From Hualien to our goal in Yilan it was only a day of driving. We could easily have gone to Taroko gorge, arguably one of the most beautiful parts of the entire island with its rivers sheer cliff faces. However, both me and Yini have been there fairly recently so we opted against it. Instead we kept driving along the coastal road which turns out to be one of the most beautiful stretches of tarmac in the country with sheer cliff faces rivaling this of Taroko, sloping down into turquoise water.
While driving, storm strength winds suddenly descended upon us so we stopped to bundle up a bit and from there on it was careful driving all the way. Bad weather and few sights to see, other than the landscape we were wizzing through, had us driving straight to Yilan city. There we did what you do in Yilan, went to the hot springs in Jiaoxi and had dinner at the night market. After several days of intense tourism and a long drive in bad weather it felt really good to soak in the warm fragrant water. A good ending to a good trip.
To summarize, tourism by scooter is a good option. You are able to explore many random places and see interesting things along the way and the drive itself can be nice as well. We drove about 150 kilometres each day wich is just enough to let you take your time and stop where you want and still travel a fair distance. Any would be very tiring, especially in one go.
A few lessons learned: bring a sweater or jacket, it gets a bit chilly otherwise; use sunscreen, the arms take a beating while driving; have a some spare petrol in a bottle, it would really suck to run out somewhere.
So I’m sitting here at Yilan train station, having packed the scooter in for transport (it only costs some 600 NT, or 15 euro), meditating on the 700 kilometres I’ve driven in the last few days. It has been a great drive.