Taichung, with one million inhabitants, is the third largest city in the island

Though off the beaten tourist path, Taichung offers some real treasures for the discerning traveller.

Things to see in Taichung

If you travel to Taichung from the north - possibly with the High Speed Railway - you will notice how, after the green hills of Miaoli county, the countryside becomes flat and crowded.

As you approach the city, rice paddies turn into small patches set between a myriad of farm houses and tiny factories.

Shortly before arriving, on the right you will notice the broad hill (called Dadushan - Big Belly Hill) that separates Taichung basin from the sea.

Still on the right, to the east, now you can see large modern factories lined between the railroad track and the hill.

This area, a few kilometers long, is the brand new Central Taiwan Science Park. Only 5-6 years ago there were just bamboo clumps and small yam fields. Now major players of hi-tech manufacturing opened their factories here - mainly "optronics" (TFT and LEDs screens) but also semiconductors and biotechnology companies are represented here.

The three periods of Taichung

Until not long ago the city was primarily the capital of a rich agricultural district. A network of irrigation canals still intersects the city center. The canals were mainly built during the Japanese rule and now are partly buried.

Irrigation canal in an old picture of TaichungPicture from Taipics

At the time of the "economic miracle" of Taiwan - between 1970 and 1990 - Taizhong (as the city name is also written) saw a boom of small and medium companies, often family-run. Many are located in the industrial park that lies in the western part of the city.

Now many of these small industries transformed to serve the big companies of the Science Park ... is the Taiwanese miracle that continues?

What to see and what to do in Taichung?

If you are in Taiwan for tourism, with just 1-2 weeks available, you will not probably visit this city in Central Taiwan. Taizhong is more a base camp to get to destinations such as Sun Moon Lake Lake or to cross the Central range.

Taizhong anyway boasts several attractions, some even quite surprising. For example, its museums, or the modern Taiwanese culture of tea houses, that was born right here. Here is a list of the main things to see and to do ...

Taichung Taiwan National Museum of Fine Arts

National Museum of Fine Arts

One of the finest modern art museums I have ever seen. Sometimes provocative, always interesting, never boring.

The exhibition are focused on taiwanese art but all the time there are temporary exhibitions about the rest of the Far East. The building itself is splendid and tasteful.

Taichung - Tunghai University Campus

Tunghai University Campus

Where "feng shui" is happily married with modern architecture.

The core of Tunghai University was built in the 50s in an elegant and sober Tang style.

The iconic Luce Chapel is instead an early work of the architect Pei (the one of the pyramids of the Louvre in Paris).

Taichung - Confucius Temple

Confucius Temple

All Confucius temples involve politics, especially this one that was built in the 70s to support the claim of the Nationalist government as the legitimate heir of the classical Chinese culture.

The temple is also a fine example of the Song dynasty style and a peaceful oasis in downtown Taichung. Next door is the Martyrs Shrine.

921 Earthquake Museum in Wufong

921 Earthquake Museum in Wufong

An excellent museum built on the ruins of Guangfu Junior high School, destroyed by the earthquake on September 21th, 1999.

Not to be missed!

Also worthy of visit is Lin Family Mansion, about to be restored and opened to the public, just in Wufong (Wufeng) town center.

Dakeng Scenic Area

Dakeng Scenic Area

A green belt, a network of footpaths on the woody hills on the east of the city.

And also a modern Japanese-style hot springs where you can relax in the hot water ...

Taichung City Center

The old city center

Land management is quite funny here. Downtown Taizhong has been migrating all the time to the west.

So the old city center is in full decline. It shows some remnants of the Japanese period, and also views that remind me a Blade Runner setting.

Chinese Teahouses

Chinese Tea Houses

The renaissance of Chinese Tea Culture in Taiwan has started here in Taizhong.

It is exactly here that tea houses have reinvented and transformed for new and demanding customers, a bit like what happened for wine bars in the west ...

Taichung Map

View a larger Taizhong Map in a different page.

See Also:

Taichung Restaurants: Where to dine? Taiwan food is superb and Taizhong restaurants are no exception.

Around Taichung

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

In just half an hour you can reach Chung Tai Chan Monastery, on the side of the lush basin of Puli. Imposing and lavish, the monastery won't leave you indifferent. Highly recommended..

The forgotten city of Lukang

The forgotten city of Lukang

Once a major port of Taiwan, the town of Lukang, quiet and forgotten today, has preserved some the most beautiful temples all over Taiwan, mansions of wealthy merchants, craftmanships of the past and offers some of the best "street food".

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