Yilan , also spelled Ilan, (宜蘭; Yilan) is a city on the east coast of Taiwan.
Rail, bus, and taxi are good options for traveling from Yilan to Taipei. The recent construction of the Xueshan tunnel facilitates travel between Yilan and Taipei, shortening the trip to roughly 1.5 hours.
Scooters, cars and bicycles are the main transport around Yilan City (the county seat of Yilan county). Taxi stands and scooter rental options are located near the train station. Travel around the county (to destinations such as to Luodong, Suao, and Jiaosi) is easily accomplished by inexpensive rail ($4 USD).
The most convenient way to get around Yilan is by scooter. You can start from Yilan train station and rent one there, but you should first go to the tourist information center and get a map. You can rent slower electric scooters without a license, but you will need Taiwanese license for normal scooters. Scooter rentals are reluctant to rent to foreigners with international licenses, because of the traffic fines they could get. These fines are not transferable to international licenses and rental would have to pay the fine. Alternative is to give them deposit around 1600$ to cover potential highest fine. Because the fine could take long to arrive the rental will keep the deposit 1-2 months.
You can rent one at Yilan train station. A nice 12 km route may start by riding to Yuan Suan Park (圓山公園) which takes about 1 hour. Then you can ride along the riverbank to Jung Shan Bridge (圓山橋) before heading back.
- Yilan train station (宜蘭火車站) Yilan Train Station was first constructed in 1919. The original building was destroyed in 1962 by the typhoon Opal and rebuilt on that same year. The plaza in front was built in 1997. There are many historical buildings nearby, described below.
- Yilan Railway Station Old Warehousing Facilities (台鐵宜蘭車站舊倉庫群) There were a total of 9 warehouses built in 1919, providing numerous businesses with a place to store their goods. It is currently used for selling famous products from Yilan. It is on the right hand side of Yilan train station. Exiting the train station, turn to the right. The building is on the right hand side.
- Former Office, Taiwan Railway Administration, Yilan Transportation Section (台鐵宜蘭運務段舊辦公室) This building was constructed in 1959. The building served as a transportation office for the Taiwan Railway Administration. It is now a Visitor Center where you can get information. Turn left when leaving the train station. The building is on the left hand side.
- Former Rice Inspection Bureau Yilan Branch Office (舊米穀檢查所宜蘭出張所) It was constructed in 1930 for use in the process of inspection, evaluation, and distribution of local rice. The characteristics of the building include an arched entrance, rectangular windows, British style brick walls, and a Japanese-style roof. From the train station, go straight and you will find it to your left.
- Former Official Residence of the Magistrate of Yilan (宜蘭設治紀念館) It was originally built as the official residence for Japanese magistrates in 1911.There is huge camphor tree inside the premises of the building that has been there for at least 100 years. It was reconstructed for tourists to visit in 1997. Address: No. 3, Lishing 3rd Lane, Jiocheng S. Rd. Yilan City
- Former Yilan Yi Police Station (宜蘭警察局) It was constructed during the Japanese occupation in 1945. Address: No.167,Sec.2,Jhongshan Rd.,Yilan City,Yilan County
- Agrioz (橘之鄉) . No.33, Meizhou 2nd Rd., Tel: +886 3 928-5758, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. It is the first government-authenticated tourism factory in Taiwan, with a total area of around 9915 m2. Agrioz is a modern tourism factory which produces fine kumquat products and collects kumquats from local farmers to provide quality products to the public. Agrioz provides several activities to their guests, such as D.I.Y., factory tours, visits to the kumquat museum and a souvenir shop. Free entrance. Opening hours: A.M. 8:00 ~ P.M. 06:00 (7 days a week).
- Chian Li Guang Herbal Garden (千里光藥園休閒農場) . No.51, Ln. 131, Sec. 2, Dapo Rd., Tel: +886 3 928-4349, E-Mail: email@example.com. The focus of this place is on traditional herbal medicine, holding two greenhouses, an eco-museum and an exhibition center. The owners are trying pass down the use of traditional herbal medicines to the next generation. They also provide many herbal products (drinks, cookies and herbal meals, for example). There is a 100 NT$ consumable entrance fee towards a guided tour, a D.I.Y. activity or products. Opening hours: A.M. 10:00 ~ P.M. 5:00. Tour guide is only provided for more than 10 people, charging 100 NT$ per person, The tour is 40 minutes long.
There are various religious festivals and parades of different sizes throughout Yilan, so you may cross one at any moment during weekends. According to believers, the purpose of the parades is to represent that the gods are patrolling the street to see how people doing and to protect people from harm. In order to welcome the gods, the people in charge of the parade set off firecrackers as an announcement that the gods are coming and cast a lot of "ghost money" on the street. Temple workers carry sedans with religious images. You may see traditional musical orchestras.
Usually, the parades are performed by many teams, People can tell which teams a participant belongs to by looking at their t-shirts. The parades consist of different groups of people and each of them are in charge of representing different characters. The characters may vary according to the different festivals. Some of them may do folk dances.
There are about sixty-three temples, most of them Taoist, and eleven western churches in Yilan County. Historically, there has been freedom in Yilan to practice any religion. Taiwanese celebrate many important traditional festivals. In Yilan the most important celebrations are Cheng-Huang's (城隍) birthday on February 8th of the lunar calendar and Dong-Yue's birthday (東嶽大帝) on March 28th of the lunar calendar. During the festival of Cheng-Huang's birthday, many people from all walks of life usually follow the parade and go around Yilan city and we can see that some people play the characters Chi-ye and Ba-ye (七爺八爺), a traditional Taiwanese myth about friendship. By the way, Yilan is the birthplace of Taiwanese opera (歌仔戲), so people can listen to traditional musical instruments during Taiwanese religious festivals.
During these religious parades, visitors can join the festival and take photos, but people should be respectful and observe some taboos. For example, expectant mothers should not join the parade and people should not cross from one side of the parade to the other. For temple workers there are further prohibitions, such as not eating meat before the parade. Parades should not be confused with Chinese funeral, where family members will wear black clothes and there are no images of gods.
There are two temples in Yilan that have regular large-scale festivals. The first is Yilan Cheng-Huang Temple (宜蘭城隍廟) at No.10 Chenghuang St. (城隍街) that holds their major parade every February 8 of the lunar calendar. The temple was established in 1813, and in Chinese culture, Cheng Huang is the Patron saint of cities. The other major temple is Yilan Dong-Yu Temple (宜蘭東獄殿) at No.299, Sec 2, Zhongshan Rd., and their largest parade is held in every March 28 in odd-numbered year of the lunar calendar.
- Eslite, B1 of Yoai Department store, Jiucheng East Road. Tel:+886 3 936-2770. A large range of English and Chinese books.
- Caves, 220 Zhongshan Road, Sec. 3. Tel:+886 3 932-3259. A huge range of English textbooks and novels.
- One of the local specialties is a delicate cookie referred to as the "Cow Tongue Cookie." This name comes from the shape of the cookie (an oblong, roughly 10 inches long), rather than ingredients. The cookie comes in many flavors, such as coffee, green tea, berry, and sesame.
- Yoai Department Store (友愛百貨) No.50, Jiucheng E. Rd., Yilan City TEL:886-3-936-9936, From Yilan Train Station: Go straight and turn right on Jiucheng E. Rd. Walk for three blocks and look for the tall building.
- Luna Plaza (新月廣場) No.6, Ln. 38, Sec. 2, Minquan Rd., Yilan City TEL:886-3-932-3300, From Yilan Train Station: Go straight and turn left on Jiucheng S. Rd. Then turn left on Sec. 2, Shennong Rd.
- Dark ice cream shop (黑店冰店)- On the same street as Luna Plaza, this famous little shop provides 5 flavors but use good quality ingredients. No.63, Sec. 1, Shennong Rd., Yilan City, Yilan County (宜蘭縣宜蘭市神農路二段63號)
- Dong men night market (東門夜市) The Dong men night market attracts many tourists since the local media regularly does reports about it. At the very front, there is a yakitori shop called Liang Dai Pon (梁大胖), where some of the products are only 10 dollars each. The first booth on the left side is green onion pancake (蔥油餅). It is always full of customers because they use the high quality green onion from local producers. The second booth on the left side is an ice cream store; they are famous for their almond curd (杏仁豆腐). The third booth is a beverage store; their bubble tea is different others because they use their handmade white bubble. On the right hand side, there is a roasted chicken cutlet booth. It only costs 50 dollars but the cutlet is bigger than your face. The last booth sells "coffin bread", a Taiwanese dish of seafood inside a toast, but this store creates offers original flavors such as ice cream instead of seafood.
- Garlic meat broth (蒜味肉羹) When you leave the Yilan train station, cross the street to Jiucheng East Rd. (舊城東路), turn right to Jiucheng N rd.(舊城北路), then walk straight until No. 141 (宜蘭縣宜蘭市舊城北路141號). Ask for garlic meat broth (蒜味肉羹), which is a famous dish in Yilan.
- Pasta Kitchen, 47 Jiankang Sreet, Sec 1, ☎ 886 3 936-3939. edit
- Blue Bar, 319 Taishan Road, ☎ 886 3 931-3367. Small, clean and cheap. edit
- Fukun Motel (福岡商務汽車旅館) . No.259, Sec. 5, Zhongshan Rd., Tel: +886 3 928-8060. It is located near the train station. It offers free internet connection, air conditioning, spa and free breakfast. Small doubles start at 880 NT$.
- England Motel (英格蘭汽車旅館) . No.6, Ln. 127, Sec. 5, Zhongshan Rd., Tel: +886 3 928-2288. It offers breakfast, afternoon tea, bicycles, and spa. The room rate starts at 3040 NT$.
- Azure Sky B&B (蘭天民宿) . No.3-33, Jinshi Rd., Tel: +886 3 931-1260. It is located near the National Yilan University (國立宜蘭大學). They offer a farm lifestyle experience. Small doubles start at 2000 NT$.
- Dubai Motel (杜拜時尚戀館) . No.70, Sec. 2, Dafu Rd., Tel: +886 3 928-7700, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. It takes around 5 minutes by car from Yilan train station. It offers swimming pool, steam bath, milk bath and spa. The classical villa room starts at 4280 NT$.
- Silks Place Yilan (晶英酒店) 36, Minquan Rd., Sec. 2, Yilan City. It's located on one side of Luna Plaza (mall). TEL:886-3-935-1000, From Yilan Train Station: Go straight and turn left on Jiucheng S. Rd. Then turn left on Sec. 2, Shennong Rd.
- Yoai Hotel (友愛大飯店) 11-16F., No.50, Jiucheng E. Rd., Yilan City, TEL:886-3-936-3456, Go straight after leaving Yilan Train Station, turn right on Jiucheng E. Rd., and walk for three blocks.
- Grand Boss Hotel (伯斯飯店) No.366, Sec. 1, Yixing Rd., Yilan City, TEL:886-3-9312-999, Turn right after exiting the station and go straight You will see it your right hand side.