I visited Taiwan twice in less than 2 months because I was there to pick up an award #surreal and one was booked ahead for our annual holiday.
I will be sharing my favourite Taipei Night Markets and Taichung but first, Yilan! With just an hour of train ride from Taipei, we get to venture another part of Taiwan. Everytime I recall how I met my super friendly and awesome driver, Uncle Lin, whom I address as Lin Bo Bo, I still can’t believe how lucky I was! The min-su owners are not too sure where I can find a driver but they were friendly and asked around for me. To cut the long story short, Lin Bo Bo is born and raised in Yilan and even when he had better job opportunities, he couldn’t bear to leave his hometown.
I enjoy doing my homework before each trip but because Lin Bo Bo knows his way around Yilan, it makes it even more awesome for us. #fussfree All I do is tell him the venue I wanted to visit and he does the planning for me. He even suggested where else I can go or should venture! He knows Yilan so well, I really ‘tan tio’! Minimum 4 hours booking for about TW1600, call him!! We booked him for the whole day say 8 hours and when the trip ended earlier around 6 hours, uncle lin even gave us discount and charged us lesser. #veryhonest
Because it was our first trip to Yilan, we didn’t know Luodong Station is also part of Yilan. We took the express train and went straight to Yilan Station. Our B&B is nearer to Luodong Station say 15 mins by cab but from Yilan Station 30mins. Blessing in disguise for we alight at Yilan Station and saw Jimmy Square! So many fun artwork. More on that later.
Just like the name itself, Candy House B & B No.77, Fuyīng Rd, Dongshan Township, Yilan, the whole place is very candy-like and our rooms are very candy-licious! Every room is hand-painted in different themes and I like how cosy it is!
Lucky Art Crayon Factory 蜡藝彩繪館
No.7, Dexing 6th Rd., Su’ao Township, Yilan County 270, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Opening Hours: 8.30am-5pm
Entrance Fee: TW200 (fully redeemable on products, we exchanged it for 2 packets of body painting crayons)
Lucky Art is an established international crayon manufacturer since 1990s and now the company has ventured into markers and body paints making too. It is a familiar brand among the young and old. The staff will take you from station to station and you can spend minimum one hour at the factory reminiscing childhood memories from picture colouring to product making to hand painting! We had so much fun and brought home with us the things we made!
Shanzhai Monster Village 窯烤山寨村
Opening Hours: 9am-7pm
Luckily for us, uncle lin knows the way to Shanzhai Monster Village and told me that most taxi drivers will know if you show them a picture of the entrance or the Shanzhai Monster. But because of the longer driving distance away from town, it might be difficult to get a cab. We also notice there are not many cabs there and you might have difficulty getting out of there. Best is to book a cab or get your cab to wait for you while you walk/dine around the compound.
It is a tourist place selling a variety of fresh toasted breads and pastries. It is quite interesting and there are 2 gigantic monster figures indoor. One is blocking the door with a loaf of bread while the other is tied to a pole. I can’t quite remember the story but there is a long story printed on the table cover if you choose to dine indoors, you can read if you want to know more. It was time for lunch and we are glad they serve mains cos we were famished.
R. Den Dessert Factory 亞典蛋糕密碼館
No.122, Meizhou 2nd Rd., Yilan City, Yilan County 260, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Opening Hours: 9am-6pm
Located just next to Shanzhai Monster Village, you would want to also visit R. Den Dessert Factory to purchase their delicious and popular local cakes and cookies! There is also information and display of the cake culture and if you visit them within certain timing, you will be able to view the automatic baking process too! Interesting and we couldn’t stop ourselves and bought some cakes and the popular Yilan flat cookies!
Magic Restaurant (Magic Cafe) 四圍堡車站（哈利波特霍格華茲魔法食堂）
No.76, Sec. 7, Jiaoxi Rd., Jiaoxi Township, Yilan County 262, Taiwan (宜蘭縣礁溪鄉礁溪路七段72號)
Opening Hours: 10am-7pm
I am a huge Harry Porter fan and it has always been my wish to head to London or Osaka Universal Studios where I can finally board Hogwarts Express, stroll along Diagon alley and swing a wand or two. I was surprise to find the Asian Harry Porter in Yilan! It is not quite like the real Harry Porter kind of Harry Porter but still fun if you want to come by and dine and snap pictures. Pretty fun to see the weird wands, the “dining area” and owls sitting by the window.
Luodong Night Market 羅東夜市
No.100, Gongyuan Road (宜蘭縣羅東鎮公園路100號)
Luodong Township, Yilan County, Taiwan 265
The Luodong Night Market is very popular among locals. I noticed there are a lot of stores selling the same dish; Herbal mutton soup and Lin Bo Bo was telling me it’s a must try when you are in Yilan. The braised skewers looks really good too and I brought home some local delicacies like the ox-tongue shaped cookies which is available in most of the pastry shops. If you are going to R. Den Dessert Factory 亞典蛋糕密碼館 you should buy some home too.
You have to try their popular iced tapioca stuffed with red bean! I strongly recommend you trying Wei Jie Tapioca Dessert 魏姐包心粉圓 located at No. 1079 because it is the authentic one with the actual red bean stuffed inside the iced tapioca! So very delicious and I was tempted to order another bowl!
National Center of Traditional Arts 國立傳統藝術中心
No.201, Sec. 2, Wubin Rd., Wujie Township, Yilan County 268, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Opening Hours: 9am-6pm
Entrance fee: 150TW
National Center of Traditional Arts is the largest exhibition and performance site for traditional arts with rich collection of cultural antiques. You can stroll along the historic street where the traditional houses make such picture worthy photos. Engage in the nostalgic atmosphere and travel back to the olden days of Taiwan. I was lucky I managed to catch the street performance while I was there. Every shop there has so much local culture flavour where you get to see traditional arts, olden day toys and figurines, hand-made glass, soap and more.
Jiaoxi Household Registration Office 礁溪戶政事務所
I was attracted by its outlook and show Uncle Lin and he was surprised why I want to visit this place. I said its structure is very unique and quirky. I heard that due to the lack of restoration after an earthquake, thus the odd shaped. I was there for about 10mins taking pictures and left.
Impromptu eating thanks to Uncle Lin:
Uncle Lin the cabby we booked (refer to his contact at the top of my blog post) for our Yilan trip is very very friendly and nice. After spending a day together, he knows the mister and I love to eat and while driving to our next location, he asked if we would like to try this famous Sticky pork noodles soup along Luodong. It’s called “Lin Yang Rou Geng” if I’m not wrong. I have no address but you can try asking Uncle Lin or show him the picture on my blog.
These Xiao Long Bao from ‘Zhen Chang Xian Rou Tang Bao’ is nicer and a lot cheaper than the ones at Ding Tai Fung! Fresh and juicy and Sgd$3 for a plate of 10!! I kid you not! This hidden gem got mister and me eating a plate of 10 each on our own! There is one near Yilan Station, say 10mins walk and another in Luodong if I am not wrong.
Artemis Garden 香草菲菲
No.650, Neicheng Rd., Yuanshan Township, Yilan County 264, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Opening Hours: 9am-6pm (Tue-Sun)
This place is like a huge indoor greenhouse where you get natural sunlight shining through the transparent glasses into the room. Did I mention that it smells very nice here too with all the flower fragrance from the different plants? I love the mid-air walkway where you get to enjoy the garden as you stroll along. I love trees and seeing this serenity, I jumped at the opportunity to dine under the beautiful trees!
Rabbit Pencil Factory 玉兔鉛筆學校
Opening Hours: 9am-5pm (You have to call and make an appointment before heading down)
Established in 1947, Taiwanese students literally grew up using Rabbit Pencil in school! Did you know that Rabbit Pencil is the first to manufacture ball point pen? I had a fabulous time touring around the factory and see how pencil are made! No pictures are allowed inside the compound where you can see the entire process of how pencils are made. We played games and even had the chance to make our very own pencils!
Luodong Forestry Culture Garden 林業文化園區
No. 118號, Zhongzheng N Rd, Luodong Township, Yilan County, Taiwan 265
Telephone: +886 3 954 5114
Opening Hours: 6am–7pm
Uncle Lin suggested us taking a look at Luodong Forestry Culture Garden since it’s near the Rabbit Pencil Factory and that it has a beautiful garden and filled with greenery. I LIKE! I didn’t manage to cover everything for this place is huge; Artifact exhibition hall, bamboo railway station, storage pool, primitive habitat, and art district. Luodong Forestry Culture Garden is located in Luodong, Yilan. Before retiring from the timber industry, this was one of the three major timber industrial sites in Taiwan. Now becoming the garden of Luodong, it preserves decades of historical and cultural meanings.
Luodong Cultural Working House 羅東文化工場
Opening Hours: 9am-5.30pm
I was sooooo in awe of this gorgeous building that I stupidly forgotten I could have done a panorama shot! Exibitions are held here from time to time. Since buildings in Yilan are commonly short, you can see far on its roof on a good weather. This mister and I are actually afraid of the heights but his is a tad more serious thus I went up on my own to explore. #ididit but the pictures are a little blurry cos I shivered! #nokidding I heard Golden Horse awards once held their event here and many famous and big movie stars came here!
Day 3 and we head back to Taipei early noon:
Simple breakfast at Candy House B&B before we head to the station where we explore Jimmy Square in a bit before catching our train back to Taipei. I like the view where we enjoy our breakfast while watching the trains go by.
Jimmy Square (Jimi Square) 幾米廣場
Located just outside Yilan Train Station (宜蘭縣宜蘭市光復路1號(宜蘭火車站旁鐵路局舊宿舍區)
Jimmy Liao is a Taiwanese illustrator and Yilan Country Government collaborated with Jimmy to rebuilt the old dormitory into Jimmy Square. Jimmy was born in Yilan and it made this collaboration even more meaningful. In Jimm Square, there are 3 of Jimmy’s story; “Turn Left Turn Right”, “Starry Starry Night”, and “Sound of Colors”. It was crowded with tourist when I was there. It’s a nice long walk and every spot is picture worthy!
Bye Yilan, it has been fun! I will be back and next time I will let Uncle Lin bring me to more nature loving places where he suggested a must-go waterfall place and some other awesome nature spots.
Taichung next! Ohhhh that gorgeous Rainbow Village, Carton King and more. Read it all here: http://www.modgam.com/things-to-do-in-taichung-taiwan/