Home of the greatest Buddha Statue on the island!
Changhua is mostly popular with tourists for its huge buddha statue on top of a big hill right in the middle of the city. Other sites include the beautiful Confucius Temple, Yuancing Temple, an Art Museum, as well as a sugar factory. Other than that, it’s just another city like many others in the concrete jungle that is Taiwan’s west coast.
Apart from watching and taking pictures of the statue, visiting even more temples, you will most likely only stop here to transit to the nearby historic town of Lugang, where the sights are even more important in terms of history, beauty, and cultural significance.
It’s not to say that Changhua is devoid of interesting sights. However, it’s worth mentioning that the city doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to “charm” or “esthetic”. It’s not in the same category as Tainan and Lugang, and it’s not considered a must-visit place if you only have 2-3 weeks on your itinerary.
From Changhua train station, you can easily walk to most of the sights and restaurants introduced on this page, so you don’t really need to worry about transportation. A taxi ride across the city shouldn’t exceed 150NT$.
Mt. Bagua and the Great Buddha Statue
You’ve probably seen pictures of this iconic 22m-tall statue in travel books before. It’s one of the most recognizable landmarks in Taiwan.
The Great Buddha sits on a lotus flower base on top of Baguashan, or Eight Trigram Mountain. The statue is hollow and you can actually go inside to see colorful dioramas that depict the Buddha’s life. It’s a bit disappointing in there, the whole thing looks cheap and “plasticky” and there isn’t much in terms of English information.
Behind the statue, you’ll find the massive Great Buddha Temple. The third floor is a favorite spot to watch the sunset over the city.
If you feel like walking, head east to Baguashan Scenic Area where you’ll find walkways, pavilions, coffee shops and even an old military aircraft that you can climb in.
On a clear day, you can see as far as Taichung from here. The views are nice on clear days, and it’s a fine place to stroll around to meet locals and see what the local vendors are trading that day. On the big steps to walk up here, it’s not uncommon to see vendors selling goose eggs, ostrich eggs, barbecued sausage, fruit, soft drinks and even beer.
Confucius Temple – 孔子廟
Changhua’s Confucius Temple was built in 1726 and is one of the oldest in Taiwan. It’s located right downtown and is surrounded by modern shops, restaurants, traffic, and convenience stores. It is a very photogenic location, especially in the afternoon when the sun faces the temple.
As with most Confucius temples around Taiwan, it is a very quiet place where you won’t see worshippers burning stuff, offering goods, or playing loud music or banging gongs and cymbals. The lack of action and noise is really the main reason why I appreciate this place. The architecture is of ancient classical Chinese style. Gorgeous place! Highly recommended.
Other attractions in Changhua
Take a quick look at my Changhua map to see that there are dozens of temples throughout the city. Walking around the little streets to find them is very interesting and is the best way to meet locals and discover undiscovered secret spots!
Yuancing Temple 元清觀 (built in 1763), is one of the most important places of worship for Taiwanese living in Changhua and they come here 7 days a week to burn incense, ghost money, and make offerings such as fruits and beer to ancestors and Chinese gods. Yuancing Temple is only a 2-minute walk from Confucius Temple.
This temple is also called Yuanqing Taoist Monastery. In the 1763 of the Qing Dynasty, migrants from Quanzhou (Fujian Province) raised the funds to build this Taoist shrine.
Address: 207, Minsheng Rd., Changhua City
Changhua Food Specialties
Changhua’s meatballs 肉圓 are hot! And for some hardcore Taiwanese food lovers, they are the main reason to make it to this part of the island. Bei Men Kou Meatballs is the most famous eatery in town for this local specialty and you can find it at 315, Minsheng Rd., Changhua, not too far from the train station. Find it on my map at the bottom of this page.
Cat Mouse Noodles are also the pride of local residents. And I seriously don’t understand why. Really, apart from a creative name, this soup doesn’t have much to be excited about. The broth is bland and the noodles are… well… plain white noodles! Maybe I just had it at the wrong place. Better luck next time.
Pizza Rock is my own chain of pizzeria in Taiwan and we have a branch in Changhua. We serve thin-crust, stone-baked, Italian pizza, panini, baked pasta, salads, beer, wine, coffee, and imported drinks in a rock and roll themed restaurant. Check it out here!
Rock climbing at Changhua University
If you have your own harness, shoes, rope and quick-draws (minimum 10 of them) this is the place to be on a sunny day! The wall is about 15m high and has 12 lines of solid bolts.
If you don’t have your own partner, do not… I repeat: DO NOT join the Taiwanese climbers there unless you have suicidal tendencies!
Over the years I have seen the worse climbing practices ever, like very dangerous belay techniques, top roping off a sling (YES!!!), 5 meters of loose rope when the climber is midway… and the list goes onnnnnn…….
The wall is on the grounds of National Changhua Normal University. You can climb here for free. There are no lights at night.
Accommodation in Changhua
I don’t see why anyone would want to sleep in Changhua, when you can just hop on a bus or train to Taichung City, which is just 20 minutes away. There are very few options for nightlife in Changhua. If you have to spend the night here, there are a couple of OK hotels / motels in the city and the best place to find deals and make a reservation online is right here from the box below…
Getting There and Away
You can reach Changhua by high-speed train (HSR). From Taipei, it’s about 50 minutes and it cost 820NT$ for a reserved seat in economy class, and 1430NT$ for business class.
The normal train (TRA) also has a station right downtown Changhua from where you can reach all the main cities on the west coast of Taiwan such as Kaohsiung, Miaoli, Hsinchu, Tainan, Taoyuan, Taichung, and Taipei.