After 2 days in Taipei (see Day 1 and Day 2) and a rather grey welcome to Hualien City, we decided to go exploring the next day and ended up at Liyu Lake, or Carp lake, a beautiful lake up in the East Rift mountains of Hualien. It’s pretty chillax and we were there mostly to relax.
How to get to Liyu Lake from Hualien
We took a bus from Old Hualien Railway Station Take Hualien Bus bound for Shoufeng or Zhinan and stopped at Liyutan (Liyu Lake). The journey took about half an hour. Check the bus schedules to and fro to make sure you know when to be at the bus stop because buses don’t come that frequently and we waited for more than an hour for our return bus.
Paddle boating on Liyu Lake
We took a paddle boat – a nice red dragon – out to the middle of the lake to enjoy the scenery from there. The people were pretty strict about wearing life jackets and staying in your seat because we totally got yelled at from shore for not doing that. But this is a nice way to enjoy the scenery and stay cool on the water.
Riding around Liyu Lake
After that P, C and me rented motorized scooters and took a leisurely ride around the lake while J and K went swimming in the lake. The lake isn’t very big, so it didn’t take long to circle – maybe about an hour at most. We stopped here and there to take pix and just enjoy the general calmness. There are hiking paths leading off from the main path, so you could probably enjoy nature up close if you wanted to.
Eating live jumping prawns
Also, we had some pretty interesting food here. I had an amazing strawberry duo duo (something like yakult) My friends tried the smelly tou fu – no way I was even going near that, but the weirdest thing we all ate was the Huo Tiao Xia or Live Jumping Prawns. This is sashimi leveled up – they serve the little prawns (about half a finger length on average) that they fish from the lake in a little paper bowl with a lid on top because these little fellas are still bouncing around rather heartily. The live prawns are doused in sauce and while they are still jumping around, you just grab them and eat ‘me.
Now I don’t even like my steak rare, but I had to give it a shot, so I picked up one very small prawn and put it in my mouth. It was hard to just thinking about crunching it down though I finally did. The sauce was a tad spicy so not quite my thing. My friend K said she could feel her prawn twitching in her mouth… eeks. I’m not sure I’d do it again.