Taichung

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Travel Guide Asia Taiwan Taichung

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Introduction

Taichung (臺中 or 台中 Táizhōng) is located in the west-central part of the island of Taiwan. It has a pleasant climate and a population of just over 2.6 million people, making it the third largest city on the island after New Taipei and Kaohsiung. The city is home to many manufacturers and in recent years has experienced rapid growth in the diversity of its cultural offerings.

Among the activities to catch when visiting Taichung: the world-class science museum and hiking in the nearby hills. There are also many famous night markets that provide night-time excitement. Here you can enjoy delicious food and drink, and find cheap and interesting items for sale. These include the ChungHwa night market (中華夜市), the Feng-Chia university night market (逢甲夜市), the Tung-Hai university night market (東海夜市), and the Chung-Shiao night market (忠孝夜市).

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Neighbourhoods

  • Beitun District, (北屯區): Geographically, this was the largest district in the city before 2010, spreading from the north to the northeastern-most reaches of the Inner Taichung. It includes the comparatively rural area of Dakeng. It also includes the Taichung Folk Park and Morrison Academy.
  • Central District, (中區): This is the smallest and most densely populated district in the city. It is home to the Taichung Train Station, Taichung Park, and a large number of traditional businesses in the downtown area. This district is home to the original suncake shop on Ziyou Road (自由路) and is where most of Taichung's major businesses used to be located.
  • East District, (東區): Literally on the other side of the tracks from the main part of the downtown area, the Taichung Central Department Store is located here.
  • Nantun District, (南屯區): Occupying the southwestern-most portions of the Inner Taichung, there is still considerable farmland in this area. Nantun is most well known for high property values and expensive, luxurious cottages, which have in turn attracted many large department stores into adjacent areas of Xitun District.
  • North District, (北區): Nestled between Central and Beitun Districts, it is home to the Taichung First Senior High School and Yizhong Street (一中街), one of the best known night markets in the city. It is also home to the Natural Science Museum, Chungyou Department Store, and Zhongshan Hall.
  • Xitun District, (西屯區): This district spreads out to the western edge of the city and is home to Taichung City Hall, Feng Chia and Tunghai Universities. It is also the location of many of the new, fashionable shopping areas in the city and is the area of greatest growth. The Taichung Industrial Park, World Trade Center, and the Chaoma Bus Station, a major embarkation point from the city. Major department stores include Idee, Shinkong Mitsukoshi, and Tiger City.
  • South District, (南區): Occupying the southernmost part of the city, it is home to National Chung Hsing University and the Taichung Industrial High School.

West District, (西區): West District is home to the National Fine Arts Museum as well as the Municipal Cultural Center. A lot of cultural activities were held here. This area is also known for its restaurants, which have attracted many people come with their reputation for exotic cuisine. National Taichung University is here. Sogo Department store is in the northern part of the district.

  • Other districts include Greater Tuen Mun, Greater Shanxian and Greater Haixian.

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Sights and Activities

  • National Museum of Natural Science, 1 Guanchien Rd, ☎ +886 4 2322-6940. 9:00am-5:00pm (closed Mondays). This is a very large and elaborate science themed museum, actually composed of seven museums in one. Its Science Center features a huge assortment of "hands-on" exhibits that demonstrate scientific principles. The separate Life Sciences section is also very large. There's also a large botanical garden with an impressive greenhouse and a giant mosquito, an earthquake museum, greenhouse, global cultures, global environment museums, and theaters. Can easily spend more than a day here, especially with kids. The majority of the exhibits have accompanying information only in Chinese. While it is easy to make sense of the scientific experiments by pushing buttons and seeing what happens, the archaeology and Chinese antiquity parts, that are necessarily less hands on, can be daunting.
  • National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, 2 Wu Quan West Rd, ☎ +886 4 2372-3552. Open: 9:00am~5:00pm. Closed on Mondays. The Fine Arts museum is a very large and elaborate modern arts museum, featuring rotating visual exhibits. The museum also has a very elaborate children's section, featuring hands-on art exhibits and creative playthings. There's also a children's reading room in the basement with Chinese and English books. Bring your children. Free.
  • Municipal Cultural Center is located on Yingcai Road on property adjacent to the National Art Museum.
  • Taichung Folklore Park, This park is dedicated to presenting a more traditional Taiwanese way of life. It includes a combination of authentic and recreated buildings and streets in an attempt to recreate a more rustic Taiwan. It is small, but well worth the visit at NT$50 and the lack of these kinds of buildings anywhere else in Taichung. To get here, you can take buses 31, 33 or 105, but these will take you a long time to get there. An easier option would be to get a taxi or other city bus to the intersection of Rehe Road and WenXin Road, then walk the three blocks North. Taxi drivers in Taichung don't know about the place (or the street it's on), even if either are written out in Chinese. You probably want to google street view it first. It's referred to there as "MinSu Park".
  • Taichung Winery: Dating back to the Japanese-era, this still-operational winery also includes a Wine Museum, which has displays on wine-making and the history of the winery.
  • Stock 20: This converted railroad warehouse provides exhibition space for regular displays of modern art. Adjacent warehouses have been converted to provide studio space for local and foreign artists, and are frequently open to the public.
  • Wenying Hall: A frequent venue for local art exhibitions and events. It includes an art display area along with a folk art museum and Zhongzheng Hall.
  • Taichung Metropolitan Opera House: A world-class opera house designed by famous architect, Toyo Ito.
  • Taichung City Hall: Located in the most developed district of the city is build by world classed architect, Weber+Hofer AG Architects. This is not only a city hall but offers a big plaza with water, trees, birds, and flowers.
  • Dasyueshan (Great Snow Mountain). National Forest Recreational Area.
  • The Parkway. This narrow corridor of greenery forms a pleasant parkway which runs south/north between the Museum of Fine Arts and the National Museum of Natural Science, intersected by the main Taizhonggang Rd. You can spend minutes or hours walking along it, or relax in one of the parks. The southern end is home to the Art Museum with Modern and Traditional exhibits, a cafe on the third floor and a garden area which is particularly popular with families at the weekend. Linked to the Art Museum is the Taichung City Cultural Affairs Bureau, with a large reading room among other facilities. At the north end of the Parkway behind the Science Museum is a botanical garden home to interesting plants and trees (with a few dinosaurs hiding in them). You can climb to the top of the little hill and listen to the birds singing. Some Taichung residents do Tai Chi and other exercises outside the museum, early in the morning. Beyond the botanical garden is a cycle track and path where the greenery continues through a more residential area. The gardens here are carefully tended by locals. The roses create beautiful perfumes in the evening. Shops on either side include cafes, restaurants and a 24-hour optician. If you continue walking along this path, it takes you west, past the university hospital to another nice place - Zhongsheng Park. Here there is an open-air swimming pool, old style benches and a foot massage path. From Zhongzheng Park, North and across the river is the Baojiue Temple. South of the park is the Yizhong Street area, Confucius Temple, Martyrs Shrine, Chungyo department store, Taichung Gym and Taichung Park.

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Events and Festivals

Buddha Bathing Festival

The Buddha bathing festival takes place on April 8 and is a Buddhist religious ceremony celebrating the birth of the Lord Buddha. The faithful bow three times to the Lord Buddha and then pour water and flowers of a statue of the baby Buddha.

Tomb Sweeping Day

Tomb Sweeping Day usually falls in early April and is a public holiday in Taiwan. Taiwanese people pray and tend to the graves of their departed relatives. Willow branches are used to decorate graves and doors in some areas and the flying of kites, carrying of flowers, and burning of incense, paper and joss sticks is common.

Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival is a June public holiday originating from China that is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. The day is celebrated in Taiwan with dragon boat races, eating glutinous rice dumplings, drinking wine and writing spells.

Autumn Moon Festival

The Moon Festival talks place in late September or early October, on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. The festival celebrates harvest time and is characterized by giving and eating moon cakes. Dragon dances, floating lanterns, fireworks and burning incense are also common.

Ghost Festival

September is Ghost Month in Taiwan with the gates of the underworld opening on the first day and closing on the last. Throughout the month, both Buddhist and Taoist religious rituals take place that include to offerings of food, drink and burnt paper money appease the dead. Many Taiwanese avoid moving house or getting married during this month.

Double Ten Day

Double Ten Day falls on the tenth of October and is the Republic of China National Day, celebrating the start of the Wuching uprising in 1911 that resulted in the defeat of the Qing Dynasty. Proceedings begin with the raising of the Republic of China flag and singing of the Republic of China national anthem. There is a Taiwanese presidential speech and celebrations include lion dances, drumming, and fireworks.

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Weather

Taichung is blessed with pleasant climate. It is often compared to California because of the frequency of sunny dry days. The subtropical monsoon climate gives Taichung south wind from June to August and north wind from October to May. The highest temperature appears in the summer months of July, August, and September, and the lowest temperature arrives in the winter months of January and February. The difference in temperature between summer and winter seldom exceeds about 16 °C. However, there will be short periods during the winter when the temperature barely rises much above 10 °C. The city enjoys mild weather throughout the year, with the average annual temperature being a comfortable 23 °C. The average annual rainfall is around 1,600 mm. The rain falls generously in the wet season (May - August) and scarcely in the dry season (October - February). The unique landform of basin means that the city is suffers less from typhoons than other areas in Taiwan. However, typhoons still affect the city and often bring very heavy rainfall and flooding. However, by being in a valley and not having much rain, Taichung also has air quality problems throughout the year.

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Getting There

By Plane

Taichung International Airport (RMQ) offers flights to/from Taichung. A flight to Taipei takes 40 minutes, although air service to Taipei has been cut back lately as the High Speed Rail is generally a faster and more convenient way to get there.

By Train

All Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) trains between Taipei and Kaohsiung stop at Taichung. The High Speed Rail station is located in Wuri District on the outskirts of Inner Taichung. You can take a regular train between the two stations in about six minutes, in addition, a free bus is available to take HSR passengers downtown, to the universities, etc.

In addition, the Western Line of the Taiwan Railway Administration is split into the Taichung Line serving inland districts and the Coastal Line serving serving coastal districts. Many north and south bound trains make a stop at major Taichung Station in Central District along the Taichung Line. Other trains bypass Taichung Station by taking the Coastal Line. Make sure to take the correct train to reach the intended destination. Express trains (ZiQiang) to Taichung Station cost NT$375 from Taipei and NT$469 from Kaohsiung. Midrange ticket prices (Jukuang class) to Taichung Station cost NT$289 from Taipei or NT$361 from Kaohsiung. The entire trip takes about three hours from both Taipei and Kaohsiung.

By Car

You can rent a small car for about NT$2200 per day. Due to traffic and parking issues, driving yourself is not recommended for typical travel within Taichung.

By Bus

Bus is the most convenient and least expensive option. From Taipei Train Station, go to the bus terminal and take the U-Bus (統聯客運), Kuo-Kuang Bus (國光客運). Tickets cost from NT$100–350, depending on what day of the week you travel on. Buses depart several times an hour from the early morning through evenings and the entire ride is about three hours long.

By Boat

The Cosco Star leaves Xiamen every Thursday at 6:00pm and arrives in the north end of Taiwan (Keelung) at 08:30am the next morning. The ship also leaves Xiamen every Monday evening to arrive at the south end of Taiwan (Kaohsiung) the next morning and then central Taiwan (Taichung) the day after that. From Taiwan back to the mainland, the ship leaves Keelung every Sunday at 7:00pm, arriving Xiamen the next morning at 09:00am. The ship also leaves Taichung every Wednesday at 9:00pm for an overnight sailing to Xiamen.

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Getting Around

Compared to Taipei and Kaohsiung, Taichung's public transit system is much more limited. There is no MRT system, but the bus service is frequent and far-reaching. All bus service is free within 8 km with the use of the Easycard (悠游卡). Otherwise, fares start at NT$20. One BRT (bus rapid transit) line runs down Taizhonggang Road (臺中港路) from the train station directly northwest to the west side of town, and is also free with the use of the Easycard. The BRT line has stations and there is a dedicated lane for buses. The iBike system is now active also in Taichung. Register your Easycard to you with a Taiwanese phone number at any kiosk, and your first 30 minutes are free. Subsequent usage for up to 4 hours will cost NT$10 per half hour.

A monorail system in the city is under construction.

Traveling by scooter is also convenient. Renting a scooter can be done with a Taiwanese driver's license or an International Driving Permit accompanying the original foreign license with motorcycle endorsement. Otherwise, you will need to take taxis. Taxis are convenient, and fares start at NT$85 at flagfall. Tips are not required. The downtown area is sufficiently compact to make it easy to get around on foot, although many shop owners will use the sidewalk in front of their business. This can make walking something of an ordeal, dodging traffic as you are forced to walk on the street.

The Central Cross-Island Highway (Tai 8.svg Provincial Highway Number 8) remains closed to the public between Shangguguan (上谷關) and Deji (德基) since the major earthquake on 21 September 1999. While repairs are underway, traveling between Dongshi District and Lishan Village in Heping District on the road requires a long detour through Puli, Nantou County. Prepare to allow at least 4 hours for the extra travel on the mountainous roads. Save the phone number +886 4 2595-1224 for emergency passage as a last resort.

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Eat

With a proliferation of noodle shops and street vendors peddling anything from the exotic to common household dishes, there is no lack of choice for enjoying local delicacies. Walking through streets of taichung one can locate exotic cuisines like Indian, Japanese, Indonesia, and continental. The Taiwanese are quite accustomed to non-Chinese speakers, so using gestures will get you what you want (with perhaps a little surprise!)

Taichung is also well known for its Chinese bakeries. Pastries that are worth a try include sun cakes (太陽餅) and pineapple tarts (鳯梨酥).

Traditional markets in Taiwan are aggregations of a variety of different types of vendors. The defining feature of traditional markets is vendors who sell fresh and processed produce and meat. Intermingled with these vendors are other vendors selling a wide variety of items ranging from specialty food items to common household items to clothing and shoes to tools. The term 'traditional market' may refer to a single, enclosed area or to a general aggregation of vendors along the roads of a given area. These areas also commonly include restaurants and beverage shops. Many people in Taiwan purchase their food daily daily at traditional markets.

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Drink

  • UZO Mediterranean Bar & Grill, 22, JingCheng 5th St, ☎ +886 4-2327-3518. 18:00 - 24:00, closed on Monday. Great place for a drink. Possibly the best beer selection in Taichung, well beyond the typical Taiwan Beer and Heineken. Relaxed quite atmosphere with outside seating available.
  • Golden Jaguar (金錢豹酒店), No. 960, Sec Taiwan Road, Situn District , Taichung. Taichung area's most famous nightclub, the main consumers for rich people, and there will be hostessing in uniform girl, even you can requirement they strip hostessing.

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Sleep

  • Fu Chun Hotel.
  • Corner Backpacker - Taichung Hostel, No.85,Rixin St.,West Dist, 403 Taichung City, Taiwan, ☎ +886 973331020. Wifi in lobby, TV in lobby, security lockers, air conditioning, bike for rent. Su-Th NT$500 per person; F-Sa NT$550 per person.
  • Kao Yuan Hotel (高苑商務旅館), 392 Zhongzheng Road, Beiqu. (北區 中正路 392號), ☎ +886 4 2226-2566. Nice, very clean rooms with jacuzzi and free Western and Chinese breakfast. LAN internet in every room, CNN, HBO, and free TW English newspaper every day. NT$1,600 per night.
  • Twinstar Hotel. Good mid range hotel located close to rear entrance of Taichung train station. Hotel and rooms are old but service is decent and Chinese breakfast served. Book on web site for lowest rates, starting at NT$1,600.
  • J&I Hostel (逢甲美宿館), 407 No.9-11, Nanzi Ln., Sec. 2, Xitun Rd., Xitun Dist. (西屯區西屯路二段湳子巷 9-11號). Comfortable and clean room, located close to the most famous night market of Taichung.
  • Lai Lai Hotel (來來商旅), No.125, Sec. 3, Sanmin Rd., North Dist. (北區 三民路三段 125號), ☎ +886 4-2229-8282, fax: +886 4-2229-9090, e-mail: reserve@lailaihotel.com.tw. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Lai Lai Hotel open now.
  • Evergreen Laurel Hotel, 6 Taichung Gang Rd. Sec. 2, ☎ +886 4-2313-9988.
  • Howard Prince Hotel Taichung, 129 Anhe Rd, ☎ +886 4-2463-2323.
  • Hotel One Taichung, 532 Yingcai Rd, ☎ +886 4-2303-1234. High-end hotel and it is also the tallest building in the city.
  • Plaza International Hotel, 431 Daya Rd, ☎ +886 4-2295-6789.
  • Splendor Hotel, 1049 Jien-xing Rd, ☎ +886 4-2328-8000.
  • The Windsor Hotel Taichung, 78 Taichung Gang Rd. Sec. 3, ☎ +886 4-2465-6555. Along with Hotel One, this the other newer high-end hotel in Taichung.
  • The Tempus Hotel Taichung, 9 Taichung Gang Rd. Sec. 2, ☎ +886 4-2326-8008. Formerly known as the Landis (which might be what your taxi driver knows it as) this is a great hotel in the center of Taichung. Room includes access to the Mandara Life Club next to the hotel. The club features a 30-metre, 6 lane lap pool, large sauna, hot springs and a full complement of gym equipment. From NT$3,300.

In addition to traditional-style hotels, you might want to consider the exotic "love motels" for which Taichung is famous. These provide the feel of a resort with a large bath (often complete with television), large-screen television in the main room, and large beds, but without the need to travel hundreds of miles away. Rooms are individually priced and themed: everything from tropical paradise, complete with waterfall or reflecting pool, to dramatic uptown chic, to kitschy reds and pinks. Visit with your special someone for a night you won't soon forget! Here are a couple to get you started:

  • The Love Boutique Motel (悅豪), No.83, Sec.3, Hui-Chung Rd., 408 Taichung, Taiwan, ☎ +886 4-2258-3366.
  • Enjoy Motel (悅萊), No.19, Shihjheng N. 7th Rd., 408 Taichung, Taiwan, ☎ +886 4-22597799.

View our map of accommodation in Taichung or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Work

There are a good number of science and industrial parks that may offer work to foreigners.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes are plentiful, although you may have to wander around before finding one. Rather, Internet cafes in Taiwan should be called gaming cafes. These are often found on the first or second floor of a building, and equipped with very comfortable chairs and large screens. Each hour of Internet access/game play is cheap, coming in at around $20. For free internet access in big cities, try out the local libraries. In addition, a wireless internet accessing net covering all of Taipei City is available and Kaohsiung City is currently under construction. There is also a common wifi network available at every McDonald's.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international calling code for Taiwan is 886. The emergency numbers include 110 (police) 119 (medical, fire) and the standard GSM emergency number 112 is supported in mobile networks. Numbers starting with 0800 are commercial toll-free numbers. Mobile phone coverage is generally excellent in Taiwan, with the exception of some remote mountainous areas. Among the major providers are Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile, Far EasTone and Vibo. Taiwan has both GSM 900/1800 and 3G (UMTS/W-CDMA 2100) networks and roaming might be possible for users of such mobile phones, subject to agreements between operators. If you bring your own cellphone, buy a local SIM-card for the lowest prices and be sure your phone is unlocked.

Post

Chungwa Post is the national postal service of Taiwan. It offers fast and reliable postal services, both domestic and internationally. Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 5:00pm during weekdays, though some keep longer hours or are open on Saturday (morning). Prices for sending postcards or letters (up to 20 grams) start at NT$5 within the country, while postcards by airmail to other countries start at around NT$10-12 per item, and letters are slightly more expensive. There is a wide range in prices regarding international parcel sending, and other companies like DHL, TNT, FedEx and UPS offer similar services.

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Accommodation in Taichung

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Taichung searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Taichung and areas nearby.

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This is version 11. Last edited at 15:11 on Mar 11, 19 by Utrecht. 11 articles link to this page.

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