Taiwan is no slouch – as a global entity, it has more than earned its place among the top Asian countries in terms of quality of life, places to visit, and things to eat. Taichung is smack in the middle of all that, being the third largest city on the island, and is a sight to behold.
This piece will take the time to explore a city that is so jam packed that it may feel a little hard to breathe. There are so many things to do in this little city, so let’s get started. Let’s explore the top things to do in Taichung for a break from the hustle and bustle!
There are absolutely no two ways about this – Taiwan does night markets right. Established in 1963, Fengjia Night Market is undoubtedly the best in Taichung and would contest for the top spot in all of Taiwan. In terms of taste, variety, and popularity, Fengjia tops the lot!
If you are looking for a break from the bright lights of Hong Kong, this is it. All the sights and smells are here but without the over-the-top neons signs everywhere. Located right by Feng Chia University, it may not have a bona vide entrance, but there is no chance that you will miss it.
With the sheer volume of food stalls and human traffic that pass the night market each night, it will come as no surprise that all the food in here is up to par. There is no chance of a mediocre food stall staying in this location for more than a week or so, so you will not be disappointed.
Look out for traditional Taiwanese favorites like the stinky tofu and the deep fried giant squid. If you are looking for some more up-to-date fare, fret not! There are fusion food stalls, Japanese takoyaki, and even sorbet up for grabs. What more could you ask for in a night market (1)?
Being located in the Pacific Ring of Fire means that Taiwan is no stranger to little tremors, most of which the people do not even feel on a daily basis. In 1999, however, tragedy struck in the form of a magnitude 7.3 earthquake, destroying many buildings, homes, and lives.
In the wake of such devastation, the government at the time decided to educate the public on this event. The once-erect Kwangfu Junior High School, which was destroyed in the quake, was transformed into the 921 Earthquake Museum, serving both as a reminder and an educator of the tragic event nearly 20 years ago.
Having been completed as recently as 2007, the museum is widely considered a safe space for the Taiwanese people. Not only do they show off the fault line that creates these tremors, but they also show off modern housing designs that were specifically built to reduce earthquake damage.
Human nature is probably most known for its resilience and its ability to bounce back from devastation. The 921 Earthquake Museum is exactly proof of this, and with it being likely that another earthquake will happen at any time in Taiwan, this is a good place to start (2)!
One of the unique things about Taiwan as a country is that no matter how developed and hectic the city may be, it is never far from lush rolling green hills. Taichung is no different in this aspect, so it would be such a shame to not visit even one, right? Let’s go to Dakeng!
With 10 different trails of differing difficulties, Dakeng is perfect for anybody of any hiking level. 1-5 are higher up, provide a far better view from above, and are usually quite a bit more difficult. 6-10 is easily accessible by public transport, lower to the ground, and much easier – perfect for a relaxing stroll with loved ones (3).
While on the hike, you may begin to tire and beg for respite. Fear not, for this is why Dakeng has made the list where many others have not. Taichung Hot Spring Resort is located right within Dakeng’s compounds, and the name says it all – you can thank me later.
As for all the other amenities, this is a hiking trail, after all, so those are sparse. Stock up before you climb and you will meet very few problems! Whether it is food you are after or a place to rest your head for the night, Dakeng is well-enough equipped for the casual hiker, like you and me.
Most of you will have a soft spot for the arts, while the others will surely have an eye for aesthetics and architecture. Officially opened in 2016, the structure of the building has set new heights for unique styles of architecture – purely curved walls with no pillars holding it up.
It now joins the ranks of the already standing National Theatre and Concert Hall, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, and National Performing Arts Center in promoting the arts in an increasingly commerce and business-focused Taiwan. As far as aesthetics and purpose go, not a bad place to begin!
Sitting smack in central Taichung, it looks the world away from the skyscrapers around it. Head inwards and you will find that the magic just continues. Catch any one of the many musical performances put on in this magical location, and take a break in the middle of the busy city (4).
It really is too easy to get caught up in the busy day to day. Art has a way of transporting the body and mind past that space and into a far more intriguing, calming one. With it’s ‘flowing’ building concept and the beautiful pieces in play within its interior, the National Taichung Theatre is on its way to becoming a true landmark.
With 800 separate plant species housed within 12 ecologically specific gardens under one roof, it is no surprise why people come to the Botanical Gardens to escape the steel beams of the city every once in a while. Half a million people visit every year and here is why you should be part of that statistic (5).
Sat opposite the National Museum of Natural Sciences, the Botanical Garden feels right at home in Taichung’s busy city. Enter and you will be met with the faint, pleasant whiff of flowers in the air. Butterflies flutter here and there, and people are sat around immersing themselves in nature.
Not only do they have a giant 14ft aquarium within their premises, the lily pond and the DIY art center are also bright sparks in a visit. Where else, in a busy city, can you find such tranquility and nature to be enjoyed at your own pace?
Not only is the Botanical Graden a refreshing change of pace, it is also a great way to educate while preserving the country’s wonderful biodiversity. You will definitely have a good, calming time when you visit the gardens!
Taiwan may be famous for its tall buildings and delicious food, but, as you can see here, it is so much more than that. Its third largest city has so much to offer past the norm, and it does not take the most adventurous person to explore it!
Hopefully, this piece was useful to you and that you enjoyed it! Please share it with your friends and comment below on your favorite place to be when you visit Taichung. Let me know if I missed out on anything.
Hi! My name is James Wilson, adventurer and traveler. I was born in New York City, am 29 this year, and have been traveling since I was 19. New places fill me with an unexplainable joy, so let me share some of my experiences with you!