Yuli is situated the valley that runs from north to south between Hualien and Taitung, and as such is flanked by mountains on two sides. It's mostly a farming area.
Yuli is one of the main train stops between Hualien and Taitung. The fast train from Taipei takes about four and a half hours.
You can rent scooters and bikes around the train station. A good place is called Giant. We rented two very aceeptable bikes today (7-6-2013) for 250dollars each. We went with the owner of our homestay who told the man off for trying to charge us more.
KHSbicycles (search for 單車潮流輝達車行 on Google maps) rents bikes for NTD$200 for 24 hours. Our homestay helped us organise this.
Sixty Stone Mountain - You can hire a bicycle in Yuli and cycle to the top of this steep mountain. It is very hard work and will take a couple of hours at least, but at the top you are rewarded with stunning views, especially if you go in August or September when the Lilies are in bloom.
Antong Hot Springs - They were a bit naff. We cycled to them and the distance was not too far, but the second half is mostly uphill. When we arrived, we saw two hotels that were offering access to the springs. We went to the better looking one which has a bit colourful, rather than just grey. The springs that they offer are not just pools in the ground like you might expect. there were some rather staid swimming pools and behind them were a row of dingy little rooms that we thought were changing cubicles. It turns out that they were the hot springs. They each had a grimey bath tub and you turn on a hot tap to let the spring water into your bath.They were neither luxurious nor fun. The grey hotel may have been better and there may be others in the area.
Yuli noodles (Yuli mian) are the local specialty, although you might be left wondering how different they are from noodles elsewhere in Taiwan.
橋頭臭豆腐 (15 號, No. 7, Minquan St) is a well rated joint for stinky tofu which sells for NTD$50 for four pieces.
There's a lovely coffeeshop with a very informal clubhouse feel to it called "Our old house coffeeshop" (Our老房子咖啡屋 https://www.facebook.com/ourhousecaffee 0919-289979). The place seems to be a favorite hangout for the local youth and they have an impressive assortment of Belgian beers. You can buy red wine by the bottle.
There's a great B&B a bit to the North of Yuli, Wisdom Garden, that's mentioned in both Lonely Planet and Michelin. The owners are a friendly Buddhist couple who will be happy to pick you up at the Yuli train station. (http://wisdom-garden.com/ 0921-986-461). The list price is 2400 NT for a double, we paid 1800 NT on a weekday in low season for a double ensuite.
The "Our old house coffeeshop" in the center (see 'Drink') offers a shared room for 400 NT per person. Be warned though, there are no beds, just a hard wooden floor to sleep on! Consider it as a last resort.
C.H. Backpack is a pleasant stay on a farm just over the Yuli bridge at the southeast corner of the town. Bike rental is included. 400 NT (+100 for breakfast) per person. Currently bookable via AirBNB.