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 the 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.
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GUIDE TABLE OF CONTENTS
Because of the current global situation, travel guidelines change regularly. Our friends at SafetyWing created a website that lists detailed information on travel restrictions around the globe.
Before doing any serious trip planning, be sure to check the Flatten the Curve website for information on travel restrictions to Taiwan.
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, the city was named by the Japanese who sought to develop Taichung 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 known 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: Weather in Taichung is most ideal 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
After going through customs at Taoyuan International Airport, we boarded a bus (Ubus 1623) from the airport and went straight to Taichung. The bus ride took about 2 hrs 30 mins and cost NTD 280 each way. You can refer to the Taiwan Highway Bus website for more information on Ubus 1623.
If you aren’t going directly from the airport, then the best way to travel to Taichung 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 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 290||3 hrs 30 mins|
By TRA Train
If you aren’t in a rush, then traveling by TRA train is perfectly fine. The TRA station is located in downtown Taichung so we just walked to our hotel. 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.
By HSR Train
HSR trains can get you into Taichung in half the time but the station is located in 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 can’t get a discount from the THSR website, then you can try KKday. They offer an HSR Unlimited Pass as well as discounted single-journey HSR tickets to Taichung from the following cities (click on the links for more information):
If you’ll be proceeding to another city from Taichung, then you can purchase a discounted HSR ticket for that journey as well.
As you can see from the chart above, highway buses are your cheapest option but they take longer. Fares may vary depending on the bus company, so you can check the Taiwan Highway Bus website for information on routes, fares, and travel times.
WHERE TO EXCHANGE CURRENCY
Taiwan’s unit of currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (NTD). 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.
WHERE TO STAY IN TAICHUNG: Shin Sei Bashi Hotel
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. Shin Sei Bashi Hotel is a beautiful Japanese-inspired boutique hotel just 5 minutes away from Taichung TRA station. It’s located across the street from Miyahara which is one of the most visited shops in Taichung.
As you can see below, the room is simple but lovely, albeit a little small. Not sure if it was just the configuration of our particular room, but it was tight getting to the bathroom from the desk and we didn’t have much room for our luggage. The bathroom was nice and big though. For USD 52 a night with breakfast for two already included, it was a pretty good deal.
You can book a room here through Booking.com or Agoda. If you don’t think Shin Sei Bashi Hotel is the right place for you, then you can follow these links to find alternate listings in Taichung: Booking.com | Agoda.
Here’s what Shin Sei Bashi Hotel looks like from the street. Pretty right?
They gave us free breakfast vouchers which entitled us to these delicious gua bao buns from a shop downstairs. Often referred to as a “Taiwanese hamburger”, a gua bao or cua pao is basically a type of sandwich made from a Chinese steamed bun (baozi). It’s typically made with braised pork belly but this one had ground pork. It was absolutely delicious and something I looked forward to every morning. There’s a coffee machine in the hotel lobby as well so you could help yourself to as many cups as you wanted. It even dispensed matcha lattes!
Approximate Room Rate: USD 52 per night (as of June 2018)
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.
Calligraphy Greenway is a 3.6 kilometer long green open space, around which are many shops, restaurants, and cafes. Here 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 / Admission: FREE
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 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, it’s 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 post 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 post 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 with Kkday that took us to Rainbow Village and Gaomei Wetlands for NTD 750 each. Follow the link for more information and to purchase tickets to the Gaomei Wetlands and Rainbow Village Tour with KKday.
Suggested Length of Visit: 1 hr / Admission: FREE
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 post 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. But as advised, the easiest way would be to go by guided tour. The Kkday tour we went on will take you to Rainbow Village and Gaomei Wetlands for just NTD 750 each. Follow the link for more information and to purchase tickets to the Gaomei Wetlands and Rainbow Village Tour with KKday.
Suggested Length of Visit: 2-3 hrs / Admission: FREE
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. It’s 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.
Suggested Length of Visit: 2-3 hrs / Admission: NTD 50 per adult
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 post on Sun Moon Lake for more pictures and information on how to get there by bus. But if you’d rather go on a guided tour, then you can do so with Kkday. They offer a day tour to Sun Moon Lake from Taichung for NTD 1,611 per person. Follow the link for more information and to book tickets to the Sun Moon Lake Tour with KKday.
Suggested Length of Visit: Whole Day
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 Farm is a picturesque tourist farm known for its crisp mountain air, its rolling hills, and acres of flowers. Apart from enjoying the atmosphere, tourists flock to Cingjing 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 go on a guided tour, then you can visit Cingjing Farm on a day tour with Kkday for NTD 1,765 per person. Follow the link for more information and to book a voucher for the Cingjing Farm Day Tour with KKday.
Suggested Length of Visit: Whole Day
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 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.
For a hassle-free day trip, then you may want to go on a guided tour with KKday. It’s pretty pricey at NTD 2,357 per person but at least you won’t have to worry about anything, not even lunch as it’s already included. Follow the link for more information and to purchase vouchers for the Alishan Forest Railway and High Mountain Tea Experience with KKday.
Suggested Length of Visit: Whole Day
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.
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.
Expect to Pay: 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.
Expect to Pay: 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: 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: NTD 1,485 for two
If these four aren’t enough to whet your appetite, then check out our post on 8 Must-Eat 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.
HOW TO GET AROUND 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. Give it a shot if you plan on getting around Taichung by bus.
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.
In some instances, you many not want to take public transportation so you’ll be pleased to know that Uber is available in Taichung as well. According to my homestay host from a previous trip, 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).
HOW MANY DAYS TO STAY / SAMPLE ITINERARY
Taichung is a big city with plenty 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 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
BUDGET / SUMMARY OF EXPENSES
Assuming you’ll be traveling with one other person and spending three full days in Taichung, then a budget of around NTD 1,500 per day should be enough. This takes into account a moderately priced hotel, inexpensive meals, transportation, tour and entrance fees, and pocket wifi rental. Feel free to add to this suggested budget if you plan on going shopping or doing any day trips.
This depends on many factors like hotel preference and number of travel companions. We booked a room at Shin Sei Bashi Hotel for about NTD 1,560 a night. Expect to pay much less if you’re staying in a dorm room.
This is also subjective but based on our experience, I’d say around NTD 200-300 for the day per person with drinks. Budget more if you plan on dining at fancier restaurants.
POCKET WIFI RENTAL
If you’re sharing the cost with one other person, then you’ll each be paying NTD 40 per day.
As advised, it’s a good idea to invest in an EasyCard if you plan on riding the bus a lot in Taichung. The base cost of the EasyCard is NTD 100 plus whatever amount you’ll need in Taichung. Since rides under 10 km are free, then I don’t imagine you’ll be needing much. A bus transportation budget of around NTD 100 for the entire three days should be plenty.
TOUR & ENTRANCE FEES
The only Taichung attraction in this guide that has an entrance fee is the 921 Earthquake Museum. I did factor in the cost for the Rainbow Village and Gaomei Wetlands Day Tour since it’s the easiest way of seeing both places. The total cost for the museum and tour is NTD 800.
This comes out to about NTD 1,457 per day for each person. Ren and I are middle of the road travelers who enjoy good food and drink, so this is a budget that works for us. Feel free to adjust based on your own travel habits.
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 come up with 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.
Sygic Travel is what I used to create the location map above. You can view it as a day-to-day itinerary as well. Follow this link to check out our three-day Taichung itinerary on Sygic Travel. You can also download our entire 2-week Taiwan itinerary in editable Word format from our EAT-ineraries page.
2. Rent a Pocket Wifi Device
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 get 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 them through KKday and pick them up from several airports in Taiwan.
3. Store Your Luggage with lalalocker
If you arrive early or have a late flight out, then you may need to store your luggage somewhere. That’s what lalalocker is for. They’re like the AirBnB for luggage. They help you find establishments that can temporarily store your luggage for a fee. They serve multiple cities throughout Taiwan, including Taichung.
Bookstore that stores your luggage in Taipei
4. Ride the Bus for Free with an EasyCard
As described in the HOW TO GET AROUND section of this guide, you can get free rides on the public bus for distances of less than 10 km if you have an EasyCard. If you plan on getting around by bus in Taichung, then that definitely makes the cost of the card worth it. 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.
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. Follow this 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. You can use an EasyCard throughout Taiwan so if you bought it in Taichung, then you can use it in Taipei as well. Any unused amount can be refunded at the end of your trip minus a service charge of NTD 20.
5. Check for Discount Passes
There are many websites that offer discount passes to tours and services. For trips to Taiwan, one of the best is KKday. They’re a Taiwanese e-commerce travel platform so in my opinion, there’s no better place to buy deals from in Taiwan than Kkday. They have the widest selection.
If you’re looking for deals on tours, transfers, pocket wifi rental, etc, then you may want to search through KKday’s list of Taichung attractions. Here’s a list of some of Kkday’s most popular deals in Taichung: (pictures borrowed from kkday.com)
6. 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 World Nomads or SafetyWing. They’re both leading travel medical insurance providers used by many long-term travelers. Read my article on why we buy travel insurance for a breakdown of the two. You can follow the links to get a free quote from World Nomads or SafetyWing.
7. Bring the Right Power Adapter
VISA INFORMATION (for Filipinos)
Effective till 31 July 2020, Philippine passport holders will be able to enter Taiwan visa-free for a maximum stay of fourteen (14) days. Check out our post on TECO’s visa-free program for Filipinos so see if you qualify.
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 Taichung. Check out our “What’s in Our Backpack?” post to see our complete list of travel gear. (NOTE: The following links are affiliate links.)
We’re a KKday affiliate and worked with them on this trip. They provided us with vouchers for pocket wifi rental and the Rainbow Village and Gaomei Wetlands tour. Everything else in this guide was at our expense. As always, all words and opinions expressed in this post are mine and mine alone.
This article 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!
Thursday 7th of November 2019
Hi, may i ask why you didn't include zhongshe flower market in your itinerary?
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.
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.
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!
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! :)
Friday 8th of March 2019
ma'am your narration is very helpful. ngka idea ako how to get there specially the location and expense of the transportations. mam how about yung Swiss Garden and Flower Farm Taichung, we want to visit there sana.. how to get there po?
Saturday 9th of March 2019
Hi Christy, sorry but we haven't been there so we don't know.