When most people think of Yilan, they usually picture sipping whisky at the Kavalan distillery, or maybe sampling tea grown at one of the region’s many tea farms. However, there is more to the northeastern county than you may think. We have a feeling you’ll make a big splash on your next visit to Yilan, just make sure you pack some waterproof clothing and aren’t afraid of getting wet. (Read more: Experience the flavors of Yilan)
Take it to the (old) streets
Your first stop will get your tour off to a leisurely start as you arrive in the town of Toucheng (頭城) and take a stroll down the old street. Learn about the local area at the small tourist center museum and see the shared community kitchen that is still very much in operation. Continue your walk to browse local artworks and see such famous landmarks as the school master’s former residence and the mayor’s house. Finally, grab yourself some gelato or another icy treat from a local ice shop. A must for first-time and returning visitors alike.
For lunch, you’ll eat at huge spread of traditional food at a restaurant inside the impressive Yilan Park (National Center for Traditional Arts) complex in Wujie. Be sure to find time to browse the many shops onsite and take a walk along the center’s own version of a classical old street, Folk Art Boulevard. (You might also like: Experience the Flavors of Yilan)
What should you bring?
There’s very little shade around the town, so pack a hat and sun screen in case it’s a sunny day. Also, comfortable shoes for walking are highly recommended, and make sure you bring a camera or your phone to snap some pictures of the cool buildings and paintings.
Ride the river rapids
After lunch, you’ll head to Nashannagu (那山那谷) camping grounds for the highlight of your tour – a river tracing experience riding your own inflatable ring. Under the guidance of expert instructors, using nothing but the natural current, you’ll float down the winding river, accelerating and decelerating as you go. No worries if you can’t swim, the water is mostly shallow and you’ll be wearing a life jacket the whole time, so there’s nothing to fear if you fall off your ring. Along the way, you’ll make a couple of stops, including visiting a stunning waterfall which you can pose below for photos. Along some sections of the river the water flows very quickly, raising your heart rate as you fly past rocks and dips in the river, but rest assured you’re safe, as you’ll also be wearing a helmet along with your life jacket, so you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the experience. (Read more: River Tracing in Taiwan)
What should you bring?
Waterproof clothing is a must, as is a towel and a change of clothes one you get out of the water. Also, while on the river, you’re pretty exposed with no shade, so we’d also suggest wearing sunscreen if you’re concerned about your skin. If you want to take pictures or film while on the river, you’re going to need a waterproof camera or one of those waterproof cases you can keep your phone in. If you take your belongings in without proper waterproofing and they get ruined or damaged, it’s your own fault! (You might also like: Swim Good: A Guide to Taiwanese Swimming Etiquette)
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