Yunlin is one of my favorite getaway places in Taiwan, as this was where I spent most of my childhood with my loving grannies. The place has changed a lot since I last visited it a couple of years ago. A city once considered the most underdeveloped area is now becoming a trendy hotspot and a must visit when you are traveling to Taiwan.
The following artsy hippie places are definitely worth a visit for any solo female traveler heading to Taiwan! Below is my suggested itinerary for a 1-day trip to HuWei township in YunLin.
How to get there
The easiest and fastest way to get to HuWei in YunLin is by Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR). The stop you should get off is THSR Yunlin Station. The price is around $30 from Taipei, but if you book early, you receive 35% off on your ticket. The journey is around 1.5 hour. After you arrive, you could either haul a taxi or rent a scooter/car and start exploring!
What to see
Explore amazing textile products
A day trip to the factory is both educational and just fun. Upon arrival at the factory, a green lush tunnel awaits you. Along the tunnel you’ll find the resting area, garden, and some exhibits illustrating the history of Shing Long. There’s also an open-air cafe where you can have a cup of coffee while enjoying the sun. As you enter the main building, you will soon be dazzled by all the adoring textile products displayed on the shelves. Apart from these, there is an indoor snack place, DIY classrooms, and machinery exhibits.
Enjoy stunning wall art in DingXi Neighborhood
DingXi Neighborhood used to be messy and unorganized. Though certain actions have been taken to help reshape the community’s downgrading image, there was very little positive outcome. The neighborhood didn’t receive any attention until the officials started an urban planning project with the help of students from National Formosa University. Cat-themed murals were then painted on the mottled walls by both students and people from the neighborhood. The cats are so vividly portrayed that visitors cannot stop gasping at the brilliant combination of colors and cuteness. DingXi Neighborhood was afterwards dubbed “Cats on the Roof.” I surely had quite a lot of fun getting some intriguing shots!
Dive into the Taiwanese puppet culture
Yunlin is known to be the origin of hand puppet culture and the annual International Puppets Arts Festival. The puppet museum used to be a police station and governmental office in the 1990s. Its original wooden structure is one of the oldest in Huwei. The museum is divided into sections including puppet theatre, puppet exhibition, the old prison and live performance. The entrance is free. What I love about the place is the yard in the middle of the building.
Go back in time when exploring YunLin Story House
Yunlin Story house was built during Japanese colonial time. You will recognize the Japanese influence immediately. It’s right next to the Hand Puppet Museum. In order to preserve the delicate furniture in the house, there is a limit on the number of people allowed to enter the story house at a time. But don’t worry, the wait is usually less than 5 minutes. What I like most is the cultural atmosphere and interior design of this place (See guided map here). It really takes you back in time and will give a good impression of local life. As its name indicates, many stories including local life, folktales, art and literature are being told using different forms of presentation. It really feels like stepping into a time machine.
Buy some local produce at HuWei Station
Huwei Station was once a bus stop and train station for Taisugar Factory. It used to be the most prosperous area during Japanese colonial era. Now, it’s a cultural destination. Creative arts are exhibited here together with agricultural local produce to help independent farmers and artists market their brand and support their lives. There is a small cafe inside the station and if you walk further, you’ll see a steam train resting solemnly on the tracks. The train was used to transport sugar in the past.
After having visited all these unique sightings, it is time for a good cup of coffee. Being a coffee lover myself, I will never consider my trip perfect without sipping a cup of coffee in a nice little café.
The trend of independent coffee shops has taken over in many major cities around the globe. HuWei is certainly catching up fast! Below hipster cafés are my favorites to grab some light bites and rest your feet! They stand out due to their distinctive design and great customer service! They are within walking distance of the last three places mentioned previously. There’s your fast and easy solution to boost your energy!
Where to sip the best coffee in town
Houyuan to sip a coffee in a nice garden setting
Houyuan means “Back yard” in Mandarin. That’s the core concept of this coffee shop when the owner first established it. He wanted his customers to feel relaxed as if they’re sitting in their own backyard! Well, I’d say he definitely succeeded judging from all the 5-star reviews the shop received online.
Houyuan used to be an old bricked house but was later refurbished into a modern space that would instantly make you feel like you step into another dimension. There’s an outdoor area filled with lush green plants like cactus and bamboos. They serve quality coffee and some small bites such as panini and pancakes. The staff is knowledgeable and professional in the realm of coffee. If you don’t know what to order, just ask!
Levinmo is a must go if you are a cake lover
This is the right place to go if you are a cake lover! They also offer different flavors of fruit tea. One of the highlights is the murals in the shop. It’s especially touching for locals to see the beauty in their everyday life. Don’t forget to try some of their home-made bread, which is purely made of natural ingredients.
To finish your day, I recommend grabbing a bite at one of my favorite restaurants below.
The best places to sample some amazing food
Teishoku for some great contemporary food
This restaurant is located in downtown HuWei and close to all the attractions in this blog post. The restaurant offers a great range of food to choose from: burgers, pasta, Taiwanese beef noodles, and Chinese Bento. All of the meals come with a soup, salad or side dish, drinks, and desserts. You will for sure have enough energy to continue your trip after this big meal! And you only pay 6USD! That’s another thing I love about HuWei: cheap, but quality food!
HuTongYuan if you want to try some delicious local delicacies
HuTongYuan is a great place to sample some amazing local dishes. The interior design is a mixture of new and old. I love the window seats to gaze outside and people watch. The restaurant is known for its fresh and healthy ingredients.
Best place to stay overnight
If you want to stay overnight to continue your journey through Taiwan then the place of Norman is wonderful to spend the night.
If you are looking for something unique in Taiwan then YunLin is definitely the place to be. It is a perfect spot for solo female travelers as it is safe and offers some great places many women would love.