Our staff at Reach To Teach have created this handy guide to Taichung to help you familiarize yourself with this incredible city.
Taichung is the third largest city in Taiwan, located in the west-central part of the island. It has a pleasant climate, and a population of just over one million people. The city is home to many manufacturers and in recent years has experienced rapid growth in the diversity of its cultural offerings.
Among the activities to catch when visiting Taichung: the world-class science museum and hiking in the nearby hills. There are also many famous night markets that provide night-time excitement. Here you can enjoy delicious food and drink, and find cheap and interesting items for sale. These include the ChungHwa night market , the Feng-Chia university night market (逢甲夜市), the Tung-Hai university night market , and the Chung-Shiao night market 台中酒吧
Getting To Taichung
Bus is the most convenient and least expensive option. From Taipei Train Station, go to bus terminal, take Tong-Lien Bus (統聯客運), Guo-Gung Bus (國光客運). Tickets cost from NT$100-300, depending on the number of passengers. Busses depart several times an hour from the early morning through evenings and the entire ride is about two hours long.
All Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) trains between Taipei and Kaohsiung stop at Taichung. The High Speed Rail station is located on the outskirts of Taichung. You can take a regular train between the two stations in about six minutes, in addition, a free bus is available to take HSR passengers downtown, to the universities, etc.
In addition, Taichung is a major stop along the Western Line with all north and south bound trains a making a stop here. Midrange ticket prices (Jukuang class) typically run around NT$300 from Taipei or NT$350 from Kaohsiung. The entire trip takes about three hours from both Taipei and Kaohsiung. The Western Line station is located in central Taichung.
Taichung airport operates mostly as domestic hub, though it does also offer a limited international service to neighboring counties. A flight to Taipei takes 40 minutes, although air service to Taipei has been cut back lately as the High Speed Rail is generally a faster and more convenient way to get there.
An international terminal is being built currently in Taichung and is going to be the largest airport in Taiwan with a floor area is more than 800,000 square meters. This airport is normally compared to the Beijing Capital International Airport T3, The Changyi International Airport T3 in Singapore, and other big airports around the world. This new airport will be home to at least 80 airlines and more than 70 restaurants. The airport should be finished by the end of 2009.
Guide to Taichung – Eat and Drink
With a proliferation of noodle shops and street vendors peddling anything from the exotic to common household dishes, there is no lack of choice for enjoying local delicacies. Fortunately, the Taiwanese are quite accustomed to non-Chinese speakers, so using gestures will get you what you want (with a perhaps a little surprise!) Great live music on the weekends. Fantastic Blues band, Boogie Chillin plays there the 2nd Friday of every month. Large screen projector for the big games and music videos. Old an school bar with a great atmosphere. A great mix of people. If you want to see some great live bands as well as get your party on… this is the pub.
Taichung is generally safe as long as you are vigilant at all times. Look both ways before crossing roads, then look again while you cross. Most injuries and fatalities to travelers in Taichung occur from vehicular accidents.
As Taichung is located in the middle of Taiwan, it is conveniently located for making trips to both Taipei and Kaohsiung. There are frequent, comfortable and inexpensive freeway-bus services plying the routes. The journey to either city by bus or train takes around 3 hours, or as little as 1.5 hours given optimal traffic conditions.
The Taiwanese High Speed Rail (HSR) is now in operation, and as it will run at up to 300 kph, travel time to both Taipei and Kaohsiung is now as little as 45 minutes.
Taichung is located near several recreational areas. A short distance to the north is a large water park, especially enticing during the hot summer months, while the mountains and lush plains of Puli and Nantou County are within an hour’s drive to the east. The coast is a mere half-hour to the west.
Best Place To Tourism in Taichung
Qianyue Building (千越大楼)
Like Rainbow Village, this place also offers some great open-air art for your viewing pleasure, but it’s much rougher around the edges. Once a popular entertainment and residential building in the 1970s, the Qianyue building now lies abandoned. Or almost abandoned, as it’s now been taken over by a street artist collective called Escape PLAN-X Taiwan Graffiti Crew (EPX). This is an easy introduction to urbex for anyone who’s curious about exploring abandoned buildings.
There’s no gate or fence to jump; it’s located right in the city center and no one will stop you from walking up the stairs from the street. Apparently one of the elevators even works, though I certainly wouldn’t try it. Most of the art is on the fifth and sixth floors, and also up on the roof. The UFO-type round thing on the roof used to be a rotating restaurant. Its top-level floor has collapsed, so I wouldn’t go up there for safety reasons, but everywhere else seemed pretty safe.
It seems like EPX has big plans for this place, so it will be exciting to see what it becomes. I’ve read conflicting information about visitors being charged a “maintenance fee” of NT$ 100. Some reports say that people asking for money on the first floor are actually not part of EPX, and you shouldn’t pay them.No one asked us for money, but I did see a donation box on the fifth floor. If in doubt, offer to leave your donation there. For more photos of the art and the building, check out this article on Kathmandu and Beyond.
Taichung Cultural Heritage Park
It seems like every city in Taiwan has at least one creative art park, but some of them are filled mostly with shops where you can buy art and artsy little trinkets. This one, however, is much less commercial than others I’ve been to.
Once a Japanese sake distillery, this large space has been converted into exhibition rooms for temporary art exhibits. When I visited, there was an interesting exhibit about one of Taiwan’s indigenous tribes and another one about underwater cultural heritage.
The only shop I saw was inside what appeared to be the old bottling room. Wine and local liqueurs are now sold here. My favorite part of all, though, was the distillery tanks outside that have been turned into canvases for street art.