Taichung is Taiwan’s second most populous city and a place that should be included in any Taiwan itinerary. This bustling city on the West coast of Taiwan offers lots of fun activities for travelers.
From green parks, interesting and well-laid out museums to colorful (street) art and night markets with delicious food, Taichung has it all! This Taichung itinerary will help you explore the best the city and the surrounding area has to offer. Read along for the best things to do in Taichung, travel tips and more.
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Things to know before traveling to Taichung
While you can visit Taichung year-round, the best months generally are March-April and September-November.
The temperature in Taichung varies between 12° in January and 33° in July. It rains a lot in the months of May until August and while winter isn’t extremely cold, there are fewer activities during the winter months.
Spring is lovely, especially March when it’s cherry blossom season. Please note that two important public holidays (Children’s Day and Tomb-Sweeping Day) take place at the start of April and travel is best avoided during these days (as it gets extremely busy in buses and trains).
The official currency in Taiwan is the New Taiwan dollar (NT$). Here you can find the current exchange rates, at the time of writing €1 is approximately 35NT$ and $1 approximately 30NT$.
HSR: Taichung is only an hour from Taipei by HSR (high-speed rail), a ticket costs 675NT$ for a non-reserved seat and 700NT$ for a reserved seat. You can buy a discounted HSR ticket online here.
Trains depart from Taipei Main Station, you’ll have to disembark at Wurih, which isn’t located in downtown Taichung. From here you’ll have to catch a bus (which can take another hour!) or take a taxi (between 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic) to get to the city center of Taichung.
Train: you can also take a regular train from Taipei to Taichung, however, this takes considerably longer than by HSR and, depending on the type of train, sometimes even longer than by bus (between 2 and 3.5 hours).
While regular trains are cheaper than the HSR (approximately 400NT$), it’s more expensive than the bus, so in my opinion, this isn’t the best option to travel to Taichung from Taipei.
Bus: last but certainly not least, you can travel from Taipei to Taichung by bus. Buses depart from Taipei Bus Station (just north of Taipei Main Station) and take around 2 hours and 50 minutes.
This is the most economical way to travel, a ticket usually costs approximately 300NT$. Buses arrive at Taichung Bus Terminal which is in the city center, making this a slightly longer but convenient way to travel to Taichung.
Yes, you can. The easiest way to do this is by booking a transfer via Klook, check prices here (usually around 300NT$). The bus journey takes approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes.
The MRT in Taichung city is still under construction, however, there is an extensive bus network both within the city as well as to Taichung attractions a bit further afield.
Rides under 10km are free (pretty awesome right), however, you do need to check-in and out with your Easycard.
3 day itinerary for Taichung: map
3 days in Taichung: things to do
- Taichung Day 1: Taichung Second Market, Taichung Park, Miyahara Icecream shop, Bubble Tea DIY class, Painted Animation Lane, Calligraphy Greenway, and the CMP Block Museum of Arts.
- Taichung Day 2: Rainbow Village, Gaomei Wetlands, or the Zhongshe Flower Farm.
- Taichung Day 3: take a day trip to Sun Moon Lake or Lukang.
Where to stay in Taichung
Budget hotel (less than €30): Taichung Loft Hostel
Update March 2021: unfortunately this property has closed. If you are looking for a suitable alternative, check out the Modern Inn. Room prices are around €32/$38 per night and guests score this property a 9 (on Agoda) and 8.8 (on Booking)
We stayed at Taichung Loft Hostel during our time in the city and it’s a good place for travelers on a budget. The room is nice and spacious with an ensuite bathroom. There is a bus stop nearby and lots of restaurants around.
I was a little less happy about the smoky smell in the bathroom and the fact that check-in time was 5 pm. However, for the money we paid I was satisfied. We had a comfortable stay and I would stay there again.
Mid-range hotel (less than €100): Airline Inn Green Park Way
This 4-star hotel offers quirky airplane-themed guestrooms that are spacious and well laid out. Located within walking distance of the Block Museum and Calligraphy Greenway and a bus stop pretty much at the doorstep, it’s easy to get many of the Taichung tourist attractions mentioned in this post.
The staff is helpful and friendly and breakfast is included in the room price. There’s even a coin laundry on the third floor if you need to wash some clothes.
Top-end hotel (over €150): Hotel ONE (The Landis Taichung)
Hotel ONE is a beautiful 5-star hotel located next to Calligraphy Greenway. While not the cheapest place to stay, Hotel ONE also doesn’t cost you a fortune (prices start at €165 a night) and will definitely make for a great stay in Taichung.
The stylish rooms offer great views over Taichung city and feature an extra-large double bed. There is a bar, a bakery, and a fitness center (to burn off the calories from the delicious food served at the two onsite two restaurants). Furthermore, the professional staff will go out of their way to make your stay a memorable one.
Taichung itinerary day 1
Have breakfast at Taichung Second Market
Rose from Where Goes Rose: one of the places of interest in Taichung is the authentic Second Market. Unlike the busy night markets around Taiwan which serve modern Taiwanese food, such as fried chicken and even hamburgers, this traditional wet market boasts 100 years of history.
Many of the local residents have been serving their signature dishes here for generations, passing down the recipes to their children and grandchildren.
The best thing to try at the Second Market is a famous Taichung breakfast. This Taiwanese answer to an English fry up is not the most healthy option but it’s certainly very filling and delicious.
This dish comprises a giant cube of fried rice batter, a gooey fried egg and a ‘sausage’ made of rice. It’s all topped with a hearty dollop of barbeque sauce, as well as a pig’s blood soup if you’re feeling brave!
Within the Second Market, you can purchase fresh fruit and vegetables and even sample freshly made sushi at the fish market. Heaven for lovers of Japanese food!
To visit the Second Market, set your GPS to 87, Section 2, Sanmin Road. The market is centrally located and easy to fit into your Taichung sightseeing plans. The only tricky bit about this market is that not much English is spoken.
Don’t let that put you off though, a little pointing and miming never hurt anyone! The Taichung locals are a friendly bunch so it won’t be difficult to snag a tasty meal.
Walk around Taichung Park
Taichung Park is the oldest park in the city and a lovely place for a stroll. There are multiple lakes, a nice activity is renting a boat and row around.
Alternatively, there is a well-kept bicycle lane so a good option is to rent a bicycle. There are bike rental shops near the park as well as an iBike station.
Be sure to admire Houxing Pavilion (also known as Taichung Park Pavilion), which is the symbol of Taichung City and historical site. The entrance fee for the park is 30NT, be sure to bring a reusable bottle of water.
Visit the marvelous Miyahara Icecream shop
Caroline from CK Travels: Miyahara is an incredibly popular and Instagrammable ice-cream shop, retail shop and high-end restaurant set in a renovated red brick building from the 1920s (it’s a former ophthalmology clinic).
The ground floor shop interior resembles Hogwarts from the Harry Potter movies and has to be seen to be believed! Large bookcases and gleaming shop counters, with staff all besuited in immaculate uniforms.
You will find local snacks such as pineapple cakes, plus luxury tea, cookies, and gourmet chocolates, wrapped in beautiful packaging and all kept (tantalizingly) behind glass.
Upstairs on the second floor is the restaurant Moon Pavillion which serves up old Taiwanese gourmet cuisine in a retro setting.
Next door, the queues, and toppings for the Miyahara ice-creams are out of this world. If you do not want to queue for an hour or so, we would recommend getting get your dessert early in the morning (ice-cream for breakfast needs to become a thing!) or late in the evening.
There are over 50 fantastic flavors of ice cream (some very unusual) and one scoop will cost you about NT$90. Quirky toppings, such as cheesecake and pineapple cake, are available at an extra cost.
The store is opened from 10 am until 10 pm and is a 10-minute walk from Taichung Park.
Join a boba tea-making class at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House
Carole from Travel with Carole: Bubble tea or Boba is an extremely popular drink in Taiwan and you can find anywhere in the country. No matter how small a village, there is always a place to buy some boba.
I was delighted to be taking a class at the Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House on how to make boba pearl tea, a personal favorite of mine. It is claimed that pearl tea, which mixes tea with fresh tapioca balls and often includes milk, was invented here.
The restaurant’s do-it-yourself workshop began with making cold Chinese bubble black tea by combining strong-brewed black tea with ice and liquid cane sugar. We shook it for 33 shakes until it was full of bubbles, then drank it.
Not bad, but I was most interested in the second part of the lesson, which taught us how to prepare my favorite pearl milk tea (this type of tea is also the shop’s best-seller).
First, we compared the fresh tapioca pearls used by this shop with the hard, dried-out pearls that many other shops use. We learned that those other balls can last for up to three years ( unrefrigerated)!
For this concoction, we mixed a strong black tea, then added one spoon of dried milk and shook thoroughly. The last step was pouring the liquid over fresh tapioca balls and stirring the drink before taking a sip. So very yummy!
After the lesson, you can stay on for lunch. I recommend ordering the vegetarian handmade noodles, a delicious place of food. If you haven’t had enough of bubble tea, accompany your lunch with a chocolate milk tea with pearls.
This drink is very chocolatey, with chocolate shavings floating on top, and worthy of a dessert. A heads-up: even when shared a medium size was too much to finish!
Admire colorful street art at Painted Animation Lane
Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan: if you like street art or Japanese anime, or if you’re looking for a place to get some colorful shots for your Instagram feed, you should definitely visit Painted Animation Lane.
As the name suggests, this is a small alleyway with murals of famous anime and cartoon characters painted on the walls on either side.
Since it’s a public street, it’s completely free of charge and it’s open 24 hours a day (though there’s not much point in coming after dark). While it doesn’t draw as many crowds as Rainbow Village (read more below), I’d still suggest arriving fairly early in the morning if you don’t have the patience to wait in line for selfies.
The alleyway is quite small, so don’t expect anything on the same scale as the famous Batman Alley in São Paulo. But it’s still a lot of fun, especially if you grew up watching these cartoons and can identify the characters.
Painted Animation Lane is on the west side of the city, the official address is Section 3, Liuchuan West Road. Just search for ‘Painted Animation Lane’ on Google Maps and it will pop up. From Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House, it’s only a 10-minute walk.
Stroll around Calligraphy Greenway
While you could take a bus or taxi to your next destination, I highly recommend to walk. I love exploring cities on foot, it allows you to get off the beaten path and see places you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.
The Calligraphy Greenway is a lovely open green space with sculptures, street performer, food vendors and a play area for children (if you happen to travel Taiwan with kids).
You can find two museums here as well, the National Museum of Natural Science and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, both are definitely worth to visit, however, if you are short on time, continue walking to the next item on your Taichung travel itinerary: CMP Block Museum of Arts.
From Painted Animation Lane, it’s a 30 minutes stroll (2km) to get to the Block Museum, and you’ll be walking mostly on the Calligraphy Greenway making it a very pleasant walk.
Visit the CMP Block Museum of Arts
IMPORTANT: the Block Museum is currently closed for renovations.
Nisha from Lemonicks: when I decided to plan a trip to Taichung, I immediately added the Block museum to our itinerary. The pictures of buried cars in the green ground that I’d seen online fascinated me tremendously. And when I saw them in real life, I was in awe!
The full name of the museum is CMP Block Museum of Arts and the museum holds several exhibitions throughout the year. However, the famous buried cars are a permanent feature of the museum.
The museum is part of the first cultural creativity square in Taiwan. The inspiration to build this square came from European streets, where local culture is beautifully integrated in (interactive) art.
Once the museum was conceptualized, the area was transformed from an old school building and broken roads, into a modern museum. The courtyard has many geometrical and intriguing artifacts, while on the inside you can find seasonal and trending exhibitions. Sometimes they even display art created by kids!
This living museum has no boundaries and people are encouraged to participate throughout their visit. There is also a cozy book cafe and people are invited to read books here for hours.
The area is very popular among locals and has a creative market during holidays. There are many coffee shops and restaurants nearby, so you can spend several hours in the area.
Important to know: entrance to this museum is free. Note the museum is closed on Mondays.
Taichung itinerary day 2
On your second day in Taichung, it’s time to head out of the city center and explore some attractions a bit further away. But don’t worry, these places are easy to reach, either by public transport or Uber.
Please note that you can’t visit all three of these interesting places in Taichung on the same day. Well, you could but you would be rushing through the day without actually having time to enjoy the sights.
Instead, I recommend picking one or two options from the list below. If you love nature, go to Gaomei Wetlands. If you love street art, visit the Rainbow Village. If you love colorful flowers, make your way to the Zhongshe Flower Market.
Admire colorful Rainbow Village
Samah from God and Wanderlust: Rainbow Village is arguably the most colorful place in Taichung. It exuberates everything wholesome, imaginative and giddy; with small houses intricately painted, it’s an art lover and a photographers paradise.
The village’s history is intriguing. It was painted by Huang Yong-Fu, nicknamed Rainbow Grandpa. He was a Chinese soldier who fled to Taiwan after losing the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
Huang Yong-Fu bought his house in a village, but news came out that the government planned on demolishing this village. He began to paint to preserve his home and those surrounding it.
His hard work and dedication paid off because years later, the artsy village was petitioned to be preserved by local university students upon discovery. What’s more, nowadays it’s one of Taiwan’s most famous attractions!
Keep in mind temperatures can be quite high during summer days so be sure to bring enough water. Also, there is an ice cream cart and a cafe with an outdoor seating area shaded by huge trees.
Rainbow Village is located in Nantun District, west of the city center of Taichung. You can easily get there by taxi or public transportation. Bus 358 takes you from the city center to Lingdong High School. From the school, it’s a 10-minute walk to the village.
Visiting Rainbow Village is free and, as with Painted Animation Lane mentioned above, there isn’t really a point in visiting after dark.
Visit Zhongshe Flower Market
Dea from How She Wanders: Zhongshe Flower Market is a 6-hectare farm that is famous for its colorful and inviting flower fields.
Visiting this beautiful place is a fun and uplifting experience for the entire family. Expect to see row after row of colorful pretty flowers of many different types in full bloom, all year round!
Also known as Houli Flower Farm or Chungshe Tourist Flower Market, it is a well-known tourist spot located less than an hour’s drive from central Taichung. Check out the lowest car rental prices here.
IThe Flower Market is also accessible via local TRA train, board the train at Taichung train station and disembark at Tai’an Station. From Tai’an Station, you can take a taxi or walk to the farm (about 25 minutes).
Zhongshe Flower Market is an open-air attraction, so among must-haves when visiting are sunglasses and sunscreen. It’s also important to bring enough drinking water to keep you hydrated, and of course, you must carry your phone or camera!
A picture-taking haven, photographers of all levels will definitely take delight in playing around with the colorful environment.
The admission fee is 120NT$ (€3,50) during the low season and gets a little higher during peak season (around 150 NT$ which is approximately €4,20). Tulip season is between January and March and is considered peak season. The farm is open daily, from 9 am until 6 pm.
Truly a notable destination, no Taichung trip will be complete without a visit to Zhongshe Flower Market! If you prefer, you can also book a tour to the Zhongshe Flower Market, which includes transport and visits to the Chang Lien-cheng saxophone museum and a sugar factory.
Admire the sunset at the Gaomei Wetlands
Mariza from Hoponworld: Gaomei Wetlands is a firm favorite among nature lovers, bird watchers, and photographers visiting Taichung. Located south of the Dajia River mouth and spanning over 3km, Gaomei is the perfect spot to immerse yourself in nature.
Besides getting a closer look at the diverse ecology and abundant animal life that call this area home, Gaomei Wetlands is also one of Taichung’s most Instagrammable places.
The highlight of any visit to Gaomei is undoubtedly walking along the 800-meter long winding boardwalk. It’s incredibly photogenic and also offers the best vantage point over the muddy flatland and the various creatures squiggling in the mud below. During fall and winter, you’ll be able to see many migratory birds there.
Dropping by the lighthouse, biking around the area, popping into the temples nearby, and snacking on some of the local specialties are other popular activities to do in the area.
Although it’s a great place to visit during the day, visiting at sunset is highly encouraged. Watching the changing skies over this serene landscape, and the sun’s shimmer on the wetland is truly a surreal experience.
You can take a local bus (1hr) to get to Gaomei. Alternatively, you can also join this Gaomei Wetlands tour, which takes approximately 4.5 hours and costs 400NT$ (€12).
If you have an international driver’s license, there is a small chance you can rent a scooter to explore the area at your own pace. Unfortunately, most rental places require a Taiwanese driver’s license (read more about our experience renting a scooter in Kenting here). If you do manage to acquire a scooter, the drive to Gaomei Wetlands takes about 30 minutes from Taichung.
Insider travel advice: remember to download google maps and check the tidal forecast before your visit. This way, you’ll be able to navigate your way around the area easily and plan your stops.
Taichung itinerary day 3
There are so many places to go in Taichung county (yes Taichung is a whole county, not just a city) and visiting all these Taichung highlights within only three days isn’t possible.
So you’re going to have to make a choice between two fun day trips; you can either make a day trip to Sun Moon Lake or visit Lukang Township. Again, it all depends on your preferences:
- Sun Moon Lake is the place to go if you love beautiful nature or want to learn more about Aboriginal culture.
- Lukang has a rich history and is considered a showcase of Taiwan’s cultural heritage.
Both are worthwhile to visit, however, my personal favorite is Sun Moon Lake. I’ll explain why below.
Make a day trip to Sun Moon Lake
Sun Moon Lake is one of the most popular places to visit in Taiwan. However, don’t let that deter you, the crowds aren’t that bad and it’s a beautiful place with lots of fun outdoor activities and hiking (and cycling) opportunities.
Unfortunately, it rained during our visit, but even than the lake and its surroundings were pretty spectacular.
When the sun is out, a fun activity is to rent a bicycle to cycle around (part of the) lake. Called the Yuetan Bike Path, this 29 kilometers bike route goes entirely around Sun Moon Lake. Alternatively, you can choose a shorter section, which is around 12 kilometers.
I also recommend riding the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway, which offers stunning views over the lake and forested mountains. Another option is to make a boat tour over the lake
Discount option: if you plan to do all these activities, check out the Sun Moon Lake ropeway combo pass, which includes the ropeway, bike rental, and a boat trip over the lake.
If you have more time and energy, the Wenwu Temple and Ci En Pagoda are also worthy of a visit, both can be reached with the Round-The-Lake-Bus.
Contrary to what the name suggests, this bus doesn’t actually go all the way around the lake but only between Shueishe Visitors Center and Syuanguang Temple. You can find the schedule here.
If you have time, it’s actually better to spend one or two nights here. However, visiting Sun Moon Lake from Taichung as a day trip is definitely a viable and popular option as well.
How to get to Sun Moon Lake from Taichung
If you have more than one day to spend the Sun Moon Lake, I recommend to travel by public transport (bus) or to book a shared transfer (in a comfortable minivan).
Buses take just under two hours, a one-way ticket costs 193NT$ and a round-trip ticket is 360NT$. Check the bus schedule here.
If you only have a day at the Sun Moon Lake, consider joining a tour. A tour includes transport and several of the activities mentioned above and is a great way to make to most of your limited time at Sun Moon Lake.
Make a day trip to Lukang Township
Milos from Happy Frog Travels: the beautiful Township of Lugang, close to Taichung, is one of the places in Taiwan with the best-preserved historic heritage. It’s the perfect place to walk down narrow alleys, enter old temples and chat with locals.
Lukang used to be a trading port for rice and sugar sent to Mainland China, thus its importance. At the beginning of the 20th century, the port closed and the city ceased to develop. Luckily, the historical core remained unaltered.
Lukang is famous for its Old Street, a bunch of curvy pedestrian streets surrounded by old houses, 19th-century mansions, and interesting temples.
A king amongst these Taiwan’s oldest temple: Longshan Temple. This beautiful place has a superb courtyard and an impressive octagonal ceiling. The ceiling supposedly protects the temple from evil.
Another thing to love about Lukang is the authentic bakeries and coffeehouses. You can have a delicious coffee and a cake in a century-old house or try one of the best baos in Taiwan.
Altogether you don’t need much money to visit Lukang. The main attractions like the old houses, temples, and charming streets are all free!
How to get to Lukang from Taichung?
It is very easy to reach Lukang. You can take a direct express bus from the Gancheng Bus Station in Central Taichung.
Another option is to take an old train at Taichung’s central train station to Changhua city. Local buses to Lukang stop right in front of Changhua’s station.
Alternatively, you can book a tour including transportation. This is especially convenient for families interested in visiting Lukang.
If you have more time to spend in Taichung
If you have one more day to spend in Taichung, I’d highly recommend visiting any attractions in Taichung mentioned on this list that you skipped due to time constraints.
For example, if you opted to go to the Gaomei Wetlands and Zhongshe Flower Market on day 2, use your remaining day to visit the Rainbow village! If you’re up for another full day of Taichung sightseeing, you could even combine this with a visit to Lukang and spend half a day at each of the sights.