Based on what I’ve read, Taiwanese Iron Man is a fixture at Gaomei Wetlands. Dressed from neck to toe in an acid trip of bright colors, you’ll often find him serenading tourists with his guitar against a backdrop of slowly spinning turbines. It’s an unconventional but oddly soothing sight, and one I’ve come to associate with the city of Taichung.
According to this CNN article, Taichung was found by locals to be Taiwan’s most livable city. Many Taiwanese prefer it to Taipei for its milder weather and laid back vibe. It’s regarded as an arts and cultural hub of Taiwan with its many interesting museums, art installations, and design boutiques.
I’m not an expert on architecture but even I noticed a surprising number of Art Deco buildings in downtown Taichung. I read that an outdoor jazz festival is held here in October of every year, which is more than likely when our next visit to Taichung will be.
Outside of Taipei, Taichung is the most art-centric city we’ve visited thus far in Taiwan, and perhaps a big reason why I’ve come to associate Taiwanese Iron Man with this city. For me, his kooky, colorful, kawaii style perfectly captures what this creatively vibrant city is all about.
VISIT TAICHUNG QUICK LINKS
This Taichung travel guide is long. For your convenience, I’ve compiled links to top-rated hotels, tours, and other travel-related services here.
Recommended hotels in the Central District, one of the most convenient areas to stay for people visiting Taichung for the first time.
- Luxury: Park City Hotel Central Taichung
- Midrange: Norden Ruder Hostel Taichung
- Budget: Mr.Mantter
- Sightseeing: Gaomei Wetland, and Miyahara One-Day Tour
- Museum: Museum of Illusions Ticket in Taichung
- Travel Insurance with COVID cover (WFFF readers get 5% off)
- HSR Unlimited Pass
- WiFi & Sim Cards
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GUIDE TABLE OF CONTENTS
TAICHUNG TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
Because of the pandemic, Taichung travel guidelines can change overnight. To help you with your travel planning, our friends at Booking.com and airheart put together websites with detailed information on travel restrictions around the globe.
Before planning a trip to Taichung, be sure to check Booking.com or airheart for information on travel restrictions to Taiwan. If you do decide to visit Taichung, then you may want to seriously consider getting travel insurance with COVID coverage.
Depending on your passport, you may need to apply for a visa and secure other travel documents to visit Taiwan. Check out iVisa.com to learn about the requirements and to apply for a visa (if necessary).
If you’re from the Philippines, then you’ll be happy to learn that Taiwan has reinstated its visa-free program. Philippine passport holders can stay in Taiwan visa-free for up to 14 days from 29 September 2022 until 31 July 2023. Check out our article on the Taiwan e-visa for more information.
TAICHUNG AT A GLANCE
Taichung is a city in Central Western Taiwan with a population of just under 2.8 million people, making it the second most populated city in Taiwan after New Taipei City.
Known as Taichū in Nihongo, Taichung was named by the Japanese who sought to develop the city and make it the first “modern” area of Taiwan. They succeeded, helping turn it into the major economic and cultural hub that it is today. Taichung was known as “the Kyoto of Formosa” during the Japanese era because of its abundance of natural beauty and calm atmosphere.
Today, Taichung is regarded as the arts and cultural center of Taiwan. It’s home to interesting museums and cultural venues like the National Museum of Natural Science, the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, the National Taichung Theater, and the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra.
If you’re a food lover, then you’ll be pleased to learn that Taichung is home to many night markets, including Fengjia Night Market which is the biggest night market in Taiwan. It’s also recognized as the birthplace of one of Taiwan’s most iconic drinks – boba or bubble tea.
BEST TIME TO VISIT TAICHUNG
Taichung is located about an hour south of Taipei by HSR train, so it shares a similar but milder climate. Our last trip was in mid-March and it was moderately cool in Taichung at that time, unlike Taipei which was noticeably colder.
The weather is relatively mild in Taichung year-round so it’s a pleasant place to visit any time of the year. Just know that the rainiest months are from May till August so you may want to avoid those months if you can. Many night markets close during rainy nights and you don’t want that. For the most ideal weather, shoot for October to March.
OCT-MAR: The weather in Taichung is best from October to March. Temperatures are cool and it doesn’t rain as often. This is the best time to go if you don’t like hot or humid weather. As described, the Taichung Jazz Festival is held in October every year so that may be the perfect time to go if you appreciate that genre of music.
APR-SEPT: It’s rainier and warmer during these months so it’s best to avoid them if you don’t like too much heat and humidity. Both the hottest and rainiest months in Taichung are from June till August so that may not be the best time to go.
Climate: Annual Monthly Weather in Taichung
For more on Taichung’s weather, check out this climate data from climate-data.org. For your convenience, I’ve created average temperature and annual rainfall graphs below. Suggested months to visit are indicated in orange.
TRAVELING TO TAICHUNG
There are many ways to get to Taichung from wherever you are. You can use the widget below to search for route options available to you.
VIA TAICHUNG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Not as many people know this but Taichung does have an airport – Taichung International Airport (RMQ) – though it has direct routes only from Japan, China, Hong Kong, Macao, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.
There’s no metro system in Taichung nor is there a special bus service that can take you to the downtown area from the airport. The easiest way to get to your hotel from Taichung International Airport is by booking a private transfer through KKday. Alternatively, you can take a taxi.
VIA TAOYUAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
The majority of travelers visiting Taichung and Taiwan will enter through Taoyuan International Airport (TPE).
This is the easiest way to get to Taichung from Taoyuan International Airport. After going through customs and immigration, we boarded a bus (Ubus 1623) from Taoyuan International Airport and went straight to Taichung.
The bus ride took about 2 hrs 30 mins and cost NTD 300 each way. You can refer to the Taiwan Highway Bus website for more information on Ubus 1623. You can purchase bus tickets at the gate or in advance through KKday.
You can travel to Taichung by High-Speed Rail (HSR) but there’s no HSR station at Taoyuan International Airport. You’ll first need to take the MRT from the airport to Taoyuan HSR Station. From there, you can take the HSR train to Taichung. I’ll talk more about HSR trains below.
VIA TAIPEI OR OTHER CITIES IN TAIWAN
The best way to travel to Taichung from any city in Taiwan is by train. There are two major rail operators in Taiwan – Taiwan High-Speed Rail (HSR) and Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) – both of which are super efficient. Here are the main differences between the two:
- HSR trains are newer and faster. They can get you to your destination in half the time.
- HSR trains are about twice as expensive as TRA trains, but you can get discounts on tickets.
- HSR tickets go on sale 4 weeks before your intended date of departure. TRA tickets can be bought as early as 2 weeks before your trip.
- TRA trains travel throughout the country, but HSR trains only service cities in the western half of Taiwan at this time.
- In general, HSR stations aren’t as conveniently located as TRA stations. Most are located a little outside the city while TRA stations are closer to the city center. If you arrive by HSR train, then you may have to take a bus or taxi to your hotel.
To help you better understand the differences in approximate cost and travel times, I’ve created the comparison chart below. For the sake of this guide, let’s assume you’ll be traveling to Taichung from Taipei.
|From Taipei||Fare||Travel Time|
|TRA TRAIN||NTD 375||2 hrs 15 mins|
|HSR TRAIN||NTD 700 (undiscounted)||1 hr|
|BUS||NTD 240-300||2-3 hrs|
If you aren’t in a rush, then traveling by TRA train is perfectly fine. The TRA station is located in downtown Taichung so it’s super convenient. You can check the Taiwan Railways Administration website for a schedule of trains to Taichung from wherever you are. You can purchase tickets from there as well.
As described, you can purchase tickets as early as 2 weeks in advance. Tickets are known to sell out, especially during peak seasons, so I suggest booking yours soon as you can. Check out the TRA website for more information.
HSR trains can get you into Taichung in half the time but the station is located on the outskirts of the city. You’ll need to take a bus or ride a taxi/Uber to get to the city center. It costs about twice as much as a TRA ticket but you can get a discount if you book early or travel during off-peak hours.
You can check the Taiwan High Speed Rail website for a schedule of trains to Taichung from wherever you are. Like TRA trains, it’s a good idea to book as early as possible. HSR tickets can be bought up to 4 weeks in advance. If you’re visiting Taichung from Taipei or Taoyuan City, then you can purchase HSR tickets from Bookaway.
If you’ll be traveling a lot by HSR train in Taiwan, then you may want to get an HSR Unlimited Pass through KKday. They also offer discounted single-journey HSR tickets to Taichung from different cities throughout Taiwan.
Traveling by highway bus is the cheapest way to get from Taipei to Taichung. Fares may vary depending on the bus company so you can check Klook for information on routes and to book tickets.
WHERE TO EXCHANGE CURRENCY
Taiwan’s unit of currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (NTD or TWD).
You don’t have to worry about poor exchange rates in Taiwan because currency exchange is strictly regulated by the government. It can only be conducted by banks so you won’t find any independent money changers here.
It’s best to exchange your currency at big local banks like Bank of Taiwan because smaller banks may charge you a transaction fee. I exchanged currency at the Ziyou Road branch but there are plenty of Bank of Taiwan branches in Taichung.
Another option is to withdraw NTD from an ATM. Rates are comparable and you won’t have to bring large sums of foreign currency into the country. Just let your bank know that you’ll be using your ATM card overseas so they don’t flag it or anything. In my experience, my card works in some machines but not in others.
TIP: When you withdraw NTD from an ATM, some machines may ask if you’d like to proceed “with or without conversion”. Always proceed WITHOUT conversion. That way your local bank does the conversion for you. If you proceed WITH conversion, then that authorizes the foreign bank operating the ATM to do the conversion, usually at horrible exchange rates. According to this article on Medium, the difference between rates can be 10% or more.
BEST AREAS TO STAY IN TAICHUNG
We traveled by TRA train between five major cities in Taiwan, so I made sure to always find accommodations near the train station. That way we wouldn’t have to wake up so early to catch our train in the morning.
If you’d like to be near the TRA station, then staying in the Central District is a good idea. Other recommended areas include Xitun, West, and North districts.
I’ve created the color-coded map below to help you understand where all these recommended areas are. Click on the link for a live version of the map. (Please note that marked areas are approximations only)
YELLOW – Central
BLUE – West
RED – North
GREEN – Xitun
The Central District isn’t the most modern area in Taichung but it’s a great place to stay if you’d like to be near the TRA Station. It’ll also put you close to Gancheng Station (buses to Sun Moon Lake) and Miyahara, an old ophthalmology clinic that’s been repurposed into one of Taichung’s most famous pastry and ice cream shops.
On our last visit, we stayed at Shin Sei Bashi Hotel, a beautiful Japanese-inspired boutique hotel just 5 minutes away from Taichung TRA station. We loved everything about this hotel – from the cute rooms (albeit a bit small) to the free coffee machine in the lobby to the breakfast vouchers that entitled us to free gua bao every morning (a type of sandwich made from Chinese steamed buns).
You can book a room at Shin Sei Bashi Hotel on Booking.com or Agoda. If you don’t think this is the right hotel for you, then you can click on these links to find alternate listings in the Central District: Booking.com | Agoda. Listed below are a few recommended hotels in the area.
- Luxury: Park City Hotel Central Taichung
- Midrange: Norden Ruder Hostel Taichung
- Budget: Mr.Mantter
The West District is one of our favorite areas in Taichung. It’s home to Calligraphy Greenway, a long green space with lots of trendy restaurants, cafes, and shops.
If you’re into the arts, then this is a great area to stay in because it puts you close to many of Taichung’s most interesting cultural attractions like National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Caowu Square, and CMP Block Museum of Arts. It’s also where you’ll find the original Chun Shui Tang, a chain of popular dim sum restaurants credited for inventing bubble tea.
You can look for accommodations in the West District on Booking.com or Agoda. Listed below are some of the most highly-rated hotels in the area.
- Luxury: The Place Taichung
- Midrange: Airline Inn Green Park Way
- Budget: Kiwi Express Hotel-Taichung Station II
We didn’t spend too much time in the North District but from what I understand, it’s an area that caters to the younger population of Taichung thanks to its universities and schools. It’s also home to Taichung Park and a few night markets, the most notable of which is Yizhong Street Night Market.
You can check Booking.com and Agoda for a list of accommodations in the North District. Here are a few recommended hotels in the area.
- Luxury: Inhouse Hotel Grand
- Midrange: Aroma Chew Hotel
- Budget: Meet Summer
The Xitun District is the unofficial downtown area of Taichung. Considerably more modern than the Central District, it’s home to many shopping malls and a large green space known as Taichung Metropolitan Park. Best of all, it’s where you’ll find the biggest and one of the best night markets in Taiwan – Fengjia Night Market.
You can search for accommodations in Xitun District on Booking.com or Agoda. Here are a few top-rated hotels in the area.
- Luxury: Millennium Hotel Taichung
- Midrange: Explore Hotel
- Budget: Sky Tree B&B
You can also search for hotels and homestays in Taichung using the handy map below.
THINGS TO DO IN TAICHUNG
1. Immerse Yourself in Arts & Culture at Calligraphy Greenway
As described, Taichung is considered the arts and cultural capital of Taiwan, and there’s no better place to appreciate it than at Calligraphy Greenway – a 3.6-kilometer-long green open space around which are many shops, restaurants, and cafes.
At Calligraphy Greenway, you’ll find interesting museums and neighborhoods like the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Natural Science, Caowu Square, Audit Village, and CMP Block Museum of Arts. It’s a pleasant tree-lined space with much to see and do so you can easily spend an entire day here.
Check out my post on Calligraphy Greenway for more information on what you can find there.
Suggested Length of Visit: At least half a day
2. Enjoy Pineapple Cakes & Ice Cream at Miyahara
Miyahara is one of Taichung’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s located near Taichung TRA station so you’ll probably find many tourists inside with their luggage still in tow.
Housed in an old opthalmology clinic that was turned into Taichung’s Public Health Bureau before being converted into a pastry shop, Miyahara is famous for its Taiwanese desserts, most notably its pineapple cakes and ice cream. It’s noted for its beautiful interior as well which looks straight out of a Harry Potter movie.
Suggested Length of Visit: 30 mins
3. Eat Your Way Through Fengjia Night Market
There are many night markets throughout Taiwan, but Fengjia Night Market in Taichung is said to be the biggest.
Home to an estimated 15,000 shops, restaurants, and stalls, Fengjia Night Market is a hugely popular night market with a wide selection of food. If you had time to visit just one night market in Taichung, then Fengjia Night Market should be it. Check out my article on Fengjia and Taiwanese night markets for more pictures and information.
If you’re spending several days in Taichung and have time to visit other night markets, then you can check out Zhongxiao Road Night Market, Zhonghua Night Market, or Yizhong Street Night Market as well.
Suggested Length of Visit: 2-3 hrs
4. Get Colorful at Rainbow Village
Rainbow Village or Caihongjuan Village is another of Taichung’s most popular tourist attractions. Located in Nantun District, it’s a former military village that had deteriorated over time and was set to be demolished.
Huang Yung-Fu, a former soldier of the Nationalist Kuomintang Army, refused to leave even after he was the village’s last remaining resident. He started painting colorful figures and patterns around his village which ultimately led to it being saved from demolition. Today, it receives over one million visitors annually. Check out my article on Rainbow Village for more pictures and information.
Rainbow Village is about a 20-25 minute taxi ride from Taichung TRA station. The fare should be around NTD 260-300 each way. You can also get there by public bus.
Aside from the village however, there isn’t anything of interest in that area so it’s best you visit Rainbow Village on a guided tour. We went on a half-day tour that took us to Rainbow Village and Gaomei Wetlands.
Click on the link for more information and to purchase tickets to the Gaomei Wetlands and Rainbow Village Tour with KKday (Chinese only).
Suggested Length of Visit: 1 hr
5. Get Your Feet Wet at Gaomei Wetlands
Gaomei Wetlands in Qingshui District is one of the most well-preserved wetland habitats in Taiwan. It spans over 300 hectares and is home to a diverse array of plants and animals like birds, mud-skippers, and crabs. The area is characterized by a row of giant wind turbines and an 800-meter curved boardwalk, at the end of which you can take your shoes off to walk on the soft muddy sand.
If you’re lucky, then you may catch a glimpse of Taiwanese Iron Man as well. Check out my article on Gaomei Wetlands for more pictures and information.
Gaomei Wetlands is even farther than Rainbow Village from downtown Taichung, about an hour away by taxi. A taxi will cost you around NTD 800 each way. You can get there by public transportation as well.
As advised, the easiest way would be to go by guided tour. Click on the link for more information and to purchase tickets to the Gaomei Wetlands and Miyahara Tour with Klook.
Estimated Time to Spend: 2-3 hrs
6. Visit the 921 Earthquake Museum
I really wanted to go here but we didn’t have time. Located in Wufeng District, 921 Earthquake Museum is a reminder of one of the worst natural disasters in the country’s recent history – a 7.3-magnitude earthquake that devastated Central Taiwan.
921 Earthquake Museum is located at the former site of Guangfu Junior High School. The shell of the school forms the museum’s exterior walls so you can still see much of the original rubble caused by the earthquake.
To get to the museum, you can take Ubus 50 from the bus station across the street from Taichung TRA station. It takes about an hour each way and will drop you off at the museum’s parking lot. Entrance to the museum is just NTD 50 per person.
Photo by Brook Chen via Shutterstock
Estimated Time to Spend: 2-3 hrs
Admission: NTD 50 per adult
7. Trick Your Eyes at the Museum of Illusions
If you enjoy optical illusion museums like the Trick Eye Museum, then you’ll probably want to visit the Museum of Illusions. Located in the West District, it’s a fun museum with dozens of mind-bending optical illusions, brain teasers, trick rooms, and holograms.
You can purchase tickets to the Museum of Illusions at the gate or in advance through Klook.
Estimated Time to Spend: 2-3 hrs
Admission: NTD 380 (adults), NTD 270 (children ages 3-15)
DAY TRIPS FROM TAICHUNG
1. Ride a Bike Around Sun Moon Lake
The day we spent at Sun Moon Lake was one of my favorites from our two weeks in Taiwan. Located in Nantou County, about two hours south of Taichung by bus, it’s the largest body of water in the country and designated as one of thirteen national scenic areas in Taiwan. The bike path around its perimeter was named by CNN as one of the most breathtaking cycling routes in the world.
Sun Moon Lake is easy enough to visit on your own from Taichung. You can check out my article on Sun Moon Lake for more pictures and information on how to get there by bus.
If you’d rather visit Sun Moon Lake on a guided tour, then you can book one with KKday. Click on the link for more information and to book tickets to the Sun Moon Lake Tour with KKday.
2. Spend the Day at Cingjing (Qingjing) Farm
Like Sun Moon Lake, Cingjing or Qingjing Farm is one of the most popular day trips you can make from Taichung.
Located about two and a half hours east of Taichung in Ren’ai Township, Cingjing Fram is a picturesque tourist farm known for its crisp mountain air, rolling hills, and acres of flowers. Apart from enjoying the atmosphere, tourists flock to the farm to interact with its many farm animals like cows, sheep, and ponies.
You can visit Cingjing Farm on your own from Taichung Gancheng Station via the Nantou Bus line. It costs NTD 265 each way but you can get a discount on the total cost of transportation and attraction fees by purchasing a Cingjing Farm Pass.
If you’d rather visit Cingjing Farm on a guided tour, then click on the link for more information and to book a ticket to the Cingjing Farm Day Tour with KKday.
Photo by MrB11 via Shutterstock
3. Explore Alishan Forest
The Alishan National Scenic Area is a mountain resort and forest reserve located in Chiayi County, about three hours south of Taichung. It’s a 41,500-hectare area known for its mountain wilderness, waterfalls, tea plantations, and hiking trails. One of its most famous features is the Alishan Forest Railway, a scenic 86-kilometer network of rails that takes tourists throughout the lush forests of Alishan.
There are two ways to get to Chiayi by train from Taichung – either by TRA or HSR train. As previously advised, TRA trains are cheaper but HSR trains are much faster, getting you there in less than 30 minutes as opposed to about 1 hour and 15 minutes for the TRA train.
You’ll then need to catch a bus to Alishan from either station. Buses between Chiayi TRA station and Alishan run more frequently so there are pros and cons to each. You’ll see what I mean when you look at the train and bus timings below.
By HSR Train
Take the HSR train from Taichung to Chiayi, then take Bus 7329 to Alishan. The bus ride will take about two and a half hours. There are only four bus trips between Chiayi HSR Station and Alishan so you’ll need to be aware of the train and bus schedules.
If you can get to Chiayi HSR Station in time to catch the 9:30AM bus, then you’ll get to Alishan by noon. The last bus back to Chiayi HSR Station departs from Alishan at 4:40PM. If you decide to take the HSR train from Taichung to Chiayi, then you can save on the ticket cost by purchasing it through KKday.
By TRA Train
Take the TRA train from Taichung to Chiayi, then take Bus 7322C to Alishan. This bus ride will also take about two and a half hours. However, there are ten bus trips between Chiayi TRA Station and Alishan so this option will give you more flexibility. The last bus back to Chiayi TRA Station departs at 5:10PM.
By Guided Tour
For a hassle-free day trip, then you may want to visit Alishan Forest on a guided tour with KKday. It’s more expensive than going on your own but at least you won’t have to worry about anything, not even lunch as it’s already included.
Click on the link for more information and to book tickets to the Alishan Forest Railway and High Mountain Tea Experience with KKday. We went on a similar Alishan Forest tour, but from Chiayi instead of Taichung.
TAIWANESE FOOD GUIDE
Taiwan is synonymous with night markets and street food. There are so many delicious and interesting things to eat in this country. If you’re wondering what to eat in Taichung, then check out our list of must-try dishes in Taiwan.
Taiwan is home to a colorful array of tasty street food, but it’s also got some pretty awesome desserts. If you can’t resist the sweeter things in life, then check out our list of delicious desserts in Taiwan.
Photo by PantherMediaSeller via Depositphotos
WHERE TO EAT IN TAICHUNG
1. Second Market
If you’d like to try a traditional Taiwanese breakfast, then the place to go to in Taichung is Second Market. It’s a 7,000 square meter public market where you’ll find all kinds of meat, produce, and spices, as well as multiple stands selling different types of cooked food.
It’s especially popular for breakfast so be prepared for a wait. I had a delicious and filling breakfast platter of egg, sausages, glutinous rice cakes, and tofu.
What We Paid: Around NTD 50-100 per plate
2. Chun Shui Tang
As described, Taichung is considered by many to be the birthplace of boba, which is basically black tea with milk, sugar, and tapioca pearls. Chun Shui Tang, a chain of dim sum restaurants that started in Taichung, is one of two places that have a legitimate claim as being the inventor of bubble tea.
You can enjoy their original pearl milk tea at one of their many branches in Taichung (and throughout the country). KKday offers a voucher to their Dadun 19th Street branch. But if you can, then I suggest trying it at the original shop on Siwei Street.
What We Paid: NTD 75 (small), NTD 140 (large) for pearl milk tea
3. Fu Din Wang
Lu rou fan and braised pork knuckle are two of the most beloved Taiwanese dishes. They’re similar dishes that involve slow cooking pork for several hours until the meat is fork tender. Fu Din Wang specializes in both.
I came across this restaurant when I was doing research for places to eat in Taichung, and I was sold after reading one article describe it as the place to go to for pork knuckle. As you can see below, we had the pork knuckle and lu rou fan, both of which were delicious.
What We Paid: Around NTD 175 with drinks
4. Ding Wang Hotpot
Hot pot, like lu rou fan and beef noodle soup, is a core Taiwanese dish. It’s a soup dish containing a variety of raw ingredients which you cook yourself. A boiling pot of soup stock is left on your table along with the ingredients which you drop into the pot to cook.
I did a search for the most recommended hot pot restaurants in Taichung and Ding Wang Hotpot often came up. Their spicy hot pot was delicious.
Ding Wang has a few branches in Taichung. You can get set meal vouchers through KKday.
What We Paid: Around NTD 1,485 for two
If these four aren’t enough to whet your appetite, then check out our guide to 8 Must-Try Restaurants in Taichung. It includes more pictures and information about the places listed above, as well as instructions on how to get to each restaurant.
POINTS OF INTEREST IN TAICHUNG
I created this map to help you better understand where everything is. Most of the places recommended in this guide are pinned on this map. Click on the link for a live version of the map.
HOW TO GET AROUND IN TAICHUNG
Despite being the second most populated city in Taiwan, Taichung doesn’t have its own subway system so the cheapest way to get around is by bus.
I’m more comfortable with trains because there’s a much greater chance of getting lost on a bus. Thankfully, the Google Maps app (iOS | Android) can help you navigate. It tells you exactly how to get from one place to the next using any city’s public transportation system.
In some instances, you may not want to take public transportation so you’ll be pleased to know that Uber is available in Taichung as well. It’s cheaper than taxis. We took it a couple of times when we were too tired to take public transportation and the most we paid was NTD 286 to go from Fengjia Night Market to Shin Sei Bashi Hotel (about 8 km).
If you plan on using public transportation often in Taiwan, then I suggest picking up an EasyCard. Not only will it save you the hassle of having to scrounge up exact change each time you ride the bus, but any trip less than 10 km will be free with an EasyCard! It’s the Taichung City government’s way of encouraging people to use public transportation.
For example, the distance between Fengjia Night Market and our hotel – which is very near Taichung TRA Station – was about 8 km. That’s about as far as you need to travel within downtown Taichung so most of your rides will probably be for free.
The EasyCard works throughout Taiwan, on most city buses as well as the Taipei and Kaohsiung MRT systems. If you’ll be spending any time in Taipei or Kaohsiung, then you should definitely get one. Not only will it save you the hassle of buying single journey tokens each time, but you’ll also get a 20% discount with every ride on the Taipei MRT and 15% off on the Kaohsiung MRT.
We never used it for anything but transportation but you can use it for other things as well like taxis, ferries, TRA trains, supermarkets, and convenience stores. Click on the link to see the full scope of use of an EasyCard.
In Taichung, you can purchase an EasyCard from any 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, Hi-Life, or OK Mart. You can top it up at any of those convenience stores as well.
As described, you can use an EasyCard throughout Taiwan so if you bought it in Taichung, then you can use the same card in Taipei as well. Any unused amount can be refunded at the end of your trip minus a service charge of NTD 20.
HOW MANY DAYS TO STAY / TAICHUNG ITINERARY
Taichung is a big city with lots to see and do. It’s also a good base from where you can do a few day trips. But assuming you’ll only be staying within Taichung, then I’d say three full days is plenty. It’ll give you more than enough time to do everything in this guide.
If it’s your first time traveling to Taichung, then here’s a sample three-day Taichung itinerary to help you plan your trip. You’re welcome to extend your trip if you plan on doing any of the recommended day trips.
• Calligraphy Greenway
• National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts
• Audit Village
• Fantasy Story
• Caowu Square
• Zhonghua Night Market
• Yizhong Street Night Market
• CMP Block Museum of Arts
• National Museum of Natural Science
• National Taichung Theater (via tour)
• Rainbow Village (via tour)
• Gaomei Wetlands (via tour)
• Fengjia Night Market
• Second Market
• 921 Earthquake Museum
• Zhongxiao Road Night Market
TAICHUNG TRAVEL TIPS
1. Plan your Trip with Sygic Travel
This has been my go-to trip planning app for about five years now and I don’t see myself letting go of it soon. It just makes trip planning so much easier.
With Sygic Travel, I can plot points of interest on a map so I can see exactly where everything is in relation to one another. That way I can create an efficient itinerary so we don’t waste too much time getting from one spot to the next. Check out my post on the free Sygic Travel app for more information.
2. Stay Connected
Having access to the internet is so important these days, especially when traveling. It helps you navigate, do research, and negate the language barrier. We never go anywhere now without renting a pocket wifi device first.
To stay connected in Taiwan, you can either rent a 4G pocket wifi device or buy a sim card. We prefer pocket wifi devices because we find them simpler to use, but either is fine. You can arrange for either through Klook and pick them up from different airports in Taiwan.
3. Check for Taichung Travel Deals
There are many websites that offer discount passes to tours and services. For trips to Taiwan, my favorites are Klook and KKday. They’re both reputable e-commerce travel platforms that offer a wide range of tours and activities in Taiwan.
If you’re looking for deals on tours, transfers, pocket wifi rental, etc, then you may want to search through Klook and KKday. Even if we don’t wind up buying anything, it’s always fun to look just to see what’s available.
4. Get Travel Insurance
Whether or not travel insurance is worth it depends on the trip. For me, if you’ll only be taking a quick trip and not doing anything physical, then you probably don’t need it, especially if you bought your airline ticket with a credit card that comes with free (but limited) travel insurance.
But if you plan on doing things like skiing or bungee jumping, then you should definitely get it. You don’t want to get hurt in a foreign country with no insurance.
When we do feel the need to get insurance, we buy it from SafetyWing or Heymondo. They’re both popular travel insurance companies used by many long-term travelers. Follow the links to get a free quote from SafetyWing or Heymondo. Will Fly for Food readers get 5% off on Heymondo when using our link.
5. Bring the Right Power Adapter
Taiwan has Type A and Type B electrical outlets so be sure to bring the right power adapters for your devices. Electrical voltage is 110V and the standard frequency is 60Hz.
I’m definitely not an expert on Taichung but I hope that this post helps you plan your trip. I’m only sharing some of the things I learned from our time there. If you have any suggestions or comments, then please leave them in the comment section below. You’re welcome to join our Facebook Travel Group as well.
Thanks for stopping by and have an awesome time in artsy Taichung!
These are some of the things we brought with us to Hualien. Have a look inside our backpack to see what other gear we use. (NOTE: The following links are Amazon affiliate links.)
This Taichung travel guide contains affiliate links, meaning we’ll get a small commission if you make a booking at no added cost to you. We only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as this helps us make more of these free travel guides. Thank you!
Wednesday 9th of November 2022
hello, I am a Taiwanese living in Taichung. I found your travelogue in Spain from the pintereset. And then, I saw your article about Taichung. That's pretty impressive!!! The information you provided is detailed and correct.😍😍😍
JB & Renée Macatulad
Wednesday 9th of November 2022
Thank you so much Afra! We work hard on our articles so that really means a lot coming from a local. Cheers!
Thursday 7th of November 2019
Hi, may i ask why you didn't include zhongshe flower market in your itinerary?
JB & Renée Macatulad
Tuesday 12th of November 2019
Hi Marvi, no particular reason. Just personal preference. Flowers aren't really our thing. :)
Monday 8th of July 2019
awesome review and good details. Thanks for sharing.
JB & Renée Macatulad
Monday 8th of July 2019
You're welcome Shalli! Enjoy Taichung! :)
Sunday 9th of June 2019
Thanks for all the details and especially for Sygic App.
JB & Renée Macatulad
Sunday 9th of June 2019
You're welcome Samuel! Not sure if you read my full review on the Sygic app. It's great for planning your itinerary on a desktop but the app itself isn't great. It's laggy so I use Google Maps to navigate on an actual trip. Hope that helps and enjoy Taichung! :)
Friday 15th of March 2019
Hi, totally enjoyed your posts on Taiwan and Taichung. Going there soon. Just want to know if a day trip to Taichung from Taipei is worth it? If so, what are the must-visits that we can squeeze into one day, considering the commute from Taipei and back? Had we known about Taichung sooner, we would have liked to book an overnight stay. Thanks!
JB & Renée Macatulad
Sunday 17th of March 2019
Hi Amy, I think so, especially since it's just an hour away by high-speed train. If you're into museums, there are a few interesting ones in the Calligraphy Greenway area. It's just a really nice relaxing atmosphere. You'll even have time to go to Fengjia night market before catching a train back to Taipei. Hope that helps and enjoy your trip! :)