Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Taiwan Travel with Children - Yilan 宜蘭

After we checked out from the fun accommodation with slide 自然捲北歐風格旅店, we embarked on our one-day adventure in Yilan (宜蘭). What are things to do with children in Yilan within 1 day? 

1. Photo-taking at Yilan Station,  幾米廣場 & 丟丟噹森林

You would not miss this place when you walk out of Yilan Station. From the station, walk down the street, then cross the road to the opposite side to complete one round for photo-taking with the characters by 幾米, a famous artist in Taiwan.

Yes, this is the 3D version of what we read from the book 星空 (The Starry Starry Night)!

We saw an interesting vending machine that sold postcards! The local postage (within Taiwan) is included. I wanted to buy one and send to the hotel that we would stay on our last day in Taiwan, but I was afraid that it couldn't reach there in time.

2. Free factory tours

Yes, FREE! Except for the damages when you purchase the products! The factory that we visited is  a bakery called 亞典蛋糕密碼館觀光工廠.

How to get there from Yilan Station? Again, it is FREE! We took a free shuttle bus 宜蘭勁好行755 outside Yilan Visitor Information Centre, which is near Yilan Station. Do take note of the schedule as it comes almost every 2 hours (See the schedule here). Look out for this sign, as the bus stops there are not as obvious as those in Singapore.

So what are things to do at 亞典蛋糕密碼館觀光工廠?

Try the various types of cakes and drink unlimited flow of coffee (if your stomach can take it), for FREE!

Observe the process of making Dorayaki and Baumkuchen, for FREE!

Learn more about cakes through graphics on the walls, for FREE!

There is another factory along the road called 橘之鄉 that sells dried fruits. The admission is free, and you can sample the dried fruits. They also have DIY that comes with a fee. But we decided to give it a miss as I am the only person in the family who appreciates dried fruits.

Website: http://www.rden.com.tw/
Address: 宜蘭市梅洲二路122號

Website: http://www.agrioz.com.tw/
Address: 宜蘭市梅洲二路33號

Other Factory Tours in Yilan that Require a Fee

3. Themed Restaurants

We didn't go to Japan! Just next to 亞典蛋糕密碼館觀光工廠 is a themed restaurant called 宜蘭窯烤山寨村.

We were greeted by giant monsters!!

The restaurant serves pizza, baked rice, pasta and honey toast. We were already half-full after eating a lot of free cakes at 亞典蛋糕密碼館觀光工廠, so we ordered one pizza and one baked rice to share. This pizza is quite interesting, the pork is Chinese-styled roasted pork!

Other than the restaurant, there is a shop that sells bakery, and of course, there is free sampling! You would find humour in the name of the products, for example, French loaf is called 惡棍! 鏟奸除惡!

If you are a fan of Harry Potter, you may visit another themed restaurant called 四圍堡車站 in 礁溪(Jiaoxi).

Address: 宜蘭市梅洲二路140號

Address: 宜蘭縣礁溪鄉礁溪路7段72號

4. Jiaoxi Hot Spring 礁溪溫泉

Visiting hot spring is a must-do when you go to Taiwan during winter time! In Jiaoxi,  there are free feet bath at 湯圍溝溫泉公園 and 礁溪溫泉公園, as well as low cost public bath. But I looked for one with private room for the family to experience hot spring together. I know that when the children grow older, they may not want to soak in hot spring with us in birthday suit!

Before the trip, I had done my homework by looking through Taiwan Hot Spring Festival website, and decided on Yunoyado Onsen (東旅湯宿). I chose it because it is quite new! Considering NT1180 (about SGD50+) for 90 minutes, I think it is still quite reasonable. There are of course much cheaper ones, but I was turned off by the super old look and the lack of facilities.

There are two sets of yukata for the adults. What a pity that they do not have children size ones, else it would be nice to take a family photo in yukata!

The private room is very well-equipped: TV that can be turned to face the hot spring tub, bottles of mineral water, coffee and tea, cold can drinks in the mini refrigerator, rain shower head, Cha Tze Tang (茶籽堂) shampoo + conditioner + shower gel, and Japanese high-tech toilet!

If you ask me, is 90 minutes enough? I would say it is just nice. It took about 10+ minutes to fill the tub with water, in the meanwhile, we took photos in yukata. Then we bathed for 15 minutes, rested a while, and bathed for another 15 minutes before we took turn to shower.

We were surprised that we were treated to free high-tea after our hot spring bath because it was not mentioned in their website or Taiwanese blogs that I read! There were biscuits, bread, green bean soup, and fruits! We made some garlic bread using their oven, and it tasted delicious!

The funny thing was, after the relaxing hot spring experience and high tea, we had to walk 1+ km to Jiaoxi Bus Station to take a bus back to Taipei! I would suggest that if you visit Jiaoxi, consider one night stay at a hot spring hotel / minsu to fully relax!

Tips on Hot Spring Bath
  • Drink sufficient water and shower before you enter the hot spring
  • Bath for at most 15 minutes and rest for a while, total timing should be at most 1 hour
  • Drink sufficient water after bath

Yunoyado Onsen (東旅湯宿)
Website: http://www.yunoyado.com.tw/
Address: 宜蘭縣礁溪鄉信義路32號

How to Get from Taipei to Yilan by Public Transport

You can choose to take train or bus. We took train from Taipei to Yilan, with a short trip to Shifen to release sky lantern. Then we took Kamalan bus from Jiaoxi in Yilan back to Taiwan.

The journey takes 1 hour (NT199) to 2 hours (NT128) depending on the type of train that you take. The good things about taking a train is that the leg room for the seat is bigger than that of a bus, and there is nice sea view along the journey.

The journey takes about 1 hour if there is no traffic jam. There are 2 bus companies that you can consider - Kamalan and Capital Star, depending which part of Taipei you are boarding / alighting. Kamalan bus terminal is at Taipei Bus Station near Taipei Main Station, while Capital Star is at Taipei City Hall Bus Station. The fare ranges from NT90 to NT135.

Our Taiwan Travelogue 2017:

Our Taiwan Travelogue 2015:

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  1. Looks fun! Will definitely consider this when bringing my kids to Taiwan two years later when my boy is old enough to enjoy it :)

    1. It was fun! I believe that your children would love Taiwan!

  2. I cannot say this enough. I love taiwan.. and each part just has so many things to do. yilan is one of my favourites.

    1. Shermeen, I didn't expect there are so many things to do in Yilan in the past. Now I know that what we have done are just a small fraction!

  3. I am so going to Yilan when I'm in Taipei again. I love Jimmy!!

    1. We love Jimmy too! There were many tourists at Jimmy Square so you can tell how popular his art work is.

  4. Taiwan has quite a lot of Japanese influence yah? From the onsen to the way they present their shop goods... glad you had a great time!

    1. This hot spring hotel that we visited was conceptualised based on Japanese style. We saw some other hot spring hotels along the street that have other unique styles.

  5. Wow, Yilan looks like such a nice and relaxing place to visit! Will definitely consider heading there if we go to Taiwan again :D

    1. We decided to visit Yilan at a leisure pace. In fact there are many more things to do there, but we visited a few of them in a relaxing way, not to rush here and there.

  6. Wow, visiting that bread factory looks like a real highlight! And everything free, even transportation? Unbelieveable.

    1. Yes, it was free, except for the damages if you want to buy some cakes home!

  7. Woah, a lot of FREE admissions for this trip! I think my hubby would love this aspect and my girl would enjoy the factory tours 😊

    1. There are other free factory tours that are suitable for children too!

  8. Hi, i came across ur blog while doing research for my family trip (with 2 kids n my mum) in nov2016, i must say u r very detailed n the info r really helpful:) may i ask how do u go from the restaurant to yunoyado onsen? N how long does it take?
    2ndly, i tried to check the direction from yilan stn to the cake factory, it listed by bus abt 1.5hr, was it that long to go by 755 too? Thank u in advance

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words. We took the free shuttle bus 宜蘭勁好行755 from the restaurant to Yilan Station, then take a train to Jiaoxi station. I think it took us about 1 hour. According to the bus schedule, it takes 11 minutes from Yilan Station to Cake Factory. Hope this helps!

    2. Hi, do you know if we are able to flag down taxis easily?

    3. There are taxis near the train stations. However it is difficult to flag down one in other places, so have to call a taxi.

  9. Read a few of your blog posts re your TW travel experience.Your posts are very useful :) Thanks!

  10. Hi,

    I'm planning a similar trip to Yilan. I'm planning a 2D1N stay at Toucheng leisure farm, followed by maybe a 2N stay at Jiaoxi. Can i check how did you get to the cake, pencil and crayon factories? Is there any tourist bus that would bring you to the various factories?
    Any advice?


    1. We took a free shuttle bus from Yilan station to the cake factory. We didn't visit the pencil and crayon factories, but I think you can take taxi from train station. You may consider hiring a private driver to drive you to various factories.

  11. Hello can i take the free shuttle bus to anywhere in Yilan? Or it only go to certain places?

    1. This shuttle bus goes to certain places listed in this website:

  12. Hello! May I ask how long should we spend at the cake factory? The entire journey would span about how long if we start from yilan station? :)


    1. Cheryl, we spent less than an hour at the cake factory. The duration of our entire journey was dependent on the free bus shuttle schedule. We spent about 2+ hours in total.

  13. Hi,
    How can you book 2 hours at the Onsen? The website quotes night rate?

    1. Please check under the rate for 湯屋 (Hot spring): http://www.yunoyado.com.tw/hotspring.php


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