Travel to Ilan, a place with outstanding beauty!
Ilan, positioned in the northeastern area of Taiwan called Lanyang Plain, is a water-filled region, rich in vegetation and outstanding beauty. The fertile soil of Ilan is ideal for rice farming and the rivers provide an abundance of fish.
Ilan is best reached by train or bus. One bus route will travel via Keelung along the northeast coast whilst the other route (mountainous) cuts through Hsin Tien on to Pinglin and from there to Ilan. Both routes offer stunning views, making the three hour trip seem that much shorter.
Ilan is well known for its fine cuisine that will tantalize your tastebuds. Four taste delights are referred to as the "four treasures of Ilan". One meal is a sumptuous goat-meat stew cooked in mineral spring water from Suao. The other delicacies or "treasures" are bagasse (smoked dried kidney), smoked duck and candied plums. Some more popular treats are jujube cakes, meat rolls, ox-tongue cookies (named such because of the shape) and taro paste. Less traditional foods are hand-made tea rice as well as tea-smoked eggs. Many of these delicious snacks can be found at the night market.
Ilan distillery is interesting to visit. Inside are a museum and a shop selling local spirits such as rice wine and Kaoliang. Nearby is the Ilan jail used by the Japanese when they occupied Taiwan.
Just 20 minutes from Ilan is the National Center of Traditional Arts established in 2002. The center promotes and supports traditional art. Within the 24 hectare grounds are lovely gardens and waterways. Begin your tour at the square where you will see a pavilion and temple. The information center can provide you with an English audio guide. In the square you can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or purchase some snacks from the small shops.
Along the "Folk Art Boulevard" are numerous stores where you can buy folk art as well as crafts. This will lead you to the exhibition hall. Across from here are several workshops and the artists' accommodation. Down a few steps from the temple is the old home of Scholar Huang. Short boat tours can be taken from the pier situated here. The residence itself was build 130 years ago but has since been restored.
Ilan is a fascinating city filled with flavor and good times.