Two weeks in Taiwan, and of course, we didn’t just stay in Taipei. After spending a few days in the capital, we headed to Taiwan’s East Coast, which we explored with a rental car. We deliberately chose the East Coast because it seemed like a hidden gem that has yet to be traveled as much. And let us tell you right away: there was definitely no sign of mass tourism there. But we’ll let you know more about it in this blog post.

Why You Should Put Taiwan’s East Coast on Your Bucket List

In general, Taiwan is definitely worth considering in your travel plans, especially on the East Coast. This breathtaking region offers a variety of landscapes and activities that will make any road trip an unforgettable experience. From the majestic Taroko Gorge to the picturesque coastal towns like Hualien and Taitung – there’s something for everyone to discover. Driving along the winding roads and the spectacular coastline was our absolute highlight, and it will surely captivate you, too.

Planning Your Road Trip Along Taiwan’s East Coast

There are various ways to explore Taiwan’s East Coast: by train, bus, or with a rental car. Since we opted for the rental car option and can’t speak about the other two, we’ll primarily focus on the road trip with a car.

When planning your trip along the scenic route on the island’s east side, you should first decide on a selection of stops and, of course, keep the best travel times in mind. To enjoy unobstructed views and pleasant weather, it’s best to avoid the rainy season from May to September. Taiwan is prone to typhoons and earthquakes, and during the rainy season, it can quickly become unpleasant, and certain parts of the beautiful nature may be inaccessible.

Regarding the stops, there is so much to discover. It’s all there, from national parks to small coastal towns and smaller cities. We often check Google Maps to see what we can find and mark our favorites. Then, we looked for accommodations that we liked and compared the two. Where does it make sense to stay one night or maybe even two? What are the distances like?

Based on that, we plan our route. We ended up spending a total of four nights. Since the East Coast isn’t very long overall, we decided to spend two nights each in Hualien and Taitung and, from there, explore everything on our list. We would definitely recommend staying in both cities because they’re the largest places on Taiwan’s East Coast, and you’ll find everything you need there.

The Best Stops for Breathtaking Views

You won’t be disappointed if you’re looking for breathtaking views on your road trip along Taiwan’s East Coast. From the imposing cliffs of Taroko Gorge to the picturesque beaches of Yilan, there’s a photo-worthy spot around every corner. The biggest highlight for us was Taroko National Park, where you can hike through the impressive gorge and admire waterfalls. But even the coastal road between Hualien and Taitung offers spectacular views. Along the way, you’ll be accompanied by the azure sea and steep cliffs. There are several viewpoints worth stopping at, such as Qingshui Cliff, Baqi Observatory, or Sanxiantai Arch Bridge.

The entire East Coast is incredibly beautiful, and you don’t necessarily have to make specific stops. If you drive the route relaxed and simply stop where it’s suitable and permitted, you’re doing everything right.

Experience Activities and Adventures Along the Way

As mentioned before, Taroko National Park was our absolute highlight on the East Coast. You should definitely plan to spend at least half a day there because the national park has so much to offer. We just drove around, and since it was a bit rainy, we didn’t walk on any hiking trails. But if you’re luckier with the weather, we definitely recommend it. Otherwise, there are parking lots and lookout points along the route. We made a few stops there and enjoyed the nature. A special highlight was the marble you can partially see in the gorges. There are also some shrines worth exploring.

In general, the East Coast offers many beautiful hiking trails where all the walking is rewarded with stunning views.

If you venture a little further into the inner parts of the island, you’ll find hot springs, and you can even go rafting. And if the waves are good, you can also surf along the East Coast. You won’t get bored here, that’s for sure.

Tips for Finding Accommodation During Your Road Trip

Usually, we like to book our accommodations through Airbnb, but on Taiwan’s East Coast, we switched to hotels and hostels because it seemed easier. We found that there is very little English spoken here, but at least in the hotels, we were able to communicate well using Google Translate.

When booking, make sure that the accommodation offers parking. This will save you the hassle of searching for parking spaces and additional costs.

We also added breakfast to our booking at each accommodation. This way, we could have a leisurely meal in the morning and then head straight to exploring the East Coast.

Safety Tips for Your Drive Along Taiwan’s East Coast

Safety is often a concern when visiting a foreign country. However, in Taiwan, we never felt unsafe.

Driving also seemed very relaxed. Although parts of the route were curvy and narrow, if you stick to the speed limits, it’s no problem at all. And in general, the entire stretch along Taiwan’s East Coast was very empty. At times, we were the only car on the road.

Since parts of the East Coast are very rural or even uninhabited, always have enough drinks and snacks with you. Also, pay attention to the fuel gauge so you don’t suddenly run out of gas and get stranded. But other than that, buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Driving with a Rental Car in Taiwan: What You Need to Know

If you decide to rent a car, it’s important to know that you must present not only your original German driver’s license but also an international driver’s license. They will only give you a rental car with these documents.

The usual speed limit on the East Coast roads is 70 km/h. Drivers drive on the right side, and the roads resemble highways in Germany. They are well-built and pleasant to drive on.

Gas stations are generally only found in smaller or larger towns, rarely along the route, so keep that in mind.

The Ultimate Guide for Your Road Trip Along Taiwan’s East Coast

We hope that we can give you insight into Taiwan’s East Coast. In our opinion, it definitely deserves a spot on every travel bucket list and is highly underrated. The advantage is that it’s far from overcrowded, so you might find yourself standing in some of the most beautiful places alone. Where else can you have that nowadays?