Yilan City, Taiwan
Yilan City, formally established in 1813, is the historic political capital of Taiwan – but you wouldn’t know it by size, age or economic development. Shaped like a triangle situated on the northeast coast of Taiwan, Yilan county encompasses 2,167 square kilometers or 837 square miles. This area, full of forests, mountains, plains, valleys, coastal shorelines, sand dunes and wetlands, has the Syeushan Mountains on one side, the Central Mountain Range on the other side of its triangle shape – with the third eastward-facing side opening up to the Pacific Ocean.
Pinyin: Yi Lan
English pronunciation: Yi as in the letter E / Lan as in Land
Literal meaning: Yilan is a phonetic translation from the Taiwanese language.
Yilan (also written Ilan City) is less than an hours drive from the capital city of Taipei through the recently constructed 12.9 kilometre-long Snow Mountain tunnel – the fifth longest road tunnel in the world and the second longest in Asia. Before the construction of the tunnel in 2006, Yilan Taiwan tourism hardly existed.
The tunnel made it possible for people in Taipei to make it out to Yilan and areas in Yilan county for touristic day trips. Some of the more popular Yilan, Taiwan tourism destinations include:
- Jiaoxi – for its hot springs
- Su’ao – for its harbour and cold spring resort.
- Toucheng – for its surfing and Grappling with the Ghosts festival during the 7th lunar month.
- Sanxing / Datong townships – for their mountains. Don’t forget to try the onion pancakes while in Sanxing.
- Guishan Island (also called Turtle Island) – Turtle Island is a one of a kind volcanic island which was once a remote fishing settlement, then turned into a military outpost and is now a natural park. It’s an appointment only visitor destination accessible by boat from Wushi harbor in Toucheng. You can book online at Turtle Island, Taiwan.
- Forest Recreation Parks of Qilan, Mingchi and Taipingshan
- Luodong – for nothing much else other than its night market – claimed to be the largest in northern Taiwan.
- Yilan City – for its Old Wall Road, Yilan Distillery and King Car Whiskey Distillery
In Yilan and all across the East Coast – if you are heading south there are steep mountains on your right and crystal blue ocean on the left. Yilan is famous for its natural sulfur hot springs and is a popular getaway for people in Taipei.