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Travel Information About Taoyuan County
Taoyuan County is arguably most famous for housing Taiwan’s largest airport (Taoyuan International Airport), which is where most people fly into from abroad.
Taoyuan County isn’t the hottest touristic destination in Taiwan, but there’s more than enough to see for a day or two. It’s a decent place to get some South Asian cuisine, especially in Zhongli City, where immigrants from that region commonly come to Formosa to make a living.
Rendered in English, Taoyuan means “peach blossom garden”, though the flowers are no longer grown there. Because many foreign travelers and businessmen get stranded in Taoyuan from time to time, there’s a surprising number of foreigner-friendly and more refined cafes and restaurants, shopping and department stores; there’s even an IKEA!
Excursions a bit outside of Taoyuan City make things more interesting, such as bungee jumping in Fuxing Township or getting custom-made fish at Shimen Dam (all of these locations are reachable via train).
Taoyuan County Attractions
Things to do in Taoyuan City
ZhongZheng Road Shopping
Taoyuan claims to have the first shopping mall ever built in Taiwan, but I’m not sure who to believe on that one. Anyway, starting from Taoyuan’s railway station is the ZhongZheng Road Commercial District, with a distinctly modern feel, packed with department stores, high-end shopping, coffee and tea stops, boutique shopping and more. The district stays lively until late into the night, and is a great stop for the commercial-minded.
This temple (very close to the ZhongZheng district mentioned above) serves as a way to get a sense of Taoyuan both spiritually and historically. It was built in the early 19th century, at the time when the Chinese started to first develop Taiwan as an official part of the Qing Dynasty. The temple remains as a way for the humble traveler to peek into the early stages of Taiwan’s stumble into the modern world.
The surprisingly respectable Taiwan Bungee Jumping Club operates out of Taoyuan County, and the experience can be yours as well. Lush green surroundings make Taoyuan an ideal place to feel as though you’re jumping to your doom only to be whisked back up in a fit of elasticity.
To organize a jump, contact the club; their website is http://bungy.com.tw/. The site is all in Chinese, but if you give them a call they’ll be able to help you find an English-speaker. The jumps usually take place in Fuxing Township, deep in the middle of the mountains.
A dam-cum-theme park is Shimen Reservoir, also in Taoyuan County. It’s a massive food-control and water supply dam. Around the area, besides checking out the natural beauty of the dammed area itself, there are gardens and food stands where you get to pick how they cook the fish straight out of the lake. There is also a three kilometer bike path, which is a great way to take in the scenery.
Getting Around Taoyuan City / County
Bumming around the downtown area of Taoyuan City is easily done on foot. If you need to make it across town for other attractions, taxis are really cheap. Buses are available and fairly comprehensive, but difficult to navigate if your Chinese skills aren’t up to par. Making it to places outside the city are best done on Taiwan’s efficient trains, which stop in nearly every city and township.
My favorite way to travel in the mountains of Taoyuan County is by scooter or motorbike. You can go wherever you want, whenever you want. Make sure you always have some petrol in your tank as there aren’t that many gas stations outside the big cities and towns. If you ride at night in the mountains, be extra careful – many Taiwanese ride/drive under the influence in those parts. You can rent a scooter for as little as 350NT$ per day around Taoyuan Train Station.
- Rent a car at Taoyuan International Airport
- Get more information about scooters in Taiwan
- More info about bus travel in Taiwan
Eating in Taoyuan
The Shimen Reservoir (mentioned above) is supposed to be home to elusive fish that have grown stronger and meatier after the dam transformed their habitat from river to lake. The local chefs are famous for employing a wide range of cooking methods to give the fish distinctive tastes.
I once bought a fish by the side of the road near the dam and barbecued it at my campground and it was… totally disgusting – a real mess! I don’t know what I did wrong but the thing was so water and just tasted like… dead fish! I had another try at it a year later (this time at a restaurant) and it was delicious and tender!
Secret Garden Breeze Cafe
Stylized as a Mediterranean coffee house, the Secret Garden serves up coffee and European dishes near the ZhongZheng Road Commercial District.
No. 92, Section 1, Sanmin Road, Taoyuan City
Feebie’s has a wonderful atmosphere, a bar with a decent selection of drinks, karaoke (KTV), delicious pizza, calzones, nachos, chicken wings, caesar chicken wraps, and tons of other western foods.
155 ZhongHua Rd., Taoyuan City, Taiwan
Taoyuan Tourist Night Market
Nearly every decent-sized city in Taiwan has a night market, and Taoyuan is no exception. Night markets remain the best option for a wide sampling of Taiwanese cuisine, and the Hakka aboriginal people of Taoyuan will provide some interesting twists on the canon of edibles.
BeiBu Rd. between ZhenKang 1st and ZhenKang 2nd Streets
Restaurants around ZhongZheng Road District
This district has plenty or Taiwanese / Chinese restaurants. It’s one of the best places to go for a late night snack or drink in Taoyuan City.
As a tourist, one of the best things to do at night in Taoyuan is to walk aimlessly around ZhongZheng Road District near the train station. If you feel like having a (very) cheap drink, don’t be shy to get yourself a beer at a 7-11 and drink it right outside. (They usually have patio tables set up on the sidewalk for that purpose.) This area of Taoyuan City has many restaurants where alcohol is sold. Expect to pay around 80NT$ for a big Taiwan Beer.
Another cool spot to have a bite or drink at night is the Taoyuan Tourist Night Market.
If you’re looking for bars, lounges, nightclubs, discos, you’d better head for Taipei City. Read more about Taipei’s nightlife here.
Find hotels, hostels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts in Taoyuan at HotelsCombined.com.
I’ll try to give you as much information about accommodation in Taoyuan as I possible, but Hotels Combined has much, much more info than Taiwanese Secrets. Visit their site to check room rates and availability, make a reservation or look at the exact location of each hotel on a nice Google map. Hotels Combined also offers hotel discounts sometimes.
Cheap hotel, central location, within reach of most tourist attractions, wireless internet access, restaurant, room service, meeting rooms. Very decent option if you’re looking for a budget accommodation in Taoyuan. Trust me, this place is more than OK for the price!
No. 22, Fuxing Road, Taoyuan City, Taiwan
Check availability, book your room at the Hua Yue Hotel.
Holiday Inn Express– From 1506NT$ – 3 Star Hotel
Modern high-rise hotel only 20 minutes away from Taoyuan International Airport. Extra convenient downtown location, breakfast buffet, wireless internet throughout the hotel, close to Taoyuan Night Market and other attractions and shopping venues.
1039 Chuenr Road, Taoyuan City, Taiwan
Check the price for a room at the Holiday Inn Hotel.
Monarch Plaza Hotel– From 3600NT$ – 5 Star Hotel
A business hotel ideal for airport hangers-on, the Monarch is surprisingly well put together for the little town of Taoyuan. Rooms start at around NT$3600 per night, and there are all kinds of facilities – fitness center, business center, eating center, etc.
No. 300, Chuang Ching Rd., Sec. 1, Taoyuan City
Check availability and fare for this hotel.
The Yorker Hotel – From 3600NT$ (Don’t know how many stars)
A hip (or trying to be, at least) boutique hotel in Taoyuan with rooms starting at NT$3,600 for the night. It’s relatively close to the train station and right in the commercial district.
No. 58, TaiShan Street, Taoyuan City
The Taiwan Railway Association (TRA) trains will be the cheapest and most convenient option, especially if you’re looking to stop at surrounding towns. Taoyuan also has tons of buses running to and from Taipei as it’s only an hour or so away. The train station and airport are full of companies operating these.