Taidong highlights

I’m heading for Taidong/Taitung this weekend. (Yes, yes, I know: weekends and Taiwan travel make a bad combination. Meiyou banfa.) The plan is to fly there, rent a car, see Zhiben/Chipen and the mountains to the north, and then cruise the coast north of Taidong.

Specific recommendations appreciated. Sandman, do you remember the names of the places you mentioned?

OK Mark, here goes. I spent a week there last year and had a great time. Since you mention you’ll be hiring a car, there are a lot of good places.
First is the beach. I’m sure there are many, but the one we went to is approx. 15-20 mins by car north of Taitung on the coast road – oops, I can’t believe I just wrote that. DOH! You can’t miss it if you keep your eyes peeled. You’ll go past a whitewashed “nice-looking” restaurant – almost European style – on your right, and just after that, you’ll see a stand of those feathery-looking pine trees and a small parking lot. Park there and you’re right at the beach.
For Chihpen, do yourselves a favor and splash out at the best of the hotels – I think its called the Royal Hotel Chihpen – a five-star job with a good Western/Chinese buffet and a really fantastic spa. You don’t have to book a room, although if you do, I believe the spa’s free AND you also get the use of a Japanese-style outdoor hot spring that’s closed to non-residents.
OK, that’s done.
Now, scenic drives… I’m assuming that you’ll have a road map, cos I really can’t remember the road numbers.
From Taitung, take the OTHER road north (not the coast road). This takes you up the valley that separates the coastal range and the central range. This in itself is a pretty road. About an hour will get you to Chihsan (home of those “train biendangs” in the wooden boxes). Once you get there, you have to consult your map and find the turnoff for the northernmost of the southern cross-island highways (there are now two of them, as far as I know).
This road is VERY, VERY spectacular, but you must be careful, esp. if you don’t drive much. This road is the only place where I have seen deer and monkeys actually crossing the road in front of the car! We got some amazing views of wildlike here. There is also a very nice small hotel about 25 km up this road, perched on the edge of a precipice at the top of an incredibly deep ravine. Hot springs there, too. This road will eventually take you to Tainan, or you can just backtrack back to the east when you get tired of the switchbacks. It is a tiring road due to the concentration required. You can also visit some really remote, untouristy aboriginal villages up there, perched way up in these sort of hanging valleys – reminded me of the Lost World!
I know these are hardly what you’d call exact directions, but with a decent map, you should be fine.
Have fun! And don’t get sick on fengli shrjia (delicious, cheap and available at countless roadside stands around Taitung).

that must be such a great place. with those specifications, i feel like going over!!

Excellent, Sandman. That’s just what I was looking for. Thanks.

We already have reservations in Zhiben at one of the other hotels, cuz the main one wanted around NT$7,000(!) per night. Don’t know yet what we’re doing for the second night, though. The missus wants to try one of those whale-watching boats (I know, I know), so we’ll probably be somewhere up around Xingang (new harbor). I get the impression that extended mountain driving isn’t a good idea at night, esp. for someone who hasn’t driven in a few years.

Yeah, 7 big ones is kind of out there! However, please don’t let that put you off just visiting the Royal. We didn’t stay there either, so we didn’t get to use the Japanese hot spring, but as far as I remember, the spa was only about $300 and WORTH IT! The buffet is a little cheaper than Taipei prices i.e. around NT$700 and also good for those of us who like to pretend for a night that we’re rich people, LOL.
I wouldn’t recommend the Nan-heng highway at night, its bad enough during the day.
How about Taitung harbor (actually a separate little village just on the northern edge of the city)? Maybe that’s Xinkang, come to think of it. Whale-watching boats also leave from there and you can really pig out on excellent, relatively cheap seafood – all those exotic fish, etc. that you see in Taipei that they charge the know-nothing city slickers an arm and a leg for. I ate two big lobsters by myself (and henceforth became known as “the bastard”) and we had coral trout, giant shrimp, huge crabs… Yum!
Aaaaah, it doesn’t matter. You got a car, you got a map, you got some cash, just follow your noses. Its nice down there. Let us know if you find any treasures we should know about.

Ummmm, by the way, Mark, I hate to rain on your parade but… have you seen the weather forecast? There’s a typhoon coming soon to a southeastern coastal area near you!
Just a thought…

I was in Chiben for the typhoon. Saw a lot of TV in my room. Anyway I saw a hotel was advertising $800 for 2 persons per night on it’s permenant looking board outside. Too good to be true?

No doubt about it: My timing sucks. Oh well.

I was still able to see some things the first day, before the typhoon got angry. One nice place was Jinzheng Shan, a mountain with many, many of those gold flowers you can find in some soups. The flowers weren’t blooming yet, but the view was still great – mountains on one side and the sea on the other. It reminded a little of the overlook at the top of the Tsaoling Trail. To get there, go south from Zhiben to Taimali. The entrance is by the gas station. The road up the mountain is very narrow. I saw an ad for rooms somewhere up there for NT$700 per night; but no one was around to provide more info.

My wife and I stayed in Zhiben at the mysteriously spelled Dong Tair Hotel (that’s dong as in east, and tair as in Tairpei, Tairwan). The room, which cost NT$2,500, was large but nothing special. The hotel’s spa, however, was quite good, though it lacked a proper sauna. (Non-guest admission: NT$300.) I don’t know how this compares to the five-star’s spa, because the typhoon kept us from checking it out.

We tried both of the lunchbox stores in Zhixiang and decided the one on the right when facing the station is the better of the two. Just NT$60 at both places.

The best part of the trip was the drive between Fuli and Donghe on Highway 23. (
Some of the other mountain roads were blocked by rocks after the typhoon.) Beautiful, beautiful scenery. And the one good thing about the typhoon was that the rains it brought made the waterfalls look fantastic. There’s a gov’t-run hotel at km-marker 24.5. Although I didn’t go inside, some of the rooms (NT$2,500 or so) have what must be a breathtaking view. I will definitely stay there if I’m in the neighborhood again.

And of course the coast road was a great drive. Bring your own music, cuz the mountains play hell with radio reception.

Hey Mark,
Glad you had a good time despite the typhoon! I meant to mention Jinzheng Shan and Taimali in my earlier post but forgot.

It would be interesting to hear from any expats living in Taidong–how does actually living there compare with the positive impression you get visiting, are there jobs, etc.

I know Robert Storey, author of Taiwan Lonely Planet guide moved to Taidong County and wrote an amusing piece on life in the country for the China Post. Anyone elso down there?

Looking for suggestions for 4** or 5** hotels, preferably in Taidong city itself. I know the Royal Hotel Zhiben, but I really need to be closer to Taidong on this trip.

So what’s out there in the 'Dong?

Try the Naruwan at http://www.naruwan-hotel.com.tw/en/facility.php. ~ 4** with spa, outdoor pool, on edge of great walking path converted from old rail-line that goes all the way into town.

The hotel can hook you up with a scooter for local transport as taxi’s are not as prevelant as other cities. Or just ask hotel to call taxi.

Eat dinner at Kasa (#102 Hu-pin st) in evening for good food, atmosphere, and maybe some interesting peoples.

Try “Love Sea” north of town for evening drink and local music.

Drink at Who’s, Ad Lounge Bar, Music Pub, G-night…

Have Mexican food and Margarita’s at Pasadena.

Stroll along the linear walking park from the old-train station and go up the hill above Starbucks for view of city.

Go for drink at coffee shops on beach.

Thanks for info, I’ll have plenty of time (toddler time) on my hands during the day, so will check some of that out. Never really spent much time in the city, always been passing through.

Naruwan looks nice, but we’re having trouble getting a double at the moment. Any others in town, or is that the best hotel right there?

Blue Love Sea is a nice little shore side relaxing place with an outdoor stage with an aboriginal theme. Unique in that it is right on the shore, and some of the tables are directly above the sea. Light snacks. Just north of Taidong past the long bridge and air force base on the way to Dalu.

Blue Love Sea, 藍色愛情海(Lan Se Ai Ching Hai) 0916-764707/089-281755
台東市富岡里吉林路二段634號(伽路藍港邊)No. 634, Ji Ling Rd., Fukan, Taidong

Thanks for your input. We’re going to do 1 night in Naruwan, then another night in an as yet un-named place as Naruwan is full.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get me some cheese. Decent cheddar, not that recycled plastic crap. The JimiCheeseJenie says Carrefour has it, but not in this one-horse down it doesn’t. Damn dishjonest dhjenies with all their little manipulations and buried treasures, don’t trust them, don’t trust them I say.


台東‧明玉大飯店 地址:台東市復興路145號
電話:phone: (089)322100
傳真: fax? (089)328635

My Dad stayed there a couple of years ago. I believe the advertised price was NT1,500 a room, but that was for the on-season and the actual price was much less than that. Call 'em up and ask.

It is situated right in the middle of Taidong, about 20 metres from Jong-Hua Rd, and is about 5min’s walk from scooter rental places, Carrefour, Who’s (nightclub), Kasa (Foreigner hangout), and about 10min walk from McDs, Li-Yu Shan (the small hill in the middle of the city) and the beach park.

I don’t know why I mentioned McDs but not Uncle Pete’s Pizza. Best pizza in town!

Ah, caught this too late for the cheese-run, we’re already in town. But where is Uncle Pete’s Pizza? Our kid loves pizza, but I can’t find the address on-line.

It’s hard to find. Give him a call.

Naruwan was fair enough value at NT2.5k, although the beds were damned hard even by Taiwan standards, and I didn’t sleep well.

Never got to Pete’s Pizza, although did get pizza again from Marino’s Kitchen just up the coast in Dulan, which is pretty good anyway.

Good trip, good Taidong :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Oh, I should have said! The pre-history museum/archeological dig thing by the (new) train station has an enormous park, and also a museum part which if my memory serves me right has some interactive areas for older children to play around with.