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The Xiugulan is the biggest river in eastern Taiwan, winding its tortuous way through a gorge bisecting the Coastal Mountain Range from Ruisui to the coast. Standing in the observation tower at Qimei, midway along the rafting section of the river, you will have a bird's-eye view of geologic sediment lines, well-evolved river bends, and the way the river drops in steps.
Along the 22-kilometer section from the Ruisui Bridge to Rainbow Bridge at its mouth, the river drops 65 meters and boils over more than 20 sets of rapids. White-water rafting began here in 1981, and this is still the most popular rafting area in Taiwan. From the beginning point at Ruisui to the end at Rainbow Bridge, the rafting trip takes three to four hours, with a rest stop at the village of Qimei. You can raft here all the year round, but the busiest months for rafting operators are May through October.
Besides enjoying the exciting rafting itinerary, you can add the East Coast National Scenic Area to your travel plan and savor the unparalleled mountain and oceanic scenery in this part of Taiwan. Of course, you can choose to practice other water activities as well.
The East Coast National Scenic Area, known as "Taiwan's last unspoiled land", stretches 170 kilometers down the east coast of the island from the mouth of the Hualien River in the north to Xiaoyeliu (Little Yeliu) in the south. To the east it is bounded by the Pacific Ocean; to the west rises the Coastal Mountain Range. The land here consists of volcanic rock, classic rock from deep beneath the sea, and shale that has been pushed upward - and is still being pushed upward - by tectonic action. Weathering, erosion, and accumulation have produced a wide range of landforms here, including coastal terraces, sand and pebble beaches, shoreline reefs, inshore islands, and capes, along with sea-eroded platforms, trenches, and caves. This varied topography provides habitat for a rich diversity of flora and fauna.