I've been living in Taichung City since the year 2000, so I know the place like the back of my hand and I can surely help you discover the best museums, temples, markets, hotels, restaurants, parks, shopping areas, and nightlife spots in town.
The two main reasons why I've lived in Taichung for so long, are the weather and relative proximity to everything in Taiwan.
The weather is not as wet as Taipei up north, and not as hot as Kaohsiung down south. The Central Mountain Range also protects the city from the powerful typhoons we get every summer, and the surrounding hills create a micro-climate which brings fairly low precipitations compared to other parts of Taiwan.
At the bottom of this page, you'll find a map with all the tourist attractions listed here.
Taichung is located right in the middle of the island on the west coast where the High-Speed Railway (HSR) runs from Taipei to Kaohsiung. The normal train (TRA), highways, public and private bus lines can also take you everywhere around Taiwan with relative ease.
Food is another reason why tourists love Taichung. Due to the large amount of foreigners that now call Taichung home, there is an ever-growing selection of international restaurants that serve everything from Greek to Indian at reasonable prices. The central Taiwanese metropolis also has a vibrant nightlife, modern cafes, and lots of traditional Chinese teahouses. Check my favorite restaurants in Taichung.
Here are some of my favorite places in Taichung:
Xiangshang traditional market is not an actual tourist attraction and you won't find it listed in guidebooks, but it's worth a visit if you want to experience what daily life is for many local Taiwanese.
I have brought many friends and first-time Taichung visitors there and everyone seems to find the experience memorable. The busy market offers lots of good photo ops. I have personally been buying my veggies there since 2000, and I still enjoy the hustle and bustle found on weekends when hundreds of people gather at Xiangshang's narrow streets and alleys to buy fruit and veggies, meat, clothes, and snacks.
Hours: 8:00am to approximately 12:00 noon is when the market is at its busiest.
Wether or not you're interested in China's most famous philosopher doesn't really matter. The simple sight of this massive architectural marvel is worth the trip. Every year, on September 28, a ceremony is held at dawn to honor the sage and it's a good opportunity to witness ancient Chinese rituals. It was completed in 1976.
Baojue Temple And The Happy Buddha
The Taiwanese like to make things BIG! And their places of worship don't escape that tendency. At Baojue Temple, Milefo, the giant smiling Buddha, sits on a hollow pedestal that is also used as a meeting chamber.
Taiwan Museum of Art
This art museum exhibits both Taiwanese and foreign art in a modern building located along the green belt. The plaza in front of the museum is always very lively and it's a good place to observe taichi practitioners around 6am. The walk from here to the Science Museum along the Green Belt is highly recommended and will be a highlight of your trip to Taichung.
2 Wuquan West Road
Tue-Sun, 9am-5pm; admission free; UBus #75
National Museum of Natural Science
If you're traveling with kids, don't miss the Science Museum. It has interactive exhibits, an Imax Space Theater, and a life-sized dinosaur reconstruction. Even if you're not traveling with kids, the area around the museum is nice and quiet. Great place to enjoy nature in the city. The walk to or from the Art Museum along the Green Belt is beautiful.
1 Guanqian Road, Taichung
Tue-Sun, 8am-5pm; admission adult/kid NT100/50, Imax NT70/30; city bus #88, 103
National Botanical Garden
Like the Science Museum, the garden isn't the most exhilarating attraction in town for adults and is probably more engaging for kids. Still, this landmark has great surroundings to chill out and the tropical rainforest in the covered area looks quite real. For some, the architecture might be worth the tripin itself.
Located behind the Science Museum
Tue-Sun, 8am-5pm; admission adult/kid NT20/10
Considered by many as being the best night market in Taiwan for the variety and quality of its street food, cleanliness, cheap prices, and friendliness of the vendors. Be sure to reserve one night for Fengchia, you won't regret it!
This is where the city was born. If you find yourself in the old downtown area, come by to see the two iconic pavilions, rowboat, or just people-watch while walking on tranquil tree-lined paths. (1km north of the train station)
Donghai University - Luce Memorial Chapel
A friend of mine told me that I.M. Pei - Luce Memorial Chapel's architect - had praying hands in mind when he designed this striking landmark. The tent-like structure is located within the appealing grounds of Donghai University, about 8km west of the new downtown area. (city bus #88, 103)
God of Literature Temple
Stressed out about an upcoming exam? Don't be! Join dozens of Taiwanese students who come here every day to ask the God of literature for divine help in passing tests... and while you're in the area, take a look at Taichung's oldest temple.
Nantian Temple - God Of War
If you're a photo enthusiast, you'll enjoy shooting the 48m-high God of War seated above a tiger on Nantian Temple. The red-faced, red handed deity is said to be worshiped by rebels and criminal gangs. This place is not a must, only visit if you happen to be in that area. (daily 6:30am-10pm; Ziyou Rd, East district; admission free; city bus #33)
Check out availability and prices for accommodation in the city. You should make a reservation if you plan on coming here on a weekend or holiday. Book a hotel in Taichung now!
Lugang: temples, ancient Chinese culture
Changhua: gateway to Baguashan, a nice Confucius Temple
Baguashan: A giant Buddha sculpture (22m-high), temple
Sun Moon Lake: Taiwan's biggest lake
Dakeng: Hiking trails
Sanyi: Wood sculpting, tea, countryside, Hakka food