Hualien named Asia's seventh-best travel spot


I’m speechless. So wrong.


December 9, 2016, 12:07 am TWN
TAIPEI – Travel website TripAdvisor on Wednesday recommended Hualien as an ideal travel destination while announcing its annual “Travellers’ Choice Awards for Destinations on the Rise,” which ranked the Eastern Taiwan county the seventh-best destination in Asia.

Taroko National Park was singled out as a must-see location in Hualien, according to the website, which also lauded the ocean view at Shihtiping.
“Most people come to Hualien to visit Taroko Gorge and with good reason — it’s simply beautiful. With rope bridges over rivers, hiking trails with astounding views and temples cut into the mountainside, it’s an unforgettable place,” the website said.
The awards recognize 43 destinations around the world selected by an algorithm primarily based on year-by-year increases in positive TripAdvisor traveler review ratings for accommodation, restaurants, attractions and increased interest in booking trips.
The destinations were in five geographical categories: the World, United States, Europe, South America and Asia.
Baku in Azerbaijan topped the Asia list, which also included El Nido in the Philippines, Jodhpur in India and Da Lat in Vietnam.
The beach city of Kihei in Hawaii was ranked the top rising spot in the U.S., while San Jose del Cabo in Mexico earned the number one ranking in the world.


There you go. Algorithms vs. human judgement.




I assume they are referring to “Greater Hualien” and not just the city.

If so, you could argue that Taroko is impressive (it is); other spots for river tracing are said to be sublime (I have not tried this so I wouldn’t know); and spots along the Rift Valley are lovely (they are). Walking the Walami trail is amazing.

When you think about it this way, and squint a bit to see past the rest, the assessment could almost make sense!





So the algorithm says people talked about Hualien more this year than last year. Ok. But that does not make it the 7th best place in Asia to visit. That is a false estimationn and fake news.

Taiwan public affairs must be buying a lot of advertisements on TripAdvisor.


Has anyone ever been to that Baku place?

I’ve lived in 3 continents, met people from countless nationalities and not once, in my whole life, has anyone ever told me:“Dude, you should totally check out Baku in Azerbaijan, it’s totally legit”.


That’s true, but some of the best places I have ever been to are not known at all. I lived in Slovakia briefly pre-EU and it was undiscovered then. When I went hiking there a lot of the time I was lucky if I met one other person the entire day, even at locations that were fairly easily accessible by public transport. Even now I’ve never met anyone who has even mentioned the Vysoke Tatry as worth visiting (the Slovak side is better, but the Polish side is also pretty good), for instance, let alone other places like Vratna Dolina/Mala Fatra, Slovensky Raj, etc. People have never heard of these places, let alone been to them. I can imagine Baku being interesting given its geographic location and the history and cultures of the region. Perhaps being off the trail is a large part of its charm as anywhere even remotely on the trail in most places is now a veritable gauntlet of tourist touts and other assorted shady characters. On the other hand, it could just be me because the Caucasus region and the central Asian countries are particularly appealing to me.

That said, that algorithm seems to be self-defeating. If it’s based upon increased ratings, then if a location topped out at 100% positive reviews, the following year, it would not appear on the list because there would be no increase in the positive reviews. On the other hand, a place that went from 0%-50% would probably top the list.


I read TripAdvisor Taiwan Forum nearly every day for the last couple of years and never noticed increase in Hualien.