Nanao Travel Guide

Plan your trip to Nanao, Taiwan with this comprehensive travel guide, covering the best tourist attractions, outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, food and drink scene, accommodations, and transportation options.

Introduction to Nanao

Nanao is a charming town located in Yilan County, in Eastern Taiwan. Boasting beautiful natural scenery, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, Nanao is a perfect destination for those who seek an authentic Taiwanese experience. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a history buff, a foodie, or simply a traveler who wants to immerse in local culture, Nanao has something for everyone. This guide will help you plan your trip to Nanao, covering the best places to visit, things to do, and local tips.

List of Places to Visit in Nanao

Nanao offers plenty of tourist attractions, ranging from culturally significant landmarks to natural wonders. Below are some of the top places to visit in Nanao:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Nanao Cultural Center: This museum houses a vast collection of Taiwanese antiques, including pottery, calligraphy, and paintings, as well as contemporary artworks. The center also hosts concerts and exhibitions.
  • Wanchun Temple: This Taoist temple is one of the oldest in Nanao, dating back to the 18th century. It features exquisite sculptures, elaborate carvings, and beautiful murals.
  • Nanao Old Street: This historic street is lined with traditional shops, teahouses, and temples, showcasing the town’s rich cultural heritage. It’s a great place to try local snacks and souvenirs.
  • Cihuang Temple: This temple is dedicated to the sea goddess Mazu, and it’s a popular site for worshipping and cultural events.

Natural Attractions of Nanao: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Taiping Mountain: This mountain offers spectacular panoramic views of Nanao and the surrounding mountains. There are several hiking trails suitable for all levels of hikers, with scenic spots and waterfalls along the way.
  • Linmei Shipan Forest Trail: This forest trail features suspension bridges, waterfalls, and stunning rock formations. It’s a popular spot for hiking, picnicking, and enjoying the natural beauty of Nanao.
  • Luodong Forestry Culture Garden: This garden showcases the diverse flora and fauna of Taiwan’s forests, with walking trails, a butterfly garden, and a water lily pond.
  • Meihua Lake Scenic Area: This lake offers tranquil views of the surrounding mountains and forests. Visitors can rent boats, stroll along the lakeside promenade, and enjoy a picnic.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Nanao

Nanao is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with numerous hiking and biking trails that showcase the town’s natural beauty. Some of the best hiking/biking routes in Nanao include:

  • Taiping Mountain Trail (10km): This trail takes about 5-6 hours to complete and offers stunning panoramic views of Nanao and the surrounding mountains. It’s a challenging trail, with steep ascents and descents, so it’s recommended for experienced hikers.
  • Linmei Shipan Trail (4.5km): This trail takes about 2-3 hours to complete and features suspension bridges, waterfalls, and breathtaking rock formations. It’s a moderate trail, suitable for hikers of all levels.
  • Meihua Lake Trail (2.5km): This trail takes about 1-2 hours to complete and offers scenic views of Meihua Lake and the surrounding forests. It’s an easy trail, suitable for families with children.
  • Wulungyi Historic Trail (9.7km): This trail takes about 5-6 hours to complete and showcases the cultural and historical significance of Nanao. It’s a moderate trail, with ancient stone paths, temples, and scenic viewpoints.

Best Things to Do in Nanao: Activities and Tours

Apart from hiking/biking and sightseeing, there are several activities and tours that you can enjoy in Nanao, including:

  • Hot Spring Baths: Nanao is home to several hot springs, including the Jiaosi Hot Springs, Renze Hot Springs, and Fuguei Hot Springs, where you can soak in the therapeutic waters and relax.
  • Fishing Trips: You can go on a fishing trip with local fishermen and catch your own fish, which you can then cook and enjoy.
  • Cooking Classes: You can learn to cook traditional Taiwanese dishes like dumplings, noodles, and stir-fries in a cooking class with a local chef.
  • Fruit-Picking: You can visit local orchards and pick your own fruits, such as strawberries, peaches, and kiwis, depending on the season.
  • Cycling Tours: You can rent a bike and explore Nanao’s scenic routes at your own pace, or join a guided cycling tour.

Week-Long Itinerary for Nanao

If you’re planning to spend a week in Nanao, here’s a suggested itinerary:

Day Activities
1 Arrival in Nanao, check-in at the hotel, visit Nanao Old Street
2 Hike/bike at Taiping Mountain, visit Wanchun Temple
3 Visit Nanao Cultural Center, go on a hot spring bath
4 Explore Luodong Forestry Culture Garden, go fruit-picking
5 Go on a fishing trip, cooking class
6 Visit Cihuang Temple, cycling tour
7 Departure from Nanao

Food and Drink Scene of Nanao

Nanao is known for its delicious food and unique beverages, reflecting the town’s blend of indigenous, Chinese, and Japanese influences. Below are some must-try dishes and local beverages in Nanao:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Sanxian Stir-Fry: This stir-fry dish consists of three kinds of seafood, usually clams, shrimp, and squid, cooked with garlic, ginger, and chili peppers.
  • Tofu Pudding: This dessert is made from soft tofu, served with brown sugar syrup or fruit toppings.
  • Nanao Rice Cake: This traditional snack is made from glutinous rice, filled with sweet or savory fillings, such as red bean paste or minced pork.
  • Yilan Duck: This local specialty is roasted duck, marinated in soy sauce, honey, and five-spice powder, and served with rice and pickled vegetables.

Local Beverages

  • Iron Buddha Tea: This oolong tea is grown in the mountains near Nanao, with a fragrant floral and fruity aroma.
  • Mountain Spring Water: This natural spring water is sourced from the mountains, known for its refreshing taste and health benefits.
  • Fuguei Wine: This rice wine is fortified with herbs and spices, giving it a herbal and earthy flavor.
  • Mandarin Juice: This fresh juice is made from locally grown mandarins, known for their sweet and tangy taste.

Where to Stay in Nanao: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Nanao offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses. Some popular options include:

  • Silks Place Yilan: This 5-star hotel offers spacious rooms and suites with mountain or lake views, a spa, a fitness center, and several dining options.
  • Linmei Romantic House: This boutique guesthouse features themed rooms with private hot spring baths, a garden, and a restaurant serving local cuisine.
  • Ocean Encounter B&B: This cozy B&B is located near Nanao Old Street, offering comfortable rooms with a terrace, a shared lounge, and a garden.

What to Buy in Nanao: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Nanao is a great place to shop for souvenirs and local products, such as:

  • Taiwanese Tea: You can buy high-quality tea, such as Iron Buddha or Oriental Beauty, from local tea shops.
  • Nanao Hand-Painted Umbrellas: These colorful umbrellas are hand-painted by local artisans, featuring traditional Taiwanese designs.
  • Yilan Duck: You can buy vacuum-sealed roasted duck at local markets, which make great edible souvenirs.
  • Nanao Rice Cake: You can buy freshly made rice cakes at Nanao Old Street or local bakeries, which make great gifts.

Local Culture and Customs of Nanao

Nanao is a multicultural town, influenced by indigenous, Chinese, and Japanese traditions. Some customs and etiquettes to observe in Nanao include:

  • Respect for Elders and Ancestors: Nanao has a strong emphasis on filial piety and ancestor worship, so it’s important to show respect to elders and observe local customs at temples and shrines.
  • Punctuality and Politeness: Taiwanese people value punctuality and politeness, so it’s essential to arrive on time for appointments and use polite language and gestures.
  • Etiquette in Hot Springs: When going to a hot spring bath, it’s customary to wash yourself thoroughly before entering the pool and not to soak for too long.

Best Time to Visit Nanao

The best time to visit Nanao is from late spring to early fall (May-October), when the weather is warm and dry, and the scenery is lush and green. However, it’s also the peak tourist season, so expect crowds and higher prices. The winter months (December-February) can be chilly, but it’s a good time to enjoy hot springs and winter festivals.

Do’s and Don’ts of Nanao


  • Try local foods and beverages
  • Respect local customs and etiquettes
  • Dress modestly when visiting temples
  • Bring appropriate gear for outdoor activities


  • Litter or damage the environment
  • Criticize or insult local customs and traditions
  • Touch or remove cultural artifacts
  • Overstay your visa or violate immigration laws

Safety and Health

Safety in Nanao

Nanao is a safe place to visit, with low crime rates and friendly locals. However, it’s important to take precautions when engaging in outdoor activities, such as hiking or biking. Always check the weather forecast and trail conditions, bring appropriate gear, and stay hydrated.

Health in Nanao

Nanao has a good healthcare system, with several clinics and hospitals that provide quality medical care. However, it’s advisable to have travel medical insurance and consult a doctor before traveling, especially if you have pre-existing conditions. Mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue fever or Japanese encephalitis, may occur in some areas, so bring insect repellent and wear protective clothing.

Getting to Nanao: Transportation Options and Logistics

Nanao is located about 40km from Taipei, and there are several transportation options to get there:

Airports Near Nanao

  • Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport: This is the main international airport in Taiwan, located about 76km from Nanao. You can take a taxi or bus to Taipei City, then transfer to Yilan County.
  • Songshan Airport: This is a domestic airport in Taipei City, located about 60km from Nanao. You can take a taxi or train to Yilan County.

Bus Stations Near Nanao

  • Taipei Bus Station: This is the main bus station in Taipei City, located near Taipei Main Station. You can take a direct bus to Yilan County (about 1-2 hours).
  • Yilan Bus Station: This is the main bus station in Yilan City, located in the city center. You can take a local bus or taxi to Nanao (about 30 minutes).

Other Options

  • Train: You can take an express or local train from Taipei to Yilan, then transfer to a local bus or taxi to Nanao (about 2-3 hours).
  • Rental Car: You can rent a car at the airport or in Taipei City and drive to Nanao (about 1.5-2 hours).

How to Get Around in Nanao

Nanao is a small town that can be easily explored on foot or by bike. However, if you need transportation, there are several options available:

  • Taxi: You can hail a taxi on the street or call a local taxi company. It’s recommended to negotiate the fare before getting in the taxi.
  • Bus: There are several local buses that connect Nanao with other towns in Yilan County. You can purchase bus tickets at the bus station or on the bus.
  • Bicycle: You can rent a bicycle at a local bike shop or your accommodation. Cycling is a great way to explore the scenic routes in Nanao.

Where to Go Next from Nanao: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

If you want to explore more of Yilan County or other parts of Taiwan, there are several nearby destinations and excursions to consider:

  • Luodong Night Market: This night market in Yilan City offers local delicacies, games, and souvenirs, and is a popular spot for tourists and locals.
  • National Center for Traditional Arts: This cultural center in Wujie Township showcases traditional Taiwanese arts, crafts, and performances, and offers workshops and classes.
  • Taroko National Park: This national park in Hualien County is known for its dramatic cliffs, waterfalls, and marble gorges, and offers hiking and sightseeing opportunities.


Nanao is a charming town in Yilan County, Taiwan, that offers a diverse range of tourist attractions, outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, food and drink scene, accommodations, and transportation options. Whether you’re planning a solo trip, a romantic getaway, or a family vacation, Nanao has something for everyone. We hope this travel guide has provided you with useful information and inspiration for your trip to Nanao, and we wish you a pleasant journey!