Taichung City is like a smaller, hotter and more soulful younger brother to Taipei. The sunny city is replete with the same blend of modern high rises and traditional Taiwanese architecture that characterises the capital, but without the constant crowds.
Dive headfirst into this culture by hitting the streets of the Fengjia Night Market, the biggest of its kind in Taiwan. Here, you’ll get a sense of the city’s friendly hustle and bustle as well as its undying love of food. Seek out a cup of pearl milk tea, which originated in Taichung, and try local snacks like squid balls. After an evening exploring Fengjia, you’ll feel like a part of the city.
During the daytime, explore colourful attractions such as the Rainbow Military Dependents’ Village, a residential area covered in the kaleidoscopic artwork of an ex-veteran. Taichung’s temples are equally vibrant, as you’ll see in religious sites like Dajia, where pilgrims head to the palace-style building to worship the goddess Mazu.
Discover Taichung’s creative side in the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts and the Taichung Creative and Cultural Park. Alternatively, simply walk around some of the city’s neighbourhoods, which will lead you past attractive sights like serene Taichung Park, modernist Luce Memorial Chapel and the retro-style buildings of Zhongxing First Lane.
Taichung wears its history proudly on its sleeve, travelling far back into the past at attractions like the Huilai Monument Archaeology Park and the Museum of Natural History. Old family mansions line the streets, while the Folklore Park replicates the elegant Chinese-style pagodas of past eras.
Outside of the city, you’ll quickly find yourself in the mountains of inland Taiwan. Join a tour that takes you around fields of purple lavender or strike out on your own into the hills on one of the hiking trails. Dasyueshan and Hehuanshan offer routes up forested peaks, while the hills of Alishan contain indigenous villages that maintain Taiwan’s ancient customs.
Taichung is a transport hub, which means that trains and buses from all around the island head into the city; take the High Speed Rail from Taoyuan International Airport to get there quickly. As such, it’s also an ideal base for exploring the rest of the island. In Taichung City itself, buses connect with all the major sights, such as the Art Museum and Fengjia. One of the best ways of roaming here, however, is by hiring a scooter and joining the locals as they whizz around the noisy streets of the city.