By Katie May
Nestled in central Western Taiwan, Taichung is a vibrant city with a population of nearly 2.8 million, making it the second most populous city in Taiwan, following New Taipei City. The city's Japanese roots, evident in its Nihongo name, "Taichū," harken back to an era when the Japanese aimed to modernize and develop the area, successfully transforming it into the thriving economic and cultural hub it is today. Taichung was affectionately dubbed "the Kyoto of Formosa" during the Japanese era due to its abundant natural beauty and tranquil ambiance.
Presently, Taichung proudly holds the title of Taiwan's arts and cultural center, boasting an array of captivating museums and cultural venues, including the National Museum of Natural Science, the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, the National Taichung Theater, and the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra—a true delight for those planning their Taichung travel experience.
Top Things To Do In Taichung Should Be In Your Bucket List
1. Get your feet wet at Gaomei Wetlands
The Gaomei Wetlands, situated in the Qingshui District, stands as one of Taiwan's best-preserved wetland ecosystems, covering an expansive area of more than 300 hectares. This habitat is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, including avian species, mud-skippers, and crabs.
Remarkably, Gaomei Wetlands was formerly a beach resort belonging to Taichung City. However, due to the accumulation of sediment resulting from the development of the Port of Taichung, the beach resort was forced to close its doors. Over time, this abandoned coastal destination has gradually transformed into a natural wetland and a haven for aquatic birds. An intricate ecosystem has taken root here, featuring fish, birds, crabs, and plant life, creating an environment that attracts numerous migratory birds seeking a brief respite during the winter months. You can enjoy an eco-friendly exploration of the wetland by following the boardwalk. If you're planning a family day out, this is a great place to include in your itinerary.
Gaomei Wetlands is one of Taiwan's best-preserved wetland ecosystems
2. Eat your way through Fengjia Night Market
Feng Chia Night Market enjoys immense popularity among the local Taiwanese population and is recognized as one of Taiwan's largest night markets. This bustling marketplace is home to an estimated 15,000 shops, eateries, and stalls, making Fengjia Night Market a top choice among night market enthusiasts, particularly for its extensive food offerings. When it comes to selecting a night market to visit in Taichung, Fengjia Night Market undoubtedly takes the spotlight.
The diversity of vendors here caters to various interests, making it an ideal destination for dining, shopping, and entertainment. Feng Chia Night Market emerges as a true paradise for food enthusiasts seeking delectable treats. As night falls, vendors enthusiastically prepare an array of ingredients for their mouthwatering street food offerings, filling the entire market with irresistible savory scents. If your appetite calls, you'll find a plethora of stalls serving popular snacks, often accompanied by queues of eager tourists patiently awaiting their turn to savor these delightful delicacies. This scene characterizes this vibrant night market.
3. Ride a bike around Sun Moon Lake
The region around Sun Moon Lake is quite picturesque and draws many tourists from both domestic and foreign locations at Taichung City. A leisurely bike ride through the area's stunning countryside is a wonderful way to discover it.
The lake may be circled in its entirety for around 30 miles. You will pass by Songbolun, Dajhuhu, Shuiwatou, Tutingzai, and Mt. Qinglong, in addition to the four prominent temples Longfeng, Wenwu, Xuanzang, and Xuanguang. The rich indigenous culture and diverse natural habitat in Taichung City are among the gorgeous and glamorous picturesque features. People who enjoy biking while seeing Sun Moon Lake may find the route's hills and dips to be a touch challenging but extremely fitting!
The region around Sun Moon Lake is quite picturesque and draws many tourists
4. Visit the Dajia Jenn Lann Temple
In Taichung City's Dajia District, the Dajia Jenn Lann Temple is a worship center for those who honor Mazu, the Holy Heavenly Mother. The temple receives a continuous stream of tourists throughout the year, and the Dajia Mazu Pilgrimage, a lively folk event, never fails to bring hordes of devout pilgrims.
Dajia Jenn Lann Temple, with roots tracing back to 1730, has undergone extensive expansions, becoming the magnificent structure we see today. Its architectural features, including the intricately carved front and rear halls, as well as the bell and drum towers, epitomize Taoist design. The weathered pillars and beams bear witness to centuries gone by.
Each day, Dajia Jenn Lann Temple welcomes numerous pilgrims who fill the air with the fragrance of burning incense sticks and the warm glow of joss paper in the furnace. Devout believers gather here to pray to Mazu, make wishes, and fulfill vows. The temple hosts a variety of lively events, but the most prominent is the Mazu Pilgrimage. Accompanied by the sounds of firecrackers, resonant gongs, and rhythmic drums, this annual spectacle extends a global invitation, attracting worshippers from near and far.
Dajia Jenn Lann Temple is a worship center for those who honor Mazu
5. Enjoy pineapple cakes & ice cream at Miyahara
Miyahara stands as a highly sought-after tourist destination in Taichung, conveniently situated in close proximity to the Taichung TRA station. As a result, it's common to spot numerous tourists within, some still carrying their luggage.
This establishment occupies the premises of a former ophthalmology clinic, which later served as Taichung's Public Health Bureau before being transformed into a pastry shop. Miyahara has gained fame for its Taiwanese desserts, with pineapple cakes and ice cream being among its most renowned offerings. Moreover, the establishment's interior is a noteworthy attraction in itself, evoking an ambiance reminiscent of scenes from a Harry Potter movie.
6. Get colorful at Rainbow Village
Rainbow Village, also known as Caihongjuan Village, stands as one of Taichung's premier tourist destinations. Located in Nantun District, it was once a dilapidated military village on the verge of demolition.
Huang Yung-Fu, a former soldier of the Nationalist Kuomintang Army, refused to leave even after he was the village’s last remaining resident. He started painting colorful figures and patterns around his village, saving it from demolition. Today, Rainbow Village receives over one million visitors annually. Aside from the village, however, there isn’t anything of interest in that area, so you should visit Rainbow Village on a guided tour. It is highly recommended for visitors to go on a half-day tour that took us to Rainbow Village and Gaomei Wetlands.
Rainbow Village stands as one of Taichung's premier tourist destinations
How To Travel From Taipei To Taichung
1. From Taichung International Airport to Taichung
Taichung is easily reached by air, with daily domestic and international flights connecting directly to Taichung International Airport. Upon arrival, you can opt for various transportation options, including buses or metered taxis to reach the city. Below are a few sample routes from the Taichung International Airport to Taichung.
Taichung International Airport to Taichung Railway Station
- Taichung Bus Route 9, U Bus Route 302
Taichung International Airport to Taichung Bus Terminal
- A1, A2, or A3 Taichung International Airport Bus
The convenient way to reach Taichung is by air
2. From Taipei to Taichung
For most international travelers, Taipei is the main entry point into Taiwan due to its major international airport, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. The quickest way from Taipei to Taichung is by taking the Metro (MRT) from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei Main Train Station, then catching the Taiwan High-Speed Railway (HSR) to Taichung.
Note that Taichung HSR Station is on the city's outskirts, so you'll need to transfer to a local train for the city center at Xinwuri Station, a one-minute walk from Taichung HSR Station.
- MRT: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei Main Train Station
- HSR: Taipei Main Train Station to Taichung HSR Station
- TRA: Xinwuri Station to Taichung Station
- TRA: Taipei Main Train Station to Taichung Station
3. From Tainan to Taichung
If you're traveling from Southern Taiwan, such as Tainan or Kaohsiung, you can reach Taichung. You can take a high-speed train with a transfer to a regular train or opt for a commuter train. Sample routes from Tainan to Taichung are provided below for reference:
- HSR Train: From Tainan Station to Taichung HSR Station
- TRA Train: From Xinwuri Station to Taichung Station
- TRA Train: From Tainan Station to Taichung Station
In conclusion, Taichung's inviting atmosphere, diverse array of attractions, and pleasant subtropical climate solidify its status as an excellent year-round destination for travelers. Its charming streets and serene landscapes hold the potential for an unforgettable adventure. So, apply for a Taiwan visa, pack your bags, and prepare to uncover the hidden treasures of Taichung. This city's allure knows no bounds, and its wonders are poised for your exploration.