Driving from taipei to hualien to taitung

  1. How curved are the roads. Passenger tends to get car sick on curvy roads.

  2. How narrow and dangerous is the route? It follows the coastline, so is it like driving highway 1 pacific coast highway in California, steep, narrow with cliffs?

  3. I heard it was possible to put your car on the train from Taipei to Hualien. Have any of you done this before

  4. Overall… go by train or car, which is better?

I myself prefer to take the train because there are no traffic jams, and I can relax. Driving on the roads in Taiwan always makes me anxious, not because of the road conditions, but because of the idiotic and dangerous way many people drive here.

When I moved to Hualian from Taoyuan I was offered a free ride by the moving truck driver. I really though we wouldn’t make it alive because of his and the other drivers’ total disregard for safety, especially on the windy road areas (yes, you can get car sick if you’re prone to that). The next year when I moved back to Taoyuan, I spent the money to ship my scooter and take the train–no way would I ever get in a truck again with a Taiwanese driver.

Anyway, that was my experience. However you go, I know you’ll enjoy the beauty of Hualian and Taidong.

I’ve driven the hualien - taidong route many times. It’s very scenic …spectacular in some areas…and a good drive if you are not in the back seat…
If you ask the locals they will all tell you how dangerous it is…and I agree. I drive a lot in Taiwan and it’s only been on that route that I have had to swerve away from oncoming traffic…twice. On both occasions I had somehow managed to be the only car for a long stretch of windy road and the cars / trucks going in the opposite direction just didn’t figure they would see me as they came out of the turn. After the second occasion I made sure there were always several cars just ahead of me, and that felt a lot safer.

From Hualien to Taidong, curvy, especially coming out of Hualien, and coming into Taiwan.

Yes- though a lot better than it used to be, and some stretches are fine- still two-lane most of the way and scary in parts, especially with the looney tour bus drivers.

4. Overall… go by train or car, which is better?[/quote]

As always… car is more convenient, especially in Taidong- the local transportation system sucks; if you’re going to do sightseeing wheels are highly recommended. Unless you have friends here or want to go to the expense of renting a vehicle, I’d suggest driving.

From Hualien to Taidong the train goes down the inland valley, very nice scenery, but not spectacular like the coast.

Driving that route is one of the best in Taiwan in terms of scenery. Having a car gives you flexibility.

I love driving that route. But yes, you should be well experienced in Taiwan driving and you should take it slow. Give yourself lots of time so as to keep a lower speed. The curves will make people who are easily carsick ill. But for most people it is fine.

From Hualian to Taitung there is the inland route and the ocean route. I always take the ocean route.

I like to take the 'all ocean route". That is to say go up to Keelung and round the coast through Fulung. Make stops along the way. Stop over at the whiskey factory in Ilan i believe. Stop at the largest fishing port in Taiwan (Nan Fang Ao) and have some seafood. I take all day at it. But its about 3 to 4 hours to Nan Fang Ao and then another 3 or so to Hualian. And about 4 or so to Taitung. And another 4 or so to Fong Kang and the Kenting area.

Awesome drive. All my friends i’ve taken on it loved it. Hairy? Definitely. But well do-able at a relaxed pace.

P.s. Don’t know if it is still as good, but the Royal Chihpen hotel in TAitung was awesome. Great hot springs . Great place to overnight.
p.p.s. YES very much like highway 1 in cAlifornia.
And also towards the end of this car vid the scenery is very much like the suao-hualian at its best!


Although Suao-Hualian has amazing scenery, some parts of it can also be seen by train. So to car sickness (if pill is not an option), take a train down to Huanlian city and rent a car to drive to Taidong, and the road would be straight and flat.

You mean the inland route presumably. Yes, it’s quite scenic, with mountains on either side and lush farmlands along the way. You can stop in Lu-yeh and drive up to Gao-tai for the paragliding/hot-air balloons/tea farm site.

You won’t see much of the spectacular coast between Su’ao and Hualien, cause the train goes to all those tunnels. Just glimpses of the coast here and there really.

South of Hualien there are a few stretches inland with some curves but not tight ones, so not really worrisome for people with car sickness problems. Most of the road is rather straight and it’s easy to find places to stop and take a break.

Yup I agree with that. YOU see NADA scenery between suao and hualian on the train as you are going to be in tunnels mostly. Even the road now. Much of it is now through tunnels. The cliffs being more and more dangerous. You have to walk many of those sections now if you want to see the scenery.

IF you are renting a car anyways? You could consider renting starting from Hualian and returning the car in Kaohsiung. This way you can take in a good deal of scenery with no hard driving. Train to hualian from taipei and Train as well from Kaohsiung back to Taipei. And you are all set.

I love driving to Hualien and Taidong. But NOT when during heavy rain or typhoon season which is coming up. Extremely dangerous.

Highway 9 to/from Taidong is amazing. The stretch between Hualien and Taidong is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever experienced. Even though you can do it in around 4 hours, I suggest stopping and staying the night at guesthouses along the way. You can sleep and listen to the waves crashing on the shore, or stay near a hot spring, or on a mountain and watch the clouds set in the evening. All amazing.

The drive between Hualien and Taipei along Highway 7 is also amazing.

Start driving early in the day before clouds and rain set in.