Yilan, Taiwan: Here’s What You Need to Know Before You Go

Yilan is a county, nestled between the mountains and the sea on Taiwan’s northeast coast. Bordered by New Taipei City to the north, Hsinchu County to the south, and Taoyuan City and Hsinchu City to the west.

The region’s centerpiece, the Turtle Island, aptly named for its shape, is a volcanic island that adds an extra layer of charm to Yilan’s stunning landscape.

Yilan is also known for its natural beauty, hot springs, cold springs and delicious food. In fact, Yilan is a popular getaway destination for the locals residing in Taipei. (Read: Yilan, Taiwan: Your Next Perfect Getaway from Taipei)

Taiwanese people are known for their warmth and hospitality, and the locals in Yilan are no exception. Most of them speak Mandarin, and while English is not widely spoken.

If you’re planning your first trip to Yilan, here’s a guide on what to expect in this unique corner of Taiwan.

The Weather

Yilan has a subtropical climate, which means it’s warm and humid for most of the year. The region receives a fair amount of rainfall, particularly during the typhoon season from June to October. The best time to visit is from November to April when the weather is relatively dry and pleasant.

Getting Around 

There are local trains that connect to the different townships in Yilan, however, public transportation in Yilan can be infrequent (1 to 2 times per hour), so it is important to plan your route in advance. You can use the Google Maps app to plan your route and see public transportation schedules. (Check out the full list of train stations here.)

Train ride around the county (to destinations such as to Luodong, Suao, and Jiaosi) is inexpensive and usually cost around NTD80 to NTD120 (SGD$3 to $5).

There are taxi stands and scooter rental options near the train station. The taxi fare in Yilan is slightly pricier, it usually starts from 120NTD (SGD$5).

If you’re pressed for time in Yilan and want to see as much as possible, I suggest getting a car rental.

What’s there to see and do in Yilan?

Yilan offers a myriad of attractions catering to all types of travellers. Nature enthusiasts will love hiking in the Taipingshan National Forest or exploring the Wufongci Waterfalls.


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History buffs can visit the Lanyang Museum, which showcases Yilan’s history and geography. For those seeking relaxation, the Jiaoxi Hot Springs provide the perfect setting for a tranquil retreat.

If you love whisky, you’ve probably heard of Kavalan Whisky from Yilan. The Kavalan Whisky Distillery is definitely worth a visit. They offer guided tours, so it’s best to make a reservation in advance.

In addition to the distillery tour, visitors can also enjoy a meal at the Mr. Brown Cafe, which is located on the second floor of the distillery building. The cafe offers a variety of Taiwanese and Western dishes, as well as a selection of Kavalan whiskies.

In the recent years, Yilan has become famous for its iconic “Matcha Mountain”, which is a verdant rolling hills known as Mt. Sanjiaolun, located in Jiaoxi Township. They even have a bakery and cafe inspired by this iconic mountain. How cool is that? (Read: Matcha Mountain Bakery – A Charming Cafe in the Countryside of Yilan, Taiwan)

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How many days are needed to explore Yilan?

When it comes to how many days you should spend in Yilan, it depends partly on your transportation plans. Generally, if you use public transportation (like trains and buses), you’ll need more time. However, if you rent a car, you won’t be as reliant on transport schedules and can condense your sightseeing into fewer days. To truly uncover the beauty and charm of Yilan, we suggest allocating a minimum of 3 days for your journey. However, if you prefer exploring at a relaxed pace and relying mostly on public transportation, you might want to consider dedicating up to 5 days to fully immerse yourself in the Yilan experience.

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