Yilan County is famous for three things: hotsprings, spring onions and rain. Of course rainy weather makes hotsprings enjoyable and helps the spring onions grow very well. Unlike normal spring onions Yilan ones are round, thick as sausages and really do pack a powerful punch in terms of flavour and fragrance. When you visit be sure to pick up an Yilan style Spring Onion Pancake (Cong you bing) – here in Yilan the onion really takes the centre stage as the stuffing in either swirls or between layers of batter.
Yilan also offers some great surfing beaches and dramatic coastal scenery. Toucheng and Daxi (Honeymoon bay) are ever-popular with the local surf crowd, and Toucheng beach in particular is a lovely spot to spend a sunny afternoon. As you gaze out over the Pacific you will see Turtle Island – Taiwan’s only active volcano. The island is now a nature reserve with strictly controlled visitor numbers requiring an application at least a week advance.
The Hotsprings at Jiaoxi Township are also very popular. You can either choose the public nude baths (gender segregated) with four different temperatures of spring available ( NT$80) or opt for one of the many hotel and hotspring spas in the area (from around NT$300 each). Families with kids may prefer the spa/hotel options as some have a play area for the kids. Spa facilities generally have a series of water jets and water massage chairs in the pools and swimming costumes are to be worn. Look out for foot spas where fish nibble dead skin off your feet too. It’s also possible to rent out rooms with private hotspring tubs ensuite – although you can expect to pay considerably more for the privacy. Don’t forget to try out Jiaoxi’s famed Chilli Ice cream afterwards too!
If you’d like to see everything we’ve written about our trip down the East Coast of Taiwan, here is a link to our Out of the Box Tech and Travel Section.