Hualien 花蓮 — Day 3 ...

Wandering around Taroko National Park (太魯閣國家公園)

The water was quite murky due to recent typhoon Soudelor

The Xiangde Temple (祥德寺)  at Tianxiang (天祥) in Taroko Gorge

Tunnels and tunnels and tunnels to drive through

Hualien 花蓮 — Day 3 ...

The Changchun Shrine (長春祠) or the Eternal Spring Shrine in Taroko National Park (太魯閣國家公園)

Due to Typhoon Soudelor many trails and roads were closed in Taroko Gorge

Tunnels and tunnels and tunnels to drive through

Hualien 花蓮 — Day 2 ...

The Guanyin Cave (觀音洞) at the Baxian Caves (八仙洞)

The Chaoyin Cave (潮音洞) at the Baxian Caves (八仙洞)

Looking at the old Changhong Bridge (長虹橋) from the new one along the 台11線

Wandering around the typhoon battered Shitiping (石梯平) before the heavy rain started

Hualien 花蓮 — Day 1 and 2 ...

Our route
Day 1 — I arrived in Hualien in the late afternoon via train. After settling into my room, my hosts treated me to my first dinner. I would be staying in Shoufeng Township (壽豐縣) which is a small university town. Over dinner, I discussed some of my plans with my hosts and they were particulary interested in one destination since neither had been. We agreed to go there the following day.

Day 2 — I was without 老紅, my scooter, although I got a call around 11:30am to say she had arrived. We were halfway down the coast by this time and what a beautiful drive it was!

Our destination: Baxian Caves (八仙洞) which is just over the Taitung border. Free.

At the Tropic of Cancer landmark (北回歸線標) along the 台11線

The Tropic of Cancer landmark as seen from the beach

Overlooking the 台11線 from halfway up the mountain trail at Baxian Caves (八仙洞)

More from Manyueyuan (滿月圓國家森林遊樂區) ...

Crisp, cool water made for a wonderful swimming spot after a long sweaty day

Saturday August 1st, 2015

Virgin Waterfall (處女瀑布) at Manyueyuan National Forest Recreation Area (滿月圓國家森林遊樂區)

Overlooking the Manyueyuan Waterfall (滿月圓瀑布)

Wandering through a very dense forest making it hard to get clear shots

Led three Taipei Hikers  on a mountain road trip and a walk around this wonderful park

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

Snorkeling at Long Dong (龍洞) on the northern coast

Watching the hawks near the Keelung Port (基隆港)

Cool abandoned houses near Jinshan (金山) 

Taitung 台東 — Day 16 ...

Road trip route
My last full day in Taitung was an adventure. The goal was to explore more of the East Rift Valley, taking the 197 back to Taitung.

Along the stunning 197, I came to a split in the road. My options were to go up to a temple, to go down a tiny, broken road or to follow the sign to Taitung which had suddenly turned into a rocky road.

I thought the sign wasn't right, so I ventured up the temple road but could see on the GPS that it was the wrong direction. I ventured down the tiny, broken road but also saw this wasn't the 197. The way to Taitung really was along the rocky road.

I made an attempt to drive on the rocky road and  noticed a sign that said the road would be like this for the next 14KM. The rocks were big and not scooter friendly. I was afraid of popping a tire or it taking me a full day to complete this section of the road.

Thankfully the tiny broken road, which was extremely steep, led me down to a bridge and eventually back to the number 9. The things I get myself into!

A very successful day at the hot air balloon festival
Tethered hot air balloon ride NT$500

Walking around and enjoying the beauty of the Dapo Pond (大波池)

The wrong time of year to be at  Mr. Brown Avenue, yet still gorgeous

Green Island 錄島 — Day 15 ...

A sunrise soak at Chaori Hot Springs (朝日溫泉)
A natural saltwater hot spring and one of only three in the world

Green Island 錄島 — Day 14 ...

Watching the sunrise from the Little Great Wall Trail (小長城步道)

Hiked to the tallest point of the island — Amei Mountain (阿眉山)

Fun under the sea at Shilang Diving Area (石朗潛水區)

Green Island 錄島 — Day 13 ...

Map of Green Island
Green island (錄島) sits about 33km off the coast of Taitung and takes approximately one hour to get to by boat. (NT$920/return)

The island is roughly 15km² to 17km², depending on the tides. It offers stunning scenery, beautiful coral reefs, hiking trails and a natural saltwater hot spring. (Only three exist in the world!)

Green Island has plenty of scooters for rent (NT$300+/day) or one can bring their own on the boat for NT$200. Scooting around the island is a great way to see everything!

Overlooking Youzi Lake (柚子湖) which is #6 on the above map

A dead battery and an easy fix
老紅 died on me during my first few hours on the island. Thankfully I was somewhat near the repair shop and not at the campgrounds or some other remote place.

Note: if you rent a scooter on the island, the shop staff will come and rescue you. If you bring your own, you are left to fend for yourself.

BIG thanks to the small grocery store staff where Old Red died, to the police officer at the local station and to the random guy who stopped and offered his help by giving me a boost with his scooter (and leg) all the way to the shop! Lovely!

Chaikou Diving Area (䓱口潛水區) which is #3 on the above map

Taitung 台東 — Day 12 and 13 ...

Day 12 — 老紅 got an oil change and I got a whole lot of R&R

Day 13 — on a 9:30AM boat heading over to Green Island (錄島)

The tiny road that goes around the breathtaking island

My home for two nights — NT$400/first night, NT$200 for additional nights