Yilan in northeastern Taiwan is a county that is often overlooked for tourism. Not boasting the reputation of the likes of Taipei, Tainan and Taichung, Yilan city and the areas around it are must-visit locations for any tourist on the hunt for local Taiwanese flavors. Here are some things you can do to get a true taste of Yilan. (You might also like: 8 Days Around Taroko Gorge and Eastern Taiwan)
Visit a Taiwanese tea farm
Head to a real operating tea farm and pick tea leaves with the farmer on the plantation before learning how the tea is processed using methods that are generations old. Prepare green tea and oolong by rolling and roasting the leaves in a unique hands-on experience that will leave you feeling more connected to your cup of tea than ever before. (Read more: Rural Tea Tour)
Get to Grips with Traditional Chinese Medicine
Pop into an authentic Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) store and see how these techniques are being practiced in modern day Yilan. A very popular TCM product at the moment is mosquito repellent and you can make your own onsite in neat little satchel, which’ll hopefully leave you bite-free during mozzy season (hopefully).
Drink Some Taiwanese Whisky at the Kavalan Distillery
A highlight of any trip to Yilan, a tour of the Kavalan factory is not to be missed. The subtropical climate accelerates the whisky’s aging process and as a result allows Kavalan to produce world-renowned top-quality whiskies. Learn how whisky is produced and aged before tasting some for yourself.
Enjoy Some Locally-brewed Beers
Whisky not your thing? Have a beer then! Jim and Dad’s Brewing Company in Yuanshan Township is a craft brewery that opened in 2015 and a producer of some of the tastiest beers in all of Taiwan. See where the beer is brewed for yourself and then hit the bar to try some of their most popular flavors, including the Egret Black Tea Weizen (made with locally-grown tea) and the Hop Bomb IPA. (Read also: Taiwan’s Craft Beer Scene)
Want to visit Yilan and try all of the above? Customize your trip now.
(Cover photo by: MTT Henry)