The Lingering Mountains & Seas of
Yu-Chang Highway (Part I)
By Lishea Chen Translated by Ann Lee
Stretching 2,660 meters along the coast and through the mountains, Taiwan's first tunnel--the Yu-Chang Tunnel--took 10 years to complete. Now, as part of a promotion, the Tourism Bureau is offering a one-day tour of the tunnel and nearby scenic areas. The package, called "One Day with Yu-Chang's Mountains and Seas", takes visitors from Taitung to Changbin, Hualien, and Yuli, and leads them to some of the following local destinations.
As a shooting locale for the Taiwanese movie, "The Moon Also Rises", the Moonlit Lodge (08-953-0012, Donghe Township,Taitung) houses a collection of film memorabilia. The lodge also holds regular performances and exhibitions on the first floor. Apart from the retro-style decor seen in the film, there's a wooden corridor and deck on the second floor, where visitors can get a great view of the ocean and listen to the sound of waves.
Ao-Ke Restaurant (08-985-4714, Chenggong Township, Taitung) offers a variety of dishes including hot pot, table dishes, au gratin selections, and Korean-style stone pot rice. Its diverse choices will satisfy patrons of all ages and backgrounds. Try their French-style Creamy Pumpkin Pot and Vanilla Lemon Chicken with Omelet and Rice; each dish contains hearty ingredients that will fill you right up. When sailfish season arrives, make sure to try their French-style Sailfish and Pumpkin Pot.
The fishermen at Wushigang Natural Sea Port (Changbin Township, Taitung) give boat rides to tourists, who get the added fun of using bamboo rafts to get on and off of the boats. Visitors can also enjoy a panoramic view from the nearby pavilion or get in the spirit of the port and try their luck with the net by catching small fish and shrimp with the locals.
Founded more than 100 years ago, Antong Hot Springs in Changbin is the only hot springs on the coast; its unique spring water is said to soften and brighten skin. The Antong Hot Spring Hotel (03-888-6108) is decorated like an old-fashioned, colonial-era Japanese hotel, making visitors feel like time travelers within its walls. Dinner options include shrimp, chicken or pork dishes, all of which are authentic and delicious.
Close-by Niuaohua Hot Spring (03-888-7373) has Western-style lodges and serves healthy food and beverages to guests. Give the Hot Spring Coffee a try--it is a bit salty, but definitely worth a try.
All of these great offerings can be found inside the Tourism Bureau's "Yu-Chang, the Love of Sea & Mountains" brochure. Travel before December 31 to receive a 50% discount on accommodation in Antong, Ruisui, and Jhihben areas--but only on weekdays. On weekends, get a 20% discount for the hot springs. For more details about the package, contact the East Coast National Scenic Area Administration at (08) 984-1520 (www.eastcoast-nsa.gov.tw), or, the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area Administration, (03) 887-5306 (www.erv-nsa.gov.tw).