Overnighting on the Northeast Coast
Ocean Views Before, Mountain Views Behind
Text: Rick Charette
Photos: Jen Guo-chen
When exploring the northeast coast’s long, narrow band of somewhat flat land between Nanya and Toucheng town, your sleep options range from rustic “au naturel” campground accommodations to an upscale spa resort with a top-end VIP suite you can call your own for a night for a mere NT$450,000, though with less kingly trappings starting at NT$8,500.
Longmen Riverside Camping Resort, perhaps Taiwan’s most popular campground, is between coast and highway just north of Fulong town. “Longmen” means “dragon gate,” referring to the debouche of the camp-side Shuangxi River, the northeast’s largest waterway. According to the general manager of the sprawling 37-hectare campground, Chen Chin-ying, the facility was opened in 1991 on the former site of a massive sand-mining operation, and hosted the FICC International Camping Rally in that same year, with participants coming from around the world. Where there was once a giant open pit, today you find rest and relaxation amidst a quiet oasis of tall trees.
Well, quiet during the week, anyway. This is very much a place for families and student groups on weekends. The campground can handle a total of 1,400 people. There is a superb range of accommodation facilities, with 231 campsites (grass, wooden platforms, roofed wooden platforms, and automobile campsites) and spacious, comfortable wood cabins available, and a wide range of recreation facilities – swimming pool, wading pool, sand pool, bike rentals and bikeway, watersports, basketball court, etc. (see our main Feature for more on the exercise options). Food is also sold on-site, and if you arrive with zero in the way of camping gear, no problem – everything from tents and sleeping bags to barbecues and towels can be rented.
If you arrive with zero in the way of camping gear, no problem – everything from tents and sleeping bags to barbecues and towels can be rented
Leo Ocean Resort is the brainchild and, quite evidently, the beloved child of developer John Kao. Just north of Toucheng, it is built on a rugged slope right up to and onto the rocky shore. The architecture emulates Yilan’s traditional three-sided courtyard residences, with red brick, white-mortar trim, and ceramic artworks worked right into the walls. The grounds are landscaped so anything man-made blends with the upraised coral, giant boulders, and stratified rock formations. Pathways curve around the natural “coral art,” and the freshwater swimming pool is built around upraised “coral islands.”
There are lovely alfresco saltwater hot-spring pools, with superb ocean views, and rooms, all sea-facing, are outfitted with Japanese-style tubs. The nature-heated saltwater, which seeps down through stratified rock layers, picking up minerals, is piped up from 800 meters below ground. Within the resort is the Lion’s Kingdom Museum, displaying Kao’s superb private collection of ancient Chinese treasures, most of which he says were smuggled out of China during the Cultural Revolution.
Other fine options to consider are the Fullon Hotel Fulong (http://fulong.fullon-hotels.com.tw), a villa-style resort beside the Longmen campground, and the hot-spring town of Jiaoxi, just south of Toucheng (next stop on the railway), which has scores of quality hot-spring hotels in different price ranges.
English and Chinese
Chen Chin-ying 陳錦營
Fullon Hotel Fulong 福容大飯店福隆
John Kao 高建文
Lion’s Kingdom Museum 河東堂獅子博物館
Longmen Riverside Camping Resort (龍門露營渡假基地)
Add: 100, Fulong St., Fulong Township, Gongliao District, New Taipei City (新北市貢寮區福隆村興隆街100號)
Tel: (02) 2499-1791~3
Website: www.lonmen.tw (in Chinese only)
Leo Ocean Resort (理歐海洋溫泉渡假中心)
Add: 36, Sec. 4, Binhai Rd., Toucheng Township, Yilan County (宜蘭縣頭城鎮濱海路4段36號)
Tel: (03) 978-0782