Hualien Cruise Port
Port of Hualien: An Overview
The port of Hualien, set on the Pacific Ocean midway down Taiwan's mountainous east coast, is the gateway to Taroko National Park. The scenic park is renowned for its breathtaking Taroko Gorge, a 12-mile long, steep marble-walled canyon. This is the place to get back to nature and away from the country's sprawling cities.
A number of restaurants in the Hualien area are known for their aboriginal cuisine, making this a top port for adventurous eaters. You can get your culture fix along with a tasty lunch at rustic, open-air restaurants run by Taiwan's indigenous tribes. The dishes, served family style for sharing, include bamboo rice (rice steamed and served inside a stalk of bamboo), fried pumpkin, roast boar, smoked chicken, local carp and super fresh wild veggies.
The city of Hualien itself is the world's second largest exporter of marble (the first being in Italy). Look out for sidewalks paved with the pale gray to white stone.
Taroko National Park: For an overview of Taroko National Park, join a bus tour that winds along narrow roads, through tunnels chiseled in the mountains and over bridges spanning the blue-green Liwu River. Active travelers can rent bicycles or hike the well-maintained trails. Swallow Grotto is a particularly dramatic stretch of Taroko Gorge with rock cliffs dotted with holes where swallows nest. The Eternal Spring Shrine is popular with photographers. The shrine was built as a tribute to the 212 workers who lost their lives during the 1950s construction of the Central Cross-Island Highway. A new cultural exhibition at the park's Buluowan Terrace features full-scale mock-ups of traditional homes of Truku tribal people. The mountain tribes were known for their hunting and weaving skills, plus their distinctive facial tattoos. (291, Fushi Village, Xiulin Township, 97253 Hualien County; 8863-8621-1006)
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
The official currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (NTD or NT$). For current currency conversion rates, check www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. ATMs are commonly found at banks and 7-Eleven shops.
Mandarin Chinese is the main language. The younger the person, the more likely he or she is to speak at least some English.
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