Yilan, Taiwan: Your Next Perfect Getaway from Taipei

After my first visit to Taiwan, I quickly realised that this place has so much more to offer than I had ever imagined. This time round, I ventured to the northeastern corner of the island–Yilan County during April – and it did not disappoint. Sprawling rice paddies against the backdrop of rolling hills – it was indeed a charming sight.

Far from the hustle and bustle of city life, Yilan County offers a chance to escape into nature and enjoy some laid-back island living. With its stunning coastlines, mountainous terrain, paddy fields, onion pancakes, relaxing hot springs, cold springs, and farm activities, Yilan County is a soothing balm for the busy urbanite.

And the best part? Yilan is just a 1.5 to 2-hour train ride away from Taipei.

Outdoor enthusiasts canoeing down the canal thru rice paddies on a sunny day, in Yilan (Ilan)
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So, how do you get there from Taipei?

The most economical way is via the train. But if you’re travelling in groups and carrying several luggage, I’d recommend booking a taxi which is more convenient.

By Train

You can take a train from Taipei Main Station to Yilan Station. The journey takes around 1.5 hour and costs around NT$220-300 (approximately SGD 10-15). Take the window seat to enjoy the scenic views of the coastline and catch a glimpse of Turtle Island (Gui Shan). Trains run regularly, so you don’t need to worry about missing your ride. Once you arrive at Yilan Station, you can take a bus or a taxi to your desired destination.

By Car

Another way to get to Yilan is by taking a taxi or driving. If you choose to take a taxi, it will cost you around NT$1,800-2,500 (approximately SGD 82-113) one way. The journey takes around 50 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic. If you’re driving, you can rent a car in Taipei and drive to Yilan. The journey takes around one hour, and you can enjoy the scenic views along the way.

Once you arrive in Yilan, there are plenty of things to see and do. If you’re a nature lover, visiting the stunning Wufengqi Waterfall, hiking Mt Sanjiaolun (a.k.a Matcha Mountain), and sailing to Turtle Island (Gui Shan) should be at the top of your list. And if you’re in luck, you might catch sight of dolphins in the Pacific Ocean!

There’s something incredibly relaxing about being by the ocean, isn’t there?

Turtle Island 龜山島 is an active volcano that lies off the coast of northeastern Taiwan’s Yilan County

For those looking for a more relaxing experience, Yilan’s hot springs are a must-visit. There are many hot spring resorts in the area. My personal favourite is ‘Hostel Tomato 番茄温泉青旅‘, located right next to Jiao Xi station and has a rooftop hot spring bath! They also offer single or double bedrooms if you’re not comfortable with sharing bunk beds with other travellers.

Day Trip to Yilan from Taipei

Alternatively, consider booking a day trip to Yilan from Taipei if you’re travelling with families and kids! You can choose between 5 and 9-seater private chartered cars!

There are several route options available:

  • A. Wufengqi Waterfall, Linmei Rock Trail, Meihua Lake, Traditional Art Center, Toucheng Coffee Castle
  • B. Grandma Zhang Mei Farm, Plum Blossom Lake, Rabbit Maze, Whiskey Distillery, Jiaoxi Tangweigou Hot Spring Park
  • C. Toufen Coffee Castle, Bambi Hill, Crayon Castle, Traditional Art Center, Qingshui Geothermal
  • If the above scenic spots need to be adjusted, the driver arranges the itinerary on the same day, mainly in the same route area.

Pro tip: If you’re a fan of Bami deers and Capybara, you should definitely check out Bambi Hills which is also in Yilan County!

Bambi Hills

Day Trip to Yilan & JiaoXi!

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