In this series, we are featuring recommendations for Yilan County, where we (the Homey staff) to a short trip to in November! Get out of the big city and get yourself a healthy dose of nature feeling.
Northern Yilan: Wai’ao Beach and Fish Bath
The county is very famous for its beautiful beaches, stretching wide and uninterrupted. The waves are also very popular among surfers. In the northern part of Yilan lies Wai’ao Beach (or Gangao Beach), one of these popular destinations. Surfing there you can also see Guishan island on the horizon, and even paragliding is available!
If you get tired of wandering the sandy beach, you can also try out the feeling of fish tickling your feet. This kind of half feet cleaning, half relaxing foot baths are very famous in the county, there are many shops offering it. In Wai’ao, you can try it in the Wai’ao Visitor Center while drinking coffee or tea.
In Jiaoxi Township, there are even shops with different food baths, containing different sizes of fish. The fish will eat different parts of your dead skin or dirt, leaving you with miraculous clean feet! Around these shops there is usually a lot of shops to be found that offer all kinds of snacks to make the waiting time a culinary experience. We advise to bring a towel, otherwise you will have to rent it which makes it more expansive.
Jiaoxi: Deyang Temple
If you are more interested in religion and traditional culture, you can visit the Jiaoxi Deyang Temple in Jiaoxi Township. Lacated conveniently in the middle of the town, it’s nestled in between smaller shops with delicious food and retailers. You can visit the two-story building for free, and even go up and examine the rooftop decoration from up close.
Another important Temple site is Jiaoxi Sietian Temple, built in 1804 and located on the same road than Deyang Temple. It worships Silk Guangong, and rumor has it that calamities plaguing the area stopped altogether after completion of the temple. If you’re interested in local festivals, you an arrange to be in the area for the temple god’s celebration at the thirteenth day of the first lunar month.
Jiaoxi: National Center for Traditional Arts
A more teaching approach to traditional culture provides Yilan’s National Center for Traditional Arts. It’s located in the Dongshan River Scenic Area and recently added even more outdoor installations. Entering the center, there are many old-style buildings and storefronts changing your sense of time.
There are performances to watch (also with kids) and a huge variety of local delicacies to try. Of course, there are just as many stores selling handcraft objects, like dough figurines, glove puppets and other traditional toys. You can also try yourself at making oil-paper umbrellas, dyeing fabrics or handmade woodcraft. So if you are in a budget, it’s still a nice place to visit and look around and enjoy the atmosphere.
Luodong Township: Luodong Night Market
Luodong Night Market of Yilan is very famous for it’s huge selection of local delicacies, such as Angelica Lamb Soup (Dang-gui-yan-rou-tang), Sanxing Spring Onion Buns (San-xing-cong-bao), Deep-fried Meat Cake (Gao-zha), Meat Fritters (Bu-rou) and Deep Fried Pork Rolls (Long-feng-tui). The bunk of stores is located at Gongyuan Road, which is the reason the market is easily overcrowded, with not much time to decide if you want to eat something or not due to everybody pushing. There’s also cheap clothing to shop, as long as you fit into the Asian small sizes ;D
To avoid peak times, you can visit at weekdays, at 16:00 or later after 22:00.