We made it to Hualien, on Taiwan’s east coast. It was about a 3 hour train ride from Taipei. It was a nice change of scenery from Taipei – with more views of the ocean and the mountains. When we arrived, a taxi took us to the homestay/bed-and-breakfast we had booked. We were surprised how far the homestay is from everything – it was not quite what we were expecting.
We decided to look into other accommodations and found ourselves at the Parkview Hotel in Hualien. This place is amazing! It is a full-service resort, with a spa, four restaurants, golf course, indoor squash court, pool, recreation center with a pool table and ping pong tables. The rate is only a few dollars more than we would have paid at the homestay. It’s probably one of the best hotels in which we have ever stayed. The rate listed in the Taiwan guide books is much higher than what we are paying for our room. If you ever make it to Hualien, I’d recommend this hotel.
On Saturday, before leaving Taipei, we visited Danshui. It was similar to the night market atmosphere, with a few streets of vendor stalls and shops. I think the best way to describe it is as a little bit State Fair, a little bit beach boardwalk, and a little bit carnival. We picked up a few gifts for our kids and enjoyed the scenery along the river.