Saturday, March 18, 2017

Taipei (台北) to Yilan (宜蘭) - Waiao (外澳) Beach - Mr. Brown Coffee - Yilan ((宜蘭) to Hualien (花蓮) - Qingshui cliff (清水斷崖) [Travel in Taiwan 170317 (Guest Post): Around the Island in Five Days - Day 1]

(Taipei-Taroko-Hehuanshan-Alishan-Kenting-Taipei)

Taiwan, with its unique geographical location, has majestic high altitude mountains and exotic beaches all around. North-east coastal road, which extends from Keelung to Taitung, via Yilan and Hualien, is considered the most beautiful road of Taiwan. Our plan was to see Taiwan’s landmark scenic spots, all in one time, by road trip. With a 2003 Ford Tierra, 4 of us traveled for 5 days to do a round-trip of Taiwan. Though we missed a few places which were on our itinerary, we managed to make the most out of our trip. This travel stories will surely give an insight for a traveler wanting to road trip around Taiwan to well plan his/her itinerary.


Day 1 (Taipei – Yilan):

To make the most out of any day trip, I always start in the morning as early as possible. We set off at 7:00 a.m from Nangang in Taipei, the place we live. We took the Freeway 3 Provincial road 62 to National Museum of Marine science, Keelung. It is from this place that we started on the north-east coastal road, provincial road 2. It is a narrow, single-lane road with lush green mountains on the right and never-ending Pacific ocean on the left side. That was such a visual treat. We could see turtle island moving closer to us as we proceeded towards Yilan in the north-east coastal road. Practically, we could pull over anywhere we want to have a look at the scenery, parking the car in roadside. Many viewpoints, cafes, unique rock formations lined the beach.  We stopped at a few viewpoints including rock formations at Nanya to get down and feel the beauty of green mountains and blue ocean existing together, before stopping at a beachside café to refresh ourselves.
    


After drinking cappuccino (120 NT$, typically all cafes serve coffees in the same price range), we proceeded our journey towards Yilan. The entire stretch of the road till Yilan is in between the Pacific ocean and the mountains. There are numerous hiking trails all the way in the mountains.

We passed Fulong beach and came across a beautiful, big temple on the left side facing the ocean. This temple is in between Fulong and Waiao beach. It is a 4-storey temple with fantastic ocean view. The temple itself is big with a food court, 4-5 commercial shops, good functional drinking water facilities and a big, clean restroom. The architecture of the temple was similar to others found in Taiwan. But its location made it very beautiful.  
 


Day 1 (Yilan to Hualien):

Continuing ur journey on the beautiful provincial road no.2, we headed towards the famous black sand beach of Yilan, Waiao Beach. We noticed a path to a nearby where Mr.Brown coffee shops were available. First, we went uphill about 2 km and found Netherlands type castles and a windmill, all built my Mr.Brown Coffee. It is a nice place to have a one day picnic and I guess, it’s a place known only to locals as I could not find any foreigners there. The view of Yilan city and its coastline from the mountain top is awesome. It’s the best place to have lunch and relax with children. We roamed around the castles and windmill for some time and returned back to the Waiao beach. The beach sand here is unique and different from those usually found in Taiwan. It's relatively easier to ride sandbikes in this sand, so a first-time sand biker may want to try riding it here in Waiao. The rent for 30 min is NTD 800, which is not cheap.

Further continuing our journey towards Hualien, we entered the provincial road 9 which goes around hilly regions, providing a visual treat for the eyes with its mesmerizing views of the mountains from elevated viewpoints on the hills.  There are a couple of fantastic viewpoints of Qingshui cliff from the highway, which are not to be missed. A part of the Taroko National Park is on the provincial road 9, where the roads are quite narrow with winding tunnels with a lot of trucks using the road, which makes the drive thrilling. From here, the dangerous yet the most scenic drive from Taroko to the high altitude mountains of Taiwan starts.



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"Taipei kong mahal" (My beloved Taipei). Catch it every Wednesday at 8:00 pm (Taiwan/Philippine time)


Other attractions in Taipei


New Taipei


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    2016 Sakura Series - Taiwan


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