- MikoshinoLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
Hualien--City of MarbleThough it is the largest settlement on Taiwan's rugged east coast, Hualien (花蓮) is known to most visitors only as the nearest city to Taiwan's premier scenic attraction, Taroko Gorge (太魯 閣). Certainly, this natural marvel is one of Asia's most spectacula sights and should not be missed; but of the millions of tourists who flock to Taroko every year, too few take the time to explore Hualien itself. This is a shame, as the city has a lot to offer and displays a subtle but unique charm of its own.Isolated from the rest of the country by the peaks of the Central Mountain Range, the city sits on the narrow but lush plain separating the mountains from the Pacific Ocean.Due to this isolation, Hualien and its environs have largely escaped the manic development evident in the rest of Taiwan. Lacking the industry of the west or the business centers of the north, the city has turned to blasting its wealth out of the surrounding mountains. Locally quarried limestone makes Hualien the cement capital of Taiwan, and it is also the center of the island's jade and marble trade.With no major manufacturing districts and with its main industry situated outside the city, Hualien retains a relaxed and pleasant character that contrasts sharply with the rest of Taiwan. Traffic in the city flows lazily along and the people seem in no great hurry to get anywhere-- refreshing indeed for anyone used to Taipei's frenetic pace of life.Although Hualien is usually seen only as a transit point or a convenient overnight stop when visiting nearby Taroko Gorge, the city itself deserves exploration. With its clean air, spectacular scenery, and relaxed pace, Hualien is possibly the most pleasant of all of Taiwan's cities.