Suao (蘇澳; Sū'ào) is a city in Ilan County. It is famous for seafood and cold springs. Apart from that it's a rather small place and it doesn't seem to be frequented by western tourists. There is a large port and some industry.
There is a train station in Suao. It's on a fork from the railway line connecting Hualien and Taipei, so most probably you have to change in Suao-xin station. The line Suao-xin - Suao seems to be served by local trains only. If you travel from far you might want to buy a separate ticket (with reservation) to Suao-xin and then an ordinary ticket to Suao.
By car, it is at the southern end of National Highway 5.
There is no local public transport, but as the place is fairly small, walking is not a problem. Alternatively you can always use a taxi.
- The famed cold springs are a quick walk from the train station.
- There are two publicly accessible places where you can bath in the spring: the "main" areal and the so-called "Alishin spring". To get to both: from the train station walk straight to reach the main road, turn left and eventually it will be on your right side, first the main areal, then the Alishin areal (both are not far from the station).
- The "main" area: Entrance fee is NT$70 for adult with discounts available for kids, seniors, etc. (as of Aug 2011) It's possible to both swim in the spring in an open-air (though covered with light roof) pools and in private (indoor) pools. It's also possible to drink the spring from a tap provided in the areal.
- The Alishin spring is probably less-known and from the outside looks less fancy.
- Clogs - both modern and traditional from Baimi Clog Village.
There are many cheap eateries along the main street close to the train station. English is a problem though.
As of Aug 2011 it's difficult to find any hotels in Suao with websites in English. Taking into account the size of Suao it might be enough to stay elsewhere (e.g. Hualien) and make a daily (or shorter) trip, as there's not that much to see.