As you guys might know, we had been to Taiwan recently (did you know that Indians can get a free Taiwan visa?). We split our time in Taiwan across Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung, the three biggest cities of Taiwan. Given that I have a soft corner for Taichung (and as you read the post, you’ll know why!), so decided I’ll write about it first. There are a lot of things to do in Taichung, and ought to figure into every Taiwan itinerary.
The name Taichung means “middle of Taiwan” and is the third biggest city in Taiwan. Foxconn (40% of all consumer electronics sold worldwide are produced by this company including iPhones, PlayStation, etc) and many OEM manufacturing companies are based out of this city. As expected, the cost of living in Taichung is lesser than Taipei.
The most convenient way to travel from Taipei to Taichung is the High-Speed Rail aka HSR. Imagine covering 140 odd km in under 60 mins 🙂 So, let’s get to Taichung – you would require two full days to explore the Taichung and the places around it.
Places to visit in Taichung
If you have at least a couple of days, here’s the list of things to do in the Taichung region.
- Rainbow Village
- Zhongshe Flower Market
- Xinshe Castle
- Gaomei Wetlands
- Sun Moon Lake (one day trip)
- Chung Tai Chan Monastery
- Taichung Confucius Temple
- Lavender Cottage
- Qingjing Farm
- Chun Shui Tang Cafe – the birthplace of Bubble Tea – Multiple branches
- Painted Animated Lane
- Fengchia Night Market
Things to do in Taichung – Pre-book your tours here:
- Gaomei wetlands & Rainbow village: This full day tour is a must do in Taichung. You can read more about these two places below.
- Day trip to Sun Moon Lake: This is one trip that we weren’t able to go on, given that we did not have much time to spend in Taichung, but we wish we did. This 1 day trip to Sun Moon Lake is something that you should book the moment you plan your trip to Taichung.
Well, I can go on but these are mostly the places that people explore. I am listing down the places we visited using a tour guide. We spent about 11 hours in Taichung before heading to Kaohsiung for the night. We were able to visit the Rainbow Village, Chun Shui Tang, Zhongshe Flower Market, Xinshe Castle, and Gaomei Wetlands (in that order in an SUV).
We took the HSR from Taipei at 0731 AM and reached Taichung at 0820 AM (we took advantage of the 3 Day THSR Tourist Pass, meant only for tourists). Zhen and Oliver – one of the cutest couples we’ve met (and who don’t look their age) picked us up from the HSR station. They drove us around the city taking us to the places we wanted to visit, found a vegetarian restaurant for us and also introduced us to a fruit that’s unheard of in India called Loquats.
Zhen also gave us a bag of goodies which had fruits and biscuits to ensure we eat through the day to enjoy Taichung. I think we were plain lucky to have met them and spent the day with them in Taichung. Also, by the end of the day, Zhen and Oliver had more energy than us – the highlight of the trip 😉
Rainbow Village in Nantun District is known to get crowded and therefore Oliver and Zhen drove there first. In 20 mins, people started pouring in. Why?? To meet the Rainbow Grandpa and his colourful work. Huang Yung-Fu, a veteran soldier single handed-ly painted the small village with vibrant colours. Till date, Huang Yung-Fu paints the village which attracts people from all over the world.
You need to pay NT$ 50 to get a souvenir of his painting and a picture along with him. He poses like how 🙂 You will spend about 20-30 minutes here to visit his place, to look at his paintings and get a chance to take a picture with him.
Chun Shui Tang
The birthplace of bubble tea aka pearls aka tapioca balls, if you are a fan of it, how will you not go here? Lin Xiuhui is the mother of this creation which quickly became a rage and spread like wildfire all over the world.
We went to the one in Chaoma 3rd street and I expected a small place where they will still have the original set up etc while we found a fancy cafe serving other drinks and food too. The original cafe is located in Siwei Street.
Zhongshe Flower Market
I’ll be honest, we were not really excited to see this place as we knew this was more for Instagram uploads than the flowers as such. We were wrong about what was in store in Sanfeng Road, Houli District. Though the spread is not huge, there is something magical about this place that just makes the mood merrier.
Call it the colours, the flowers themselves or the cute set up of pianos, drums, windmills, swings etc. This is a romantic place and one can easily fall in love with the various flowers you get to see.
Entry Fee: 150 NT$ PP
Train: TRA train to Tai’an (Houli) station and taxi (200 NT$) from there or local rail to Zhongshe station.
A: You will never see castles in Taiwan!!
B: Says who?
Yes, this medieval looking castle in Xiezhong Street, Xinshe District also known as Summit Resort, is an inspiration and copy of castles that one will find in European countries. A fairy tale fantasy land, waterfalls, pond, towers and lawns will only make you believe that you are in now in the land of Europe.
A backdrop for perfect pictures, this castle and the gardens here are for sure to make one feel relaxed. They even have a copy of Stonehenge in the garden.
Entry Fee: NT$ 250 per person
Bus: 270, 271, 276 or 277 outside the Taichung Railway Station and get off at Bus station Zhongxingling. Taxi after that to reach the place.
A huge flatland in Qingshui District known for its sunset and reflection pictures that one can take here 🙂 The turbines makes the backdrop beautiful, lots of migratory birds, thousands of crabs and mud-skippers is Gaomei in short.
One can either sit here for hours or take that walk on to the wetlands and dipping your feet in that cold water. There is also a small museum that kids will enjoy.
We left from there to take our HSR to Kaohsiung and with that, we had to say goodbye to Zhen, Oliver and Taichung.
If you need to see everything in and around Taichung, excluding the hikes etc, you will need three full days to make the best of this beautiful city.