YiLan is a small county in north Taiwan and next to New Taipei City. People who live in the cities nearby often go to Yi Lan for a relaxing holiday, because it is a great place to unwind.
Where is YiLan located in Taiwan?
Yi Lan is situated in northeast Taiwan, however, it is considered to be in the east part of Taiwan. In east Taiwan, there are only three beautiful counties, Yi Lan, Hualien, and Taitung and they are next to the Pacific Ocean which is the biggest ocean in the world.
What is YiLan Famous For?
There are not many plains in Taiwan. Yi Lan county is the 8th biggest in Taiwan and it has the third biggest plain there, which is called Yi Lan Plain or also called Lanyang Plain.
The plain is so big and the water quality is great that it has its own cold/hot springs, therefore the crops that grow there are good quality. Among those crops, Spring Onion is the most famous one.
Taiwanese people are crazy about food, no matter where you go, food is always the first thing they are looking for, so do not be surprised by the many shops that sell the same food.
How to Get to Yi Lan, Taiwan
There are many ways you can travel to Yi Lan, however, departing from the capital, Taipei, is probably the easiest option.
Taking a train to Yi Lan is the most common way regardless of which city you are coming from, however, if you are in the Taipei area, the other option is by bus.
Normally, taking a train from Taipei to Yi Lan takes between 1hrs 10 min to 2hrs 30 mins, depends on the type of train you are taking.
Travelling by bus takes about 1 hr 30 mins, but if you depart from Hualien it will be shorter. The advantage of taking a train is that you will get to see a much prettier view compared with the bus.
Get around Yi Lan with
Once you arrived in Yi Lan, there are a few options for getting around. The most common and popular way is taking a city bus or Taiwan Trip Bus. Taiwan Trip bus is a tourist route that is very useful for visitors.
I personally do not recommend renting a scooter or hiring a car. There are a few reasons for this, first of all, it is quite dangerous to drive in an unfamiliar area; and secondly, I hate to say this, but a lot of Taiwanese drivers do not really follow the traffic rules and it is a big problem in Taiwan.
In order to rent a car or a scooter you need some documents, such as, a Passport, your country’s vehicle license, and also an international permit, for more details I will write another article to explain more. Alternatively, you can rent a bicycle.
Ok, since you are getting to know a little more about Yi Lan, let’s dive into this beautiful county and find out where you should visit.
Guishan Island is an absolutely amazing island that you should definitely check out. While I am writing this article, the place has become a hit in Taiwan because of the tiffany watercolor around Guishan Island.
Since the pandemic started, most countries in the world have been in lockdown preventing foreign visitors to come in, which is the reason Taiwanese people are travelling within Taiwan. So they have been discovering that Guishan Island is so amazingly beautiful.
Guishan Island is an active volcano island and its name, Guishan, means tortoise mountain. The active underground hot spring mixed with ocean water makes the color of the water look a lighter blue than the normal ocean color.
The island used to house an army base and some residents lived there as well, but nowadays it is abandoned.
What can you do in Guishan Island?
There are a few things you can do over there. First, you can go on the island and hike there, however, you need to apply for a permit before going.
Only 1800 people can go on the island each day, but this does not include hiking on the mountain. To hike on the 401 hiking route, you need to apply for another special permit and the limitation is even lower, 100 people max per day, however, it is not really difficult if you plan your itinerary early.
Besides that, you can consider doing SUP or whale and dolphin watching around the area as well, which you do not need to apply for the permit to do but you are still able to see the amazing tiffany blue ocean./ht
Guishan Island’s information :
- Address : Toucheng Township, YiLan County, Taiwan, 261
- Opening Months & Hours : Mar – Nov, 9:00 – 17:00 | Jun – Sep 8:30 – 17:30
- How to get there : through travel agent
Wushi Harbor & Waiao Beach
Wushi Harbor is the closest and the only harbor where you can take a ferry to Guishan Island. Many tourists will usually stay one night around this area and prepare for an early morning trip to Guishan Island.
What can you do in Wuishi Harbor?
Wushi Harbor is not only famous for departing to Guishan Island but also for its great quality seafood. Taiwanese people like eating seafood, particularly having seafood next to the harbor because in general, the seafood next to harbor is fresher and its price is also more reasonable, e.g. Houbihu Harbor in Kenting.
There is a Seafood wholesaler next to the Wushi Harbor where you can buy local seafood and enjoy your meal there.
Besides the seafood market, there are also a few things you can do there, too. For example, next to Wushi Harbor is the Waiao Beach that it is well-known as a great surfing spot. But do not worry, you do not need to be a surfer to enjoy Waiao Beach. Waiao Beach is the best beach in the north of Taiwan.
If you are not planning to do any kind of water sports there, that is ok. Nearby Wushi Harbor, there is Chanchushan Lookout (蟾蜍山觀景臺) where you can enjoy overlooking Wushi Harbor and if the weather is nice enough, you will be able to see Guishan Island as well.
Waiao Beach’s information :
- Address : No. 6, Section 2, Binhai Road, Toucheng Township, Yilan County, Taiwan 261
- Opening Hours: 24 hrs
- How to get there : Train – Wai’ao Station
Taiping-Shan National Forest Recreation Area
Japanese people cut down the rare and valuable trees and shipped them overseas for profits. The majority of these trees were built into Shinto shrines in Japan. When you go to Japan to see the Shito shrines you probably will see wood that was sourced from Taiwan.
After 1982, it is forbidden to cut any trees in Taiping-Shan and this place changed from being a forest industry to being a National Forest Recreation Area.
What can you do in Taiping Shan
You can visit many places in Taiping-Shan, most people like to hike there. As far as I’m aware, there are nine marvelous walking paths you can choose and each walking path has its own unique beauty.
If you are not a fan of hiking, that is ok, you can choose to take the bong-bing train instead of walking on the walking path.
Sunrise in Taiping Shan
Every new year Taiping-Shan will open at 3 am for visitors to enjoy and celebrate their first sunrise of the new year there. If you are wondering where you can go after Taipei 101’s new year firework display (link link), watch the sunrise in Taiping Shan might be a good option.
Taiping-Shan National Forest Recreation Area’s information :
- Address : No. 58-1 Tai-Ping alley Datong Township, Yilan County, Taiwan, 267
- Opening Hours : Mon- Fri 6:00 – 20:00 | Sat & Sun 4:00 – 20:00 | July & August 4:00 – 20:00
- How to get there :
- By Kuo-Kuang Coach, click here to see more detail
- Ticket Price :
- Adult NT $150 | Holiday Adult NT $200 | Student & Child (7y-12y) NT $100 | Toddler 3y- 6y & over 65 Nt $10
Wufengqi Scenic Area
Wufengqi Shan is a mountain where you can see three waterfalls at different heights and the Catholic Sanctuary of Our Lady of Wufengqi.
The coolest part of this church is its building, the architecture does not look like the typical European churches, instead, it is built in a Chinese architecture style.
The three waterfalls are located in different places, and if you would like to see all of them, you need to hike higher and higher.
Another Trail to Mocha Mountain
Before you get to the highest waterfall there is a trail toward another mountain and it is called Mocha Mountains because one Japanese photographer took a picture there land the mountain on the picture has the mocha green which it looks amazingly beautiful. (Marian hiking trail )
Wufengqi Scenic Area’s information :
- Address : No. 10, Lane 91, Wufeng Road, Jiaoxi Township, Yilan County, Taiwan
- Opening Hours : 24hrs
- Ticket : Free
- How to get there : Train – Jiaoxi station and transfer Taiwan Trip Bus
Luodong Forestry Culture Garden
Taiping-Shan is one of the three biggest forest industries during the Japanese colonization, I mentioned before. Since there were so many logs that were being cut down, there was a problem with where to store them.
It was decided to store the logs in Luodong Forestry Culture Garden which is a half-hour drive from Taiping Shan.
Since the Taiping Shan is no longer used for forest industry and the original storage places are abandoned, the local government decided to transform this place into a Garden where the maintain and buildings are displayed nicely.
At Luodong Forestry Culture Garden, people can learn about the history of timber production in the area. Between 1905 to 1982 people were using trains to carry logs from Taiping Shan to Luodong Forestry Culture Garden.
What can you see in Luodong Forestry Culture Garden
Nowadays, all the trains and train stations are all abandoned.
Expect the train station and a train in Luodong Forestry Culture Garden which was transformed into a museum. Log Pond is an interesting place that is worth visiting as well. Log Pond was used as a storage for stocking the most valuable and precious logs from direct sunlight.
Luodong Forestry Culture Garden’s information :
- Address : No. 118, Zhongzheng North Road, Luodong Township, Yilan County, Taiwan 265
- Opening Hours : Daily 9:00 – 17:00
- Ticket : Free
- How to get there : Train – Luodong and walk 1000m
Suao Cold Spring Park
Unlike most natural springs, Suao Cold Spring’s water is cold and its temperature is around 21℃ (69.8⁰F). The two factors that make its water cold are groundwater and the high volume of carbon dioxide. In addition, the cold spring water also contains minerals that come from limestone and slate layers.
When the Cold Spring has been discovered?
During the Japanese colonization period in 1928, a Japanese solider discovered that the water is drinkable and it is refreshing.
After finishing his military service, he focused on these natural springs and tried to dig for water. He found that the water is not only non-toxic but that it also has beneficial qualities, such as being good for the lungs and stomach.
An interesting story about Suao Cold Spring.
A long time ago, people passed by this area and saw that are many insects died after they have touched the cold spring.
Since then, the local people believed the water is toxic and no one would drink the water from the spring.
Because they did not know that the water contains a high volume of Cardon Dioxide (CO2).
How many Cold Springs in Suao?
In the Suao area, there are four public cold springs available for people to use. Two of them are public pools, one private bathhouse and one is a foot soaking zone. They charge different prices but the foot soaking zone is usually free if you just wanna try it.
Besides visiting a cold spring there is also a drink, Ramune, that you must try when you visit Suao.
Ramune is a drink that was made popular during the Japanese colonization which is made from the Suao cold spring water. It tastes like sweet soda but the funnest part of this drink is pressing the Marbles in the cap before opening the drink.
If you prefer Hot spring over Cold Spring, Yi Lan has one in Jiaoxi area.
Suao Cold Spring Park’s information :
- Address : No. 6-4, Lengquan Road, Su’ao Township, Yilan County, Taiwan 270
- Opening Hours : Private bath 9:00 – 15:30, rest of them 24hrs
- Ticket : 1 Person NT $150, 2 People NT$200, 3 People NT $300 …..
- How to get there : Train Suao Station
Kavalan Whisky Distillery
On March 2006, Kavalan produced the first spout from the distillery. Two years after Kavalan Whisky has released the first type of Whisky, in the meanwhile the distillery opens for the public, too.
Since then, Kavalan has created more and more whiskies. In the 2010 Malt Whisky Year Book, Taiwan was listed as a Whisky producing region for the first time because of Kavalan.
Since then, Kavalan Whisky has won many different rewards, including WWA (World Whisky Award), IWSC, SFWSC awards and more.
What can you do in Kavalan Whisky Distillery
If you are a fan of Whisky, I recommend you to visit the distillery. There are many activities you can do there including a distillery tour, Whisky Tasting. And you can also DIY Blending your own Whisky by yourself.
If you are not a big fan of Whisky that is fine, because besides the Kavalan Whisky you can also try the most famous coffee in Taiwan, Mr. Brown.
Kavalan Whisky Distillery information :
- Address : No. 326, Section 2, Yuanshan Road, Yuanshan Township, Yilan County, Taiwan 264
- Opening Hours : Daily 9:00 – 18:00
- English Distillery Tour : NT$ 200 per person (Booking advance, see more detail here)
- Whisky Tasting : depends on the types you choose
- DIY Blending : NT $1800 for 300ml
- How to get there : KAMALAN BUS / KUO-KUANG BUS (see detail here)
National Center for Traditional Arts (NCFTA)
Once you visit the National Center for Traditional Arts, you will feel like you are going back to the old Taiwan period.
It is a little bit similar to the Bopiliao Historical Block in Taipei City (10 taipei ) where the architecture is a mix of Japanese, Western and Chinese styles.
What can you do in National Center for Traditional Arts?
There are many cool activities you can do in the National Center for Traditional Arts. Visiting Taiwanese old-style shops where you will see the candies were the most popular in Taiwan.
Also if you are a fan of creating your own thing, there are a few shops you should visit, for example making your own Brown Sugar Cake that is usually for praying to God and wishing for good luck.
There is also a Chinese medicine shop that you will learn the ingredients and its effect.
Visiting different shops and creating your own crafts are not only things you can do there. The most interesting part you should not miss is the shows. The National Center for Traditional Arts displays many different kinds of shows, from the puppet shows to Taiwan traditional shows.
The puppet show was one of the most popular shows before the internet and TV. The story of Puppet shows usually refer to the story about a couple or family story from elder people. Moreover every day there is a ceremonial cart ride or parade which the local people believe can bring good luck.
National Center for Traditional Arts information
- Address : No. 201, Section 2, Wubin Road, Wujie Township, Yilan County, Taiwan 26841
- Opening Hours : Daily 9:00 – 18:00
- Admission fee :
- How to get there :
- Train : Luodong and transfer to shuttle bus
- Coach : see more detail here
YiLan Luodong Night Market
I have mentioned night markets on my blog many times because night markets are such fun places to hang out with friends and you are able to taste a lot of traditional Taiwanese food there.
Not only local people like night markets but for tourists, night markets are good places to enjoy Taiwanese food culture.
The biggest and the most popular night market in Yi Lan county is Yi Lan Luodong Night Market. In Yi Lan Ludong Night Market, you will see common and local Yi Lan food. People say if you have not been to Yi Lan Luodong Night Market, you have not been to Yi Lan at all.
The size of Luodong Night Market covers four streets which is quite massive for a night market. You will see clothing and accessories stalls over there. But what makes Yi Lan Luodong Night Market popular is the food.
What does the food sells there?
There are some food stalls which you will only see at this night market, such as Thick Rice Noodles, Braised Chicken Legs, and Shelled Shrimps…etc.
Furthermore, you will find out that many food stalls are using massive spring onions because spring onions are the biggest feature in YiLan. If you are not sure where to eat dinner, visiting Yi Lan Luodong Night Market is always the best option.
YiLan Luodong Night Market information:
- Address : Xingdong Road, Luodong Township, Yilan County, Taiwan 265
- Opening Hours : Daily 9:00 – 18:00
- How to get there : Daily 15 : 00 – 00 : 00
YiLan is probably not the first choice for a place to visit in Taiwan, however, Yi Lan has its own beauty, and if you love water sports and you are in the north of Taiwan. Yi Lan is the best place to go.
Besides, Guishan Island’s ocean color is amazing and it is an excellent place to take pictures. Yi Lan is small but there are many activities to do there. Next time when you visit Taiwan, maybe take one day to visit YiLan.
*Both offer cheaper entry tickets to many attractions, such as museums and theme parks. You can even get discounts on sim cards, transportations and much much more.
When I look for flight tickets I usually go to:
Skyscanner is the biggest flight ticket search website
When I look for accommodation I usually go to:
- Agoda (Tip: if you book a non-refundable room, you usually get a very good deal).
- Booking.com (my favorite one, easy to manage bookings).
- Hotels.com (If you book more than 10 nights, you will get one night for free).
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