I met up with tour guide Ken and fellow Singaporean Zipeng at the airport and went on our little Yilan adventure!
YILAN LANYANG MUSEUM 宜蘭蘭陽博物館
There is no other place more perfect to kickstart the 4-day stay. The design of Lanyang Museum was made to resemble rock formations around Wushih Port area where the museum stands adjacent to.
Through our brief stop at the museum, I learnt a lot about the Yilan County – its history, its inhabitants, its folklore and festivals. The most interesting one I’ve learnt was the Pole-Climbing event held annual in conjunction with the Lunar Ghost Festival. You have to click that link to read more, it’s insane!
From the museum, you will also be able to see Guishan Island (龜山島) on a clear day. It was a pity though, that we were unable to take a ferry out to visit that island due to bad weather. According to our guide Ken, there are also ferries that would bring visitors out to watch dolphins and whales! And because Yilan is a seaside town, there is also a plethora of fresh seafood available at the many restaurants located by the bay.
Dinner was at this beautiful restaurant (which has a gallery attached to it) called Formosa Pearl 掌上明珠. The coordinator of the tour had been exclaiming about this restaurant even before the trip started and it got me really thrilled! True enough, this place did not disappoint, and I was completely blown away by the entire dining experience. The menu changes everyday and handwritten (in Chinese calligraphy style ok! And it’s different on every table) on each table, every plate, every cup were handmade, and the food!
Here’s a shot I took from one of the observation deck at the Formosa Pearl.
Accommodation: Original Spring 原湯
Nothing is better than having natural spring water available in my hotel room! There are actually plenty of hot spring hotels/inns all around the area but this one I spent the first night in was real cosy and comfortable. There is also a little fish pedicure just outside the lobby, and it’s a free service for all hotel guests!
The first day in Toucheng (頭城), Yilan, albeit being a rather short one, was enough for me to look forward to knowing what else this beautiful county has to offer.
HANG KHAU HOTEL & KAFFE 行口文旅店
The day started early the next day from Toucheng, down south to continue exploring the rest of the County. Breakfast was at Hang Khau Hotel & Kaffe.
Apart from being a quaint little boutique hotel, Hang Khau also boasts of a cute little cafe that serves real good coffee and hearty breakfast sets (those croissants were real delectable!), and a retail corner that has quite a collection of books and locally-designed products for sale. Location was great too; being only a 5-minutes walk away from Yilan Train Station.
I also took the opportunity to write a couple of postcards for the folks in Singapore! I have a penchant for writing letters la.
I guess the perks of travelling with Zipeng, the talented photographer is this:
I remember saying “No one reads like that, Zipeng” after this photo was taken. Hahahaha!
(Unless I’m out to seduce someone lol)
There was something about this part of Yilan that had me totally mesmerised – traces of artistic and literary expression everywhere, and slightly hipster la. Haha. 滿滿的文藝氣息!
Yilan is also the hometown of one of my favourite illustrator/author, Jimmy Liao (幾米)! *excited*
And here I am again with the characters from Starry Starry Night (星空) by Jimmy Liao…
7 years after meeting them for the first time in Beijing!
I also bought another two books from the retail store near the open air theme park. Much cheaper compared to the prices in Singapore! Heh.
I’d also like to recommend this super delish, super GARLICKY noodle dish!
Address: 260, Taiwan, Yilan County, Yilan City (泰山路239之1號泰山路239之2號)
A B S O L U T E L Y Y U M M Y
Onward to Luodong Township to experience how it’s like to be a organic farmer
for a day for one hour.
LOTONG AGRICULTURAL FARM 羅東溪休閒農場
It was quite an experience at the Lotong Agricultural Farm! Well, being a city dweller, I’ve never had the opportunity to plant seedlings into the ground or collect gourds from vines. The owner of the farm was really friendly and knowledgeable, and he was about to answer all kinds of questions I threw at him (I’m pretty inquisitive! Heh.) What moved me the most was how passionate he was about his harvest and his part in educating city dwellers like me about his beautiful organic crops.
Baby watermelon, so cute!
Herbivore Of The Year. Hahaha!
There was really no time to waste while in this beautiful county. I think I ate so much that day, I was almost constantly in a food coma state. I’m not complaining though, how can one possibly complain about all these good food?
It was my first time doing a homestay with a local family. These people were so immensely nice that I immediately felt at home the moment I checked in. The house was spick and span and felt like a home away from home; everyone there – from the receptionist (who’s just this really nice girl in her late teens who takes care of everything from paperwork, checking guests in and out, and cleaning of the rooms, etc) to the owner of the house, the owner’s Dad (super cute Ah Gong!!!) were insanely nice.
My heart can still feel the warmth as I type right now. Gahhhhh.
The view around the house is 很美!
The owner is also a huge customized-bicycles enthusiast who has quite a collection of fancy wooden bicycles.
View from my room!
I also visited the night market with the freshest air. Heh! Why so? Because the market is along the long stretch of road with paddy fields on both sides! 90% of the stalls in the night market sells food, and I think most of the people I see there are locals too.
More sights around beautiful Yilan!
電話：0978178269 (李小姐) 、（03）9641737
粉鳥林秘境 Fenniaoling Beach
This is a little secret beach with a very hidden entrance! Isn’t it interesting? Thank goodness there were kind folks who carved the stones around the opening to the easiest route to the beach, if not it might be even harder to get to the beach from the outside!
By the time we were at Fen Niao Ling, we’ve already travelled quite a fair bit down south through Yilan. Most of the drive we did was along the coastline and I was greeted with beeaaauuuuitful sights of the Pacific Ocean along the way. I think this is really quite a far cry from what I’ve always thought of Taiwan (considering the fact that I’ve only been in Taipei prior to this)
On the way to our next accommodation, we went for some 乌醋面! I like my vinegar and this is totally god-sent for me.
My third and final accommodation for the Yilan leg of the trip was also the most unique of all. I spent the night in a tent! It was at a campsite with all the amenities like shower, lighting, electricity readily available. But 那山那谷 is more than just a regular campsite! The owner 小陳 (Xiaochen) and his family lives right by the campsite and they organize a lot of outdoor activities for their guests.
Check out how my campsite looks like! Now imagine how breathtaking the view is like in the morning. The bird chirping, the insects creaking, the toads croaking, the sounds of nature, the clean, cool and crisp morning air. It was such an experience spending the night in an environment like that. Pardon me, because I have really never went camping like that before. If you haven’t done anything like this before as well, I recommend 那山那谷! 强力推荐 ❤
This is 小陈 Xiaochen and 馒头 Mantou bringing us out for breakfast before showing us around the area! Aren’t they cute! Super friendly and down-to-earth people!
We trekked through this area too! But I didn’t have my phone and couldn’t take any photos at all. I just really love this place! 😀
And then they spoilt us by feeding us AGAIN!
Thank you, all the good people I met in Taiwan. You guys made the entire Taipei-Yilan experience so enjoyable! ❤