What to Do at Night in Yilan
Yilan County is a beautiful destination in the northeast of Taiwan, a strip of land between mountains renowned for its picturesque locations and the hospitality of its people. Yilan is also one of the major cities of Taiwan along with Taipei that is expanding at a fast rate. There is much for the traveller to do and see during the daytime with major attractions ranging from the Xinliao waterfall to Guishan (‘Turtle’) Island to Suao Cold Springs (the only cold springs in the world apart from one in Italy) to the heritage site of Toucheng Old Street. It truly is a vibrant tourist spot away from the humdrum life of the city.
However Yilan’s nightlife can in no way be termed as buzzing; country folks prefer to sleep early and rise early too. Taipei is definitely on the top the list of cities having a hip nightlife but Yilan, on the contrary, does not have much to boast about except its celebrated night market and indeed night markets play a big part in Taiwan’s tourist industry with some seven out of ten visitors to the island attending one.Read More
Yilan Night Market
The Yilan night market, right in the middle of the city, comes alive at 17:00 and operates till late. If you exit from the train station, turn right and you’ll find it underneath the overpass just one block away. Much like any other Taiwanese night market it is filled with a large number of people, wafting scents of delicacies, and lots of cheap and reasonable shopping items. There are two things however that must be tried among other things like stuffed duckling, tofu, and mutton. One, the scallion pancakes which are thicker than normal pancakes and fried in quite a lot of oil. Second, is an old-fashioned drink known as yaoyaobing which is really a mixture of slushy ice and flavoured juices. This drink used to be prevalent throughout the country but nowadays it’s unique to Yilan. Yilan’s night market recently won an award for being the ‘friendliest night market in Taiwan’.
A lot of seniors citizens gather near the middle school and cultural centre at night to practice Tai Chai and the traditional art of fan dancing. Tai Chi is an ancient martial art practiced in China and elsewhere for self defense along with health benefits. However it’s following in Taiwan is shrinking except for a few loyalists.
Yilan is a growing city and is in stark contrast from what it was ten or 15 years back. Much like Taipei which is a hub of partygoers Yilan offers a completely different getaway, one that promises solitude and fulfillment. If you like indulging in intellectual pursuits then a range of libraries and museums await you and you can always take an amazing walk on a breezy night.
The hot and cold springs are a delight to watch and the stunning clear night sky with sparkling stars will make you realize that the real nightlife does not rest in the clubs and the bars but out there, in the open, in the lap of nature, where you can see the first ray of sun and the breathtaking dawn. The nightlife in Yilan will inspire you so come here and prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
Bars and Cafes
Apart from the night market there are a few bars and cafes that close around midnight.
135 Supermarket provides the best and the cheapest wine, beer and cigarettes in Yilan. It is situated in the Zhong-Shan Road next to the famous Luo Dong Night Market. It is open till late at night.
Jiaosi is yet another lovely little place with an open-air bar in the middle of town with a hot spring flowing right through it. Like most other restaurants and cafes it too closes around 22:00.
Mr. Balagov is a new Eastern-European café. It's located near the intersection at Yilan University on Nongquan Road. It brings alternative cuisine to a place dominated by local food joints.
Shasha is one such bar that is quite popular among the foreign population of Yilan. It is close to the train station and open till late. It provides good alcohol at cheap prices.
Hotels and Restaurants open till late
Yilan has some classy hotels and restaurants that provide world-class service and are known for their warm hospitality.
Hotel Royal Chioa Hsi, Evergreen Phoenix Hotel, Sheraton Yilan Resort all provide a relaxing experience with good food and drinks, bars, discotheques and much more. Furthermore, a host of vegetarian and vegan food joints have opened up in the city that cater to the small but growing non-meat eating population of Taiwan.
Vegan food joints
Loving Hut – Taishan on 14, Taishan Road is one such vegan place open from 15:00 to 22:00. Night Market Vegetarian restaurant, south side of Yilan Food Street opens at 17:00 and stays open till late.