DAY 2: TAROKO PARK, SHAVED ICE, & DONGDAMEN NIGHTMARKET
Continuing from Day 1, we woke up early to pick up a car and head to Taroko Park. If you missed Day 1, read it here.
How to get to Hualien
To get to Hualien take the TRA from Taipei Main or Songshan to Taroko. Each ticket is 440ntd and it’ll take around 2 hours to get there. You can also purchase your tickets online which I recommend since they fill up fast. See ticket times and prices here.
What We Did: Visit Taroko Park
Taroko National Park
Time Spent: ~3 hours
Location: No.291, Fushi Village, Sioulin Township
Hours: 8:30am – 5:00pm
For day 2 we decided to rent a car to easily get to and get around Taroko Park. A car rental ranges from around 2000ntd and upwards (for a 4-5 seater), or you can rent a bunch of scooters which is also really fun. Taroko Park is GORGEOUS. With a car it took around 30 minutes to get from entrance to the end. With several spots along the way to park and walk around. While it’s a great place with several hiking trails, we did not have a lot of time so we used the car to see as much as we could. Overall we spent around 3 hours there.
What We Ate:五霸焦糖包心粉圓冰 Shaved Ice
Fivebar Shaved Ice (五霸焦糖包心粉圓 )
Time spent: 30 minutes
Location: No. 165, Bo’ai Street, Hualien City, Hualien County, 970
Hours: 10:30am – 10:30pm
After Taroko Park we were craving some shaved ice to cool down. This was so different from the shaved ices in Taipei! They used warm fresh tapioca balls, mung beans, tofu pudding, and grass jelly which are put in the plate first. Then the toppings are covered in shaved ice which is patted down, topped up and patted down again. The entire thing is then drizzled in a caramel sauce and then lined with condensed milk. It came out looking like a delicious pie. The texture was crunchier and the mixture of warm toppings with the cold shaved ice was a nice surprise.
If you’ve had shaved ice in Taipei you know they tend to be fluffier with cold fruit toppings like mango or strawberries.
Fivebar also offers a couple other desserts but we were full on two big bowls of shaved ice. I highly recommend this store when you visit Hualien.
What We Did: Visit Dongdamen Nightmarket
Time spent: ~1 hour
Location: No. 50, Zhongshan Road, Hualien City, Hualien County, 970
Hours: 5:30pm – 11:30pm
Next stop: Dondamen Nightmarket. It was a rainy day so it wasn’t as crowded as it usually is. Right next to the market you’ll find a large parking lot making it really convenient for people driving there.
The corn above was recommended for being well-known. It comes in either plain or BBQ flavor. However, it was expensive (they charge depending on weight), and I felt it wasn’t worth the money.
What I do recommend however is the deep fried cong you bing (Scallion Pancake). You can find them in a couple stores at the market. Look for “葱油饼” or a stall with lots of eggs. They fry the dough first before dropping an egg into the oil letting it fry up and then covering it with the dough. The finished product looks like a thick puffy taco with an egg hiding in between. Biting into it you’ll get gooey runny yolk mixed in with your fresh fried dough making a sticky but delicious mess. So crispy, so oily, the perfect guilty pleasure to finish off our weekend trip.
Hualien is definitely a place you want to spend a weekend. Lots to eat and lots to do. I would go back soon to see all the other sites Taroko Park has to offer.