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.
- 1 Nanfangao Lookout (南方澳觀景台), ☏ . An observation platform offering views of the surrounding mountains, sea, and settlements.
Culture and history
- 2 Su'ao Fortress (蘇澳砲台), ☏ . 06:00-19:00. A fort built in the late 19th Century to defend the area from invasion by the French.
- 3 Coral Museum (珊瑚法界博物館), No. 220, Nan'an Road, ☏ . A small museum dedicated to coral, the coral industry, and artwork made from coral.
- 4 Zhu Dayu Culture Museum (祝大漁物產文創館), No. 52-2, Jiangxia Road, ☏ . 09:00-17:00. A museum dedicated to marine life and fisheries in the area.
- 5 The Mountain Highway Museum (後山公路文物館), No. 3, Section 2, Zhongshan Road, ☏ (#1102). 09:00-16:00. A museum dedicated to the construction of the highway network in Taiwan.
Parks and nature
- 6 Neipi Beach (內埤海灘), Xuefu Road, ☏ . A large beach facing the pacific ocean which has coral reefs offshore.
- 7 Tofu Cape (豆腐岬), ☏ . The cape got its name because the rock on the area resembles tofu.
- 8 Wulaokeng Scenic Area (武荖坑風景區), ☏ . The park spreads across 400 hectares of area and features camping grounds and barbecue areas.
- 9 Dingliao Chenghuang Temple (頂寮城隍廟), No. 1, Dingxing Road, ☏ . A medium-sized temple in the norther part of the township.
- 10 Jinan Temple (蘇澳晉安宮), ☏ . The oldest temple in the area which is dedicated to the god of Fujian province, which is where most of the settlers who built the temple originated.
- 11 Nanfang'ao City God Temple (南方澳城隍廟), No. 146, Neipi Road, ☏ .
- 12 Nanfangao Jinan Temple (南方澳進安宮), No. 81, Jiangxia Road, ☏ . 06:00-20:00.
- 13 Nanfang'ao Nanxian gong (南方澳南仙宮), No. 70, Xinhua Ln, ☏ .
- 14 Qing'an Shrine (開路先鋒爺廟), ☏ . A small shrine by the side of the mountain highway with views directly out over the Pacific Ocean.
- 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.
- 1 Su'ao Cold Spring (蘇澳冷泉). The cold spring was discovered by the Japanese army in 1928. It has a spring water temperature of 22 °C and is both batheable and drinkable, and it has a pH of 5.5.
- 2 Fenniaolin Fish Port (粉鳥林).
- 3 Nanfang'ao Fishing Port (南方澳漁港). Built in 1923 and expanded several times since, the port supplies almost all the mackerel to Taiwan.
- 4 Neipi Fishing Port (內埤漁港).
- 5 Zhaoyang Fishing Port (朝陽漁港), Zhaoyang Road, ☏ .
- Clogs - both modern and traditional from Baimi Clog Village.
- 1 Yilan Cake Factory (宜蘭餅發明館), ☏ . 08:30-18:00. A small cake factory with a series of exhibits related to traditional cake-making and a store where visitors can buy the produce of the factory.
There are many cheap eateries along the main street close to the train station. English is a problem though.
- 1 Mediterranean CASA (地中海CASA), No. 94, Zaochuan Road, ☏ . 08:00-20:00. A mediterranean-themed restaurant styled to look like a Santorini villa.
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.