Hualien Part II: Itinerary (Day 5)

Itinerary in a Nutshell:
1. Afternoon: Lunch around Hotel Bayview, cycling along Chixingtan
2. Evening: Chilling at Hotel Bayview

DAY 5: EASTERN HUALIEN & CHIXING TAN
1. Morning

After a wholesome and delicious breakfast at (Fu Hang Dou Jiang), we headed to Taipei Train Station for our next stop: Hualien. The recommended mode of transport between Taipei and Hualien is the Taroko Express (0850 – 1146am; NT418), where many bloggers recommend sitting on the left side of the cabin. However, since we were pre-allocated seats, we did not have a choice (and were in fact separated). Nonetheless, if you happen to sit on the left, you will enjoy a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean and witness how the scenery transits from high rise buildings to scenic waters and majestic mountains.

We arrived at Hualien Train Station at about noon, where the driver from Hotel Bayview was patiently awaiting our arrival. Since the hotel was quite a distance from the train station, such arrangements really saved us a lot of trouble.

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Hotel Bayview – Worth every penny

Upon check-in, Juan, the helpful and friendly boss of Hotel Bayview, gave us a short orientation of the hotel and recommended eats in the vicinity. We decided to take the bike and cycle to 鲍鲜楼, and we do not regret our decision.

2. Afternoon

鲍鲜楼
Address: 花蓮縣新城鄉七星街45號-1
Tel: 03 823 6606
Recommendations: 曼波鱼 (Mambo Fish) and Set Lunches

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The Wide Variety of Dishes available 

鲍鲜楼 offers a wide variety of ala carte dishes and we were literally spoilt for choice. We wanted to go with the usual “3 Dishes 1 Soup” combination and did some calculations. Finally, we decided that it would be more economical to order the Set Meal instead, which comes with a cold dish (Tuna Sashimi), stir-fried vegetables, the signature “Mambo Fish” that can only be found in Hualien and a soup.

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Ala Carte Menu

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Perhaps more economical to order the Set Meals

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Sashimi (生鱼片)

Starting off with the Cold Dish – this was our first serving of sashimi for the trip and we were looking forward to it because Taiwan is known for its fresh, high quality and yet affordable seafood. There were 6 slices of tuna sashimi and 3-4 slices of squid sashimi (relatively camouflaged due to the colour of the plastic plate), which were absolutely fresh and delicious. You probably wouldn’t go wrong here, since Hualien is a port city with a sustainable supply of fresh seafood.

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Seasonal Vegetables(时蔬青菜)

Rapidly stir-fried over high flame, this dish is simple yet yummy.

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Clam Soup(蛤仔汤)

The Clam Soup was seasoned with cooking wine and contained about 12-15 portions of claims. Not absolutely mind-blowing but reflects the superior culinary skills of the chef.

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Stir-Fried Celery with Signature Mambo Fish (洋芹曼波)

Finally came the star of the meal: Stir-Fried Celery with Signature Mambo Fish. This is our first time trying the Mambo Fish  (or ocean sunfish, Sharptail mola) and an eye-opener indeed. Apparently, although mambo fish is a delicacy in Taiwan, it is banned in the EU and rarely encountered. In recent years, it has grown to be the local delight of Hualien, after the county government’s efforts to promote it as the icon of Hualien. Mambo meat resembles a jelly-like substance of gelatin or collagen and tastes likewise.  It is soft, tender and very chewy.

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Mambo Fish Wall Painting

When we went up to the cashier, curiosity got the better of us and we asked the lady boss about how the Mambo Fish actually looked like – and so she kindly showed us her photos:

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The Lady Boss and her catches

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Close-Up: The humongous Mambo Fish

Yes – a mambo fish can weigh up to 1000kg and measures 3-4metres.

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The interior of 鲍鲜楼Image

Verdict: 3.8/5 (for displaying superior culinary skills in simple dishes, with the unforgettable mambo fish)

After the binging, we decided to take a look at 柴鱼博物馆, which required entrance tickets not worth paying for. We thus headed back to hotel and checked in (at about 2.30pm), since it would be too hot to cycle under the scorching sun at midday. At about 3.30pm, we headed out for our cycling trip along the gorgeous Chixing Tan:

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Dolphins – A common sight in the Pacific Ocean

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The Cycling Track

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Map of the Cycling Track

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Cycling along the coast is a breeze with the dedicated cycling track and you will appreciate the breathtaking beauty of Chixingtan (Seven Stars Lake) (only sunrise though, not sunset). We cycled for about 45min south from Hotel Bayview (turn right out of Hotel Bayview, and including some uphill and downhill), and encountered some herding cattle, surrounded by some unique structures.

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The Azure Blue Pacific Ocean

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The Maroon Surfer

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Marvel at the beauty of Hualien

2. Evening

After cycling for about 2 hours, we decided to head back to return the bicycles and proceed for dinner. As we did not want to cab out to the city centre or have western food at a nearby farm (we wanted to enjoy quintessential local food first), we decided to have dinner at Family Mart Convenience Store:

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Pork Ribs Bento: NT65

After dinner, we thought that it was time for coffee and headed to the 24 hours Self-Service Coffee/Wifi bar at the ground level. You may also wish to check out the rooftop balcony for sunset, but it closes at 8pm daily. We had an early night so that we could use the internet, wake up early for sunrise and rest for the Taroko tour the next day! 

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24 hours Self-Service Coffee/Wifi bar

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Complimentary Free-flow Snacks

Pls continue on to Hualien Part II: Itinerary (Day 6) 

 

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11 thoughts on “Hualien Part II: Itinerary (Day 5)

  1. Pingback: 欣欣麵館 (Xin Xin Noodle House) | fatsgboy - sgboy's food and travel blog

  2. Pingback: Hualien Part II: Itinerary (Day 6) | fatsgboy - sgboy's food and travel blog

  3. Pingback: Hualien Part I: Overview | fatsgboy - sgboy's food and travel blog

    • Hi Michelle!

      Thank you for your compliments. I have checked with Lisa, the minsu owner and she can arrange bicycle rental for you at NT200, or scooter rental at NT350-400. I would presume the rate is per day (she didn’t indicate clearly) but you can email her to check again: lisahanling@yahoo.com.tw

      Enjoy your trip!

  4. Hi there!

    Very nice pictures and I enjoyed every bit of it. My partner and I are planning to visit taiwan in July. As we don’t speak nor read chinese, it is really a big problem :( I’m yet to find out how to get to places outside taipei city.

    I’ve so many places i would like to visit but i’m not sure if I could find any transportation from point A to B. I’m not sure if you could help me but here’s the list I have in my note :)

    1. sun moon lake
    2. the green green grassland
    3. taroko gorge
    4. hualien
    5. chihsingtan beach
    6. chingsui cliff

    So far that was all. but I dont know which one should i go first. As in whats the best route. What do you think? Hope to get some experienced advise.

    Thank you and have a good day.

    Regards,
    Beth.

  5. Hey there! Thanks for visiting our blog and apologies for the late reply.

    Taroko Gorge, Chihsingtan beach and Chingsui Cliff are located in the province of Hualien, so you can visit these spots while staying in Hualien. Chihsingtan beach is located just next to Hotel Bayview and if you stay at my B&B, you can ask Lisa (or Hotel Bayview) to book a taxi to tour Taroko Gorge or Chingshui Cliff. As for travelling from Taipei to Hualien, you can either take the train or a flight.

    Unlike Hualien that is located on the east coast, Sun Moon Lake is located somewhere in the middle of Taiwan and is usually visited together with Nantou or Taichung. I have not visited Sun Moon Lake and the grassland you mentioned, so you should seek the advice of other travellers. Hope this helps!

  6. hi! Love how detail ur post is. Im thinking to go hualien frm taipei or even str from taoyuan airport. I click into buying train fix frm Taroke express train link. however, notice that there r many different kind of train type. May i know which is the 1 that you took and what is the difference? Thank you so much for ur kind help! :)

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your compliment. I recall that the Taroko Express takes about 2h 15min, while the other train types takes about 2h 45min. I did not buy my tickets online, as it was stated that the tickets were not refundable (http://railway.hinet.net). I bought them instead at Taipei Main Station I think, so do purchase them early if you want to buy them onsite.

      Hope this helps!

    • Hi, are you referring to Hotel Bayview? If you do not stay there, you may wish to check with your hotel or minsu. Otherwise, you can also try asking Hotel Bayview if they accept rental for non-guests!

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