Yilan faces the Pacific Ocean, and is surrounded by gorgeous mountains. Indeed, it’s a city where you can appreciate nature to the fullest. Apart from the scenic areas, there are also places that will bring you closer to its diverse culture. This list will show you the ten best things to do in Yilan. Memorable moments and tranquil vibes are waiting for you in the northeast.
If you’re travelling from Taipei, then you don’t have to worry about the long hours anymore. The Hsuehshan Tunnel, which opened in 2007, makes the trip from Taipei to Yilan much shorter. What once was a four hour drive is now an hour and half.
1. Jiaoxi Hot Springs Park
Yilan is known for its hot springs, but Jiaoxi is considered the most popular. Located at the foot of a mountain, in Deyang Village, Jiaoxi Hot Springs Park promises to give you a relaxing moment with its odorless water containing different types of rich and natural minerals. Enjoy a full body bath here and leave with smoother and healthier skin. The forest views will make the bathing experience much more blissful. There’s also an area where you can just sit and let the warm water soothe your feet, for free.
Jiaoxi Hot Springs Park
Address: 16, Gongyuan Rd, Jiaoxi Township, Yilan County, Taiwan 262
Price: from 5 USD
Opening Hours: 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Contact: +886 3 987 2998
2. Wai-Ao Beach
Apart from its black volcanic sand, Wai-Ao Beach is also famous for its thrilling waves. It may not be an ideal place to go swimming, but it’s the perfect spot to enjoy surfing. If you’re just a beginner, you can take surfing lessons, which cost around 19 USD and includes a board. You can also just sit back, relax, and marvel at the impressive mountain views. Winter is a good time to visit if you want to avoid the large crowds, but if you prefer a lively atmosphere, then summer is the season for you.
Address: 261, Taiwan, Yilan County, Toucheng Township
3. Jimi Square
Located on the southern side of Yilan Station, Jimi Square houses the colorful masterpieces of Jimmy Liao, a famous Taiwanese artist. As you walk along the square, bring out your camera and take photos of the large sculptures, which are based on Liao’s books. The most popular are the statues of a boy and a girl waiting at the bus stop, with a smile. It’s an ideal place to visit for the young and the young-at-heart.
Address: 116, Sec. 1, Yixing Rd., Yilan City, Yilan County 260, Taiwan
Opening Hours: 24 Hours
4. Luodong Night Market
A trip to Yilan won’t be complete without some shopping and dining. Once the sun sets, head to Luodong Market and enjoy the bustling atmosphere. You can try local’s favorite dishes such as salty rice noodles, smoked duck, scallion pancakes, rice noodle thick soup, and iced manioc with red beans. If you just want to shop, there are plenty of stores selling shoes, clothes, souvenirs, and many other items. It’s located on Minsheng Road, and it’s often visited by both locals and tourists.
Luodong Night Market
Address: Gongyuan Road, Luodong Township, Yilan County, Taiwan 265
Opening Hours: 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM
5. Lanyang Museum
Lanyang Museum is located right next to Wushigang Harbor, and it resembles a “cuesta” rising from the ground. A cuesta is a rock formation found mostly in the country’s northeast side. After marveling at the unique design of the building, go inside to learn more about the history, culture, and geographical environment of Yilan. The Mountains Level focuses on the formation of Yilan’s misty forests while the Plains Level shows traditional river life. The Ocean Level will take you deeper into an enchanting underwater world. Multilingual audio guides are also available. English and Japanese audio guides cost around 3 USD while the Mandarin audio guides cost around 2 USD.
Address: 750,Sec. 3,Qingyun Rd.,Toucheng Township,Yilan County,Taiwan
Price: From 3 USD (adult); 2 USD (children)
Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (ticket sales are up to 4:30 PM)
Contact: +886 3 9779300
Website: Lanyang Museum
6. Dongshan River Water Park
This artificial canal in the Whujie Township opened in 1993, and is one of Yilan’s most beloved recreational areas. The lush scenery provides a calm atmosphere, making it a perfect spot for biking. You can rent a bicycle for around 3 USD, and you can explore any part of the riverbank. The replicas of Yilan’s natural landscape and the ceramic dragons are sure to amaze you. You can also head to the shallow pool area for a relaxing walk on the water or the boating zone to try out the rowboats. If you’re in the mood for some swimming, then make your way to the deep water area. It has a pool that perfectly replicates the Lanyang River.
Dongshan River Water Park
Address: 2, Section 2, Qinhe Rd, Wujie Township, Yilan County, Taiwan 268
Opening Hours: 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Contact: +886 3 950 2097
7. National Center for Traditional Arts
Beside Dong Mountain is a 24 hectare (59 acre) site dedicated to Taiwan’s traditional arts. The National Center for Traditional Arts is home to red-tiled buildings, which represent the country’s past. On your visit here, let the displays of beautiful local handicrafts astound you. You can also watch the acrobat and puppet shows as well as the outdoor opera performances. Don’t forget to drop by the souvenir store to bring home some of the artistic works.
National Center For Traditional Arts
Address: 201, Sec. 2, Wubin Rd., Wujie Township, Yilan County, Taiwan
Price: From 5 USD
Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
8. Fushan Botanical Garden
Between Yilan’s Yuanshan Village and Taipei’s Wulai Village is Asia’s biggest botanical park. Fushan Botanical Garden is where you can see over 700 species of trees and vascular plants. The trails are over 20 kilometers (12 miles) long, and consist of plaques to give you a deeper understanding of the greenery. Only 300 visitors are allowed per day, thus preserving the park’s natural ecology. Admission is free, but you need to register in advance on the official website.
Fushan Botanical Garden
Address: Shuangpi Rd. Huxi Village, Yuanshan Township Yilan, Taiwan
Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (last entry is 3:30 PM); closed on March for annual maintenance
Website: Fushan Botanical Garden
9. Wufengchi Waterfalls
Unleash your adventurous side once again and head to the Wufengchi Waterfalls in Jiaoxi County. Unfortunately, the third and largest waterfall is closed due to a recent typhoon, but you can still see it when you reach the top of the hill. The view of the third fall alone will make you say that the semi-challenging hike was worth it. As for the first two falls, they are easier to reach and can be seen up-close. The waterfalls are usually dry during the summer, so it’s best for you to visit during the winter or rainy season. Be careful when you’re walking on the rocks though, they’re slippery most of the time.
Address: 262, Taiwan, Yilan County, Jiaoxi Township
Contact: +886 3 988 0940
10. Tiangong Temple in Dali
At the village of Dali on Yilan’s coastal highway, there’s a colorful temple dedicated to the Sky God. Tiangong Temple originally had a simple design, but after a few renovations, it turned into a beautifully complex structure. After admiring the intricate Chinese design and the dragon sculptures from the outside, come inside to see the marvelous beams and carvings. A festival is held every ninth of January, so if you visit during that time, you will see worshippers from all over the country pay their respects to the Sky God.
Tiangong Temple in Dali
Address: 33, Sec. 7, Binhai Rd., Toucheng Township, Yilan County 26145, Taiwan
Rain or shine, Yilan offers fun moments
Summer in Yilan is from June to August, which gives you the perfect opportunity to explore the beaches and parks. The rest of the season is mostly rainy, but it doesn’t mean that the good times will end. The scenic areas and hot springs are even more astounding after experiencing several rain drops. Whatever the weather is, there’s always something to see in the county.
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