Often flying under the radar of travellers in Taiwan, Taichung is a city which holds many of the country’s most fascinating little marvels! The nation’s industrial powerhouse is also the gateway for exploring the island’s mountainous interior and some of its most incredible natural wonders.
In the bustling city, Taiwan’s second-largest in fact, museums stand next to ancient temples and artistic delights, while the city’s architecture arcs back to a time when Japanese colonials ruled the land. There’s no doubt that this city deserves a place on your itinerary!
So in that case, here are the 20 best highlights to see in Taichung
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This is Taichung’s biggest star attraction by far! Once a military village, this vibrant array of houses was originally provided to members of the Nationalist Kuomintang Army who fled mainland China.
These dilapidated structures were headed for demolition before the saving hand of Huang Yung-Fu, a former soldier who is now fondly known as Rainbow Grandpa! He was personally responsible for painting each and every house with colourful, eye-catching designs.
Today, over 1 million people visit the village each year! On some days, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Rainbow Grandpa himself, who still lives in the village!
921 Earthquake Museum
Taiwan is a nation that’s sadly prone to regular earthquakes that occur on a near daily basis. On 21st September 1999, a devastating earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter Scale resulted in one of Taiwan’s most tragic natural disasters. Almost 2,500 citizens lost their lives and over 100,000 Taiwanese were left homeless.
The 921 Earthquake Museum stands as a poignant memorial reminder of that day. It’s situated on the former site of Guangfu High School which partly crosses the fault on which the earthquake occurred. As such, you’ll be able to see the catastrophic damage caused to the nearby structures and the shifting of the ground that occurred on that day.
The Gaomei Wetlands
Stretched along Taichung’s vast coastlines, the Gaomei Wetlands are a breathtaking expanse of tidal flats which are celebrated for their natural beauty, particularly during sunsets!
Beyond that, the wetlands serve as a vital ecological sanctuary, providing a home to a diverse range of wildlife which includes 120 bird species, crabs and mudskippers. Yet, the most striking feature can be spotted from miles away in the form of a row of towering wind turbines stretched across the coastline.
Dakeng Trail No.2
Embracing the city along its eastern edges is a stunning series of mountains offering breathtaking vistas and thrilling hiking trails throughout. Among the many trails worth spending your day exploring, Dakeng Trail No. 2 is the very best!
This is not like any other hike, this one is a true adventure! The majority of the trail is made up of a log-built pathway that winds its way through the peaks and valleys of this extraordinary landscape.
Want to find the best hiking trails in Taiwan? Check out The Ultimate Travel Guide: Alishan.
Once the home of an old ophthalmology clinic, Miyahara has since transformed into a hot spot for all travellers in Taichung. Not least because its iconic interior looks like something pulled straight out of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley!
However, that isn’t the real star of the show. Miyahara also serves some delectable treats in the form of homemade pineapple cakes and an extensive variety of ice cream. Great place for an afternoon snack!
The ultimate guide to exploring the creative hotspot and international up-and-coming city – Taichung!
Where to go and what to see!
Chun Shui Tang
Taiwan is the birthplace of bubble tea, but where exactly is still up for debate! But one thing is for sure, it came from Taichung!
This unique beverage also commonly known as Boba or pearl tea consists of milk tea (usually made with condensed milk) and combined with a number of chewy toppings, predominantly tapioca balls. The drink is a cornerstone of Taiwanese culture with vendors selling them around every corner, even in 7/11s!
Many claim its origins trace back to Taichung’s Chun Shui Tang store in the 1980s. Though it is a chain which can be found nationwide, there’s no better place to try the OG drink!
Want to learn more about bubble tea? Check out What is Bubble Tea? The Rise of a Global Trend.
Feng Chia Night Market
Taiwan loves a good night market, that’s for sure! Taichung itself has many to choose from, but only one holds the title of Taiwan’s biggest!
This collection of 15,000 shops, restaurants, and stalls can gather crowds of up to 30,000 people during the weekends! The lively hub of culinary treats and cheap merchandise makes it a favourite spot amongst Taichung’s youth as well as every other visitor to the city. Grab yourself a cong you bing and enjoy the pleasant chaos.
Lavender Cottage Farm
From November to April, shrubs of lavender blossom with an enticing aroma that beckons visitors to leave the city centre and delve into Taichung’s mountains. By doing so, you’ll be following in the footsteps of two pioneering ladies who left the hustle and bustle of the city to establish the Lavender Cottage.
Taichung Industries and Creative Park
In the era of Japanese rule, the Taishō Brewing Company stood as Taiwan’s largest brewery. The once-booming factory has since been repurposed into the Taichung Industries and Creative Park.
The area has now become dedicated to fostering artistic endeavours with numerous exhibition halls showcasing a diverse array of talents. From sculptors and writers to painters and performers, their crafts and performances are put on display for a wonderfully immersive artistic experience.
Painted Animation Lane
Tucked away amid Taichung’s bustling streets, Painted Animation Lane is one of the city’s quirkiest treasures! The street has been given an eye-catching make-over of beloved animated characters, with the likes of Super Mario, the Simpsons, Looney Tunes, and Marvel superheroes all pasted along the walls in great detail.
Strolling through these narrow streets is a wonderful little nostalgic stroll through the classic shows that shaped our childhood.
If you want a successful restaurant in Eastern Asia, there’s one simple trick – make it Instagrammable! I’m Talato followed this rule to perfection with its themed restaurant and photo-worthy desserts!
Not only is the ice cream store famous for its mouth-watering snacks (particularly the upside-down ice cream cone) but it’s also known for its funky interior. It comes fully equipped with a swimming pool filled with giant ice cream floats! You can almost hear the crowds of influencers!
Confucius holds immense significance in Taiwanese culture, with his teachings shaping not only Chinese culture but also permeating throughout surrounding Asian nations. As such, many cities across the continent have modest temples dedicated to him and his teachings. This is actually only one of 20 other Confucius temples in the city!
This particular one dates back to 1899 and is a peaceful retreat from the surrounding streets. Inside you’ll find a tranquil sanctuary, amongst the humble designs and spiritual teachings.
Want to learn more about temples in Taiwan? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Taiwanese Temples.
Zhongshe Flower Market
The vibrant city of Taichung is at its brightest at the Zhongshe Flower Market! This highly instagrammable site boasts meticulously landscaped gardens, captivating water features, and an abundance of flowers that create a picture-perfect setting year-round.
Among its highlights are expansive fields of lavender (just in case you haven’t had enough yet) and upward-stretching sunflowers which all stand before a beautiful mountain backdrop. Quite the postcard image!
While I typically don’t highlight specific restaurants in any of my articles, I just had to make an exception with this one! This traditional Japanese restaurant featuring authentic floor seating beautifully echoes the area’s colonial heritage. But its charm doesn’t stop there!
Wander behind the restaurant and you’ll come across a jaw-dropping zen garden that overlooks the city and its surrounding landscapes. It’s undeniably one of the city’s most breathtaking dining spots.
Taichung effortlessly breaks up the monotony of city life with its stunning Calligraphy Greenway. This 3.6km tree-lined boulevard serves as an artistic pathway dotted with attractions like the National Museum of Natural Science and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.
While for some the avenue offers moments of serene retreat, others find it one for bursts of creative energy.
Here’s a list of the 20 best sites to see during your time in the artistic and cultural centre of Taiwan, Kaohsiung.
National Taichung Theater
A popular spot among tour groups, the National Taichung Theater stands as one of the city’s most captivating structures. It was designed with a distinctive streamlined shape which was inspired by the Sound Cave concept.
With its cutting-edge design and world-renowned performances inside, it’s quite a unique spot!
Guguan Hot Spring
Taiwan has an incredible number of hot springs scattered across the country. Snuggly situated among the rugged mountain terrain that lines the city, Guguan offers comfortably warm sulfur-rich hot springs throughout the year.
Despite the high sulphur content of the water creates a less appealing odour, it does apparently cause wonders for the skin! Legend has it that the Meiji Emperor of Japan had a son after visiting the hot spring, thus earning Guguan the nickname “Son Springs.”
Discover the spiritual home of Taiwanese hot springs! Check out The Ultimate Travel Itinerary: Beitou in 1 Day.
Dajia Jenn Lann Temple
In a country of many fascinating temples, this is Taichung’s prettiest offering. This iconic Matsu temple, steeped in 200 years of history, remains a beacon for pilgrims throughout the year.
While it may not be as lavish as others you’ll find in Taiwan, its allure lies in hosting some of the nation’s most revered religious treasures. Those include the esteemed violet jade Mazu and the revered Golden Mazu – an absolute must-see!
Wufeng Lin Family Garden
The Wufeng Lin Family House encompasses a series of beautiful gardens and was once the residence of Lin Wen-hsien, an imperial scholar.
Initially erected during the Qing dynasty, these grounds gained fame across Taiwan for their exquisite design. Over time, external influences introduced Japanese and Western elements, resulting in the captivating fusion of styles seen today – a testament to its evolving beauty.
Yet another hib for creativity and craft, this spot stands out with its narrow streets and vibrant market scene. It’s a spot where locals showcase their unique creations, drawing crowds of young enthusiasts exploring handmade jewellery, artisanal clothing, and an array of trinkets to complement their personal style.
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