Yilan Travel Guide
Location: northeast of Taiwan Island
Area: 828 square miles (2,144 square kilometers)
Climate: tropical maritime climate
Best time to visit: Scenery in summer is the most beautiful, but typhoon may come at that time. So if you are going there in summer, remember to see the weather forecast in advance.
Yilan is a mountainous county with large tracts of forests and long coastlines. Marshes and ponds can be found everywhere. Mountain birds and water birds fly together.
Toucheng Township: It was inhabited earlier than any other towns of Yilan. It is also the most popular travel destination there. Lanyang Museum and Turtle Island in Toucheng attract lots of people.
The shape of Lanyang Museum is like a cuesta which is a common landform at the coast of Peikuan in Toucheng. It tells you Yilan’s history of nature. The wetland around is its outdoor exhibition.
Turtle Island is an offshore volcanic island, 6 miles (10 kilometers) away from the coast of Toucheng. It got this name because it takes the shape of a turtle. You can see marine caves, cliff plants, whales, and dolphins there. It is also a good place to watch the sunrise and the sunset. To come there, you need to take the yacht from Wushih Harbor.
Su-ao Cold Spring: The temperature of the carbonate spring is lower than 72°F (22°C). It is cold to bath in it at the very start, but you will feel warm within five minutes. Taking this cold spring bath is good for your skin, and it is said that the spring water has curative effect on stomach and liver diseases.
Nanfang-ao Harbor: Nanfang-ao has three harbors. The first one is Nanfang-ao Harbor, the earliest among them. You can eat many kinds of seafood there. The second one is Neipi Harbor where lots of fishes are sold every afternoon. Some shops selling jewelries made of corals sit at the third harbor. Nanfang-ao abounds in mackerels, and the Mackerel Festival is held every autumn.
Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area: Located at Datong Township, it has abundant forests, lakes, valleys, and waterfalls. It is a good place to watch the sunrise, cloud seas, and snowscapes. The Jiuzize Hot Spring, the Independence Mountain, and the Cueifong Lake are in the area. You can take the bong bong train at Taiping Mountain Villa to travel around those scenic spots.
Jimmy Park: It is located to the south of Yilan Railway Station. It was an abandoned dormitory area, and now a number of artworks based on the famous picture book painter Jimmy’s pictures have been added. Coming there is like entering a fairyland.
Other Attractions: National Center for Traditional Arts, Jiaosi Hot Spring, Wufengchi Waterfall, Lotung Sports Park, Dongshan River Water Park…
How to Get to Yilan
There is no airport there. But you can take the train from many cities of Taiwan to get there. The train from Taipei to downtown Yilan takes 1-2 hours and TWD 168-218, and to Toucheng costs TWD 142-184 with the duration of 1-1.5 hours. The train from its south neighbor Hualien to Yilan town takes 60-100 minutes with the ticket price of TWD 143-223, and to Toucheng costs TWD 197-256 with the journey time of 1.5-2 hours. You can also take the long-distance bus from Taipei Bus Station to Yilan, Lotung, or Jiaosi. It costs about TWD 120 to Yilan with the travel time of 40-50 minutes. Upon arrival, there are buses to most of its scenic spots.
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Yilan Travel Tips
Local Snacks: Yokan, smoked ducklings, smoked livers, and kumquat and plum preserves are “Four Treasures of Yilan”. Yokan is made of the water from Su-ao Cold Spring, smoked ducklings are baked with charcoals and bagasse, and kumquats and plums used for making the preserves are all local products. Tapioca balls, onion pies, bouillons, and taro ice creams also satisfy your appetite. The best place to eat all these foods should be nowhere else but Lotung, Jiaosi, and Dongmen night markets.