Taichung is a place best discovered on foot. Scattered around the city, are dozens of beautiful parks, long waterways, and public squares.
I’ve been walking around Taichung since the year 2000. I guess it’s been my way to stay sane all those years in this lovely concrete jungle. (I’m still sane, right…?)
On this page, I will give you options and ideas for quick walks which can be done in half an hour, and also, longer excursions that can take you around the entire city. I think that walking around is the best way to capture the soul of a city, and Taichung is no exception. Of course, the parks and canals are starting points for deeper exploration. Never hesitate to wander off in the little side alleys if you feel the pull.
The Green Belt (Calligraphy Greenway)
The most popular walk in Taichung goes along the Green Belt in the west district. You can start this walk at the Botanical Garden just across the street from the Science Museum. Walk past the Science Museum, then cross Taiwan Boulevard, continuing all the way to People’s Park (Civic Square) on Gongyi Road.
After passing People’s Park, you will need to veer left a little to connect to the Calligraphy Greenway which will take you to the Art Museum. This is the most beautiful section of this walk where you can see lots of beautiful trees with big, fat roots that seem to be crawling on the ground, statues, life-size sculptures, people practicing tai chi, and traditional dances. There’s also two walls with calligraphy scriptures on them just before you reach the Art Museum. It’s all very typically Asian.
After walking around (or through) the Art Museum you will get to the Art Museum Parkway, which is lined with restaurants and cafés. Once you have reached the end of the Green Belt, you will be presented with two options.
If you turn right, you will walk pass Chonglun Park then a bit further you will reach Taichung Central Canal, which bisects the city from north to south.
Heading that way you’re basically walking back towards where you started as the canal is parallel to the Green Belt. Near the end of this walk, you’ll find yourself on the popular Huamei Street on the right side of the canal, and Huamei West Street on the left side. There’s lots of cafes in this part of town, and so it may be a good spot to sit down, have a cup of something, and relax your feet.
That’s the walk I do 90% of the time and it takes me about an hour and a half to complete. From beginning to end, this loop is just under 8 km long, always on flatter-than-flat ground.
Taichung Park is the oldest park in the city. It’s right on the edge of the old downtown area, and was built by the Japanese in 1903. The twin-peaked Hu Xin Pavilion, in the middle of the pond, is one of the most emblematic icons of Taichung City.
If you happen to visit Taichung Park on a weekend, you should check out the old Jade Market across Gongyuan Road, on the southwestern side of the park. I find it to be a really fascinating part of Taichung, where you can still witness what the city may have been like 20-30 years ago.
It’s a traditional place like no other in town, but nothing exciting really. It’s just a market where old folks sell jade items, religious objects, and amulets. The market comes to life around 9am.
Parks in Qiqi
Qiqi is the newest, richest, most modern part of Taichung. That’s where the National Taichung Theater and the Taichung City Government buildings are. Linking those buildings are 5 parks which are surrounded by nice, wide, newly-paved sidewalks. That’s where the rich and famous of Taichung take their evening stroll. I’m saying that only half-jokingly, as it really is quite obvious that the people who live in this area have serious money. All around, the buildings are unaffordable by the majority, most cars are Maserati, Porsche, Benz, BMW… The jet-set part of the city. That being said, the parks are nice and well-maintained, and it’s great to walk around here any time of the day.
Maple Garden, right on the edge of Qiqi neighborhood, is not really a place where you’d want to walk all day, unless you want to stroll in circle… It’s not a big park, but it’s kind of an OK place if you want to see some green among the grey. I would lie if I said I disliked Maple Garden – it’s the only one place in Taichung that can claim the label “oasis” among the concrete jungle. Just walk down to the pond, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Sorry if you’re disappointed, maybe I’ve lived in TC for too long.
The Yongchun Canal starts just south of Wanhe Temple in Nantun District, and goes all the way to Wuri, not too far from the HSR station. What I usually do, is walk the canal one-way, then take a bus back downtown from the HSR station. Walking here in winter is very nice as some pink flowers are in bloom and the trees create some kind of “flower-tunnels”. I’m not into flowers like my wife, but I really find it beautiful.
Donghai University campus is set on top of Dadu Mountain, to the west of Taichung City. The whole area is nature-rich, and one of the finest places to get away from the noise and stress of the city. Luce Memorial Chapel is the highlight at Donghai, but don’t restrict yourself to that one attraction – walk around and get lost in the maze of paths that can bring you face to face with giant trees, streams, and expansive views over the city below.
Map of Taichung Parks and Canals