15 Best Things to Do in Taichung, Taiwan
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A colorful, vibrant and fun city, there is an abundance of unique things to do in Taichung, Taiwan’s second largest city. We were initially drawn to the city to visit the quirky Rainbow Village and soon discovered that there are an abundance of places to visit in Taichung. After exploring Taichung and its surrounds, we’ve put together this list of the 15 best things to do in Taichung. Enjoy!
15 Best Things to do in Taichung
From the insanely colourful Rainbow Village to the beautiful Zhongshe Flower Market and the mouthwatering Feng Chia night market it’s hard to narrow down what to do in Taichung. These are our 15 Taichung favourites:
How to get to Taichung
This is the most popular way to get to Taichung from Taipei is by the Taipei High Speed Rail (THSR) and takes only 40 minutes from any of the major stations in Taipei (Taipei Main Station, Banqiao, Nangang station).
The trains are super-fast and frequent and West Taichung is easily explored from the train station. You can book your tickets in advance at discounted prices on the Klook app – check prices now!
1 | Rainbow Village
Rainbow Village is a tiny settlement in the Nantun District of Taichung which is famous for its vibrantly painted houses and streets. It is one of the most colorful spots in Taiwan and visiting Rainbow Village is one of our favorite things to do in Taichung.
The story behind the Rainbow Village is truly inspiring. It began like the many military villages scattered throughout Taichung and Taiwan. These villages are constructed of cheaply built houses that were given to soldiers who fled mainland China and which have deteriorated badly over the years.
Developers moved in to buy up and redevelop the land. With just 11 of the original 1,200 houses remaining in Rainbow Village, a former soldier Mr Huang (now affectionately known as Grandpa) refused to leave and began painting buildings in the village with vibrant colors. The images depict toys, animals, manga characters and the village is uplifting and fun.
Over 1 million people now visit the village every year and, on some days, Grandpa makes a star appearance. He still lives in the village and continues to paint!
Best things to do in Taichung tip: Rainbow Village is immensely popular with tourists and, as a result, can get a little overcrowded at times. We recommend visiting first thing in the morning: it’s relatively quiet until the tourist buses begin to arrive about 30 minutes after opening.
Sim Card and Internet
As with most countries, having mobile data during a trip is invaluable for navigation and research. There are lots of options on arrival at Taipei’s Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) – we reserved a Chunghwa Telecom 4g sim through Klook who offer a slightly discounted rate on the airport price – check prices now!
Where to Stay in Taichung
Taichung is a surprisingly large city and choosing where to stay can be tricky. We recommend:
- CityInn Hotel Plus – Taichung Station Branch – we loved the CityInn brand in Taiwan. Located in east Taichung beside the main train station, the CityInn Hotel Plus is a great option. Rooms are clean and modern and the extra facilities like free common areas with coffee/refreshments and on-site laundry are invaluable – click here to book now!
- La Vida Hotel – Regularly rated as one of the best hotels in Taichung, La Vida Hotel is a great option for those who want easy access to the Feng Chia Night Market. With European designed rooms the hotel is super comfortable and great for a stay in Taichung – click here to book now!
- The Hung’s Mansion – where we chose to stay in Taichung. It’s a great option if you are driving like we were. With free parking, large comfortable rooms and great food, Hungs Mansion is also a short walk to the incredible Feng Chia Night Market – click here to book now!
2 | 921 Earthquake Museum
On Tuesday 21 September 1999 a devastating earthquake hit the centre of Taiwan. Known as the Jiji earthquake, it measured 7.3 on the Richter Scale. Almost 2,500 people lost their lives and over 100,000 Taiwanese were left homeless. The 921 Earthquake museum opened in 2001 and is a lasting memorial to that day.
The museum is located on the site of the former Guangfu High School, part of which crosses the fault on which the earthquake occurred. The damaged buildings and subsided ground still stand as they did after the earthquake struck.
The museum is a poignant memorial to the people who died and were affected to the quake and we highly recommend taking a few hours to visit this unique museum.
3 | Taichung Industries and Creative Park
Originally a traditional brewery, the 5.6acre Taichung Industries and Creative Park is a repurposed art, design and cultural venue where sculptors, writers, painters and performers showcase their talents. The park contains restaurants, art studios, craft stores, bazaars, exhibitions and a museum. There are various creative parks located around Taiwan with the Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei another of our favorites.
4 | Chun Shui Tang – The home of Bubble Milk Tea
Taiwan is heralded as the country which introduced Bubble Tea to the world and Taichung is touted as the origin city of this incredible drink.
For the uninitiated, Bubble Tea (also known as Boba or Milk Pearl Tea) is served cold and comes in a variety of flavors. The basic ingredients are tea, milk, chewy tapioca balls, ice and an assortment of toppings. It generally comes in a sealed cup that you pierce with a large straw, allowing you to drink the cold tea and also suck the tapioca chewy tapioca at the same time.
On a hot day, bubble tea is incredibly refreshing and is one of the best drinks we’ve had on our travels!
Although it’s hotly debated, Taichung’s Chun Shi Tang store is considered the home of the original bubble tea. It was first sold back in the 1980s when the Bubble Tea obsession began in Taiwan.
The bubble tea here is the original version, containing just tea, milk, sugar and tapioca served in a signature blue cup and it really is delicious.
5 | Confucius Temple
Taichung’s Confucius Temple is one of over 20 temples dedicated to Confucius, a great Chinese teacher and philosopher, in Taiwan. The temple dates back to 1899 but the current structure is from the 1970s. The temple is a lovely retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city and the architecture is magnificent.
Best things to do in Taichung tip: if you happen to be in Taichung on September 28, Confucius birthday, make sure to stop by the temple to witness the Chinese ceremonies which take place to commemorate the day.
6 | Zhongshe Flower Market
Located a short drive from central Taiwan is another Taichung highlight, the Zhongshe Flower Market. The Zhongshe Flower market is a flower market with manicured gardens and Instagram worthy props.
Like Rainbow Village, the colours at the Zhongshe Flower garden are incredible. With beautiful water features, colourful flowers and picture perfect photo spots it’s easy to spend half a day here exploring all the parts of the garden.
We had a lot of fun wandering through the gardens and posing at the awesome photo spots: our favourites are the piano in the lavender field, the sunflower field and the photo frames against the mountain backdrop.
Zhongshe is also a really popular barbeque spot where lots of locals gather for an afternoon barbeque at the on site restaurant.
7 | Lavender Cottage Farm
From November to April the purple lavender filled fields at Lavender Cottage are a beautiful place to visit.
Lavender Cottage was set up by two farm loving ladies who quit their city jobs to grow lavender in the mountains outside Taichung. With its stunning lavender gardens, laid back coffee shop, a Wishing Tree and local arts and crafts Lavender Cottage Farm is a great afternoon jaunt from Taichung.
8 | I’m Talato
Taiwan shares its love of themed restaurants with Japan and is home to quirky cafes such as the poo themed Modern Toilet and the alpaca themed Oia Café in Taipei.
In Taichung we loved I’m Talato, an ice cream store famous for both its ice-cream and the ice-cream swimming pool filled with giant ice cream floats. The pool makes I’m Talato extremely popular with Instagram lovers and the shop is usually very busy.
I’m Talato served its ice cream in an upside-down ice-cream cone and it’s really delicious. We highly recommend the matcha ice-cream which is a specialty of theirs.
9 | Feng Chia/ Fengjia Night Market
Taichung is home to one of the biggest and best night markets in Taiwan, the Feng Chia Night Market.
Located next to Taichung’s Feng Chia University, the market’ was a short walk from our hotel (Hungs Mansion) and was so much fun to explore. The market is packed with amazing food and clothes options: our favorite specialties were grilled scallops on a stick, the pork box and fried chicken cutlets
Things to do in Taichung Tip: The market is open most evenings between 7pm and 10pm and it starts to get really busy after 8pm. We tried to get there just after opening when the crowds were smaller and it was easier to explore the market.
10 | Sun Moon Lake
Sun Moon Lake is a scenic 90minute drive from the centre of Taichung. It is one of the gems of Taiwan and is one of its most popular tourist attractions.
Many visitors rent bikes to explore the cycle path which circles the turquoise blue waters of Sun Moon Lake. There’s also a gondola cable car which offers beautiful views of the lake and connects it with the Formosa Aboriginal Cultural Village.
The Ci-En Pagoda and the Wen-Wu Temple are popular Sun Moon Lake sights.
The 8 story Ci-En Pagoda requires a short uphill hike and is renowned for its views over the lake while the Chinese style Wen-Wu is vibrant and loud and there are lovely views of the lake over the burnt orange rooftops.
Best things to do in Taichung tip: the drive between Taichung and Sun Moon Lake takes about 75 minutes so we preferred to base ourselves in Taichung. Sun Moon Lake accommodation tends to be more expensive given its tourist draw and we were happy to drive.
11 | Eat Pineapple Cakes in Miyahara
Famous for its ice cream, chocolate and pineapple cakes, Miyahara is a popular dessert shop in Taichung. Once the home of the Taichung Health Bureau, Miyahara is located in a red brick building with an interior designed to resemble Hogwarts Harry Potter movies!
Best things to do in Taichung tip: there are often long lines at Miyahara so try and visit close to opening or later in the evening when it is less busy.
12 | Totoro Bus Stop
If you are a fan of the 1980’s Japanese animated film My Neighbour Totoro, then a visit to the Totoro Bus Stop is a Taichung essential. It featured in the scene where Satsuki waited for her father at the bus stop and Totoro gave her shelter from the rain.
13 | Animation Alley
Known locally as Painted Animation Lane, Animation Alley is a located on a quiet set of small side streets in down downtown Taichung. With everything from manga comic characters to Super Mario and the Minions, it is fun exploring the streets to discover the many hidden pieces of street art strewn throughout the area.
Best things to do in Taichung tip: Animation Alley is a great stop for kids familiar with the cartoon characters and adults nostalgic for the heroes of days gone by!
14 | The Kaomei Wetlands
The Kaomei Wetlands are the perfect escape from the chaotic Taichung city life. The tidal flat is renowned for its stunning sunsets and is home to beautiful wildlife including thousands of crabs and birds. Catch the sea breeze on the specially built boardwalk and enjoy the sunset and the marine life.
Best things to do in Taichung tip: bring a jacket as the boardwalk is often breezy and it can be very chilly late in the evenings.
15 | Calligraphy Greenway
The Calligraphy Greenway is a tree-lined boulevard which runs between the National Museum of Natural Science and National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. The design is calligraphy inspired and the 3.6km walkway is home to open-air art. The route includes the arts and crafts heavy Fantasy Story, art museums, restaurants and the CMP Block Museum of Arts, Taichung’s living museum which often hosts interactive exhibitions.
For more on Taiwan
Check out our other Taiwan reads:
- our 30 best things to do in Taipei
- a two week Taiwan itinerary
- our ultimate Taipei itinerary
- a guide to renting a car in Taiwan
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