Hualien, Taiwan

Located on the Pacific coast of Taiwan island, where the Hualien River enters the sea, Hualien is a gateway to the island’s most spectacular natural splendors. It was here that Portuguese sailors in the 16th century caught a first glimpse of the grandeur and named the island Formosa. For a first visit nothing could beat a tour to the Taroko National Park, a swathe of mountain peaks, deep-cut canyons, rivers and waterfalls that is simply breathtaking. The rivers here have carved deep gorges into the marble cliffs, and attractions such as the Tunnel of Nine Turns make it even more dramatic. This path leads through marble-walled tunnels, interrupted by natural windows that let the light stream down from above, culminating in a rushing waterfall.