Our Visit to Rainbow Village Taichung (before it was destroyed)

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Psychedelically colorful Rainbow Village Taichung (彩虹眷村) used to be one of the most popular attractions in Taichung.

While the painted walls of this former KMT soldier’s house were once a paradise for selfie seekers, this is no longer the case. Less than 50% of the original murals remain or have been covered up with new artworks. In this article, I’ll introduce the history of Rainbow Village and its creator, Rainbow Grandpa (who passed away in Jan. 2024 at the age of 101), what it looked like before this happened, and other things to know for visiting. To see what it looks like now, please head over to my newer Rainbow Village guide on TaiwanObsessed.

Since you’ll be in the area, make sure to consult my guide to Taichung City and Taichung itinerary suggestions. And while it’s worth spending the night in Taichung, it is also possible to visit Rainbow Village as a day trip from Taipei.

Last but not least, after visiting Rainbow Village, consider visiting Feng Chia Night Market, the most famous of the many night markets in Taichung, before heading back to the city center!

2024 Update: I first wrote this article in 2018. After being vandalized in mid-2022, Rainbow Village was closed for a year. It’s open again now, but very different than before. All the pictures below were taken before the damage. To see what is looks like now, read my new article: Is Rainbow Village Still Worth Visiting?

Where is Rainbow Village?

The Rainbow Village in Taichung, Taiwan

Rainbow village is located in Nantun district (南屯區) west of the Taichung city center, an area that was a part of the original Taichung City before it was amalgamated with Taichung County to become a supersized city in 2010.

Rainbow Village a little out of the way from the city center, and there isn’t much else to see in the area, but it’s still easy enough to get to by taxi, renting a scooter, or taking public transportation. I’ll cover all of these options at the end of the article.

Rainbow Village Taichung with kids
My wife and kids doing mandatory “victory signs” at Rainbow Village. See my full article on traveling around Taiwan with kids

Practically unknown until the last decade or so, even by those living in Taiwan, Rainbow Village is quickly becoming one of the trendiest and most popular things to do in Taichung, with over a million visitors per year. It sure tops the list of most “Instagrammable” places in Taichung, but huge Lihpao Discovery Land, one of my favorite theme parks in Taiwan, is another contender.

Therefore, make sure to add Rainbow Village to your Taiwan itinerary, and we found it to be a perfect stop when traveling from Taipei to Sun Moon Lake!

Best Rainbow Village Tours

Rainbow Village is included on this half-day or full-day Taichung tour, which includes a stop at the equally popular Gaomei Wetlands. Combined, the two sights make for one of the best day trips from Taichung.

You could also include Rainbow Village on a fully customized tour of Taichung with an English, Spanish, or French speaking local person showing you around, or a private tour with a driver to show you around.

If you register for Klook with this link, you’ll get a 100TWD credit applied to your Rainbow Village tour!

History of Rainbow Village

Huang Yong Fu, or "Rainbow Grandpa"
Huang Yong Fu, or “Rainbow Grandpa”

After Chiang Kai-Shek’s Kuomintang nationalist army lost the Chinese Civil War in 1949, he and some 2 million Chinese, many of them soldiers, fled to Taiwan. Many of these solider were placed in hastily constructed military dependents’ villages in cities throughout Taiwan.

These villages remained government property, and as time passed many fell into decay or were abandoned. In the 1990s, the government began aggressively demolishing them.

Huang Yong-fu in his military attire
Huang Yong-fu in his military attire

Huang Yong-Fu was born in Taishan County, Guangdong Province, China in 1924. During the war, he was conscripted to fight against the Japanese, and ended up poor in Hong Kong.

He later rejoined the army in Hainan, and fled with the KMT to Taiwan. He went off to fight again during the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, and was finally discharged at the age of 55.

Huang Yong-fu painting the walls of his home
Huang Yong-fu

After that, he bought his current house, in a village of 1200 homes that had been built by nine retired soldiers on land owned by the Ministry of National Defense.

In 2010, out of boredom, and also upon hearing that the government planned to demolish the village, Huang began painting the walls of his home and surrounding buildings in an attempt to have them preserved. At that point, he was one of the only people still inhabiting the village.

Colorful walls inside the Rainbow Village Taiwan

Later, students from the nearby Ling Tung and Hung Kuang universities discovered his artwork, and successfully petitioned the Taichung mayor to preserve the collection of 11 remaining houses. The village soon acquired local fame, and is quickly becoming one of Taiwan’s hottest new attractions.

Huang, who passed away in January 2024 at the age of 101, went by the nickname Rainbow Grandpa (彩虹爺爺). Until recent years, he used to wake up at 4 am to work on maintaining his artwork every day. Visitors often met him and he always gave the victory sign when posing for photos.

Huang’s artwork has been called a kind of surrealism, with elements of humor, childishness, and love. He is also obviously an animal lover. He has even been called the Hayao Miyazaki of Taiwan.

What to Expect When You Visit

Entrance to Rainbow Village
Entrance way to Rainbow Village

Rainbow “village” is no more than a few homes, with about half a dozen small interconnected buildings. You could easily see the whole thing in 10-15 minutes, but with photos and having a snack or drink, you’ll probably spend an hour there.

There are a few food stalls at the entrance and back, and a café inside serves coffee in art-covered to-go cups that are worth it just for taking this shot:

Rainbow Village coffee cup
when you buy a coffee just to get a picture of it…

Loved colorful themed villages? Also read my guides to Monster Village in Nantou and Gamcheon Culture Village in South Korea.

Rainbow Village Cafe
The Rainbow Village Cafe

There are also two souvenir shops where you can buy hats, fans, umbrellas and more with Huang’s artwork. The shops are reportedly run by Huang’s grandson. While the village is free to visit, they supposedly accept donations. I didn’t see anywhere to do this, so we made a point of buying a few things.

Fan for sale at Rainbow Village
Fan for sale at Rainbow Village
Umbrella for sale at Rainbow Village
Umbrellas for sale
Matching hats that my son and I bought
Sage and I got matching hats!
My daughter Lavender had to pose for a shot too...
And I can’t leave out Lavender here!

There’s no specific opening and closing time, but since Huang wakes so early, I’m sure you could show up anytime in the daylight hours, but you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the artwork after dark.

Due to the Rainbow Village’s growing popularity, weekends can be fairly crowded, but even when we visited on a Saturday afternoon, it wasn’t too bad, and fortunately this attraction hasn’t quite reached tour bus-level fame (yet).

If you are really interested in the arts, then you can consider also making a visit to nearby Donghai (Tung Hai) Arts Shopping District (東海藝術街商圈), an art-focused street near Tung Hai University.

Check out my guides to other popular Taiwan attractions, Taroko Gorge and Alishan National Scenic Area.

How to Get to Rainbow Village

Back side of the Rainbow Village

From the Taichung High Speed Rail Station, you can reach Rainbow Village by taxi for NT150-200. Coming from Taipei, you can get a discounted HSR ticket to Taichung on Klook and follow my guide to booking it here. You can also take bus #617 from the station.

From the Taichung city center, you can expect to pay NT250-300 for a taxi. From the north side of Taichung Train Station, take bus #27. Get off at Gancheng Village 6 stop (千城六村站), one stop after Lin Tung University (嶺東科技大學). It takes about an hour, and it’s about a 10-minute walk from the bus stop.

You can also take bus #56 from Gancheng (干城) or Xinwuri (新烏日) train stations, and it stops right in front of Rainbow Village.

If you are continuing on to Sun Moon Lake, it would be most efficient to head to the Taichung High Speed Rail Station after Rainbow Village to catch the Sun Moon Lake Shuttle bus. You can save money on this journey by getting the Sun Moon Lake Pass.

Visiting by car from Taipei, we found it very convenient to make a stop at Rainbow Village on the way to Sun Moon Lake, since it is just off Highway 1.

You can also rent a scooter or charter a private car for visiting Rainbow Village and other sights in central Taiwan.

My kids on the colorfully painted floor
Sage and Lavender posing with a cat on the wall
My kids at Rainbow Village

Like my pictures? Here are the mirrorless camera and Olympus travel lenses I always use!

Kids with sunglasses at Rainbow Village
The little snack shop at Rainbow Village
Rainbow village snack shop

12 thoughts on “Our Visit to Rainbow Village Taichung (before it was destroyed)”

  1. Nick, one of my church members who heads up our social justice group sent the group the video of Huang Yong-fu, the “Rainbow Grandpa” and i know you mention that you do some affiliate marketing. Do you have an affiliate relationship with the stores that sell Rainbow products, like the umbrella? I would love to purchase as a thank you gift for the member who sent the video for she does in our very liberal church for social justice here in Berkeley, CA. Thanks for the post.

    Reply
    • Hi Lonnie, thanks for your comment! No, I don’t have any relationship with them, unfortunately. I only do with online travel booking sites. They are a small private business, so I doubt you could find their stuff anywhere except for actually going there. If I had plans to go to Taichung I could have picked some up and mailed for you, but unfortunately I won’t be going there anytime soon. Good luck, and hope you can find a way!

      Reply
  2. Thank you for promoting Taiwan on your website. This is just so wonderful that I felt like crying reading grandpa Huang’s biography. I hope to have you in my podcast but it’s not really that big. It is just coincidence that I clicked this link and loved everything here. Anyways, I recently had an event with OCAC, a Taiwan program for Overseas Compatriot and they all talk about this rainbow village. Almost all videos I saw for this event promoting Taiwan talk about Rainbow village. BTW, didn’t you meet the Iron Rainbow Guitar Guy?

    (if you’re interested for the podcast, check Spotify and many other platforms and search for “Wow Taiwan”. Then you would surely be able to reach me thru the email I provided in comment.

    Reply
    • Hi Gen, thanks for your feedback and I’m glad that you felt something from it! I’m not sure if I met Iron Rainbow Guitar Guy…who/what is it? Thanks for the offer to appear on your podcast, but unfortunately I am too shy when it comes to public speaking or videos, and I am no longer living in Taiwan. Best of luck with your podcast!

      Reply
  3. Hi Nick,
    Just love reading your take on travels around Taiwan. Do you know if there is a definite re-opening date/time for the Rainbow Village? My friends and I will be visiting in March 2023.

    Reply
    • Just yesterday (Feb 6), the Mandarin language Facebook page for Rainbow Village has replied to people’s questions about it, saying that an announcement is coming, but they gave no indication of when, or what that announcement will be.

      Reply
  4. Hi Nick! I love your block. Do you know the definite time that they will re-open the village? Me and my family are going to Taiwan on April and we really want to visit this village.

    Reply
    • I have contacted Taichung tourism and they said it will reopen in May or June at the earliest (so that means it could be even later).

      Reply
  5. Hi Nick! I love reading your posts! As someone who just moved to Taiwan, these are really great guides for me. I was wondering if Rainbow Village was opened during holidays?

    Reply
    • As far as I know, it’s only closed on Mondays. If a Monday is a holiday, like a long weekend, then it should be open that day. Usually they are pretty good with updating their opening days/times on GoogleMaps, so you can also check there.

      Reply
  6. Hi Nick! Me and my family are planning to visit Rainbow Village next week then take the HSR to Taipei. Are there lockers/luggage storage options in the HSR station or would we have to drag our suitcases with us?

    Reply

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