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Taidong

Travel Guide Asia Taiwan Taidong

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Introduction

Taitung (台東 or 臺東 Táidōng) is a city in south east Taiwan. Taitung is situated on a small plain between the mountains and the ocean at the southern mouth of the East Rift Valley. This provides Taitung with not only spectacular scenery but also an ocean breeze that makes this tropical city surprisingly comfortable. Taitung was developed by the Japanese in the early part of the 20th century and they were responsible for the construction the road and the railway to the area. This in turn brought an influx of Taiwanese settlers into the area that already had several aboriginal groups, creating a diverse city of aboriginal, Hakka, and Hoklo populations.

This uniquely Taiwanese blend is still easily discernible in part because a lot of the recent advances in Taiwan's economy have passed Taitung by. This has prevented Taitung from devouring itself the way more successful cities have. There are still large areas filled with Japanese houses in various states of use and disuse and repair and disrepair. There are still winding alleyways filled with single-story Chinese-style houses with their unapologetic rustic appearance. There are still neighbourhoods that are largely aboriginal with their own celebrations and unique attributes. One thing that is relatively sparse however, are 7-Elevens. All this surrounded by miles of quiet rice fields and orchards. The city has an artistic feel to it and is much more relaxing than other Taiwanese cities. All this give Taitung an aesthetic unlike any other in Taiwan, something that is purely Taiwan or quite the opposite, depending on the definition.

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Sights and Activities

  • Tourist Information Center, Old Railway Station on Tiehua Rd (On the South side of downtown.), ☎ +886 89 357-131. This might be a good first stop in finding information on any local aboriginal or temple events that are going on, maps and general information.
  • Museum of Prehistory, 1, Buowuguan Road, Fengtian Village, ☎ +886 89 381-166, fax: +886 89-381199. Tu-Su 9:00am-5:00pm. In the 1980s and 1990s, a team of archaeologists from National Taiwan University excavated over 1,500 stone coffins and more than 20,000 stone and pottery artifacts belonging to the Peinan culture. This museum is dedicated to this discovery and is located a few kilometers from the actual archaeological site. It also houses an extremely in depth exhibit on the current aboriginal groups in Taiwan. Outside the Museum building there are beautifully sculpted grounds and garden area. NT$80 (main museum), $30 (Peinan cultural park); discounts for students and groups.
  • Beinan Cultural Park, Wenhuagongyuan Rd., Nanwang Village, Taitung City, ☎ +886 89 233-466. Tu-Su 9:00am-5:00pm. Associated with the Museum of Prehistory the Beinan Cultural Park contains the largest and most important prehistoric archaeological site in Taiwan. Beyond the archaeological site the park also consists of beautiful grounds with a commanding view of the surrounding area. Tours in Chinese begin twice a day at 10:00am and 3:00pm. English tours must be planned in advance. Free admission (except visitor center: NT$30).
  • Taitung Railway Art Village, Tiehua Rd (鐵花路) (At the old railway station). Taitung City converted several buildings of the old railway station into a exhibition space for local artists and artist in residence.
  • Taitung Culture and Tourism Center, 25 Nanjing Rd (南京路), ☎ +886 89 320-339. Two buildings really, one houses the tourism center and library. The other has exhibition spaces, one of which houses the Aboriginal Artifacts Exhibition.
  • Tianhou Temple, Jhonghua Rd. one block south of Sihwei Rd 1st Section. While there are seemingly temples on every block this one dedicated to Mazu (Matsu) is ornately decorated and quite popular, especially on Mazu's birthday (23rd day of the 3rd lunar month - generally April or May).
  • Liyushan Park (鯉魚山公圜), Next to the old train station, on the Southwest side of downtown. With its trails and lookouts Liyu Shan offers a panoramic view of Taitung. Also, Long Feng Tower near the monastery gives a great panoramic view of the city.
  • Taitung Seashore Park (Taitung Forest Park), On the North and East sides of town. Taitung Seashore Park and the attached Taitung Forest Park are extremely popular with both locals and tourist alike. With miles of cycling and walking trails as well a beautiful and surprisingly undeveloped seashore these parks offers a perfect chance to experience Taitung's laid back lifestyle and clean ocean air. There are bicycles for rent at several places along the beach and at the entrance of the Forest Park. If you walk along the beach and enter from the sea side, you can skip the entry fee. Or from the highway that goes right through the park. Also, there is a potential overnighting option in the small observation tower next to the running lake towards the beach, if you have sleeping bag and mattress. NT$30/20 full/consession.

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Getting There

By Plane

By plane, Taitung is served by a local airport with flights to Taipei and Kaohsiung.

By Train

By train, Taitung is on the main East Coast express route.

  • From the North: The journey from Taipei takes 5½-7½ hours depending on the type of trains you take. From Hualien, expect about 3 hours.
  • From the South: From Kaohsiung to Taitung on the Southern route, the trip takes from just over 2 hours to a little over 3 hours depending on the type train. From Tainan, expect about 3 hours.

The train station is located quite a walk from the centre of town, but you can catch a mini-bus from the stop to your right when you leave the station. The driver will be common to the phrase Taitung Bus Station, which is in the centre. It seems the bus ride is for free with the EasyCard, maybe if you used it with the train right before. But the free regime is quite unclear, whether it is in or out of Taitung – the Visitor Center claims that there is no free shuttle. Maybe just get surprised.

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Getting Around

The main part of Taitung is small and compact enough to make walking a pleasant way to explore the city.

There are car and scooter rentals near the train station if you have an international drivers license. If not, you can take a bus or taxi to the city which is some distance from either the train station or the airport. Taitung's public transportation is somewhat limited compared with other Taiwanese cities. There are bus routes, while these are inexpensive, the timetables are in Chinese.

The bus 8101 does the Taitung-Sanxiangtal route and can be used for day trips out and back into the city.

Bicycles are a good alternative form of transportation and can be rented at several locations beach side, or near the entrance to the Forest Park at the north end of Jhongshan Rd. For excursions to the attractions on the outskirts of town a taxi may be your best option. Taxis are quite plentiful around the Old Railway Station downtown (near the intersection of Guanming Rd. and Sinsheng Rd.)

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Eat

Taitung has eclectic food culture it reflects the various cultural influences that the city has had and continues to have. There are good examples of all manner of Taiwanese, Aboriginal, and other East and Southeast Asian food. While many people equate Taiwanese food with street food to do so is a disservice to the food cultures that make up Taiwan and miss out on some great food. Like all Taiwanese cities street food can be found throughout downtown. You might want to try the sugar-apples (釋迦 shìjiā), a local sweet fruit. Thanks to the large number of aboriginal groups in the area there are several different aboriginal restaurants in and around the city. Taitung is also home to a fair number of goat meat restaurants along Jhongjheng Rd.

Best to just walk down the fruit night market (towards the beach), then continue on Zhonghua Road Section 1 until Jhongjheng Road, and finally northwest from there. This should leave you with enough options to choose from.

  • Seaweed Deli Dessert (海草 / Hai Cao Jian Kang Qing Shi Guan / Green Friendly Restaurant), 205 Jhongshan Rd. (中山路205號) (Just Northeast of downtown.), ☎ +886 89 330-999. 11:00am-2:00pm and 4:30pm-8:00pm. A very popular and excellent quality noodle house, despite the name it does not have any desserts. Offering a variety of fresh, healthy noodle dishes and dumplings in a friendly and clean environment. Daily specials. Closed the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month. NT$40-100.
  • Mutton Barbecue (阿賓羊肉爐), No. 302, Zhongzheng Road, ☎ +886 8 9321711. 5:00pm-1:30am. Proper goat, grilled, fried, as you want it. Highly recommended. NT$70-300.
  • Cafe and Curry, 231 SihWei Rd 3rd section (四維路3段231號) (Near the intersection of SihWei and Gengsheng Roads), ☎ +886 89 334-942. 10:00am-10:00pm. A cafe and restaurant that serves hand ground local Taitung coffee and a variety of innovative homemade curries. Also has wireless access. It is a 10-15 minute walk from downtown in the northeast part of town. Also has a very affordable homestay. NT$90-110. edit

Kasa, 102 Heping (和平) Street (near the junction with Zhonghua Road). A cafe and eatery (with a full bar) specializing in Western dishes such as, bagels, burritos, quesadillas, tostadas and curried chicken - an average meal costs around NT$180.

  • Taitung East Coast Restaurant (East Coast Italian Cuisine), #109, Zhi Hang Rd Section 1, Taitung (Taidong), ☎ +886 89 232-902. M-Sa 11:00am-2:00pm and 5:00pm-9:00pm. Authentic Italian-style dishes and very good coffee. English menu, but only basic English spoken. Menu can be seen on website. About 20 minutes walk from rail station and 30-40 minutes walk from center of Taidong. There are three guest houses next door. NT$200-600.
  • 綠房子 (literally Green House as it looks sort of like a green house, as in where you grow plants not the colour), On the corner of Waihuandao (hwy 11) Rd. and Chenggong Rd.(外還道與成功路路口), ☎ +886 89 333-636. 7:00am-9:00pm. This funky little place is one block off the beach has a has more than just a laid back atmosphere. It also serves up healthy drinks and some great inexpensive and uniquely Taiwanese set meals. Free coffee and tea, English menu available on request. NT$40-100.

EGG, 235 Jhongshan Rd (中山路), ☎ +886 89 360-880. 6AM-10AM. A better than average Taiwanese breakfast.

  • Iwawna, 187 2nd Section Xingan Rd. (興安路二段187號) (A few blocks north of the New Train Station.), ☎ +886 89 228-999. 5:00pm-midnight. This Puyuma restaurant offers a unique setting with dance performances and excellent aboriginal food. Best for groups so one should find some friends or family to accompany one and to share the taxi.
  • Mibanai (米巴奈), 470 Chuanguang Rd. (傳廣路470號), ☎ +886 89 220-336. 11:30am-2:00pm, 5:00pm-10:00pm. This Amis restaurant located in the Malan section of town provides a taste of aboriginal food not too far from the center of the city. It is set up groups so once again bring friends or family.
  • 玉子屋 (Jade House), #17, 450th alley, 2nd section Jhongsing Rd.(中興路二段450巷17號) (One block behind the Naruwan Hotel.), ☎ +886 911 865 693. Lunch and dinner. Good, simple, home style Korean food. NT$100-130.
  • Pasadena Tex-Mex & Italian Restaurant, 74 Sihwei Rd. 3rd Section, ☎ +886 89 235-928. 11:00am-2:00pm & 5:30pm-8:30pm. As kitschy as any Mexican restaurant in the United States but the salsa is better. Overall the food is fresh and good and it is a decent place for a change of pace. NT$150-300.
  • Four Seasons Vegetarian Restaurant, 76, 3rd Section Siwei Rd. (四維路三段76號), ☎ +886 89 227-661. Open lunch and dinner. A good, clean and affordable vegetarian buffet.
  • Madina Indian Restaurant, 152 ChunChi Rd. (正氣路152號), ☎ +886 983 667 485. lunch through dinner. Madina is a small and unassuming restaurant that serves up some of the basics of Indian cuisine. The food is quite good and the location in the heart of downtown is convenient. NT$140-280.
  • Quan An Viet Nam, 168 Jhongjheng Rd. lunch and dinner. Good quality Vietnamese food. Conveniently located just a few blocks from the beach and down town. very affordable.

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Drink

Taitung's night life has been described as subdued, that may be true however there are of course some bars. What Taitung does have however, is a rather large number of cafes. Since Taitung County actually grows coffee beans it is also possible to find truly local coffee at several establishments.

  • Denim Elephant, 181 Guangdong Rd. (廣東181號) (A couple blocks north of the main post office, it has the sign with the blue elephant on it.), ☎ +886 89 340-696. This artsy cafe has Taitung coffee as well as other coffee and teas and a small but interesting menu.
  • IF Cafe and Juice (如果), 403 Boai Rd. (博愛403號) (Across from the Eslite bookstore), ☎ +886 89 333-568. 2:00pm-midnight. This cafe serves coffee, tea, mixed drinks and beer in a relaxing atmosphere. Has a large outdoor seating area in which you can enjoy your drinks in the cool Taitung evenings.
  • Cheela 小屋 Cafe & Bakery, 395-1 Sinsheng Rd. (新生碌395-1號), ☎ +886 89 325-096. 2:00pm-midnight. A very hip cafe with a modern artsy vibe that is conveniently located right on the bikeway and only a block away from the Taitung Theater. It serves a large range of coffees, teas, mixed drinks, and a fine assortment of Belgian beers. It serves daily freshly home-made bread by various products. Hot chili roll on Friday, hot brownie with ice cream on Saturday and cinnamon rolls on Sunday are the most bakery in Cheela Cafe & Bakery. English menu & bilingual service available. NT$60-180.

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Sleep

  • Mr. Red Tea Hostel (Mr. Red Tea B&B), 766, Zhonghua Road Section 1, ☎ +886 935390490. A nice, clean and inexpensive guest house. Close to Liyushan Park. NT$599/twin, but the nice owner might give it to you for NT$550 if you bargain.
  • RGB Hostel (3原色民宿), No. 3, Alley 5, Lane 33, Dongtang St., ☎ +886 89 237-947. Opened in 2013 in a new district of Taitung, this hostel has friendly staff and funny decoration such as a world map with hosts' hometowns and a short indoors climbing wall. Dorm: NT$450-600, Double: NT$1,400-2,400.
  • PoSun360 Backpacker Hostel, No. 360, Baosang Rd, ☎ +886 911 086 629. A hostel run by a young local guy who can show you where to play or eat in town. Dorm: NT$500.
  • La Pace Hostel, 119-3 Chung Shan Road (10 walk from Taitung Bus Terminal), ☎ +886 952 136 857, e-mail: lavita.bella@msa.hinet.net. Check-in: 2:00pm, check-out: 11:00am. A small and homey place for budget stay. Dorm: NT$350-800 (air conditioning in extra: NT$100-300), Double: NT$1000-2200.
  • Mafuté Hostel (馬浮蝶), No. 15, Lane 28, Feng Jung Road (downtown Taitung), ☎ +886 970 532 723, e-mail: mafute089@gmail.com. This two-room hostel is hidden in a local tribal community next to the Tai-ping river, where you may jog alone the river bank park or do some sports in the nearby Sport park. The hostel is internally renovated in a colorful and fresh look. Free PC available in the living room and free Wi-Fi in house. No breakfast included but various breakfast shops are available nearby. Dorm: NT$500, double: NT$1,200.
  • Who Knows Hostel (台東胡弄青年民宿), No.38, Ln. 586, Sec. 1, Zhonghua Rd (5-min walk from old central train station (the name of the hostel does not appear on the building!)), ☎ +886 930 929 676, e-mail: whoknows500@gmail.com. Check-in: Noon, check-out: Noon. Friendly hostel, clean dorms with A/C. Free Wi-Fi in the lobby. The hostel is not always open (e.g., it may be closed at 4PM when you want to check in) so it is advised to call them first. From NT$500.
  • Take Your Time Guest House (慢慢來民宿), NanChang Jie 112 Xiang 33 Hao (台東市南昌街112巷33號) (central Taitung), ☎ +886 910304004, e-mail: kitehong@gmail.com. Take Your Time Guest House is run by Kite (a Taitung girl), Mark (a Kiwi boy) and their 2 little boys. Double rooms are very comfortable with new bathrooms and good air conditioning. The guest house also offers surfing and yoga classes and is gay- and lesbian-friendly. Pickup from train station costs NT$150. Dorm: NT$600, Double: NT$2,000-3,000.
  • Taitung Hotel for Teachers and Public Workers (台東縣公教會館), 19 Nanjing Rd, ☎ +886 89 310142, e-mail: service@ttp-hotel.com.tw. Not a hostel but a hotel, it is a affordable, clean and conveniently located downtown. Offers free bicycles to borrow. Double: NT$1400-1600. edit
  • MATA (Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Resort) (臺東), No. 10, Jhongshan Rd. (中山路10號), ☎ +886 89 340605, e-mail: matataitung@gmail.com. This beautiful, modestly priced hotel is generously decorated with aboriginal carvings making for a unique experience. Located across the road from Taitung Forest Park and a short walk from the beach. The hotel also has a nice gift shop stocked with well made authentic aboriginal handicrafts. Bicycle rentals next door. Double: NT$2,700-3,600.
  • Formosan Naruwan Hotel (娜路彎大酒店), 66 Lianhang Rd, ☎ +886 89 239-666, e-mail: service@naruwan-hotel.com.tw. This is five-star hotel for those with a large budget and an appreciation for amenities. It offers all the things a hotel of its stature should including spa and free gym. From NT$9,020.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes are plentiful, although you may have to wander around before finding one. Rather, Internet cafes in Taiwan should be called gaming cafes. These are often found on the first or second floor of a building, and equipped with very comfortable chairs and large screens. Each hour of Internet access/game play is cheap, coming in at around $20. For free internet access in big cities, try out the local libraries. In addition, a wireless internet accessing net covering all of Taipei City is available and Kaohsiung City is currently under construction. There is also a common wifi network available at every McDonald's.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international calling code for Taiwan is 886. The emergency numbers include 110 (police) 119 (medical, fire) and the standard GSM emergency number 112 is supported in mobile networks. Numbers starting with 0800 are commercial toll-free numbers. Mobile phone coverage is generally excellent in Taiwan, with the exception of some remote mountainous areas. Among the major providers are Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile, Far EasTone and Vibo. Taiwan has both GSM 900/1800 and 3G (UMTS/W-CDMA 2100) networks and roaming might be possible for users of such mobile phones, subject to agreements between operators. If you bring your own cellphone, buy a local SIM-card for the lowest prices and be sure your phone is unlocked.

Post

Chungwa Post is the national postal service of Taiwan. It offers fast and reliable postal services, both domestic and internationally. Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 5:00pm during weekdays, though some keep longer hours or are open on Saturday (morning). Prices for sending postcards or letters (up to 20 grams) start at NT$5 within the country, while postcards by airmail to other countries start at around NT$10-12 per item, and letters are slightly more expensive. There is a wide range in prices regarding international parcel sending, and other companies like DHL, TNT, FedEx and UPS offer similar services.

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This is version 2. Last edited at 9:12 on Mar 8, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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