The coast of Hualien (花蓮), Forgotten paradise?

The island of Taiwan is often described as split into two parts. On the one side the densely populated west, where Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan, and Kaohsiung as well as all the smaller cities in-between merge into what looks from above like a single metropolitan area; on the other side the east, with its majestic mountain ranges and small villages along snaky roads. This often forgets the narrow corridor of breathtaking beauty along the east coast, where steep cliffs fall hundreds of meters into the purple Pacific.

Taking off for a day trip towards Taroko Gorge, our hale and charming personal tour guide Danny showed us his favorite places. First, the popular Qingshui Cliff (清水斷崖), later his “secret” beach behind Chongde Township (崇德村).

Much to our surprise, the roads leading to beach were indeed but dusty paths, with some magazines on both sides and only a few surfboards under tarpaulins hinting that the ocean is near. The beach itself featured the ashen sand I knew from Waiao further up north, and a long, gentle, undisturbed surf. Only some makeshift fishing rafts on the beach and weirs outside on the water hinted at little bit of economic activity here.

This was part one of our one-day tour to Taroko Gorge. Here you can find Part II and Part III.