The journey from Kaohsiung to Hualien via 自强 line took 5 hours by taiwan railway (TRA). We were issued 4 tickets each for the ride from Kaohsiung to Chaozhou, Chaozhou to Taitung, Taitung to Ruixi and Ruixi to Hualien, total cost was TWD 707.
Indeed it felt different to be on TRA, as compared to high speed rail. The interior of high speed rail looks more modern and table is attached to every seat, unlike in TRA.
Also, by the time the train staff pushing the cart reached my cabin, there was no more bento (便当). Some of the passengers from my cabin actually walked to find the train staff to buy bento.
Be sure to look out for beautiful scenery during the train ride.
In Hualien, we stayed in Jimei homestay. The cab fare from Hualien train station to Jimei homestay was TWD 155. Actually, if you plan to stay in Jimei homestay, you can take the train to Ji’an station. It is a few hundred metres nearer to the guesthouse as compared to Hualien train station.
We spent our first night in a 6-person room, with 3 double beds. It will be better if there is a lamp near the table with 4 seats as that area is somewhat dim.
During our second night, we stayed in a 4-person room. It was quite special because it has 2 levels.
The website says that Ziqiang night market is a 10 min walk away from Jimei homestay. I realise the night market was not as near as I thought, but perhaps 10 minute is a good estimate with some quick pace. In my opinion, solo or small group of female tourists should be weary of walking along this path at night as the path is not lit. On the contrary, our tour cab driver said that Hualien is a safe place.
At the cross junction across Ziqiang night market, we noticed a steamboat restaurant and had our dinner there.
It was unique to me as they serve steamboat for individual portion. Moreover, for a basic individual steamboat priced at TWD 110, there were many ingredients. Definitely cheap.
This bar restaurant is designed with numerous lighting, giving it a nice and chill ambience. If I come here with friends, I will definitely give this place a try. If I am not wrong, they sell seafood.
The next day, we paid TWD 2,600 for a cab tour at Taroko National Park, booked by the guesthouse reception.