Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Day trip to Yilan - Su'ao - Luodong!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014
For those going to Taipei, you can consider planning a day trip to Yilan-Su'ao-Luodong!

Yilan is a beautiful place, well known for its scenary and local food! The local government is trying to revamp Yilan as well, making it more appealing for tourists. Look at the colourful building that greets you as you step out from Yilan Station haha! Personally, I feel that a one day trip to Yilan is more than enough so if you are planning to stay over for the night, don't! I think you might be really bored and cry to get out (okay, I'm exaggerating but don't la. Save money and spend it on food instead!)

How to go: If you're in Taipei, take the metro to Taipei Main Station, 台北車站 (Blue and Red Line intersaction) and go up to the 4th floor at the bus interchange. You'll see Kamalan bus company which provides services to go Yilan! The tickets cost 129NT (SGD5.20) for a one way trip! Don't worry about not having seats as the tickets have your allocated seat number so be sure to sit at the correct seat! I only realized that when I got "chased" out from my seat LOL.

The bus takes roughly 70 mins to reach Yilan and the best part is that the seats are really comfy so you can take a nap! Moreover, the bus takes the new highway making roads really smooth so you won't have a headache when you wake up HAHA. I really hate it when I sit a bumpy bus not forgetting I have motion sickness but the trip to Yilan for me was painless! Well, when you wake up and get down from the bus, you should see this.

Do not be afraid to cross the road over to the railway side and walk right into the gate opening where there are railway tracks! I was abit skeptical at first thinking if I would get caught for wandering inside forbiden area HAHA, but from what I know, this is the only way to get to the other side to Yilan "city".
So there's a picture of what you will see once you step into the gates! Pretty amazing right! Having the tracks so close to you. In any case, continue walking towards the carpark area and up the stairs and you will see Yilan Station (It's a dull grey building). They prolly didn't paint this side as less tourists will actually see it.

From here you got to go in and tell the guy at the ticketing counter that you wish to cross over to the other side! He will give you a pink pass and just cross the underground bridge to the other side and return the pass. There! The hardest part about getting to Yilan is complete! Pretty easy eh?

From here on, just turn left and you will see a visitor's centre. Go in and ask for the map and get the guy to circle all the places you would like to visit! Personally I feel the Yilan Wine Brewery is the only thing worth spending more time inside. There are two other "museums" regarding Yilan's history which the guy at the visitor's centre will tell you more about it so if you're interested you can go! Don't worry, it's on the way to the Wine Brewery. Easy peasy! (Told you, Yilan is very tourist friendly haha!)
Hehehe really cute post box outside the Visitor's Centre!

So on the way to the Wine Bewery, there are actually a lot of nice scenery and interesting buildings to stop by for a picture! There are motobikes, bicycles and taxis available, but I chose to walk because I wanted to absorb as much local culture as I could! Don't worry, Yilan is not that big! So walking by foot will prolly get you to the wine brewery in 15 mins! Just that I stop to take pictures everywhere so I took a tad longer hehehe.

This is like a small coffee hut where you can stop by for a drink if you want! But it was close on the day I went so I continued walking towards the Wine Brewery.

 This is one of the tourist attractions in Yilan and it cost 30NT (SGD1.20) to enter! It's a small park and there's like little huts inside where you can understsand a little more on the history and culture of Yilan. Well, I didn't go in so I can't vouch whether it's worth going or not but 30NT only so just go lah  since you're already there! It was close the day I went so I didn't go in but I took pictures from the outside! Same same but....different lor sigh!
Oh! I almost forgot! You will pass by Luna Mall before reaching the Wine Brewery and by then you would have walked for almost 20-25 mins depending how fast you walk. I suggest going in for a rest especially if you're with older folks. This would be a good time to go in to blow some aircon or grab an ice cream from Macdonalds. There's also a huge Carrefour in the basement and a Uniqlo within the mall if you want to do some window shopping.
TADA!! You've reached!
 Sorry they are mostly selfies of myself but I found some really interesting facts in the museum!
I took a lot more photos but I decided not to post it so that you can go and explore for yourself! There are a few individual buildings inside so be sure to go in and check it out! They sell the wine that they make in one of those buildings and I highly recommend the reddish looking wine! I can't remember the name but they sell in bottles of two and cost less than 400NT for both bottles (thats SGD16!).
If you're like me, traveling alone or simply just lazy to carry the bottles around, go to the building opposite and order a cup of local made beer for 89NT (SGD3.60) thats made in Hualian.
 Do try their cold "tea egg" that's soaked in wine as well! I didn't feel adventurous enough that morning to try so I skipped it! Thinking back, maybe I should *watery eyes showing signs of regret*

From here, continue walking down and you'll see the last and final attraction of Yilan! Don't worry, this place is really small so if you stay focused, you will finish in 15 mins or so!

Yup thats about it for Yilan! If you read till here means you just did a 2-2.5 hours walk through in about 10 mins? Haha! Of course, this is only the attractions portion of Yilan! There's still the yummy food portion Yilan is known for which I will leave you guys to explore!
Apart from the above 3 places which I would say are sort of centered around Yilan Station (meaning, able to walk!), there are 3 other places in Yilan I would recommend you to visit if you are spending one whole day there!
1) National Centre for Traditional Arts (allocate 2-4 hours inside) 國立傳統藝術中心
2) Wufengchi Waterfall
3) Lanyang Museum (Known for it's unique shaped!)

For me, I took a 930am bus from Taipei Main Station and arrived in Yilan around 1015am. If you follow my itinerary, you would be able to finish touring and eating by 130-2pm (+/-)! This leaves you slightly more then half a day to tour the places near Yilan!
I did not visit the 3 other places mentioned above as I was more interested in the Cold Spring in Su'ao, which you are about to read!

So from Yilan, I actually went on to Su'ao, a 20-30 mins ride by the railway train! If you are folloing my itinierary where you want to spend only 1 day in this vicinity, be sure to plan your timing properly! This means once you reach Yilan, check with the train station when is the next train leaving for Su'ao so that you will not missed it! (It comes at irregular timings).

 So what's there in Su'ao?
There's a Cold Spring, commonly known as Lengquan located in Su'ao. Well, we all heard of Hot Springs, very popular and a must go in Taiwan but do you know there are only 2 Cold Springs in the world? One of which is located in New York (correct me if I am wrong, I would like to know where is it too!) and the other is in Su'ao!

Hearing this from my Taiwanese colleagues I decided that I need to go try it out myself! Hence I started researching abit regarding this lengquan and I didn't find much info on it and even when I did, it wasn't a good review. That didn't stop me though. I was thinking, "wlao eh, 2 in the world only die die must go right! At least got go see see mah"so TADA! I was here!

 Oops I was too excited I left out on how to get here. The train from Yilan will only get you to Su'ao (New). You would have to change train to get to Su'ao Station (Yes, the difference is only with one word haha!)
Alternatively, if the wait between Su'ao (New) station and Su'ao is too long, just take a cab. Exit Su'ao (New) station and you will see cab drivers waiting. Don't worry, they won't extort you. The taxis go by meter and cost around 155NT (SGD6). I would suggest taking the cab if you have two or more people. Saves time and you can get to "lengquan road" faster.

The tickets cost 70NT for the public pool and around 100NT for the private room. Go for the public pool. You might be thinking, ewwww, dirty!! Or gross, disgusting!! But nooooo, you got to wear your swimming costume/bikini/tankini into the pool.
Because it is like a swimming pool! Like not kidding, I was shocked as well.
Pretty cool right. It looks like a huge valley with ice cold water!
You might first get a shock at the number of children playing in the pool but walking deeper into the place, you will see less people and you can place your bag on the chair! (There are lockers for rental at 10NT too).
All I can say is, go with an open mind. It might not look like what you expect, but after soaking for 5 mins, you start to feel at ease with your surroundings. If you're with your friends, thats the time you can start splashing cold water at them and see them cringe! Haha! There are spray guns for sale at the shop for 100NT (SGD4) so you can get one!

Things to bring:
1) Soap and towel
2) Swimming costume
They don't provide either but you can buy from the shop if you forgotten to bring! Not sure how much but it shouldn't be that expensive!
You can spend about 2 hours inside and make friends with the locals who are as afraid of the cold as you haha! Taiwanese are generally really friendly so use that time to relax and enjoy!

Part III:
I left the Cold Spring around 430pm and headed towards Su'ao station which is really just opposite. From there, take a train to Luodong. The ride should take you about 10 mins and you may or may not be asked to change train!
Luodong Night Market is really popular amongst both locals and tourists! Take the map from Yilan Visitor's Center if you came from there and follow the road down to the market.
Alternatively, you can rent a motorbike or take a taxi. The walk takes about 15 mins personally so if you're feeling lazy, maybe a cab will be good!

Did not manage to take any pictures but I'm sure you are able to find these pictures on google haha!
What is harder to find would probably be what are the "MUST TRYS" in Luodong.

1) The Mutton Soup. You will be able to see tons of people queueing up for the mutton soup (I waited 20 mins at 530pm). The queue only gets longer later in the night so be sure to let this be your first stop!
In case there isn't anybody queueing (which is unlikely), look out for the brand with an old man's picture on it! This old man is their brand and it is said that he cooked mutton soup for many decades HAHA.
If you're a Singaporean reading this, their mutton soup is not like the one you taste in Singapore where the meat is on the ribs/bone. Their mutton is like those shredded mutton you buy from the supermarket (Personally enjoyed the Singapore version better) but nonetheless! It's famous in Luodong Night Market so give it a try!

2) 卜肉 (bu rou). The small pack cost 50NT and the large one cost 100NT. GET THE LARGE ONE! I regret getting only the small one cos its so delicious! There are many stalls selling bu rou but there is only one stall that again, have lots of people queueing for it!
It is located in the intersection, right in front of the row of fruit juice seller and really near the mutton soup stall.

3) So while you wait for your bu rou to be ready, get a cup of Papaya milkshake cos apparently, it's well known too? Hahaha I'm not sure but it sure does taste delicious!

From Luodong Night Market, walk back to the station and cross over to the bus interchange. Take a bus that goes to Taipei Main Station or any other bus that might go somewhere near to where you're staying!
Bus takes a lot faster then the train due to the highway but again, this is dependent on traffic.

Sorry Part III of my Yilan travels are so boring without pictures but I hope it helps any of you that are planning your travel to Yilan one day!
Do let me know if there are anything else I can add/change in my post! If there are anything you think I should try do let me know too!

Bringing you the ultimate Taiwan experience.


  1. Thanks for sharing this interesting blog sharing and information of Yilan...
    I hope to visit Yilan as well when I go Taipei for holiday :-)
    Still considering whether to stay in Luodong or Jiaoxi.

    p.s. So coincidence, we have the same name and surname :-)

    1. Hi 小敏, you should definitely pay Yilan a visit if you have the time! There's a night market in Luodong that is pretty big (try their 羊肉湯). As for Jiaoxi, people normally stay overnight in a nice hot spring resort!

      If you decided to stay in Luodong, then maybe you can just stay in the hot spring for a few hours in the morning/afternoon before heading to Luodong!

  2. Hi Tricia
    I chanced upon your blog when I'm searching how to return to Taipei from Yilan.
    I plan to spend 1 day in Yilan and return to Taipei the next day.

  3. Hi Tricia
    I chanced upon your blog when I'm searching how to return to Taipei from Yilan.
    I plan to spend 1 day in Yilan and return to Taipei the next day.

  4. Hi Tricia, why you choose to take bus to Yilan Instead of Railway? Railway should be faster, no?