Thursday, November 26, 2015

Trip To Taiwan 台湾: Hualien 花莲 - Qingshui Cliff 清水断崖

Photo By: Elin Chow
Address: Suhua Road, Sioulin Township, Hualien Country, 972, Taiwan 花莲县秀林乡苏花公路

Leaving Qixingtan Scenic Area 七星潭风景区, we continued our journey north from Hualien 花莲 to Su-ao Township 苏澳市, Yilan Country 宜兰县 via the Suhua Highway 苏花公路 with a brief stop at Qingshui Cliff  (also known as Cingshui Cliff or Chingshui Cliff) 清水断崖.

Qingshui Cliff  清水断崖

Located 20 minutes drive from Qixingtan Scenic Area, Qingshui Cliff is a seaside viewing location in Taroko Gorge 太鲁閣. Named as one of the eight wonders in Taiwan, Qingshui Cliff is a 21 km length of coastal cliffs rising vertically from the Pacific Ocean.

Averaging over 800 m above sea level, the scenic attraction offers some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in the country. Standing at a 2408 m above sea level, Qingshui Mountain is considered the highest coastal cliff in Taiwan.

There are many viewing platform along the Suhua Highway where you can view the magnificent coastal scenery.

The 118 km long Suhua highway is the only highway connecting Su-ao Township, Yilan and Hualien City, Hualien. It is built with many tunnels, directly into the cliffs, 800 meters above sea level. Some roads were almost impossible to build due to extremely steep cliffs at certain section of the highway.

Recently named as one of the most dangerous road in the world, the highway is known to be especially vulnerable to landslides and falling rocks during earthquakes and typhoon seasons. The roads are often closed due to frequent falling rocks from the mountains along the highway after earthquakes or heavy downpours.

It was a hot and sunny day when we visited Hualien. We drove miles on a bright blue day with dazzling azure ocean on our right and lush green cliffs on our left. Exiting Chongde Tunnel 崇德隧道, we parked at the observation deck at the north side of the tunnel, 182.5 kilometers along Su-Hua Highway.

Most visitors would visit Taroko Gorge without making a stop at Qingshui Cliff. Thus, the area is rarely overwhelmed with tourists. However, occasionally, a few tour buses will still stop to let visitors alight off, snap a photo or two before continuing down the road.

Hiring a car is perhaps the best way to experience the natural beauty of Hualien. You may choose to rent a car for self-drive or engage a local driver to drive you around. There are many scenic locations along the highway where you can stop to admire the scenery and snap some keepsake photos. Hiring a car would provide you the freedom and flexibility to explore the area at your own pace.

Suhua Highway is perfect for anyone who enjoy breathtaking scenery and stunning ocean view at every turn. However, please note that most of the roads are narrow and winding with many blind curves. So make sure you drive slowly and watch out for falling rocks and oncoming traffic.

We were glad to have Mr Tsai as our driver during our time in Taiwan. He was a very careful, skillful and experienced driver. We felt we were in safe hands even on the narrow winding mountain roads.

We descended a flight of stone steps leading to an observation deck. This is where you will enjoy a stunning, panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean.

On the observation deck, we came upon a stone with the Chinese character "Qingshui Cliff " inscribed on it. There was tons of tourists gathering around the inscribed stone, eagerly waiting for their turn to snap some keepsake photo.

So, just like any other tourists with a camera, we joined the queue to have our typical tourist photos taken too.

The view from the observation deck was magnificent, offering a stunning uninterrupted view of the Pacific Ocean, rugged cliffs and Chongde Beach 崇德海滩.

We were awed by the spectacular views of enormous sea cliffs, stunning beaches and striking coastline. The view was absolutely breathtaking!

A 15 minutes walk down the stone steps, along Chongde Trail 崇德步道 will bring visitors to Chongde Beach.  The 9 km long trail starts from the observation deck at Suhua Highway (where we parked our car) and is paved with flagstones.

There are several stone benches at the end of the trail where visitors can sit, relax and enjoy the magnificent scenery. You can sit down and watch the fisherman mend their nets or just simply enjoy the fresh afternoon breeze. Apart from that, Chongde Beach is a popular spot for watching sunrise or sunset over the Pacific Ocean. Couple can even enjoy a romantic stroll along the beach at sunset.

However, please note that swimming is prohibited at Chongde Beach due to strong undercurrent.

The picturesque natural landscape offers an abundance of opportunities for photography. Photo enthusiastic will instantly fall in love with the scenery and spend most of their time busily snapping away on their camera.

We stood on the observation deck, enjoying the warm breeze and sunshine. Far below, the waves were crashing against the enormous cliffs, sending sea spray high in the air.

With the absence of mass tourism, the entire area remains wonderfully unspoiled and tranquil, making the attraction a delight to explore at any time of the year.

After our photo opportunity, we got back into the car and drove further north to another observation point just to view the cliffs from a different angle.

We enjoyed similarly breathtaking views from this observation point. The scenery was particularly stunning, especially on a beautiful, sunny day.

Far in the distance, we could see the lush green mountains shrouded in thick layers of clouds and mist.

The clear blue sky, steep rugged cliffs and impossibly blue ocean makes a perfect backdrop for photo taking. So, be sure to bring your camera along, or you may regret.

Suhua Highway is one of the most scenic drive in Taiwan. Although dangerous, the breathtaking scenery along the winding roads never fails to attracts many visitors from around the world. The beautiful landscape along the roads can be enjoyed by looking out the window of a car, as well as by walking along one of the many trails. Be prepared to be mesmerized by the ever-changing landscapes at each and every turn.

While most visitors eagerly flock to Taroko Gorge without making a stop at Qingshui Cliff, it is definitely one of the most spectacular sight on Taiwan's Pacific coast that no visitors should miss. A visit to Hualien would not be complete without a trip to this gorgeous attraction.

If you are interested to know more about our trip, you may want to check out our 11D10N round island tour itinerary for the list of attractions that we had visited during our 11 days in Taiwan. Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for the latest updates on my 11 days adventures in Taiwan! You might also want to check My Wanderlust page for some of my other travel adventures.

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