Taichung is situated in the middle of Taiwan, a denoted by its name in Chinese. Apart from the city center, there’s a lot of things to do in the Taichung area, such as Kaomei Wetland and hiking up the nearby Yuan Zui mountain. If you are around Taichung and has a car (or wouldn’t mind hiring a driver for one day), here’s my one-day itinerary recommendation.
Start the day off with some sport by cycling along the Ho Fon Bikeway. This stretch of 4.5km road dedicated for biking is converted from an abandoned railway, spanning 1.2km of tunnel and 380m of bridge. The tunnel, called Number 9 Tunnel, was built in 1908, hand dug by workers to transport timbers down from the mountain. It was abandoned when a new railway was constructed, and along the tunnel, there are photos depicting the history and construction of this tunnel.
We rented our bikes from Mujiang Bike, which is at the start of the Ho Fon Bikeway. Single bikes are 150-200 NTB, and during weekdays you can also hire a family bike which can seat 4 (1200NTB). It is not available during weekends because of traffic on the bikeway. If you fancy a longer ride, you can head to the other direction of Ho Fon Bikeway and opt for Tong Fung Green Bikeway (東豐綠色走廊), which is 12km long.
We only did a short bike ride across the bridge and till the end of the tunnel and back, so we have time to complete the rest of our day.
Bike Rental Address: 42142, Taiwan, Taichung City, Fengyuan District, Section 3, Guofeng Rd
Tai’an Old Railway Station
Tai’an Old Railway Station is an abandoned station due to switching of the train line (note that there is a new Tia’an station and should not be confused with that one). The old line stopped running in 1998, and the station has been abandoned until a sight-seeing train was established in 2010.
It is a perfect location for a photo shoot as you don’t need to worry about a train coming in, and the rail looks very picturesque with trees lining along the edge. There were 3 couples doing wedding shoots when I arrived!
Station Address: No. 52, Fuxing Rd, Houli District, Taichung City, Taiwan 421
Taichung Flower Market
For those who want some pretty photos with flowers, you have come to the right place. There is an admission fee of 120NTB per person, and you can then take photos to your heart’s content.
Depending on the season, different flowers will be on display.
Side note: Personally, I would give this a miss and spend more time cycling at the first stop
Address: No. 469-13, Sanfeng Rd, Houli District, Taichung City, Taiwan 421
Longteng Bridge (officially Yutengping Bridge)
The Longteng Bridge is considered to be the jewel of Taiwan railway construction. Built in 1907, the bridge was constructed in red brick and was considered the most architecturally sound bridge until the earthquake at 1935 destroyed it.
The bridge was left in ruin after the earthquake, and a new bridge was built west of the bridge. The ruins are located either side of the river, and the northern ruin is kept in better condition, as well as closer to the main road.
The southern ruin is just 5 minutes’ walk across the river, and tends to be less crowded than the northern one.
Address: 367, Taiwan, Miaoli County, Sanyi Township, 龍騰村
Lunch at Gold List Noodle Place (金榜麵館)
First of all, the English name is a literal translation I did, and if you don’t know Chinese, it might be better to avoid this place as the order form for food is Chinese only. However, they do have excellent beef noodles, and if you do set your heart on sampling it, tick the one that says 牛肉麵.
If you are craving a drink but want fresh tea instead of soft drinks, head down 2 stores to the boba/ bubble tea place!
Address: No. 170-7, Zhongzheng Rd, Sanyi Township, Miaoli County, Taiwan 367
Taichung City Seaport Art Center
This stop was put in so we don’t arrive at the next stop (Kaomei Wetland) too early. The buildings are quite pretty and it’s a good toilet break as well as a photo opportunity. There are a lot of exhibition spaces, and you can check their official website to see if they have anything on at the moment: http://www.tcsac.gov.tw/English/Exhibit/ExhibttList.aspx
Address: No. 21, Zhongzhen Rd, Qingshui District, Taichung City, Taiwan 436
This is one of my favourite sights (tie with the Ho Fon Bikeway). Funnily enough, it used to be a sea-bathing center back when Japanese occupied Taiwan. Nowadays, the wetland is famous for the variety of wildlife inhabiting the space, especially during the migration seasons, it is heaven for birdwatchers and photographer. I strongly recommend coming at sunset, as the reflection of colour on the water is amazing.
The promenade is divided into zones whereby you can observe different species in each zone. The first zone consists of fiddler crab (note the 2 different species!). Male fiddler crab is characterized by their asymmetric claws: their main claw is oversize and often as large as their body.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get any picture of the mudskipper at their zone, but I did spot some birds far out into the distance at the next zone for bird watching.
At the end of the promenade, you can get down into the water and wet your feet a little. You can place your shoes on the promenade and get down (but do keep your personal belongings with you). The water is shallow so if you are wearing long trousers, rolling it should suffice.
Don’t worry about bringing a towel to dry your feet: the wind is so powerful that by the time you walk back from the promenade, your feet will be blown dry already. So bring a jacket or a jumper in case you get too cold walking along!
Note also that there’s a seaside bikeway that goes by Kaomei Wetland if you just want to visit Kaomei. Alternatively, you can book a tour if you don’t have a car.