Things to do in Taichung
Taiwan is a country that most Singaporeans would fit right into, as far as comfort goes – with night markets and shopping districts in abundance. But if you’re not in the mood for a bustling city with temperamental weather like Taipei, you might want to give Taichung a visit.
Everything‘s slightly cheaper there, and we didn’t have to worry about the weather even though it was typhoon season. We were only worried that we wouldn’t survive without our daily kopi siew dai, but having a bubble tea store on every corner kept our caffeine levels high enough.
Here are 5 things you can do on your Taichung trip:
This article is part of The $100 Nomad series, where we explore 10 cities for Singaporeans who are time-strapped and on a budget. These 3D2N itineraries cover lodging, meals and activities but do not include flights and transportation.
1. Chun Shui Tang (春水堂) – the OG bubble tea
If you didn’t know, Bubble Tea originated in Taiwan, and Chun Shui Tang claims to have invented it. So imagine my excitement when I found out we were visiting one of its outlets.
Surprisingly very good cardio
Other than killing it at the traditional milk tea, they also conduct a half hour long DIY bubble tea making class. You get to learn about the origins of the beverage, the difference in texture of pearls, and even the correct method of shaking your tea.
It was worth spending the NT$480 (~S$21.10)/person to find out more about this addictive drink that’s the reason behind my weight gain.
Chun Shui Tang
Address: No. 9號, Dadun 19th Street, West District, Taichung City, Taiwan 403
Opening hours: 8.30AM-10.30PM
Telephone: +886 4 2327 3647
2. Sheng Xing Station – Taiwan’s first and only rail bike
An hour’s drive away from Taichung is the quaint Sanyi Town, where you can find Sheng Xing Train Station.
The 115-year old railway has been repurposed into a rail biking attraction for tourists to take in the rustic sights of the town, like Long Teng Broken Bridge.
It’s not the easiest place to get to, so we recommend putting this on a custom travel itinerary with a Klook driver.
If you’re worried about breaking a sweat, you’ll be glad to know that these bikes are electrically assisted, so you can enjoy the scenery without being breathless.
NT$280 (~S$12.30) will get you a two-way trip along the railway. Those looking for more of an adventure can opt to get off before turning around, and trek back on foot.
ShengXing Train Station
Address: 367, Taiwan, Miaoli County, Sanyi Township, 勝興村14鄰勝興89號
Telephone:+886 3 787 8599
You can book your tickets online here.
3. Qian Yue Abandoned Building – Instagram hotspot
When we found out there was an abandoned building in the area, we had to check it out. It’s also one of the top ten haunted buildings in Taiwan, so our fragile hearts decided to visit it in bright daylight.
We won’t blame you for missing this building while roaming the streets of Taichung, considering its first floor’s still occupied by many stores. However take the stairs up and you’ll be transported a la Narnia into an abandoned area rife with history.
Allegedly, the top of the building used to be a rotating restaurant and a KTV. But when the owner couldn’t keep the business afloat, he set fire to his establishment to get the insurance money.
Since its abandonment, a graffiti art group has given it new life with their artworks. You won’t be breaking any rules entering this place; you can even meet the new “owner”, Matt – the leader of the graffiti group – and he’ll gladly explain more about the building.
Matt is a sick artist himself.
We advise against treading across the top floor as it’s unstable and might break if under too much weight. History aside, the building will decorate your IG feeds with graffiti paintings from artists all over the world to a broken down restroom overlooking the city.
Address: No. 113, Luchuan West Street, Central District, Taichung City, Taiwan 400
4. Feng Jia Night Market – largest night market in Taiwan
Imagine a Pasar Malam on steroids, just without the overcrowdedness. Feng Jia Night Market is where endless food, drinks, clothes, and claw machines line the street.
Our favourite snacks were actually along the edge of the market. We wouldn’t have discovered these gems if not for the recommendations from our driver, whom we booked through Klook!
One of our top picks is Ming Lun Egg Pancake (NT$40/~S$1.75). It’s made with 3 ingredients – batter, eggs and spring onion. You’ll also get to choose between a pepper, soy, or sweet and spicy sauce for the finishing. The light and crispy exterior, coupled with a piping hot eggy filling will leave you wondering how minimal ingredients can pack so much punch.
Tiger Sugar’s Milk Tea (NT$50/~S$2.23) is another. All the hype in Taichung right now, the gao milk tea texture coupled with the still gooey syrup is a sugar lover’s heaven.
Feng Jia Night Market
Address: Wenhua Road, Xitun District, Taichung City, Taiwan 407
Opening hours: 2PM – 12AM
5. Guguan Monastery – free accomodation and meals for hikers
Located in the mountainous areas of Guguan, is Guguan Monastery, a temple that provides free accomodation and meals, making it popular for hikers who plan to climb any of the seven mountains in the vicinity.
Note: Bunks and meals are free, but do leave a donation to thank them. NT$200/person (~S$8.70) will suffice.
The bunks and toilets are simple and clean, and the vegetarian food they serve provided a good break from all the beef cubes we’d been binging on. Just make sure to wake up on time for meals as there are stipulated dining times.
We stayed the night and proceeded to climb Dong Mao Mountain the next day, which is said to be the easiest out of the “Seven Heroes of Guguan”. While trekking boots are not necessary, make sure to wear comfortable exercise shoes with lots of grip and bring plenty of water. Snacks are a good idea to help boost morale along the 4-hour climb up and 2-hour trek back down.
It’s worth noting that our pocket WiFi was at full strength throughout, so my friends online could validate my suffering as I climbed to the top. It’s a long journey, but making it to the peak of the mountain despite my physical unfitness was extremely rewarding.
Address: No. 450號, Section 1, Dongguan Road, Heping District, Taichung City, Taiwan 424
Taichung – a different side of Taiwan
Taichung is certainly the city to visit if you’re looking to discover uncommon attractions while not sacrificing the iconic food or comfort Taiwan is known for. Watch our full adventure on Toggle here!
Klook has multiple services to help you stay connected and get around:
- Pocket Wifi delivery
- High Speed Rail tickets
- Private car charters
It’s especially convenient if you’re looking for a one stop shop for everything you might need in Taichung.