8 posts • Page 1 of 1
Sounds like might be a fun option for traveling to/from Hualian. Tickets only available so far via travel agents.
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/ ... 2003571408
Suao-to-Hualian jet ferry trip delights hundreds
By Loa Iok-sin / Staff reporter
Enjoying the scenery of the east coast and cultural performances, hundreds of people yesterday experienced a different way of traveling from Yilan’s Suao Township (蘇澳) to Hualian on a jet ferry, a service that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) would like to make regular option.
Excited passengers aboard the Natchan Rera rushed to the windows when the ferry departed from the Port of Suao to take pictures or simply look at the view.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please look to your right, we are passing by the mouth of Liwu River (立霧溪), which is 55km long, and cuts through the mountains, and carved the mountains into the Taroko Gorge,” a crewmember said.
Landmark locations were announced through the PA system to passengers during the journey.
“This is my first time riding on the Natchan Rera. The trip is very enjoyable, and the boat is quite stable,” said a resident of Taoyuan County’s Daxi Township (大溪) surnamed Chen (陳), who was traveling with his wife and friends.
“Taiwan is surrounded by the ocean. I think it is a very good idea to have a ‘blue highway,’ and I hope ferry lines around the island could be established with vessels capable of carrying cars, so I can travel from Keelung (Jilong) to Hualian, Hualian to Greater Kaohsiung, and Greater Kaohsiung back to Keelung (Jilong) on boats, and drive my car around when the boat docks at different cities,” Chen said.
“It is also a very good alternative way to travel from Taipei to Hualian, especially because the Suhua Highway (蘇花公路) can be easily damaged when storms hit and closed for days,” he said, adding that he would recommend the ferry to friends.
The Natchan Rera can carry vehicles.
“The boat is capable of carrying 798 people, including the crew, 18 large buses and 193 small cars,” said Winnie Lin (林渭清), the Natchan Rera’s chief mate. “We are not carrying cars at the moment because the car ramps at Suao and Hualian harbors are not finished, but they should be completed soon.”
Although the trip received mostly positive feedback from passengers, Hsiao urged the government to help to make a ferry service more accessible and affordable.
“At the moment, you can only book a ticket through travel agencies, but to make it more accessible to the public, tickets should also be sold at the harbors, so that anyone who wants to take a boat ride could buy a ticket and get on board,” she said. “The government should also subsidize the tickets so that people — especially Hualian residents — could use the service on a regular basis.”
An economy-class ticket from Suao to Hualian is NT$700 (US$23.5), while a business-class ticket is NT$1,000 and first class costs NT$1,500.
“It could cost tens of billions of NT dollars to build a highway, not including the costs for maintenance, but it costs much less — about NT$200 million to NT$300 million a year — to subsidize ferry tickets,” Hsiao said.
She said she would push legislation to turn the “blue highway” into a regular means of transportation.
I love it. I hate driving that road with a passion. All the Taipei idiots that think that they can pass me doing 100 into a blind corner with semis coming the other way. If I go down, I take a couple of extra days off and make sure that I'm not driving on the weekend, and if I am that it's at night so that I can see the lights of the oncoming traffic. A ferry sounds like the perfect way to go, and I've been dying to see that route from the water. Any idea how long the trip would take? It's just a shame that they have a passenger/vehicle ferry but no loading capabilities. What a waste!
Has anyone tried this yet? I would love to see the east coast from the Pacific. After all, that view is what earned Taiwan the name "Ihla Formosa."
Tickets are NT$700 (one way).
Never heard of this until now; looks cool. I'm going to look into it.
I finally tried it. The ride ended up being, at times, choppier than I had expected. But it wasn't so bad. Sitting toward the stern (back) helps. And about halfway through an Aborigine group started singing, which provided some additional distraction.
The coast had a lot of clouds that day, so the view wasn't as beautiful as it might have been. But still it was pretty great to be out on the sea. I recommend it.
And from Su'ao one can get a comfortable bus back to Taipei (with Internet and movies in the back of the seat in front of you, like on an airplane). The buses stop at the terminus of the blue line (Nangang Exhibition Hall) and at another stop (Yuanshan?).
Oh, they ask for ID before you can get on the boat, so be sure to have some with you.
You can walk to the back, which is open.
There's also a lounge on the top floor, which I think costs NT$500 extra. I'm not sure if that has its own open area or not. But if the skies were clear the extra money might be worth it regardless.
There are some swivel seats along the sides (inside). Those tend to get grabbed fast, so get on early if you want one of those. And, again, you'd probably be better off getting one toward the back. People also have their own assigned seats.
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