Taiwan's International Hot Air Balloon Festival, held every year in Taitung County during the summer, is one of the premiere tourism events in the country. Prepare to be amazed by an array of balloons, or enjoy the amazing natural scenery in Taitung by taking a tethered or non-tethered hot air balloon ride.
Taiwan's hot air balloon festival started in 2011 in Luye Township of Taitung County, as a way for Taitung County to promote hot air balloon tourism.
In 2013 the event changed its name to the Taiwan International Hot Air Balloon Festival and began to invite hot air balloons from other countries.
Tethered balloon ride (熱氣球繫留體驗): 550 NT to 650 NT
Non-tethered balloon ride （熱氣球空中自由飛行): about 10,000 NT
Paragliding (滑翔傘): 1800-2500 NT
Hours/When to go:
Tethered Balloon Ride (熱氣球繫留體驗): 4PM- 6:30PM or 4:30AM to 6:30AM (July to August). The ride lasts about 5 minutes.
Ticketing website: https://ttpass.tw/category/143
Untethered balloon ride （熱氣球空中自由飛行): Usually between 4AM and 6AM
Ticketing website: http://www.skyrainbow.com.tw/booking.php \ (there are others)
Warning: Hot Air Balloons can be cancelled with short notice due to bad weather such as too much wind, rain, or influence of a Typhoon.
Check out a live feed of the Luye highland here:
How to get there:
By Train/Bus: From Taitung TRA station, there is a shuttle bus that leaves to Luye Highland at 4:10AM, 4:30AM, and 4:50AM, as well as 3PM, 3:30PM, and 4PM (75-120 NT per ride).
Or, take the TRA to Luye station, and then walk, take a taxi, or take a bus to Luye Highlands (the train station is roughly 2 kilometers away from the highlands).
By Car: From Taipei, take National Highway 5 to Yilan, then drive south on provincial road 9 until you get to Luye. See the map below for the location of the Highlands. It will be hard to miss.
By Plane: Fly into Taitung Airport from Taipei, then take a taxi/bus to the highlands.
Please see below:
Su'ao's Crayon Castle (officially Luck Arts Crayon Factory) is a crayon factory castle in Su'Ao township in Yilan County, that has been specifically designed as a DIY experience center for kids where they can make their own arts and crafts, as well as their own set of markers, and crayon in the shape of Taiwan! The DIY activities include making markers and crayons, face painting, painting porcelain, making chalk, and water coloring. Basically, it is a paradise for young children.
The Lucky Art corporation started in Yilan in 1990, and has four factories worldwide, two in Taiwan, and one in Shanghai and Vietnam.
The factory in Yilan produces over 1.5 million crayons per day.
In 2008, the Lucky Art corporation opened its tourist crayon factory, which now sees more than 200,000 visitors per year.
In 2017, the crayon castle was expanded to double its size, and added a parking lot that can accommodate over 200 cars.
General DIY (4 activities and 100 NT coupon): 250 NT per person
Chalk DIY: 150 NT per person
Watercolor DIY: 350 NT per person
Paint Porcelain: 160 NT per person
Price for children under 90 CM: free
8:30 AM to 6PM
(Tickets not sold after 4 PM. Sessions every half hour.)
How to get there:
By Car: Take National Freeway 5 south until it ends. You will see the Crayon Factory on your right as the road becomes the Haishan West Road.
By Train: Take the TRA to Xinma Station (新馬站) and then walk or take a taxi the remaining 500 meters to the crayon factory.
Please see below:
Su'Ao's Neipi Beach in the Nanfangao area (Yilan County) is perhaps the most beautiful beach in northeast Taiwan. It is known for its romantic atmosphere and large waves, which attract surfers from all around. Popular activities here include surfing, kite surfing, kayaking, scuba diving, hiking, and watching the sunrise.
The area around Neipi Beach is known as Nanfangao, or southern Su'Ao. Nanfangao Harbor is the third largest in Taiwan, attracting many tourists to its fish markets, and sits right next to Neipi Beach. Su'Ao is an important link between Eastern Taiwan and Northern Taiwnan. National Freeway 5 ends here, and the Suhua Highway begins here, connecting Yilan to Hualien.
On October 1st, 2019 the Nafangao Cross Harbor Bridge suddenly collapsed, killing 6 and injuring 12. Currently there are plans for reconstruction. The cause of the bridge collapse is still under investigation, but is likely due to corrosion of the supporting cables.
Due to fierce undercurrents, it is highly advised that you use caution while performing water sports in the area.
How to get there:
By Car: Take National Freeway No. 3 and transfer to National Freeway No. 5. Take the highway to the very end and you will arrive in Su'Ao. You will need to travel to the very end of Nafangao Harbor and drive around it as the cross harbor bridge has collapsed.
By Bus: There are buses that leave hourly from Taipei Main Station to Su'Ao. The journey takes about 2 hours.
By Train: Take the train to Su'Ao Station, then walk or take a taxi the remaining 2-3 km to the beach.
Please see the Map Below:
Are you a fan of rice fields, biandang, and rice in general? Chishang is the place for you! As the unofficial rice capital of Taiwan, its unspoiled views of rice fields with a backdrop of the eastern rift valley is one of the most unique and unspoiled scenic areas in Taiwan.
The name Chishang comes from the town being located near Dapo Pond (or Daopochi 大坡池). The area was first settled by aboriginal tribes relocated from Pingtung. Qing dynasty Chinese farmers started settling there in 1875, as a reaction to Mudan Incident of 1871 (in which a crew of shipwrecked Japanese were beheaded by Taiwan aborigines) and the Japanese punitive expedition to Taiwan in 1874. After the Japanese took control of Taiwan, Chishang's main industries were growing sugar cane and rice. A train station was completed in Chishang in 1926 as part of the eastern railway line.
Because of its flat land and and abundant water, Chishang naturally became a great place for growing rice. It's rice fields and biandang (lunchbox) have generally been accepted as the best quality in Taiwan. Many of the rice varieties grown here can trace their roots to Japanese rule. Besides its unadulterated rice fields, the area also became famous due to a Mr. Brown coffee commercial shot here (at what is now know as Brown boulevard) as well an ad for EVA Air featuring Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城武）a Taiwan born Japanese actor (famous for many movies, the one which I remember him best in is the male protagonist in House of Flying Daggers), in which he drinks tea next to a tree. The tree is still there and is growing strong, although it was damaged in 2014 by typhoon Matmo.
I'm not sure if this is the original Mr. Brown Coffee commercial, but its at least pretty close:
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.