Hualien is found on a strip of land between the Central Mountain Range of Taiwan and the Pacific Ocean. It is a small city that can easily be navigated by foot and is considered to be one of the most pleasant cities in Taiwan. Most tourists visit Taiwan to enjoy its beautiful scenery and fresh air but these are also the reasons why getting around Hualien may be quite constrained.
Hualien is a tiny city without a very reliable and extensive public transport system. Thus, the best option to travel around the city is by renting a scooter. Scooters are the frequent mode of transport of most locals of the city, which is why driving one won’t be much a problem. There are several places where tourists can rent scooters around town, and they will cost about NT$400 a day. However, the Pony Leasing & Rental Group, which is found right across the Teh Train Station, is the only rental agency that will rent out scooters to foreigners. Although rental companies are plenty, most rental companies will require you to have a Taiwanese driver’s license. The Pony Group however will require an International Driver’s License and is supposedly the easiest place to rent a scooter. Make sure to bring your passport as well to be eligible to hire one. Aside from scooters and motorcycles, cars can also be rented for NT$1500 to NT$2000 a day, which excludes gas.
Those who would rather have someone else drive them around will find out that hailing a cab is also a good option. This is especially worth the money when going to areas found outside the city center. Plenty of Hualien cab drivers can be seen at different train and bus stations as well as at the different tourist attractions of Hualien. Because of tough competition, some taxi drivers will even offer their services for an entire day just so that they can secure your services.
There are so many scenic attractions around Hualien to check out, but many of them will require you to go through the famous Highway 11 and the Taroko Gorge. It may be best to ask a cab driver to take you to your destination as these roads can get extremely dangerous. There are many reckless drivers in Taiwan and being a foreigner, you might not be used to the kind of driving locals prefer. It will be fine to drive yourself around within the city but almost never outside Hualien.
Although not entirely recommended, some visitors opt to take a bus to tour around the city but this proves a rather slow way to get around. What with the changing schedules and many bus stations around the city, buses might not be an ideal mode of transport, especially for someone visiting Hualien for a short period of time.
Although the only options on getting around Hualien on land are the scooter, taxi and cab, this is the exact reason why Hualien gets to maintain its beautiful and seemingly untouched landscape. Without too many modes of transport available in the city, it is able to preserve its natural setting and focus on the beauty of nature instead. This means that although the options on getting around Hualien may be limited, it will still be worth the trip.