the views. I was more in a mindset of ‘I want to get to my hotel!’
I recommend to keep your scooter’s fuel topped up whenever you can, as some sections of the mountains can guzzle your fuel. There aren’t petrol stations during the mountain sections, and the last thing you want to do is to push your scooter through 5km of mountain roads.
Why go to Hualien?
Hualien is the gateway to Taroko Gorge, and this is a place you should definitely visit when you come to Taiwan. You can travel from the east to west coast via Taroko Gorge if you want, take a day trip into the Gorge, or head into the Gorge and stay there the night to see the breath taking views and go on the many treks available.
Have safe travels! And for a ton more information about teaching and traveling in Taiwan, check out my Taiwan page.