As the second-largest city in Taiwan, Taichung (台中) is a vibrant city with a thriving cultural scene. Located on the west coast of Taiwan, Taichung rose as an economic, transportation and cultural hub during the Japanese occupation period due to the development of highways and railway. The city has a modern landscape and open spaces that are welcoming to both locals and tourists.
Besides finding the remnants of Japanese culture, there are many things to do in Taichung, especially if it is your first time travelling solo in the city. I’ll show you all the best attractions in Taichung and other day trip ideas in this post.
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Before you visit Taichung in Taiwan
Before you visit Taichung, take a look at my post on all my best tips for travelling to Taiwan. I included a lot of information, including getting a Taiwan prepaid SIM card, transportation around the country and more.
Here are a few quick tips for travelling to Taichung:
- Purchase a rechargeable smartcard called EasyCard or iPass. Either card is good for taking public transportation in major cities in Taiwan. You can get a rechargeable card at any major train station or convenience store in Taiwan.
- Taichung is a safe city for solo female travellers.
- If you want to see all the Taichung attractions in this post, you will need a few days in Taichung. Stay in the Central District so you are close to all the public transportation.
How to get to Taichung Taiwan
From Taichung International Airport to Taichung
Taichung is accessible by air and there are daily domestic and international flights (from Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, and Thailand) fly directly into Taichung International Airport.
From the airport, several buses will take you into Taichung. Alternatively, you can take a metered taxi.
Below is 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
- Time: 60 minutes
- Cost: about NT$15 (with EasyCard or iPass)
- Taichung International Airport to Taichung Bus Terminal
- A1, A2, or A3 Taichung International Airport Bus
- Time: from 45 minutes
- Cost: NT$100
From Taipei to Taichung
Most international travellers will be coming from Taipei (台北) because there are more international flights flying into Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
The fastest way of getting from Taipei to Taichung is to take the Metro (MRT) from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei Main Train Station. Then take Taiwan High-Speed Railway (HSR) to Taichung.
However, Taichung HSR Station is at the edge of the city, so you will have to hop on another local train to go into the town. Get on the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) train at Xinwuri Station, which is a one minute walk from Taichung HSR Station.
- MRT: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei Main Train Station
- Time: from 35 minutes
- Cost: NT$150
- HSR: Taipei Main Train Station to Taichung HSR Station
- Time: 47 minutes +
- Cost: NT$700
- Check Taipei to Taichung HSR train schedule and cost
- TRA: Xinwuri Station to Taichung Station
- Time: 12 minutes
- Cost: NT$15
- Check Xinwuri Station to Taichung Station train schedule and cost
Alternatively, you can take TRA, a regular train from Taipei to Taichung for a much cheaper price.
- TRA: Taipei Main Train Station to Taichung Station
- Time: 2 hours 30 minutes +
- Cost: NT$241 +
- Check Taipei to Taichung train schedule and cost
From Tainan to Taichung
If you are coming from the south, you could be coming from Tainan (臺南), Kaohsiung (高雄) or other cities. You can either go to Taichung with a high-speed train (with a transfer to a regular train) or a regular commuter train.
See below for a few sample routes from Tainan to Taichung.
- HSR Train: from Tainan Station to Taichung HSR Station
- Time: 38 minutes +
- Cost: NT$650
- Check Tainan to Taichung HSR train schedule and cost
- TRA Train: from Xinwuri Station to Taichung Station
- Time: 12 minutes
- Cost: NT$15
- Check Xinwuri Station to Taichung Station train schedule and cost
- TRA Train: from Tainan Station to Taichung Station
- Time: 1 hour 20 minutes +
- Cost: NT$363+
- Check Tainan to Taichung train schedule and cost
How to get around Taichung Taiwan
Taichung City Bus
Taichung is a relatively big city, and it would easier if you take the Taichung City Bus to get to different areas of the city. Buy an EasyCard or iPass to take the public bus easily. As of 2021, the basic fare for a bus ride is NT$20.
YouBike is a point-to-point electronic bike-sharing program that is popular in most cities in Taiwan, including Taichung. You can pick up a bike at one location and drop it off at another.
Use your EasyCard or iPass and your local mobile number to register the first time you are using YouBike. The first 30 minutes are free then it is NT$10 for every 30 minutes after.
If you don’t want to take the bus or use the shared bike program, Uber is an excellent and cheap transportation option. Download the Uber app and set up the app before you use the app. And if you are setting it up in Taiwan, you will need a local phone number.
Where to stay in Taichung Taiwan
There are many excellent affordable hotels and hostels in Taichung. The majority of them are around Taichung Railway Station, which is a good location because of its accessibility to major attractions.
Another option is to stay in Xitun District (西屯區) which is further north of the city. But the location is quite good as well because it is close to shops, restaurants and Feng Jia Night Market.
Here are my top suggestions for a solo traveller:
- Star Hostel Taichung Parklane (誠星旅館) ($) – One of the newest and most luxurious hostels in Taichung. And it is located on the 15th floor of the Green Park Lane Shopping Centre.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Norden Ruder Hostel Taichung (路得行旅) ($) – The high-end hostel does not feel like a hostel at all. The interior is minimal and Scandinavian-like. And it is directly across from Taichung Railway Station. I wrote a full review on Norden Ruder Hostel here.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- SOF Hotel (植光花園酒店) ($$) – From the facade of the building to every aspect of the interior, the materials and finishes for every surface and detail are considered. The guest rooms are designed in minimalist industrial aesthetics. I enjoyed the room so much that I wrote a full review on SOF Hotel here.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
Taichung Travel Guide: What to do in Taichung Taiwan
Taichung is a hub for all things art and culture. You can do a one day tour of all the art and cultural attractions mentioned below and another day wandering around the city for the rest of the tourist attractions.
Whatever you do, make sure to take a look at the map above and add these Taichung attractions to your itinerary.
1. Miyahara (宮原眼科)
Miyahara used to be an ophthalmology clinic, but it is a very popular tourist attraction today. Visitors go to Miyahara to see the Harry Potter-eques interior, buy pineapple cakes, and try their famous ice cream.
They have over 50 flavours of ice cream. Choose one of the many tea-infused flavours or chocolate flavours. Protip: go early or late because there is always a long queue.
2. Taichung Second Market (第二市場)
If you are looking for good food early in the morning, then you must visit Taichung Second Market. There is plenty of traditional Taiwanese food inside the market. But go early because many vendors close when they run out of food. Many of the food vendors are near the east and south entrances.
If you go there for breakfast, try the braised pork rice, radish cake with a fried egg, or soup with wonton, and wash it down with a Taiwanese black tea.
Besides cooked food, there are other things to do at the Taichung Second Market. Check out the coffee shops, clothing stores, tailors and other retailers. And there is even an old temple in the hexagonal courtyard.
3. Taichung Park (臺中公園)
As the oldest park in the city, Taichung Park spans over 10 acres where you will find Rih-Yue Lake, an artificial lake, an arch bridge and Hu Xin Pavilion, which is a double pavilion that was built to commemorate the Crossway Railway in 1908. Locals like to hang out here because of all the outdoor recreational equipment like tennis courts and playgrounds.
4. Yizhong Street Night Market (一中商圈)
Yizhong Street Night Market is a centrally located night market and is a favourite amongst all the locals. There are street vendors, cafes and restaurants along the main road where you can try some of the best food in Taiwan. And if you poke around the side streets, there are many boutique stores and vendors selling souvenirs and other knick-knacks.
Some of my favourite food at Yizhong Street is the braised food, Taiwanese pepper bun, papaya milkshake and sugar cane ice cream.
If you stay in the Central District in Taichung, you can easily come back here several times throughout your trip. I highly recommend coming back a few times as this is one of my fav night markets in Taichung!
5. Taichung Confucius Temple (台中孔廟)
Built between 1972 and 1976, Taichung Confucius Temple is designed and constructed in a classic architectural style of the Song Dynasty. The temple complex layout resembles the original Confucius Temple in Qufu, Shandong, which is also the birthplace of Confucius in China.
Even if you don’t know much about the history of the temple, it is worth seeing the grandeur of the temple. The roofs and beams are decorated with many different colours and materials. And colourful paintings in the Song style are found in each hall.
6. Paochueh Temple (寶覺禪寺)
Paochueh Temple was built to commemorate all the fallen Japanese soldiers during World War II. Since their remains were not claimed, the deceased were gathered into the columbarium at the temple. Many Japanese tourists come here to pay their respects every year.
The temple includes the old temple surrounded by a new structure and the 7-storey giant golden laughing Buddha.
7. Chun Shui Tang (春水堂)
If you are a bubble tea fan, then don’t leave Taichung without trying THE original bubble tea at Chun Shui Tang, the original home of this Taiwanese specialty drink.
There are many types of bubble teas to choose from. But try the classic pearl milk tea which was first created in 1987. Or if you prefer the signature black tea, that’s a favourite too.
Chun Shui Tang also has a food menu at their original tea shop. Try their vegetarian noodle and a lotus wrap sticky rice—both delicious and satisfying.
8. Painted Animation Lane (動漫彩繪巷)
Painted Animation Lane is a small alley full of graffiti of anime and popular cartoon characters. You might recognize some cartoon characters like Super Mario Brothers, Popeye, Dragon Ball, and more.
These colourful murals are painted on both sides of the alley, and it is best to go during the day to appreciate this delightful art scene fully.
9. Zhongxin Market (忠信市場)
Zhongxin Market is a small retro market with local restaurants, coffee shops and quirky shops. The market is quite dark and is tucked away in a block of old vintage buildings.
Walk through the corridors between the shops and restaurants; you might find more shops and people taking photos for their Instagram. The market is across the street from the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.
10. National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (國立台灣美術館) – temporarily closed
The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (NTMoFA) showcases many types of modern and contemporary artwork by Taiwanese artists. Part of the museum’s mission is to encourage art exchange with overseas organizations and promote art education.
The museum includes all the outdoor exhibits in the outdoor courtyard and within the main building spanning over four floors. Admission is entirely free.
11. Shen Ji New Village (審計新村)
Shen Ji New Village was originally built as a government dormitory, but it has since been converted to a creative hotspot where young entrepreneurs come together and transformed the area into a lively neighbourhood.
There are boutique shops, cafes and restaurants around the small streets of Shen Ji New Village. And the area is busy on the weekends as there is a creative marketplace and also many people taking Instagram photos.
12. CMP Block Museum of Arts (勤美術館) – temporarily closed
CMP (China Metal Products) Block Museum of Arts is indeed one-of-a-kind! It is the first museum in Taiwan to use outdoor spaces to display contemporary art installations. The structure-less museum is next to Calligraphy Greenway, where all the exhibits seamlessly integrate into nature.
However, CMP is currently closed for renovation. Check their website and see when they open again.
13. National Taichung Theatre (台中國家歌劇院)
While the primary purpose of the National Taichung Theatre is to promote art, incubate creative ideas, and host various live performances, many people visit the theatre to see the futuristic modern architecture.
While you are there, walk through the entire theatre and enjoy all the architectural details and exciting spaces. The performance stages are on the second through the fourth floor, a restaurant on the fifth, and a cafe, shop and “art corner” are all on the main floor. And don’t forget to take the elevator to the Sky Garden on the rooftop (see the main photo). It is an excellent spot to rest.
Plus, there are outdoor concerts and screenings from time to time so check the theatre’s website for upcoming events.
14. Feng Chia Night Market (逢甲夜市)
Feng Chia Night Market is the biggest night market in Taiwan. Located at the north end of the city in Xitun District, the market has over 30,000 people visiting during the weekend. And it is popular with locals as the night market is located right by Feng Chia University.
I found some of the best Taiwanese food at Feng Chia Night Market. I really liked the Taiwanese hot dogs that are made with sticky rice, a thin scallion pancake with different flavours, and also an egg waffle that looks like mini chickens.
When you’re not eating at Feng Chia, there are many shops in the area too. The stores around the neighbourhood sell many things including clothing, accessories and souvenirs.
15. Eat your way around Taichung
Besides all the food recommendation already suggested in this post, there are many more places to eat in Taichung.
Below are some restaurants and coffee shop recommendations. You can find more information about each location in each pin in Google Maps.
- Arashi Braised Minced Pork Shop (嵐肉燥專賣店) – this food vendor inside Taichung Second Market makes a delicious soup with wonton, meat roll, fish ball and radish
- Bashi Bao (盛橋刈包) – they serve fusion gua bao (steamed bun with pork and pickled vegetable with peanut sauce) and they keep reinventing their menu to create new fusion gua bao’s. And they serve breakfast gua bao for guests of Shin Sei Bashi Hostel (which is just upstairs)
- Gubami – order their Michelin-level beef noodle soup. Not cheap but really delicious!
- Mei Jian Tea (小庭找茶) – try their signature dessert which has a traditional cookie and ice cream inside. You can find this dessert shop on the perimeter of Taichung Second Market.
- Workshop – a coffee serving the most Instagrammable blue butterfly tea latte
- Mezamashikohi Coffee – a Scandinavian design inspired cafe with excellent coffee and a great spot for remote work
Other things to do in Taichung: Outside of Central District
Below are some of the best things to do in Taichung that is just outside of the Central District. You can see some of these attractions as half-day trips or plan a full day excursion.
1. Rainbow Village (彩虹眷村) – temporarily closed
At the west end of Taichung, you will find the whimsical and colourful Rainbow Village. It is a very popular spot for taking photos for Instagram. There are tons of photo ops in just a small block of colourful houses.
Walk through all the narrow pathways, and you will find colourful surprises around each corner. And if you are lucky, you might even get to meet Rainbow Grandpa, who painted the houses to help save the village as it was about to be demolished by the government.
2. Luce Memorial Chapel (路思義教堂)
The Luce Memorial Chapel is part of Tunghai University in Taichung. It is a Christian chapel to honour Rev. Henry W. Luce, who is an American missionary in China during the late 19th century.
Most people visit the chapel because of its architectural design. The chapel is on an irregular hexagonal base, with a curvy tent-like structure acting as the walls and roof for the chapel. The continuous external structure is composed of repeating yellow glazed diamond-shaped tiles, which resemble the diamond-shaped lattice interior walls.
3. Wuqi Fisherman’s Harbour (梧棲漁港)
Wuqi Fisherman’s Harbour is a fishing harbour with a seafood market and a variety of seafood restaurants. There are even boat tours if you feel like touring around the port.
In the wet market, walk through aisles of seafood vendors and see fisherman’s daily catches. I saw many types of fish, crabs, lobsters, and the biggest shrimps I’ve ever seen! And they also sell sashimi if you want to try some raw fish at the market.
Before you leave the harbour, take a stroll around the short promenade and see fishing boats unload their catch of the day.
4. Gaomei Wetlands (高美濕地)
At the mouth of Dajia River, you will find Gaomei Wetlands. The grassy and muddy wetland spans over 1,500 acres of land, and you can walk on the long boardwalk to enjoy the scenery. Also, it is an excellent spot for bird watching during winter as many migratory birds stay over winter. And it has one of the best places to catch the sunset.
Gaomei Wetlands is a popular spot for locals and tourists on the weekends. There are food stalls where you can try some of the best Taiwanese food. Just make sure to check the tide times before going. When it is high tide, you may not be able to walk around as freely.
You can easily spend a day at Gaomei Wetlands, along with Wuqi Fisherman’s Harbour and Luce Memorial Chapel.
5. Carton King Creativity Park (紙箱王創意園區) – temporarily closed
Carton King Creativity Park is the first paper-based theme park in Taiwan where almost everything is made out of cardboard material. The cardboard park is 1,600 square meters big and ideal for anyone who wants to have a fun afternoon seeing replicas of famous structures made entirely out of sturdy cardboard.
The park even has several cafes, and you can dine at an all-cardboard restaurant. Yup, everything in the restaurant at Carton King is made out of cardboard! The tables, chairs, shelving, lighting, etc. Even the hot pots are made of paper!
6. Da Keng Scenic Area (大坑風景區)
I always try to include some outdoorsy outfit and shoes in my minimalist packing list because I know there are many excellent opportunities to hike in Taichung’s vicinity.
And one of the most popular hiking spots is in Da Keng Scenic Area. Da Keng has ten trails where the first four are the most difficult. Each trail is a little different but they all have many lumber bridges that connect to different areas of the park.
The easiest way to get there is by Uber. Go early in the morning and start at trail #4 (which is the hardest one and the most scenic). Continue onto trail #5 and take either trail #2 or #1 back to the main road and hop on a local bus #66 back to Taichung.
Want pack minimally for your next trip? Check out my post on how to pack 7kg carry-on luggage
7. Xinshe Sea of Flowers (新社花海)
Xinshe Sea of Flowers is an annual agriculture event showcasing the prettiest flowers in Central Taiwan. Visitors can see hectares of flower fields, including many colours of cosmos and marigolds. It is one of the most popular Taichung flower expo!
But make sure you check the calendar before going to Xinshe and see the flower gardens. The annual event opens from late November to early December. Even if you have been before, it is worth going back because they have a different theme each year.
8. Xinshe Castle (新社莊園古堡) – temporarily closed
Xinshe Castle or Summit Castle Resort is located east of Taichung City in the mountainous region of Xinshe Township in Taiwan. It has a European castle, winery, gardens, fountains, pond, waterfall, several restaurants, a souvenir shop, and hiking trails.
Many visitors go to Taichung Xinshe Castle during the spring to catch cherry blossoms, while others visit during late autumn to see all the
And if it possible to see Carton King, Xinshe Sea of Flowers and Xinshe Castle all in the same day. I included the one-day itinerary at the end of each of these posts.
9. Zhongshe Flower Market (中社觀光花市花海)
Zhongshe Flower Market is another flower market that you should visit. There are different types of flowers that bloom throughout the year. The flower market is especially popular during tulip season, where up to 300,000 tulips are in full bloom.
The flower farm is also known as Chungshe Flower Garden or Houli Flower Farm, just in case you have any confusion finding different information online.
Which of these Taichung attractions will you see?
I hope all of them because they are all worth visiting. But if you have limited time, you can still see most of these Taichung attractions in one day. Whether you are a solo traveller or someone local who is doing a solo staycation, follow my itinerary so you don’t have to work out all the details yourself.
Let me know in the comments which attraction you like or if I am missing other things to do in Taichung, Taiwan.