Yilan, a country in the North East of Taiwan is just located a 1.5hour train ride away from Taipei. Take this chance to experience the duo – Taipei HSR and eating the Taiwan Railway Bento on train! It is quite a tranquil country in my opinion. There are a couple of things you can do in Yilan. When you alight at Yilan Station, relieve your memories with Jimmy at the Jimmy Park just infront of the station before making your way to the end of Yilan towards WaiAo beach, characterized by their black sand beach along the shore, then towards Lanyang Museum in the Toucheng District. After which make a trip to JiaoXi for some natural open Hotspring and Wufengchi Waterfalls. After which head back to the Yilan main station and board 260 to National Center for Traditional Arts which is quite an interactive place for learning and experiencing the traditional arts of Yilan. Not forgetting the culture of Taiwan, be it in Taipei or anywhere, you will end your day in a Night Market! For Yilan, the most prominent and well known night market will be Luodong Night Market (Look out for the sharing in the upcoming Taiwan’s Night Market Post). Traveling around Yilan may be time challenging as train arrives at periodic intervals, resulting in a lot of time wastage. Alternatively you can catch the 131 Shuttle Bus which brings you to most of the places i have mentioned above, and one good trick to bear in mind is to know the timing and plan your time well to catch the next bus promptly as the shuttle bus comes only in 20-30 mins interval.
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87 Kms from Yilan
Once very isolated and home to a substantial portion of Taiwan's aborigine population, Hualien is now a popular tourist destination, though there are many off-the-beaten-path treasures to discover. It will take at least three days to see some of the best sights Hualien has to offer. When I used to visit, I would stay at the artsy and friendly Formosa Backpackers Hostel, located near the Hualien Train Station. The hostel owners speak English and provide ample suggestions for what to do. There are also numerous maps available.
56 Kms from Yilan
In search of Taiwan's nightlife, I made my way to Taoyuan, a county neighboring Taipei. For movement within and around Taipei, I used the Taipei MRT (subway system), which is very modern and extremely efficient. In Taoyuan, I entered a Filipino night club called 'Thai Ok' and to be fair it was quite seedy! But otherwise, Taiwan has a pretty good and fun nightlife.