Hualien is famous for it’s ocean view and it’s mountains. There are beautiful mountain landscapes with steep cliffs and rivers running through them. The best part is that a ticket to a day pass on the bus was less than $5. We purchased our tickets and waited for the first bus.
The first place we got off was Buluowan. Buluowan has a few nice shops, and some great views of the mountains towering over you. They also had some very friendly staff who were excited to speak Japanese with us. There was a large field and tables that would have been great for a picnic had we brought lunch. The next spot was only a kilometer away so we decided to walk. We had to go down a lot of stairs and then wait for the road to open up (it was only open 10 minutes every hour due to construction), but we eventually got to Swallow Grotto.
Swallow Grotto is a tunnel that has been cut right through the mountain. It was very mystical and beautiful, but also very scary. There were signs all over saying that a rock slide might occur and to walk fast. The view was amazing though. Since the road doesn’t really connect to much I was surprised they would have gone through the work to make the tunnel, but it was quite impressive none the less. After walking through the Swallow Grotto we caught the next bus to Tiansiang.
Tiangsiang is a small tourist area with a hotel and some restaurants near the top of the mountains. We had lunch, and then headed across the bridge to see the temple that was even higher up the mountain.
The temple was pretty interesting and had two sets of stairs that spiraled up to the top. It didn’t have much support underneath, which made me a bit nervous. We climbed to the top anyways and looked out over the river and valley. At this point we were pretty beat and took the bus back to the station. We slept most of the way.
Since we had so much fun the night before, and because we didn’t have anything else to do, we went back to the night market to play some games and do archery. Shortly after leaving the night market it started pouring rain. Luckily we still had our rain jackets. Riding a bike down a street with heavy traffic in pouring rain was a bit scary and on top of that we really didn’t know where we were going. After riding several kilometers we stopped at a grocery store to get out of the rain and see what it was like.
When we came back out the rain had let up, so headed back to our hotel to find a place to eat. We couldn’t decide, so we walked around and looked at what other people were eating. Finally deciding on a small shop that sold dumplings and fried rice. We could only read some of the characters so we mostly guessed at what we were ordering. It turned out pretty good though.