After a wonderful day and night in Luodong, it was time to move on. Hualien is an awesome town conveniently located centrally on the east coast, but it is so much more than a “stopover” for a long trip. It’s tremendous mountains, pebble beaches, lush countryside, and crystal clear water make it a MUST see for travelers.
We have been to Hualien several times before, so we were not interested in the typical Hualien sites. Although Taroko will always be awe-inspiring, and the night market will never disappoint, we wanted to visit new sites a little “off the grid”.
On the way heading south, we stopped in Dong’ao for the secret beach. Unfortunately, it’s not really a secret anymore. There were several tourists taking pictures beside the picturesque water. There was even a bride-to-be taking photos in a gorgeous, extravagant, green wedding gown. Regardless, it was a stunning little spot with clear, turquoise water to splash around in. We were told by our friends that there was a cave to swim to and, if daring enough, swim through; but we were Hualien bound and decided to get back on the road.
After a few more hours of winding cliff roads presenting the most stunning drive beside the vast Philippine Sea, we arrived just north of Hualien–Qing Shui. For two years, we’ve been wondering how to get down to the beach that’s overlooked by the marble cliffs of Qing Shui. 2 years. But thanks to Follow Xiao Fei , we were finally able to get down to that amazingly secluded beach. Nothing but smooth pebbles, electric blue water, and quiet. The river from the mountains emptied in a cascading waterfall on the north end of the beach, and the towering marble cliffs rose above the southern end. It was a bit of a trek down, having to use a rope and ladder, but totally worth it.
After our skin was toasty and pink, we headed into Hualien to wash up and get some delicious grub. Due to exhaustion and pure temptation, we ended up back at that all too good night market. We decided to dig a little deeper into our pockets and enjoy some heart-warmingly good seafood. Fresh oysters as big as our heads grilled on an open flame, scallops as big as our hands, and mini scallops for scoffing down were the perfect dinner to finish the perfect day. Although it is a small town, Hualien is so rich in natural beauty that there is always a hidden gem waiting to be discovered and explored.