I used my last trip of the semester to explore Taiwan. I spent two days in Taipei, one in Jiufen, and two in Hualien.
Jiufen is a small town in a mountainous region around one hour east of Taipei. It used to be a gold mining town, but now it is a huge tourist attraction with many cafes, souvenir shops, food, and fantastic views.
Hualien is a small city on the eastern coast of Taiwan. Its main attraction is the nearby mountainous region, which is home to many beautiful scenery and national parks.
We spent one day river tracing with Hualien Outdoors. River tracing (or river trekking) is a combination of hiking and climbing along the river. Apparently it is a common sport in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan. If you do one thing in Taiwan, I would recommend river tracing, and with the guide that I went with.
The best part was that we had the whole river to ourselves. There were several other “big tour groups” that were also river tracing where we were, but they only went up a fifth of what we did. It was a much more enjoyable and personal experience going with a small group (4 of us + 2 guides). We took several breaks at some scenic spots, and we got to do some cliff jumping!
We also took one day to visit the famous Taroko National Park.
This trip was an amazing way to end off my incredible exchange experience!