Head over to northeastern Taiwan and you get to Yilan County. Yilan City is only 49 minutes by car from Taipei, 1 hour 35 minutes by train from Songshan Station. Its close proximity to Taipei is the reason why many locals often head over to Yilan City for the weekend for a getaway. It was in this little City that made me wonder why I didn’t get to enjoy this kind of fun as a kid some 30 over years ago. The city is like a kid’s world. It is as if the kids ruled the city.
Jimmy Square – The Suspended Train
Head over to Jimmy Square and there you’ll spot The Starry Starry Night train hanging from the ceiling. Starry Starry Night (星空) is a 2011 Taiwanese fantasy drama film starring Xu Jiao and Eric Lin Hui-Min, Harlem Yu, Rene Liu and Gwei Lun-Mei. It was based on Taiwanese author Jimmy Liao’s illustrated novel Starry Starry Night. Jimmy was born in Yilan in 1958 and has authored some 50 plus picture books. Some of his books have been translated into many other languages while some of his titles have been adapted into musical dramas and animation.
Under the train, some make shift stores have been set up where you can purchase some souvenirs, crafts and clothing.
Across the road is the Yilan Train Station which first opened on 24 March 1919. A statue of a giraffe sticks out from the entrance of the station.
Cross the road and walk a few steps and you get to a park featuring characters from Jimmy Liao’s Turn Left, Turn Right (向左走·向右走) graphic novel that was turned into a movie that was released in 2003. The movie starred Takeshi Kaneshiro and Gigi Leung.
There are larger-than-life luggage installations as well as the iconic scene where the violinist John Liu (played by Takeshi Kaneshiro) walks past Eve Choi (played by Gigi Leung).
You’ll find meaning in these installations if you are familiar with the movie or the works of Jimmy Liao. Nevertheless, they are nice installations to snap photos or even Instagram stories with.
Enroute back to Silks Place Yilan, we stumbled upon this play ground that features yet another giraffe and a van that resembles an elephant. Just something cute to look at while some of the kids were just running around playing with the sand.
Silks Place Yilan – Haven for Kids
Silks Place Yilan is a huge Hotel Complex located from level six to 11 atop Luna Plaza, the largest shopping centre in Eastern Taiwan. The hotel has 193 guest rooms with 15 different types of suite and guest room categories. Whilst most of the levels in this hotel are catered to adults or families, rooms on levels eight and nine are dedicated levels just for families with younger children. The walls of the corridors on these levels are painted with cartoon characters and rooms are equipped with kid’s amenity, tent and a special giveaway.
The Fantasy Castle located on the level eight is an open arena that features a bouncing bee, two large playground slides and a playground where kids can have fun and play games. It operates from 9 am to 11 am and from 3 pm to 8.30 pm.
The racing track on these two levels are actually roads for kids to ride their miniature motorised cars and bikes. There are sports car models and kids can drive around directly to their rooms and park outside their rooms.
Wow Wow Land is a cow boy themed space for parents and their children. There are three sections in Wow Wow Land. A table top game or an interactive game on the 75-inch screen will keep the kids entertained. Drinks are available from the Wow Bar. Complimentary Nespresso coffee and other beverages are available for parents. A kid-friendly movie theatre screens Disney movies at 4 pm and 8 pm daily. Wow Loft is where parents and kids can read.
Wow Wow Land operates from 9 am to 11 am and from 1.30 pm to 9.45 pm.
Silks Place Yilan also has activities for the adults. There is an outdoor and indoor pool, a spa, a table tennis room, fitness rooms, and sauna. Hotel guests can enjoy unlimited movie sessions at LUNA Digital Cinemax on level three of the mall.
Silks Place Yilan is located at 36 Minquan Road, Sec. 2, Yilan City, Taiwan. Visit www.silksplace-yilan.com.tw for more information and reservations.