Nanfang'ao is the third-largest fishing harbor in Taiwan and is an important part of the local economy. Just above the harbor along the Suhua highway is an amazing lookout that gives a 180-degree view of southern Yilan, Su'ao, and the surrounding area. It is definitely worth a stop on your next trip to the east coast of Taiwan.
The first path between Su'ao and Hualien was a trail built in the Qing Dynasty that was completed in 1876, for the Qing to better control aboriginal peoples on the east coast. Later after Japan took control of Taiwan, they widened the path and built 9 bridges and 14 tunnels along the way, making it drivable for cars (one way only) by 1932. Because much of the road was next to cliffs that underwent constant landslides, it was considered one of the most dangerous roads in the world at the time. In the 1980s the ROC government further widened the road, and the two-lane highway was completed in 1990. In 2020, the section of road between Su'ao and Dong'ao was bypassed by a tunnel.
Nanfang'ao is the third-largest fishing harbor in Taiwan and is an important part of the local economy. There is a popular fish and seafood market there that is open from 3 PM to 5 PM every day at the harbor if you a fan of fresh seafood.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: From Su'ao or Dong'ao, take Highway 9 east along the coast. You will have to take a dangerous U-turn or left turn across double yellow lines if you come from Su'ao, so it is better to come from Dong'ao.
By Bus: Take the Nanfang'ao Blue line to Nanjian Shopping Center (南建購物中心) then walk up the Nanfang'ao Lookout trail about 15 minutes to the lookout.
Please see below:
I have been to the Nanfang'ao lookout only one time. I first went on our round island trip in 2014, and then again before the improved Suhua highway was built. I went for the final time a few weeks ago when the tunnel to Su'ao was blocked due to an accident. The sad part about that tunnel from Su'ao to Dong'ao is that you miss out on one of the most scenic and beautiful lookouts on the highway here.
There is a small parking lot, next to which are some bathrooms and the lookout.
The lookout over Su'Ao is a big wooden platform overlooking the fishing harbor. See above for a panoramic view.
View north looking at Su'Ao.
View of the fishing harbor.
View of Su'ao Neipi Beach.
Another view of the beach.
View looking south toward the sea cliffs.
View of downtown Nanfang'ao.
The Nanfang'Ao bridge collapsed in 2019, killing six people. The new bridge was completed in September 2022, and you can see the complete bridge in this photo.
Boat sailing into Nanfang'ao Harbor.
Fishing boats heading out to sea.
Boats parked in town.
Waves crashing against the sea cliffs.
Another view of boats parked in the harbor.
View of Su'Ao beach.
People walking along the beach.
View of the end of the beach.
Shipping docks at Su'ao.
More photos in the gallery above.
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. For our full blog on this beach, click here.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for our travel guide on Yilan to come.
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.