HuaLian is located in the center of the East Coast, not far from the renowned Taroko Gorge National Park. Although it is the largest city on the East Coast, it is still smaller and quieter than the main cities on the West Coast.
Hiking tracks are plentiful in the national park and the surrounding areas. The Hsiukulaun River is located about 30 minutes from HuaLian. It is probably the best place in Taiwan, if not all East Asia, for river rafting. A guided tour of the river is very affordable. Kayaks are also becoming common.
Closer to town is a very nice beach, but it's more for looking than for swimming. Marble mining is the main industry here, aside from tourism, and small marble souvenirs are abound. HuaLian is the home to 80,000 aborigines mostly from the Ami Tribe and others from the Atayal Tribe. It is not uncommon to see the aborigines performing in their traditional bright costumes, singing and dancing in a circular fashion. Markets are set up nearby selling handmade handicrafts from woven baskets to beads and dresses.
TaiDong is a small town along the southern portion of the East Coast. Although small and remote, it has a domestic airport connecting its residents to the main cities and offers daily ferries out to Green and Orchid Islands.
The Puyuma aboriginal group makes its home in TaiDong County. Special festivals highlighting traditional Puyuma song and dance shows complete with traditional clothing are held throughout the year.
Both Hualien and Taidong have a single Hess school and turnover is quite low. When positions do come available they are often sought out by people who prefer to spend their free time in nature. Both offer a slower pace of life with many opportunities to get out and explore the incredible nature that is the East Coast of Taiwan.