Words by 陳芷柔 Vivi Chen, Jasmin Nguyen 阮武慶芸, 陳德倫 Daniel Matero
It can often feel like there aren’t that many activities or places to visit during the lunar new year in Taichung, as many businesses close and the downtown streets empty for a few days. However, with a bit a thought and planning, you will discover that Greater Taichung actually offers a wide variety of interesting destinations. Below are 10 very diverse suggestions to consider for the upcoming holiday or any time of the year. (Reminder: It’s best to call or check online about opening times before visiting during the holiday.)
Temples: Visiting temples during the lunar new year is a widespread tradition for many Asians, as they pray for the blessings of good health and fortune in the upcoming year. There are plenty of temples in Taichung, but some of the top choices—both centering on the worship of the diety Mazu—include Dajia Jenn Lann Temple (158, ShunTian Rd, Dajia Dist) out near Taichung’s coastline, or Nantun District’s historic Wanhe Temple (51, WanHe Rd, Sec 1, Nantun Dist台中市南屯區萬和路一段51號), which dates back to the early 1700s.
Open Mics: Joining an “open mic” event is a uniquely interesting way to meet and connect with people from around the city. Some good places that regularly host open mic events include the Frog Mexican Restaurant (30, YuDe Rd, North Dist; tel. 04-2203-0182), PJ’s Café (25, DaYe Rd, West Dist; tel. 04-2325-2457) and iBrew-Beer Bistro (303, WenXin Rd, Sec 3, Xitun Dist; tel. 04-2293-8076). Check Compass Nightlife events listings or the Facebook pages of these businesses for specific times.
Sun Moon Lake: Central Taiwan is a well-known tourist destination and the top pick among its many must-visit places is Sun Moon Lake, which attracts the most visitors with its beautiful scenery. Even in early spring, you’ll find many families camping in surrounding areas, including Nantou County’s Puli. A visit to the neighboring Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village and amusement park (45, JinTian Lane, Dalin Village, Yuci Township, Nantou County; tel. 049-289-5361) is another great option while you’re out there.
Lihpao Resort: If your family is pondering how to spend a pleasant time together while discovering new attractions and dining out, Lihpao Resort (8, FuRong Rd, Houli Dist; tel. 04-2558-2459 臺中市 后里區 福容路8號) has it all covered. This huge 200-hectare complex encompasses Lihpao Discovery Land theme park, Lihpao Outlet Mall, Taiwan’s biggest Ferris wheel (384m high), two hotels and the Lihpao Racing Park racetrack that includes a go-karting area. Between rides and fun for all ages at the theme park (plus Mala Bay water park open in warmer months) and the outlet mall’s dozens of brand-name stores, restaurants, food court and movie theater, there should be enough to keep everyone happy.
Guangfu Village & 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan: If you are interested in history, don’t pass up these two destinations. Decades ago, Guangfu Village was a housing community for Taiwan Provincial Government officials and their families. More recently, it has been renovated and transformed into a cultural and creative industry hub with cafes, shops and restaurants. Many Taiwanese will never forget the 921 Earthquake, which took place on Sept. 21, 1999 and visiting the very educational and interesting 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan (192, XinSheng Rd, Kengkou Village, Wufeng Dist; tel. 04-2339-0906) next door to the village makes quite an impression.
Eight Trigam Mountains (Bagua Mt.) Buddha Landscape: Another major central Taiwan attraction located in Changhua County, the highlight of this historically and spiritually significant destination is the 23-meter-high Great Buddha that overlooks Changhua City. You can walk around this complex day or night to enjoy the wonderful vistas that include the twinkling lights of the city. Location: 31, WenQuan Rd, Changhua City, Changhua County; tel. 04-722-2290 彰化縣彰化市溫泉路31號.
Visiting the ‘Old Gems’ of Central Taiwan: You can discover traditional practices and learn about the history and cultural heritage that are foundations to modern-day Taichung and Taiwan by visiting these old streets, where dreams and ambitions were planted and blossomed into the existence that today’s generations enjoy.
– Jiguang Street: Located in Taichung’s old Central District and one of its oldest streets, this is a traditional destination every lunar new year. Here you can find local specialties and mouth-watering street foods, making it a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.
– Lukang Old Street: Among the top central Taiwan places to explore outside Taichung City, Changhua County’s Lukang Township is one of Taiwan’s most famous historic towns and filled with the essence of the past, allowing you to discover traditional architecture from centuries ago. Developed and preserved to protect an ancestral heritage, Lukang Old Street (9, YaoLin St, Lukang Township, Changhua County 彰化縣鹿港鎮瑤林街9號) is lined with traditional stores that generate an abundance of nostalgia.
Basianshan National Forest Recreation Area: Among Taichung’s full range of options, one of the best pastimes is exploring nature up in the mountains, as you walk by streams and through the trees, enjoying a break from the city as you breathe in the crisp mountain air. This national forest recreational area (200-8, DongGuan Rd, Sec 1, Heping Dist; tel. 04-2595-1214台中市和平區東關路一段200之8號), located at an elevation of 750 to 2,366 meters, offers something far beyond the settings of any downtown park, allowing you to reconnect with the natural world and renew your senses.
Qingjing Farm: Approximately 80 kilometers from Taichung, this alpine setting in Nantou County includes a farm with grazing sheep that allows you to admire and feed them. You can also savor the feeling of high mountain breezes as you walk on the green pastures here, taking in panoramic views of the surrounding hills and mountains, or lie on the grass under clear skies and sunshine. Location: 170, RenHe Rd, Ren’ai Township, Nantou County南投縣仁愛鄉仁和路170號.
Wuling Farm: Another natural escape in the high mountains of Taichung, Wuling Farm allows you to explore and hike to the scent of greenery and blooming spring flowers. These highlights and a variety of scenery, from surrounding peaks to alpine rivers, makes this a top destination in the winter or spring for exploring by yourself or with groups of family members and friends. Location: 3-1, WuLing Rd, Heping Dist; tel. 04-2590-1259台中市和平區武陵路3-1號.