Exploring Hualien Part 2 | Hualien, Taiwan

We spent the day before covering most of the scenic must-visit places for tourists in Hualien while enjoying the day punctuated with awesome lunch and dinner too.

Well, the sightseeing the day before was more than tiring for us so we decided to slow down a little bit for our second day in Hualien. But nonetheless, we visited and saw for ourselves some other amazing places we didn’t cover the day before… Read on to find out more! 🙂

[Taiwan September 2012]
15 September 2012
EXPLORING HUALIEN PART 2 | Hualien, Taiwan

We engaged the same driver, 陈先生, as the day before and started off our day with throwing ourselves off course and taking an almost 2 hour car ride down south of Hualien to check out the beautiful harvest season of day-lilies or also known as the golden lilies at Sixty Stone Mountain!

Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山
15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan
According to the signage:

Why is this mountain called ‘Sixty Stones Mountain’?
According to the locals, during the period of Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945) a jia (slightly less than a hectare) of normal paddy could yield 40 or 50 dan (‘stone’, as an unit of weight) of grain, but a hectare of paddy in this area could produce 60 dan.
Another story has it that early in the days of Japanese colonial rule, this mountain area was covered with a lush camphor forest; when the trees were all cut down for the refining of camphor, sixty huge boulders were exposed on the denuded slopes, giving the mountain its name in that case. However, the pronounciation of the Chinese character for ‘stone’ would be ‘shi’ instead of dan, yielding the name ‘Liushishi Mountain’.

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan
Most tourists, including ourselves, visits the Sixty Stones Mountain to see the flowering season of the day-lilies that takes place in August and September every year. However, when we were there during mid-September, most of the fields were being harvested already. It was said that it was prettier in the earlier part of the harvest season in August.

But if you’re visiting off-season, you surely can experience quiet, beautiful and mysterious scenery to an even greater degree there especially during winter. At that time, as you look down at the East Rift Valley from the mountain, you can see vast rapeseed flower fields that makes the view looks like those off a giant oil painting!

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan
Brother and sis-in-law…

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan
While the blooming season is almost at its end, thankfully for the tourism board for planning to maintain a rather big field of the day-lilies for late tourists like us! We managed to still see fields covered with pretty day-lilies dancing along with the breeze and took pretty photos there… 🙂

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan
A simple cookhouse on Sixty Stones Mountain serving food prepared with day-lilies and some others…

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan
Since it was almost lunch time, we decided to settle down and grabbed some bites!

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan
Day-lilies in chicken and mushroom broth – NT 50

Ok, you might be thinking that we had been very adventurous when it comes to food during this trip so far. But as much as it’s kind of hard to accept flowers in the soup like this, I’ve got to say that it tasted just like another vegetable, nothing odd at all!

In fact, it was pretty refreshing with the clear chicken and mushroom broth! 😀

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan
Braised pork rice – NT 30

Although it is just a small portion of probably three mouthfuls only, this is one of my favourite braised pork rice I had in Taiwan so far! If you have got the chance and catch this small cookhouse opened during your visit, give it a try!

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan
Fried sweet potato balls and Fried Day-lilies…

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan
The fried sweet potato balls are so crispy on the outside but soft and mushy inside. Very nice!

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan
How about a day-lilies popsicle for you? 😀

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan
Since it is harvest season, it’s definitely festive enough for the locals to hold a small carnival on the mountains! We spotted more food stalls and continued to fill our stomachs there with sausages and grabbed a serving of grilled wild boar meat from a stall manned by aboriginal people! 😀

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan
We decided to move on to the viewing post to have a better view of the Sixty Stones Mountain!
Even the walk up to the viewing post is scenic. Don’t you think so too? 🙂

Anyway, here’s some shots of the view from the viewing post!

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan
And not forgetting to get some pictures of ourselves with the gorgeous backdrop from the viewing post… 😀

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Sixty Stones Mountain 六十石山 | Hualien, Taiwan
Although it is bright and sunny on the top deck of the viewing post, it was also very windy and ideal for a picnic! Thus, we hung around a bit and enjoy the grilled wild boar meat we bought earlier there! 🙂

And with that, we left the scenic mountain area and headed back to the city of Hualien for the rest of our day there.

15 September 2012: On the road... | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: On the road... | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: On the road... | Hualien, Taiwan
Along the way back to the city area of Hualien, we chanced upon a wild boar farm along the highway! We had a live Animal Planet documentary show during our stop over to check it out… HEHE!

Pine Garden 松園別館
15 September 2012: Pine Garden 松園別館 | Hualien, Taiwan
Since the Pine Garden serves a special role as a former military command center and the fact that the complex is situated in such an unique and scenic environment with spacious grounds, pine trees and an ocean view, the Pine Garden deserves to be preserved.

15 September 2012: Pine Garden 松園別館 | Hualien, Taiwan
Ocean view from the viewing deck at Pine Garden

15 September 2012: Pine Garden 松園別館 | Hualien, Taiwan
These pine trees are at least a hundred years old! WOW!

In true fact, we had a major communication breakdown with our driver and guide 陈先生 and instead of bringing us to our initial intended destination, Martyrs’ Shrine, he brought us to the Pine Garden! So in the end, we just took a toilet break, took a brief look around and left.

Then again, not that all is bad. Due to the miscommunications, I think we found our personal favourite stinky tofu in Taiwan! 😀

15 September 2012: 花中榕樹下臭豆腐 | Hualien, Taiwan
Hua Zhong Stinky Tofu (under the Fig tree) 花中榕樹下臭豆腐

15 September 2012: 花中榕樹下臭豆腐 | Hualien, Taiwan
Stinky tofu – NT 45

Located at the foot of the hill along the same road leading to the Pine Garden, the stench of the stinky tofu filled the car when we passed by while getting to the Pine Garden. And according to the philosophy of “the stinkier, the better” for this Taiwanese local delicacy, we had to stop and give it a try ourselves!

These stinky tofu are soft and firm on the inside yet crispy on the outside because they are freshly fried upon every order and while most of the time the preserved cabbage side dish is an essential on the dish, I think the stinky tofu served here with their homemade savory garlic sauce is great on their own!

This is the only place we made orders for another round of the stinky tofus during our trip. This is the to-die-for in my opinion! I will and I must go back for more of their stinky tofu if I am in Hualien again!

Hualien Distillery Sales Center 花蓮酒廠展售中心
15 September 2012: Hualien Distillery Sales Center 花蓮酒廠展售中心 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Hualien Distillery Sales Center 花蓮酒廠展售中心 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Hualien Distillery Sales Center 花蓮酒廠展售中心 | Hualien, Taiwan
If you’re an alcoholic, you seriously shouldn’t miss the chance to grab a couple of bottles of local wine or liquor from the Hualien Distillery Sales Center! And you don’t have to worry because there are lots of helpful assistants there passing samples around and helping you if you’re not familiar with the local wines or liquors… 🙂

15 September 2012: Hualien Distillery Sales Center 花蓮酒廠展售中心 | Hualien, Taiwan
Even if you’re not interested in buying any thing from the wholesale center, you should still make a trip there and follow the sign above!

15 September 2012: Hualien Distillery Sales Center 花蓮酒廠展售中心 | Hualien, Taiwan
Yes! Follow the sign and bring yourself to Taiwan Beer and Red Yeast Sausages 紅麴香腸!

Judging by the crowd at the stall beside the wholesale center, the combination of fresh Taiwan Beer from the tap and piping hot grilled red yeast sausages is definitely a favourite among locals and tourists alike!

Chishingtan 七星潭

Our last stop for the day, we ended our tour and sightseeing in Hualien with a visit to Chishingtan which is located very close to the Hualien Distillery Sales Center.
15 September 2012: Chishingtan 七星潭 | Hualien, Taiwan
Arriving at Chishingtan…

15 September 2012: Chishingtan 七星潭 | Hualien, Taiwan
Seems like we’re not the only ones at the beach!…

15 September 2012: Chishingtan 七星潭 | Hualien, Taiwan
Most locals gathered at the amphitheater-liked seat and enjoy the evening seaside breeze…

15 September 2012: Chishingtan 七星潭 | Hualien, Taiwan
Even the Dachshund puppy is also enjoying the seaside breeze!
And finally presenting to you, Chishingtan beach!…

15 September 2012: Chishingtan 七星潭 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Chishingtan 七星潭 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Chishingtan 七星潭 | Hualien, Taiwan
I love the cloud formations that evening totally! Absolutely fluffy and dramatic!

15 September 2012: Chishingtan 七星潭 | Hualien, Taiwan91-063

15 September 2012: Chishingtan 七星潭 | Hualien, Taiwan
Did the “tourist thing” again… Us with the beach view as backdrop… 😀

15 September 2012: Chishingtan 七星潭 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Chishingtan 七星潭 | Hualien, Taiwan
While everybody is just sitting around the steps away from the beach and waters, we noticed a lady sitting on the beach along with her grandchild and dog and decided to approach her. Eventually, we figured that she’s picking a couple of pretty stones so that she could bring them back to line her flower pots in her garden and we ended up joining her and helped her pick collect some! Hehe…

15 September 2012: Chishingtan 七星潭 | Hualien, Taiwan
In actual fact, you can forget about my mention of seaside breeze.
If you noticed our messed up hair, it isn’t a breeze at all! The wind was so strong that we could hardly walk and the waves were also crashing onto the beach like they are ready to swallow someone. No joke!

Hehe! I hope I am not scaring you but we visited an evening after the typhoon past the eastern coast of Taiwan actually therefore I guess that’s why the wind and waves were so strong… 🙂

15 September 2012: Chishingtan 七星潭 | Hualien, Taiwan

15 September 2012: Chishingtan 七星潭 | Hualien, Taiwan
Oops there we go again, trying to get some food! 😀

Seriously speaking, never underestimate mobile stalls like these! Sometimes you’ll find a treasure and they’ll serve you something even better than those you paid a fortune for! 🙂

Well, that’s all for now. Look out for my next travelogue post if you’re interested to know the eating places we checked out during our second day in Hualien! 😀

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