Toucheng, Taiwan, located along the beautiful East Coast in Yilan is a great place to wind down with history, museums, and sea food. And it’s only about an hour away from Taipei!
1. Wander Toucheng Old Town
Start the day by taking a walk along Toucheng’s old street. While there are a lot of beautiful old buildings scattered throughout Toucheng, most are concentrated along a long old merchant street between two temples. The old buildings are gorgeous even in the rain.
2. Marvel at Lanyang Museum’s architecture
Lanyang Museum was built by one of Taiwan’s most famous architects and the building is certainly impressive. Take a walk around the lake and snap some required selfies in front of the bizarre sculptures and natural beauty.
It’s only 100 TND to get into the museum (3 USD) and it’s definitely worth it. The exhibitions are about the history and landscape of Toucheng. You can see a whale skeleton, learn about Ghost Festival, and check out the flora and fauna from the surrounding hills while taking in the clever architecture from the inside.
3. Boat watch at Wushi Harbor
At Wushi Harbor you can wander the docks and watch as the most go out to see. It’s a peaceful place in the late afternoon, but if you get there early enough there’s apparently a fish market you can attend too.
4. Eat Seafood
Pick any of the restaurants along the harbor and eat some seafood. Portion sizes are HUGE for the price.
5. Check out Wai Ao beach
Yilan county rains for 200 days out of the year, so odds are the weather won’t be gorgeous, but the beach is long with clean black sand so you’ll probably be tempted to dip your toes in. The beach has surfer’s even on the rainiest of days and there are plenty of stands nearby renting surfing and other water sport equipment.
6. Warm up in a café on the beach
Right on the edge of the beach is九號咖啡外澳. This café is a bit pricey, but the locally-crafted honey beer is yummy. It’s a perfect place to warm up after a dip in the cold water.
7. Have a beer at the train station
On your way home you can take the train from Wai Ao, but be sure to stop at Drifter’s Pizza Pub along the way. It’s a favorite haunt with expats coming down from Taipei and for good reason. It’s got live music on the weekend and cheap beer, so have a cold one while you wait for your train. See if you can spot this Matsu statue on your way to Drifter’s Pizza Pub.
If you’ve got any other suggestions for what to do in Yilan, let me know in the comments!
Honorable mention and side note: Whale Watching
You can also go on a whale watching tour from Wushi Harbor. I went with a company called Blue Ship. However, I will caution you that it’s quite expensive for a relatively short trip. I picked the trip that involved a stop-over on Turtle Island. It was 1000 TND each (30 USD). In total, the trip was only a little more than two hours, including the island. Needless to say, we didn’t see any whales. While I don’t regret the boat trip entirely, it did feel very rushed and it definitely felt more like an extremely quick island tour than a whale watching tour, so keep this in mind if you’re considering booking. Also, take motion sickness meds as many of the passengers got sick.