The Taiwanese railway has a long history. The first railway track was laid by the Qing dynasty in 1893. The line was barely 100 kilometres in length and was in poor condition when the Japanese arrived. The Japanese colonial government completely rebuilt and refurbished the railway in 1935. Fast forward several decades and you have a modern, island-spanning railway system that links the entire country.
The Taiwanese East Line railway track spans sevral hundred kilometres and the entire eastern coast of Taiwan. The three counties of Yilan, Hualien and Taitung are connected through the East Line. Trains run along the seacoast, with the sapphire Pacific Ocean to the east. While they move at barely 130 kilometres per hour; less than half the speed of the famed Japanese bullet trains, the speed is just comfortable for sight-seeing.
And sightseeing is exactly what one should do. Taking a train journey through the East Coast of Taiwan is an excellent holiday. Trains are the relics of a bygone age, where planes were only a medium of transport for the rich. A train journey throughout eastern Taiwan, with intoxicating scenery throughout the way will transport you to a previous stage in history, as your carriage speeds past old towns that are connected by the East Line. A sense of nostalgia and a longing for the past, as the train hurtles past the Taiwanese east.
The East Line is practically a sight-seeing heaven. Travel the East Line of the Taiwanese railway and experience the ever-changing nature of natural beauty. The Taiwanese eastern counties is proof that nature’s beauty can take many forms. From the vast flatness of the Lanyang plain in the Yilan county and the idyllic pleasantness of the flatlands, to the majesty of the mountains and the vast Pacific Ocean, eastern Taiwan is a repository of natural masterworks. The rustic towns along the train route add to the sense of wonder as one speeds along the kilometres. For much of the railway, the tracks are perched on cliffs that hang over the sea. Fishing boats sway on the sea, harbours filled with boats and occasional mist-shrouded villages are but a few unforgettable memories of the journey. You can even time your train ride with sun rise and sun set. Watch the sun rise out of the Pacific Ocean, or set in the mountains, with the sky transfixed in an unbelievably beautiful shade of orange. With your cheek to the window, and eyes staring out as the train glides across the picturesque countryside, the train journey will transport a person into a state of Nirvana, where all worries and cares are swept away by the beauty of the sights.
Yet the train journey is not all about sitting on a seat and looking out of a window. Tourist sites along the way include the Northeast Coast National Scenic Area, the Lanyang Plain, Turtle Island, the East Coast National Scenic Area, the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area, Taroko National Park, and Taroko Gorge with its Swallows’ Grottos, Tunnel of Nine Turns, Bulowan, Cuilu Precipice, Tianxiang, and the Liwu River. You can stretch your legs after the long train journey, and savour nature’s wonder for yourself. Besides enjoying the spectacular scenery at these sites, travelers here can also arrange itineraries that allow them to experience indigenous cultures, bird watching, hot springs, rustic old towns, and other special sites of the area. Accommodation at the area might be a little Spartan and primitive at times, but is relatively easy to find among the towns and cities spread across the eastern provinces
A train journey down eastern Taiwan might just be what you need to unwind after a long tenure at a corporate job. Escape the tedium of everyday life and catch the nostalgic feel at a Taiwanese train journey.