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!
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’.
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!
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… 🙂
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! 😀
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!
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! 😀
Anyway, here’s some shots of the view from the viewing post!
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.
Pine Garden 松園別館
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.
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! 😀
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!
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… 🙂
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!
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…
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… 🙂
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! 😀