Dulan is a quiet coastal town just 20 km north of Taitung City. It has become a major surfing destination as well, especially for foreigners. Some would even say that it is the coolest beach hangout in Taiwan! There is no public transportation to Dulan other than by bus, so do not expect large crowds. It is for sure one of Taiwan's most beautiful and uncrowded seas side destinations.
Dulan is a village of the Amis Aboriginie Tribe (阿美族) which have lived there since at least 1500 BC, and most of the people that live there now are Taiwan Aborigines. The area is still a center for Amis rituals and traditional ceremonies, as well as aboriginal culture.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: We recommend taking highway 11 from Taitung north 30km to the town. Feel free to stop and enjoy the scenery along the way.
By Bus: You can take bus 8102 or 8103 from Taitung, but according to Google this will take about 3 hours.
Map: Please see the map below:
Water Running Up is a gravity defying stream that appears to run uphill in Donghe Township near Dulan, Taitung County. As one of the stranger sights in Taiwan that seems to defy nature and the laws of physics, it attracts people year round. Does the water really run uphill? Let's find out.
Water Running up was originally built as an irrigation ditch by the Amis Aboriginal Tribe in 1870. The area around the trench was an important ritual training ground, but also a storage hub for food and water. Later on (I'm guessing in the past decade or two) people noticed that the water in the irrigation ditch appeared to run uphill when seen against a sloping background, and the Taitung County government quickly pounced on it, making it into a full fledged tourist trap. I mean tourist site.
How to get There:
By Car: From Taitung, take provincial highway 11 north to Dulan. Just before you enter Dulan it will be on the left.
By Train: Take the TRA to Taitung station, then take scooter or taxi via provincial highway 11 to Dulan.
By Bus: Take bus 8101 from Taitung Station to Yu Bridge. From there you will have to walk about 300 meters north, and up hill to the left. The bus ride takes just under 2 hours according to Google Maps.
âMap: Please see below:
Little Yehliu (aka Xiaoyeliu) Geopark is a unique geological area on the coast of Taitung City. It bears the same name as Yeliu Geopark (famous for the Queen's Head Rock), because the rocks look similar to its more famous namesake. However Little Yehliu is much smaller as the name suggests, and its rock formations less spectacular. Despite this, it is still a beautiful and unique stretch of coastline.
Similar to Yehliu, the geology of Little Yehliu is made up of volcanic rock placed over sandstone. This makes for a unique structures and shapes, with large sturdy volcanic rock sitting upon easily weathered sandstone below, worn away by wind and water. Taitung County has become masterful at creating major tourist destinations out of what would normally go unnoticed, and this is no exception (for instance there are tons of this kind of coastline in northern Taiwan).
How to get there: Take highway 11 from Taitung City about 6km north and it will be on your left. If you do not have a scooter or car, buses also stop along this route.
Price: Parking is 50-60 NT for cars, and 15-20 NT for scooters. Otherwise entrance to the park is free.
Hours: 24 hours a day
Map: Please see below:
Liji Moon World (aka Liji Badlands) is a rare geological formation right next to Taitung City in eastern Taiwan (not to be confused with the larger and better Tianliao Moon World). It is composed of easily eroding clay deposits, that erode faster than plants can grow on them, creating a unique moon-like landscape. If you are in Taitung, you should take the short trip across the Beinan River and enjoy these beautiful eroding masses of clay and dirt.
Typical badlands are found in dryer climates, are composed of sedimentary rocks, typically have very little vegetation, and have deep valleys or ravines. The badlands in Taiwan are unique in that they are in a tropical rain forest. How is this possible?
The soil at Liji Badlands formed under the ocean millions of years ago, forming a layer of sediment called a melagne. Over millions of years, the land was lifted up due to plate tectonics until it became dry land. The rocks are composed of mudstone, sandstone, shale, and chalk. Because of high alkaline levels due to chalk in the soil, trees and grass cannot grow, and basically the only plant that can grow in the soil is spiny bamboo. The lack of vegetation as well as high rainfall gives way to quick eroding hills, or badlands. The Beinan River (卑南溪) also helped to carve out the landscape and bare hills.
Because of the white greyish color, the hills seem to glow when in moonlight, hence the name "Moon World." However to the casual observer, the landscape looks like the surface of the moon as well. The name "Liji" comes from the name of the village where the formations are located.
How to get there:
By car: From Taitung City, take the East 45 highway out of the city, across Beinan River and the badlands will be on your right.
By train: Get off at Taitung Station, and from there you can literally walk to the badlands; its only 2KM away. Alternatively you can rent a scooter or take a taxi.
By plane: From Taitung Airport, hire a scooter or taxi and then take highway 11 then the East 45 Highway to the badlands.
Hours: 24 hours a day!
Map: Please see below:
Luye Highland (aka Luye Platform, Luye Gaotai), is a hill in Taitung County's Eastern Rift Valley, and is one of the most popular spots in the country for hot air ballooning and paragliding. Every summer since 2011, the longest running hot air balloon festival in Taiwan has been held here. Even if you are not a fan of going high in the sky, the area has beautiful scenery, especially of the surrounding eastern rift valley.
Luye Highland rests on a hill in Luye township of Taitung County that is about 350 meters above sea level. In 2011, the Taitung government organized the first "Taiwan International Balloon Festival" with over 350,000 people in attendance, which has been held every year since. Because the festival lasts for more than a month, according to Taiwan Everything this makes it the longest hot air balloon festival in the world.
Apart from the festival, Hot Air balloons and para-gliders take off from Luye Highland year round, weather permitting. There are paragliding lessons and rides daily which you can sign up for on site. There is also a large grassy area in the center of the hill for public use, such as push car rides.
How to get there:
By Car: From Taipei, take National Highway 5 to Yilan, then drive south on provincial road 9 until you get to Luye. See the map below for the location of the Highlands. It will be hard to miss.
By Train: Take the TRA to Luye station, and then walk, take a taxi, or take a bus to Luye Highlands (the train station is roughly 2 kilometers away from the highlands).
By Plane: Fly into Taitung Airport from Taipei, then take a taxi to the highlands.
Paragliding: 1800-2500 NT
Hot Air Ballooning: 500 NT and above depending on time
Push Car Rides: 100 NT per ride
The grounds are open 24 hours, but if you want to paraglide or ride in a hot air balloon, you should go between 8:30 am and 6:00 pm.
When to Go:
The Taitung balloon festival runs from June to August, which is when we recommend going. For exact dates of the festival, check here.
Other than that, go when the weather is good. However, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to ride in a hot air balloon any day of the year, but it is much more likely you will be able to paraglide.
Please see below:
Are you a fan of rice fields, biandang, and rice in general? Chishang is the place for you! As the unofficial rice capital of Taiwan, its unspoiled views of rice fields with a backdrop of the eastern rift valley is one of the most unique and unspoiled scenic areas in Taiwan.
The name Chishang comes from the town being located near Dapo Pond (or Daopochi 大坡池). The area was first settled by aboriginal tribes relocated from Pingtung. Qing dynasty Chinese farmers started settling there in 1875, as a reaction to Mudan Incident of 1871 (in which a crew of shipwrecked Japanese were beheaded by Taiwan aborigines) and the Japanese punitive expedition to Taiwan in 1874. After the Japanese took control of Taiwan, Chishang's main industries were growing sugar cane and rice. A train station was completed in Chishang in 1926 as part of the eastern railway line.
Because of its flat land and and abundant water, Chishang naturally became a great place for growing rice. It's rice fields and biandang (lunchbox) have generally been accepted as the best quality in Taiwan. Many of the rice varieties grown here can trace their roots to Japanese rule. Besides its unadulterated rice fields, the area also became famous due to a Mr. Brown coffee commercial shot here (at what is now know as Brown boulevard) as well an ad for EVA Air featuring Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城武）a Taiwan born Japanese actor (famous for many movies, the one which I remember him best in is the male protagonist in House of Flying Daggers), in which he drinks tea next to a tree. The tree is still there and is growing strong, although it was damaged in 2014 by typhoon Matmo.
I'm not sure if this is the original Mr. Brown Coffee commercial, but its at least pretty close:
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.