If you plan to visit the scenic forested mountains of Taipingshan in Yilan County, northeast Taiwan, note that there is only limited accommodation available there and you have to make reservations several months in advance. On our recent trip along the Northern Cross-Island Highway and to Taipingshan we did stay at a guesthouse located on the banks of the Lanyang River not far from where the mountain road up to Taipingshan starts, the Ying Shih Guest House.
The “Guest House” in Ying Shih Guest House is misleading. This is a large complex with two restaurants in the main reception building, a separate building with hotel-style rooms, and two “streets” of wood cabins. A few kilometers north of the Highway 7 and 7A intersection, it is shoehorned between the 7 and the farm field-carpeted bed of the generally almost dry Lanyang River. Guestrooms are large, and Western in styling. The hotel-style rooms have white-painted walls and wood floors; the cabins are all-wood. Each of the latter has a private parking space. Ying Shih hosts a regular schedule of fun activities (fee for each), including indigenous-theme mochi-making and leather-crafts DIY sessions, tractor-pulled riverbed tours, and eco-theme walking tours. (Rooms start at NT$2,200; breakfast included.)
We enjoyed a great meal at the Ying Shih Guest House Revolving Restaurant, located atop the main building. Western décor, roomy and airy, it presents diners with tremendous views up and down the mountain-bracketed Lanyang River valley. The eco-friendly facility is Taiwan’s first and sole water-powered revolving restaurant. Dinner is served 5-7pm; coffee, other drinks, and desserts are served at other times (operating hours 11am-9pm). The evening set meals, served Western-style, primarily feature Chinese dishes, with such tasty and hearty entrees as sweet-and-sour chicken, soy-braised pork, and salt-baked or fried trout (NT$280~330). There’s also a vegetarian option. Your meal comes with all-you-can-eat rice and savory pork-ball with onion soup.