Yilan (宜蘭, also spelled I-lan) is a city on the east coast of Taiwan. As the area was mostly settled by Han Chinese immigrants from Zhangzhou, the local dialect of Taiwanese is noticeably more similar to that of Zhangzhou than in other parts of Taiwan. It is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Taiwanese opera.
Rail, bus, and taxi are good options for traveling from Yilan to Taipei. The Xueshan tunnel facilitates travel between Yilan and Taipei, shortening the trip to roughly 1½ hr.
- 1 Yilan station (宜蘭車站). The station is on the Yilan line.
Scooters, cars and bicycles are the main transport around Yilan City (the county seat of Yilan county). There are taxi stands and scooter rental options near the train station. Travel around the county (to destinations such as to Luodong, Suao, and Jiaosi) is easily accomplished by inexpensive rail (US$4).
The most convenient way to get around Yilan is by scooter. You can start from Yilan train station and rent one there, but you should first go to the tourist information center and get a map.
You can rent one at Yilan train station. A nice 12-km route may start by riding to Yuan Suan Park (圓山公園) which takes about 1 hour. Then you can ride along the riverbank to Jung Shan Bridge (圓山橋) before heading back.
Yilan Train Station
The first Yilan Train Station (宜蘭火車站) was constructed in 1919. The original building was destroyed in 1962 by typhoon Opal and rebuilt in the same year. The plaza in front was built in 1997. There are many historical buildings nearby, described below.
- Yilan Railway Station Old Warehousing Facilities (台鐵宜蘭車站舊倉庫群). There were 9 warehouses built in 1919, providing numerous businesses with a place to store their goods. It is used for selling famous products from Yilan. It is on the right hand side of Yilan train station. Exiting the train station, turn to the right. The building is on the right hand side.
- Former Office, Taiwan Railway Administration, Yilan Transportation Section (台鐵宜蘭運務段舊辦公室). This building was constructed in 1959. The building served as a transportation office for the Taiwan Railway Administration. It is now a Visitor Center where you can get information. Turn left when leaving the train station. The building is on the left hand side.
- Former Rice Inspection Bureau Yilan Branch Office (舊米穀檢查所宜蘭出張所). It was constructed in 1930 for use in the process of inspection, evaluation, and distribution of local rice. The characteristics of the building include an arched entrance, rectangular windows, British style brick walls, and a Japanese-style roof. From the train station, go straight and you will find it to your left.
- Former Official Residence of the Magistrate of Yilan (宜蘭設治紀念館). It was built as the official residence for Japanese magistrates in 1911. There is huge camphor tree inside the premises of the building that has been there for at least 100 years. It was reconstructed for tourists to visit in 1997. Address: No. 3, Lishing 3rd Lane, Jiocheng S. Rd. Yilan City
- Former Yilan Yi Police Station (宜蘭警察局), No.167, Sec.2, Jhongshan Rd.. It was constructed during the Japanese occupation in 1945.
History and culture
- 1 Former Yilan Prison (舊宜蘭監獄門廳), No. 117, Section 2, Shennong Road, ☏ . The prison was founded in 1898 with the name Yilan Branch Institute of Taipei Punishment Institute.
- 2 Memorial Hall of Founding of Yilan Administration (宜蘭設治紀念館), ☏ . 09:00-17:00. A memorial hall dedicated to the founding of Yilan County Government. The memorial hall building was built in 1900 where it used to be the official residence of magistrates. The building was later converted into a memorial hall and was inaugurated in 1997.
- 3 Yilan Brick Kiln (宜蘭磚窯), ☏ . A former brick manufacturing factory in Beijin Village. The Yilan Brick Kiln was established as Chen He Cheng Kiln Factory. It was later changed to Yilan Brick Kiln and ended its operation in the 1980s.
- 4 Xianguo Monument (献馘碑). A stone monument erected during the period of Japanese occupation dedicated to the Chinese killed by the indigenous inhabitants during the early period of Chinese migration into the Yilan area.
- 5 Beneficial Microbes Museum and Tourism Factory (菌寶貝博物館暨觀光工廠). The museum aims to improve public understanding about bacteria.
- 6 Institute of Yilan County History (宜蘭縣史館), No. 3, Xianzheng North Road, ☏ . 09:00-17:00. A local institute of history in Yilan City, Yilan County, Taiwan built to collect, access, record, research and promote the local history of Yilan County. The institute regularly holds exhibitions, symposiums, seminars and forums about the research of Yilan County.
- 7 Taiwan Theater Museum (台灣戲劇館), No. 101, Section 2, Fuxing Road, ☏ (#400). 09:00-17:00. The museum is dedicated to Taiwan's theatrical arts and operas. It is the first public theater museum in Taiwan and the first museum established in Yilan County. The museum periodically hosts live Taiwanese opera and puppet shows as well as other cultural activities.
- 8 Yilan Distillery Chia Chi Lan Wine Museum (宜蘭酒廠甲子蘭酒文物館), ☏ . 08:00-17:00. A museum dedicated to the history of wine and wine-making in the region. The museum building was built in 1935.
- 9 Yilan Literary Museum (宜蘭文學館), No. 3, Jiucheng West Road, ☏ . 09:00-17:00. The museum building was originally a principal's quarter of a school of agriculture. The museum was constructed with Japanese architectural style. It consists of two buildings, which are the principal's quarter of the former school of agriculture and the old secretary-general mansion building. The signage has limited English, but the grounds are pleasant for a stroll around.
- 10 Yilan Museum of Art (宜蘭美術館), No. 1, Section 3, Zhongshan Road, ☏ . 09:00-17:00. The original museum building was destroyed during World War II. In 1949, it was reconstructed as the Yilan branch of the Bank of Taiwan. The Yilan County Government later designated the area a historic landmark. The bank donated the building in 2012. The museum exhibits works made by local artists and also promoting local culture.
- 11 Bisia Temple (碧霞宮), No. 52, Chenghuang Street, ☏ .
- 12 Confucian Temple (孔子廟), No. 170, Xinxing Road, ☏ .
- 13 Nanxing Temple (南興廟), No. 6, Nanxing Street, ☏ .
- 14 Saint Joseph's Church (達文西天主堂), No. 93, Taishan Road, ☏ .
- 15 Wenchang Temple (文昌廟), No. 66, Wenchang Road, ☏ .
- 16 Wugu Temple (五穀廟), No. 162, Section 2, Shennong Road, ☏ .
- 17 Zhaoying Temple (昭應宮), No. 106, Section 3, Zhongshan Road, ☏ .
There are various religious festivals and parades of different sizes throughout Yilan, so you may cross one at any moment during weekends. According to believers, the purpose of the parades is to represent that the gods are patrolling the street to see how people doing and to protect people from harm. In order to welcome the gods, the people in charge of the parade set off firecrackers as an announcement that the gods are coming and cast a lot of "ghost money" on the street. Temple workers carry sedans with religious images. You may see traditional musical orchestras.
Usually, the parades are performed by many teams, People can tell which teams a participant belongs to by looking at their t-shirts. The parades consist of different groups of people and each of them are in charge of representing different characters. The characters may vary according to the different festivals. Some of them may do folk dances.
There are about 63 temples, most of them Taoist, and eleven western churches in Yilan County. Historically, there has been freedom in Yilan to practice any religion. Taiwanese celebrate many important traditional festivals. In Yilan the most important celebrations are Cheng-Huang's (城隍) birthday on February 8th of the lunar calendar and Dong-Yue's birthday (東嶽大帝) on March 28th of the lunar calendar. During the festival of Cheng-Huang's birthday, many people from all walks of life usually follow the parade and go around Yilan city and we can see that some people play the characters Chi-ye and Ba-ye (七爺八爺), a traditional Taiwanese myth about friendship. Yilan is the birthplace of Taiwanese opera (歌仔戲), so people can listen to traditional musical instruments during Taiwanese religious festivals.
During these religious parades, visitors can join the festival and take photos, but people should be respectful and observe some taboos. For example, expectant mothers should not join the parade and people should not cross from one side of the parade to the other. For temple workers there are further prohibitions, such as not eating meat before the parade. Parades should not be confused with Chinese funeral, where family members will wear black clothes and there are no images of gods.
There are two temples in Yilan that have regular large-scale festivals. The first is Yilan Cheng-Huang Temple (宜蘭城隍廟) at No.10 Chenghuang St. (城隍街) that holds their major parade every February 8 of the lunar calendar. The temple was established in 1813, and in Chinese culture, Cheng Huang is the Patron saint of cities. The other major temple is Yilan Dong-Yu Temple (宜蘭東獄殿) at No.299, Sec 2, Zhongshan Rd., and their largest parade is held in every March 28 in odd-numbered year of the lunar calendar.
- [formerly dead link] Chian Li Guang Herbal Garden (千里光藥園休閒農場), No.51, Ln. 131, Sec. 2, Dapo Rd, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:00-17:00. The focus of this place is on traditional herbal medicine, holding two greenhouses, an eco-museum and an exhibition center. The owners are trying pass down the use of traditional herbal medicines to the next generation. They also provide many herbal products (drinks, cookies and herbal meals, for example). There is a NT$100 consumable entrance fee towards a guided tour, a D.I.Y. activity or products. Tour guide is only provided for more than 10 people, charging NT$100 per person, The tour is 40 minutes long.
- Agrioz (橘之鄉), No.33, Meizhou 2nd Rd, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 08:00-18:00. It is the first government-authenticated tourism factory in Taiwan, with an area of around 9915 m². Agrioz is a modern tourism factory which produces fine kumquat products and collects kumquats from local farmers to provide quality products to the public. Agrioz provides several activities to their guests, such as D.I.Y., factory tours, visits to the kumquat museum and a souvenir shop. Free.
- Yadian Cake Factory (亞典菓子工廠), No. 122, Meizhou 2nd Road, ☏ . A small cake factory that has a number of exhibits related to cake-making. You can also take a tour of the factory itself.
Parks and nature
- 1 Jimmy Park (幾米公園), No. 240, Section 1, Yixing Road, ☏ . A small, quirky park on the site of an old train station, and themed accordingly.
- 2 Yilan Sports Park (宜蘭運動公園), No. 755, Section 1, Zhongshan Road, ☏ . A large park area with a stadium, running track, and other sports facilities.
- 3 Yilan Performing Arts Center (宜蘭演藝廳), No. 482, Section 2, Zhongshan Road, ☏ . The major venue for performing arts in the city.
- Eslite, B1 of Yoai Department store, Jiucheng East Road, ☏ . A large range of English and Chinese books.
- Caves, 220 Zhongshan Road, ☏ . Sec. 3. A huge range of English textbooks and novels.
- One of the local specialties is a delicate cookie referred to as the "Cow Tongue Cookie." This name comes from the shape of the cookie (an oblong, roughly 20 cm or 10 inches long), rather than ingredients. The cookie comes in many flavors, such as coffee, green tea, berry, and sesame.
- Yoai Department Store (友愛百貨), No.50, Jiucheng E. Rd, ☏ . From Yilan Train Station: Go straight and turn right on Jiucheng E. Rd. Walk for three blocks and look for the tall building.
- Luna Plaza (新月廣場), No.6, Ln. 38, Sec. 2, Minquan Rd., Yilan City, ☏ . From Yilan Train Station: go straight and turn left on Jiucheng S. Rd. Then turn left on Sec. 2, Shennong Rd.
- Dark ice cream shop (黑店冰店)- On the same street as Luna Plaza, this famous little shop provides 5 flavors but use good quality ingredients. No.63, Sec. 1, Shennong Rd., Yilan City, Yilan County (宜蘭縣宜蘭市神農路二段63號)
- 1 Dongmen night market (東門夜市), Shenghou Street. 17:00-00:00. The Dongmen night market attracts many tourists since the local media regularly does reports about it. At the very front, there is a yakitori shop called Liang Dai Pon (梁大胖), where some of the products are only NT$10 each. The first booth on the left side is green onion pancake (蔥油餅). It is always full of customers because they use the high quality green onion from local producers. The second booth on the left side is an ice cream store; they are famous for their almond curd (杏仁豆腐). The third booth is a beverage store; their bubble tea is different others because they use their handmade white bubble. On the right hand side, there is a roasted chicken cutlet booth. It costs NT$50 for a cutlet that is bigger than your face. The last booth sells "coffin bread", a Taiwanese dish of seafood inside a toast, but this store creates offers original flavors such as ice cream instead of seafood.
- Garlic meat broth (蒜味肉羹) When you leave the Yilan train station, cross the street to Jiucheng East Rd. (舊城東路), turn right to Jiucheng N Rd.(舊城北路), then walk straight until No. 141 (宜蘭縣宜蘭市舊城北路141號). Ask for garlic meat broth (蒜味肉羹), which is a famous dish in Yilan.
- Pasta Kitchen, 47 Jiankang Sreet, Sec 1, ☏ .
- 2 Everyday Smells Great (每日香), No. 60, Chongsheng St. (from Yilan Train Station: go two blocks east, and then turn north on Chongsheng St. Walk for 2½ blocks along this road), ☏ . M-Sa 09:30 - 13:00; M-F 15:30 - 18:30. This is a traditional lunch shop aimed at local workers. Expect it to be very busy around 11:00. You can pick from probably over 30 fresh vegetables, as well as meat and fish. Customers can also drink soup inside for free. The cashier is very friendly and talkative, and is quite likely give you compliments on your looks. NT$40-80.
- Blue Bar, 319 Taishan Road, ☏ . Small, clean and cheap.
- Fukun Motel (福岡商務汽車旅館), No.259, Sec. 5, Zhongshan Rd, ☏ . It is near the train station. It offers free internet connection, air conditioning, spa and free breakfast. Small doubles start at NT$880.
- England Motel (英格蘭汽車旅館), No.6, Ln. 127, Sec. 5, Zhongshan Rd, ☏ . It offers breakfast, afternoon tea, bicycles, and spa. The room rate starts at NT$3,040.
- Azure Sky B&B (蘭天民宿), No.3-33, Jinshi Rd, ☏ . It is near the National Yilan University (國立宜蘭大學). They offer a farm lifestyle experience. Small doubles start at NT$2,000.
- Dubai Motel (杜拜時尚戀館), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. No.70, Sec. 2, Dafu Rd., It takes around 5 minutes by car from Yilan train station. It offers swimming pool, steam bath, milk bath and spa. The classical villa room starts at NT$4,280.
- Silks Place Yilan (晶英酒店), 36, Minquan Rd., Sec. 2, Yilan City, ☏ . It's on one side of Luna Plaza (mall). From Yilan Train Station: Go straight and turn left on Jiucheng S. Rd. Then turn left on Sec. 2, Shennong Rd.
- Yoai Hotel (友愛大飯店), 11-16F., No.50, Jiucheng E. Rd, ☏ . Go straight after leaving Yilan Train Station, turn right on Jiucheng E. Rd., and walk for three blocks.
- Grand Boss Hotel (伯斯飯店), No.366, Sec. 1, Yixing Rd, ☏ . Turn right after exiting the station and go straight You will see it your right hand side.