The Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area (東北角暨宜蘭海岸國家風景區; dōngběijiǎo jì yílán hǎiàn guójiā fēngjǐngqū) incorporates some of Taiwan’s most spectacular coastal scenery, stretching 102.5km from Nanya, just east of Jiufen, to Suao. Accessible by bus or train, the area can be covered as a series of lengthy day-trips from Taipei or Keelung, though Fulong, with its attractive beach, is a gateway to the region (and home to the Scenic Area visitor centre) and a more convenient base for longer stays. Highlights include the network of hiking trails between Bitou Cape and Longdong and the surfing hotspot of Daxi. To the south, the towns of Jiaoxi and Luodong (just outside the Scenic Area proper) are worthy detours before heading on Hualien.Read More
Some 20km south of Daxi, the inland resort town of JIAOXI (礁溪; jiāoxī) is best known for its hot springs and the spectacular waterfalls just outside the city. Buses drop you on Jiaoxi Road, a short walk from the train station on Wenquan Road. You can pick up taxis at the latter for the 5km ride to the Wufengqi Falls (五峰旗瀑布; wŭfēngqí pùbù), among the most impressive in Taiwan. If you have time, you can walk through town (via Deyang Road) and up Wufeng Road, but only the last section is pleasant and there’s always a lot of traffic.
The falls consist of three separate cascades, with the upper two thin threads of water plummeting dramatically over sheer, moss-smothered bluffs at least 30m high – the first falls are the highest and most spectacular. A paved pathway leads some 550m to the top, but it’s a steep climb. Just before the trailhead is a line of food stalls selling an assortment of snacks and drinks, usually including the area’s famed crop of kumquats (jīnzǎo). Make sure you take your taxi driver’s number if you want a ride back.