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Taichung is located on the central west coast of Taiwan and is the country’s second largest city. Most travelers used to give it a miss, but nowadays it is an increasingly popular stop on everyone’s Taiwan travel itinerary.
While I was compiling my list of top things to do in Taichung, my article quickly became WAY too long. That’s why I decided to write this separate post places further outside the Taichung city center, as well as this general Taichung travel guide.
Some of these places are quite a ways outside of the city, even though they are technically still in Taichung City. That’s because ever since 2010, the area called Taichung county before was merged with Taichung City. So today, some of Taichung City’s sights are actually located in the high mountains several hours from the city center. “Taichung City” is bordered by Miaoli county to the north, Yilan County to the northeast, Hualien County to the east, and Nantou & Changhua counties to the south.
Some of Taichung’s most famous attractions, like Wuling Farm, Snow Mountain, and even part of Taroko Gorge National Park are so far away that they are better reached from the east coast of Taiwan, so I didn’t include them below.
Also, thanks to the High Speed Rail, you could easily make a day trip from Taichung to Taipei, Tainan, or Kaohsiung, but I won’t cover those here. Get your discounted HSR tickets here, and you’ll get TWD 100 off if you sign up for Klook with this link first!
It can take some time to visit the below attractions because the buses and local trains are slow. Don’t try to squeeze more than a few of them into one day. If you want to be more efficient, consider renting a scooter, renting a car, or hiring a driver for the day.
Table of Contents
Taichung Day Trips Map
Below, I’ll cover the best day trips from Taichung roughly in clockwise direction, starting from Cingjing Farm east of Taichung.
Cinging Farm (清境農場 or Qingjing Farm) is a high mountain farm in Nantou county in Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range. Cingjing features European-style farmhouses, real farm animals and experiences, and gorgeous views from spots like Green Green Grassland and Cingjing Skywalk.
Almost everyone who goes there passes through Taichung first, whether they do Cingjing as a day trip or spend the night there. I recommend spending the night there because most hotels up there have really beautiful views and you can enjoy the sunset and/or sunrise there.
Due to the travel time, it’s best to visit Cingjing on an organized day trip like this one or this one. If you go on your own, you need to know that the mountain roads up there are very steep, and it can take some time (and energy!) to walk between the main attractions up there.
Getting to Cingjing Farm: It takes about 2.5 hours to travel from Taichung to Cinjing Farm. You’ll need to change buses in Puli on the way. Here are the bus times. You can also take a private or shared transfer from Taichung, or a private or shared transfer from Sun Moon Lake.
About 45 minutes’ drive past Cingjing, Hehuanshan (合歡山 or Hehuan Mountain) is one of the most famous mountains in Taiwan. It’s reputation comes from the fact that it is one of the best places to see snow in Taiwan. Seeing snow there is not guaranteed, but if you go sometime in January or February, you have a good chance. Most people see the mountain from Hehuanshan lookout, just past Wuling Pass (the highest road pass in Taiwan). There are some hikes from there, but they require permits.
Getting to Hehuanshan is not the easiest, though. Whenever there is news about snow there, masses of Taiwanese people try to drive up there to see it. The road can become so packed that the police have to intervene. They may also require you to have special chains on the tires of your car for safety reasons.
Getting to Cingjing Farm: To get to Hehuanshan as a day trip from Taichung, you can either drive (depending on road conditions), try to find a private driver, or take this Cingjing Farm + Hehuanshan day tour. There are a limited number of buses from Cingjing to Hehuanshan, but it would be difficult to do both Cingjing and Hehuanshan as a day tour from Taichung this way. It would be better to sleep in Cingjing, and make sure you don’t miss the last bus from Hehuanshan back to Cingjing!
Sun Moon Lake
Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) is another of the most popular day trips from Taichung. Like Cingjing Farm, Sun Moon Lake is in Nantou Country, though people often associate it with Taichung because almost every passes through Taichung to get there. It only takes about 90 minutes to get there from Taichung. You can read my guide to Sun Moon Lake here.
Sun Moon Lake is one of Taiwan’s most beautiful scenic attractions and popular tourist destinations. It’s best to spend the night, but many people also visit as a day trip from Taichung.
You can do a day trip to Sun Moon Lake by taking one of my recommended Sun Moon Lake tours. Even if you go on your own, you can consider getting one of the Sun Moon Lake passes, which can save you money.
Getting to Sun Moon Lake: If going on your own, take the Tourist Shuttle Bus from Gancheng Station, Taichung Station, Daqing Station, Taichung Airport, or Taichung HSR Station (around NT190). The ride takes 90 minutes. You can also get a ride in a private vehicle or shared transfer from Taichung. You can also take a private or shared transfer between Sun Moon Lake and Cingjing Farm.
Puli is a small town about 1 hour’s drive from Taichung Station. It is a transit point, because all buses from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake drive through it and make a few stops there. Also, if you are going from Taichung to Cingjing Farm by bus, you’ll have to get off at Puli bus station to change to a different bus.
But even Puli has a few worthwhile attractions. The top attraction in town is the huge Chung Tai Chan Monastery. It may not be quite as large as Fo Guang Shan in Kaohsiung, but it is taller! The monastery has loads of Buddhist statues and artwork inside.
Another popular stop in Puli is Paper Dome, a building made out of paper. Most shuttle buses from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake stop here. If you stop there, also visit nearby Nina Chocolate Dream Castle, a castle-like building where chocolate is made.
Last but not least, tea lovers should consider visiting Antique Assam Tea Farm, famous for its Sun Moon Lake teas, which is on the road between Puli and Sun Moon Lake. Buses to Sun Moon Lake also stop there.
Getting to Puli: There are numerous buses from Taichung to Puli. I recommend using GoogleMaps to find out how to get from wherever you are in taichung to wherever you want to go in Puli. Some of Puli’s attractions are included on this Puli and Cingjing Farm day tour.
Lukang is one of the most traditional towns in Taiwan and makes for an enriching day trip from Taichung. It is located on the coast of Changhua county, the county just below Taichung city.
Because Lukang chose not to have the train come there, it remained very traditional over the years. Today, you can see a few of the country’s oldest and most important temples there, as well as a new one made totally of glass. Lukang Old Street is a great place to try traditional snacks and experience local culture.
See my detailed guide to Lukang here. If you have enough time, I recommend spending the night.
Getting to Lukang: Bus 9018 goes directly from Taichung to Lukang, taking 1.5 hours to get there. Catch it at Taichung Railway Station (East Station) (台中火車站(東站)) bus stop, which is on the south side of the train station on Fuxing Road (復興路). You could also take a train to Changgua station and rent a scooter from there (IDP or local Taiwanese license needed).
Alishan National Forest Recreation Area
Let me start by saying: I don’t really recommend doing a day trip from Taichung to Alishan, Taiwan’s most famous mountain resort. Even if you drive or take the fastest possible public transportation, it’s going to take about 3-4 hours to get there, and 3-4 hours back, which is 6-8 hours of traveling time in one day.
However, some visitors really do this, so I might as well tell you the best way. The first option to consider is this Taichung to Alishan day tour. It’s a long one, though, taking over 12 hours from start to finish.
On your own, the best way would be to take the High Speed Rail from Taichung to Chiayi (30 min). Get your discounted HSR tickets here. From Chiayi HSR station, board the direct bus to Alishan (2 hours). There are only a few per day, so check the times carefully. All the info you need is in my guide to how to get to Alishan. Make sure you don’t miss the last bus back to the HSR station, though, or you would get stranded there, and the hotels there are limited and often full.
Xitou Monster Village
Like Sun Moon Lake, Xitou Monster Village (溪頭妖怪村) is located up in the mountains of Nantou county, but is still doable as a day trip from Taichung. Xitou Monster Village is one of the most unusual themed parks in Taiwan and has an interesting story behind it.
In short, the village was built to commemorate the friendship between a Japanese and Taiwanese man dating back to the Japanese colonial era. Today it is a theme-village centered on Tengu, a kind of Japanese folk deity. To read the full story and get more information, see my guide to Xitou Monster Village.
Besides seeing all the monsters, you can buy monster-themed treats and drinks, and even eat stinging nettle bread, which is prepared daily in the village’s famous bakery. You can also walk through the beautiful forest and nearby Xitou Nature Education Area.
Getting to Xitou Monster Village: Nantou bus #6883 from Taichung to Xitou takes 1.5 hours, and departs from numerous points in Taichung.
Hey, day-trippers, also check out these 40 Awesome Taipei Day Trips!
Gaomei Wetlands (高美野生動物保護區) are located west of the Taichung International Airport on the west coast of Taiwan, near the mouth of the Dajia River. The 1500-acre wetlands are home to a large variety of plants and wildlife, and are ideal for bird watching, especially in fall and winter when many migrating species migrate here.
A quintessential sight at Gaomei wetlands are the numerous wind turbines found on the coast there. The area also features a 34-meter lighthouse open to visitors, and an 800-meter boardwalk on the sea from which visitors can appreciate the views and wildlife. You can also take off your shoes and walk right on the silt at low tide. The area is also known for its gorgeous sunsets, and there are usually street food stalls set up on the coast.
Gaomei Wetlands is one of the top day trips from Taichung and is included on this popular day tour, this other day tour, and this half day sunset tour. You can read all about my family’s visit to Gaomei Wetland here, including other things to do in the area.
Getting to Gaomei Wetlands: The regular train from Taichung station to Qingshui station takes about 40 minutes, and only departs once every few hours. From Qingshui Station, take bus 178 or 179 (about 40 minutes).
You can also take bus #655 from the High Speed Rail Station or Rainbow Village, or take a taxi from Qingshui Station (NT$250) or from the Taichung High Speed Rail Station (NT$800).
Book your High Speed Rail tickets to Taichung online to get a discount.
Wuqi Fishing Harbor
If you make the trip to Gaomei Wetlands, it makes sense to combine it with a visit to Wuqi Fishing Habor (梧棲漁港). Wuqi Fishing Harbor is on the large Taichung Port (台中港) and is the largest fish market and habor in Central Taiwan.
The main reason to come here is of course to enjoy super fresh seafood and see fishmongers displaying and selling their products. The fish market building is huge and includes some cool artwork and murals. There is even a 7-Eleven inside and some regular (non-seafood) food stalls.
The harbor is only about 10 minutes’ drive, 30 minute bike ride, or 1 hour walk from Gaomei Wetlands. You can even drive, cycle, or walk past the huge wind turbines on the way there.
Getting to Wuqi Fishing Harbor: It’s easiest to drive, cycle, or walk there from Gaomei Wetlands. You can also get there from Taichung city center by taking a combination of buses and trains – it’s best to use GoogleMaps to find the best way from your departure point in the city.
Dajia Zhenlan Temple
In the northwestern corner of Taichung on a piece of land between Dajia river and Da’An River, Zhenlan Temple (also spelled Jenn Lann Temple or 大甲鎮瀾宮) is one of the most famous temples in Taiwan. It is here that the annual Matsu Pilgrimage, one of the world’s greatest pilgrimages and Taiwan’s most important religious festivals, starts and ends.
The Matsu Pilgrimage celebrates the birthday of Matsu, the goddess of fisherman and the sea, on the 23rd day of the third month on the lunar calendar, which usually happens in March or April in Taiwan. Many people consider her the patron goddess of Taiwan, and her birthday party is among the world’s rowdiest. After a wild opening ceremony at Dajia Temple, the pilgrimage covers over 60 temples in four counties, traveling over 400 kilometers before return to Daijia Temple for the ending ceremony.
Even if you’re not in town during the pilgrimage, you may want to visit Dajia to check out the impressive temple dedicated to Matsu, which dates to 1770.
Getting to Dajia Zhenlan Temple: Take the regular train from Taichung station to Dajia station (NT$31, about 1 hour). The temple is walking distance from the Dajia train station.
Lihpao Discovery Land
In the north of Taichung, Lihapao Discovery Land is a massive new addition to a rest stop on National Freeway #1 from Taipei to Kaohsiung. Much more than just a rest stop, though, Lihpao Discovery Land claims to be the largest amusement park in Taiwan.
The first thing you’ll notice before you arrive is the 120-meter Sky Dream Ferris Wheel, the country’s tallest. This landmark Ferris Wheel is attached to three-floor Garden Mall, which features hundreds of brand-name shops. (See other famous landmarks in Taiwan here!)
The view from the outdoor patio on the second floor food court, from where you can practically reach out and touch the Ferris wheel, is nothing short of breathtaking. The whole mall is pastel colored and modeled on Portofino, Italy. There are even five olive trees imported from Italy, one of which is 500 years old.
Next to the mall sits Discovery Land, a large outdoor amusement park. Among the many thrilling rides on offer, Paradise: Gravity Max, a “broken rail tilt” roller coaster, is the only one of its kind in the world. You can get a discount if you buy your Discovery Land tickets online.
If you want to spend the night, the five-star Fullon Hotel Lihpao Land (see on Agoda / Booking / Klook / TripAdvisor ) is on site. Lihpao Land also regularly hosts events such as the Taichung fireworks display on New Year’s Eve.
Here’s an article I wrote for Travel in Taiwan Magazine about Lihpao Discovery Land.
Getting to Lihpao Discovery Land: If you aren’t passing by on the highway, you can also take the free shuttle bus from platform #10 at Taichung High Speed Rail Station (departures at 9:50, 11:50 and 1:50, about 25 minutes). You can also take bus #155, but it takes an hour.
From Taichung city center, you can take the train to Fengyuan (20 minutes), then transfer to bus #215. See all the transportation details at the bottom of this page.
Zhongshe Flower Market
Zhongshe is an incredibly popular attraction the far north of Taichung city, nearly at the border with Miaoli County. It’s not a market, like the English name suggests, but a privately run attraction with seas of flowers. The Mandarin name (中社觀光花市花海) actually translates as “Zhongshe Tourist Market Sea of Flowers”.
Zhongshe was one of the locations of the huge popular 2018-2019 International Flower Expo hosted by Taichung, and ever since then, Taichung has been a major flower viewing location.
Mostly this is a place for taking lots of photos and selfies amongst the beautiful flowers. There are also lots of props for your photo taking, such as large frames and even a famous white piano surrounded by lavender flowers.
There are different flowers blooming at Zhongshe throughout the year. To see what is blooming when, see this flower chart on the official site. The most popular time that has the most flowers is usually during winter. You can read more about Zhongshe Flower Market here.
The easiest way to get there is on this Taichung day tour.
Getting to Zhongshe Flower Market: Although it’s very popular, it’s not super convenient to get to Zhongshe Flower Market from Taipei or Taichung. From either city, you can take the slow train to Tai’an Station (泰安火車站) and then walk about 2o minutes. To take the bus there from taichung, just search bus options from your location using GoogleMaps.
From Taipei, you can also take Fengyuan Bus 6606 and get off at Zhongshe (中社) stop.
Dongfeng and Houli Bikeways
Did you know that the bicycle manufacturer, Giant, originated in Taichung? It only makes sense, then, that Taichung is home to one of Taiwan’s most famous cycling tracks, the interconnected Dongfeng and Houfeng bikeways, which collectively are called Houfeng Bikeway and cover four districts in northern Taichung.
The 13-km Dongfeng bikeway, officially the “Dongfeng Bicycle Green Corridor” covers an old railway line through Hakka territory (read more about Hakka culture in my introduction to Miaoli County). The trail is incredibly well paved and easy to ride, and features numerous cafés, ice cream shops, and restaurants. Much of it is covered in a canopy of vegetation, hence the name. The tail is also lit up at night.
The trail also takes you past several old train stations, as well as Shigang Dam, which was heavily damaged by the 921 Earthquake, and today features a small memorial park to recall the disastrous event. Park your bike and walk across the dam to see the damage and park.
The 4.5-km Houfeng bikeway, which also follows a decommissioned railway line, leads to 1273-meter No. 9 Tunnel, which you can cycle though to reach Houli Horse Ranch, which along with Zhongshe Flower Market further north, was one of the main venues of the 2018-2019 Taichung World Flora Expo.
Getting to Dongfeng and Houfeng Bikeways: Take the train to Fengyuan station (20 minutes), then bus 90, 91, 206, 207, or 208 to Shigang Dam bus stop. There are several bike rental stations nearby.
You can also take a taxi (NT$300). Shigang dam is on kilometer 4 of the Dongfeng Bikeway, so when you reach the trail from here, you can either go right to complete the Dongfeng trail, or go left to reach the start of Dongfeng trail or to connect to Houfeng trail.
Remains of Longteng Bridge
Stepping across the border into Miaoli county, the Remains of Longteng Bridge (龍騰斷橋(魚藤坪斷橋)) is a remote but very popular attraction (among locals mainly, because it is not easy to get to).
These are the remains of a brick arched bridge that was destroyed in a 1935 earthquake and then again in the great 1999 earthquake in Taiwan. The ruins are picturesque and have become one of the most recognizable landmarks or symbols of Taiwan.
Besides the Remains of Longteng Bridge, there are many other off-the-beaten-track places to visit in Miaoli.
Strawberry Picking in Dahu
In winter, the Miaoli district of Dahu becomes a hot spot for strawberry picking. There are dozens of farms in and around the Dahu town center where you can pay to pick strawberries. Some of them are weirdly large and extremely juicy and delicious! The peak months are January and February.
There’s also Dahu Wineland Resort, which is like a strawberry theme park. You can taste all kinds of foods and drinks made with strawberry (some unusual, like strawberry noodles and strawberry sausages). There’s also strawberry beer and wine made on site!
Getting to Dahu: Unlike the last entry, also in Miaoli, it is possible to get to Dahu by public transportation as a day trip from Taichung. First, ride the regular train to Miaoli station (40 min), then transfer to bus 101 bound for Sheipa National Park and get off at “Shei-Pa National Park Management Office” stop (雪霸國家公園管理處 ), also 40 minutes.
Zhuolan Gorge and Dongshi Forest Garden
If you are interested in bizarre landscapes, you may want to make the journey to check out Zhuolan Gorge (卓蘭大峽谷) on the Da’An river, which separates Taichung and Miaoli counties. While I don’t consider this is an absolute “must” Taichung day trip, we stopped here once on a drive from Taipei to Taichung, and it was a cool spot to take a quick stroll.
A short path from the parking area brings you to a valley with visible layers of sandstone that were exposed by the 921 earthquake. It is sometimes called the “Grand Canyon of Taiwan,” but given that it is only 300 meters long and 10 meters deep, Taroko Gorge has a much better claim to that title.
Nearby, Dongshi Forest Garden (東勢林場遊樂區) features cooler air, lush forest scenery, outdoor trampolines and climbing towers for kids, cherry blossoms, hiking trails, and firefly viewing in springs. The entrance fee is NT$200 per person.
Getting to Zhuolan Gorge and Dongshi Forest Garden: You’ll need your own wheels to reach Zhuolan Gorge, but Dongshi Forest Garden can be reach by Fengyaun bus #209 from Fengyuan train station (only three departures per day).
Da Keng Scenic Area
Northeast of the Taichung city center in Beitun District, Da Keng Scenic Area (大坑風景區) offers hiking opportunities in lush mountains just beyond the city limits. The trails closer to the city (numbered 6-10) are easier and more accessible by public transportation, while the trails further east (numbered 1-5) are steeper and more difficult to reach.
These scenic trails can be quite busy on weekends, especially the easier ones, but weekdays are pleasantly crowd-free.
Getting to Dakeng Scenic Area: Buses 1, 15, 16, 20, 21, 31, 51, 66, 68, 85, 270, 271, and 276 provide access to the easier trails of Dakeng Scenic area. Get off at Taipower Dongshan Service Center (台電東山所).
Xinshe, a small district east of the Taichung city center, is home to a few unique sights that draw visitors.
The first is Xinshe Castle (新社莊園休閒農場), which is a medieval looking European-style castle. It’s a fun place to wander around and take pictures, and 100NT from the NT250 entrance can be used towards a meal or snack. Sometimes they even have fake smoke to make pictures more atmospheric.
You can visit Xinshe Castle on this day tour from Taichung.
Getting to Xinshe Castle: You may have to take more than one bus to get to Xinshe Castle. Use GoogleMaps to find options from your specific location in Taichung.
Xinshe Flower Festival
Near Xinshe Castle, the annual Xinshe Flower Festival also takes place. This event usually takes places for about a month in November to December. When the event is on, there are free shuttle buses that you can access from Taichung’s green MRT line.
Last but not least, Xinshe is famous for its mushroom farms. Several of them include mushroom themed-restaurants and shops where you can buy all kinds of mushroom items (I fell in love with the spicy mushroom sauce I bought there, and have since ordered multiple jars from them to my house in Taipei). Try Master of Mushroom Restaurant, (菇神), Shenghe Muhroom Farm (昇和香菇農園), or GuGu House (菇菇部屋).
Taichung Lavender Cottage
Lavender Cottage (薰衣草森林台中新社店) is a laid-back mountain farm where you can enjoy a coffee on an outdoor patio overlooking hills covered in lavender. There are are some trails, photo spots, and even even an old merry-go-round.
The lavender usually blooms in winter, while in summer, salvia also blooms here. Entrance is TWD200. You can buy your ticket online with a small discount and read more info here.
Getting to Lavender Cottage: There is no public transportation to Lavender Cottage. You can try getting to Xinshe first and then taking a taxi from there.
Daxueshan National Forest Recreation Area
A world away from the Taichung city center (and a 2-3-hour drive up a beautiful winding road to reach it), lies Daxueshan Forest Recreation Area (大雪山國家森林遊樂區).
This is one of the lesser-known and visited of Taiwan’s national forest recreation areas. There are few big hotels and no tourist buses allowed. It is a pristine environment with some old growth forests remaining. The park is open 6:30 AM to 5 PM and costs NT$200 per person to enter.
There are various points on the drive up where you can stop to enjoy the views or hike.
Getting to Daxueshan National Forest Recreation Area: There are only two bus departures per day on weekends only, Fengyuan bus #252 departing from Dongshi at 9:00 and 9:30 AM. It is much more convenient to drive.
Baxianshan National Forest Recreation Area and Gu Guan Hot springs
Another national forest recreation area worth visiting in Taichung is Baxianshan National Forest Recreation Area (八仙山國家森林遊樂區), also spelled Basianshan. It is located at the Taichung end of the Central Cross Island Highway (provincial highway 8), about a 1.5 hours drive from the Taichung city center.
Great hikes through pristine forest and bamboo forests can be enjoyed near the visitor’s center, while the much more difficult hike to Baxianshan Peak takes eight hours return, and offers views of Taiwan’s tallest mountains. If you want to spend the night, Immortal Hills (read reviews and see prices) has beautiful wooden chalets just just past the recreation area.
A little further up the highway, the road reaches Guguan Hot Springs (谷關風景特定區), one of the most popular hot spring areas in Taiwan. The area is surrounded by verdant hills with hikes and cherry blossom viewing. Some decent hot spring hotel choices include Bali Nature Spa Hot Spring Hotel and Mingao Hot Spring Resort (read reviews / see prices).
You can visit Guguan on this day tour from Taichung, which also includes tasting Hakka food and visiting a local winery.
Getting to Baxianshan: Again, driving is best, but you can also take bus Fengyuan #153 from the Taichung High Speed Rail (platform #21) to Baxianshan. The bus terminates at Guguan Hot Springs.
Well, that brings us to the end! For even more ideas for day trips from Taichung in neighborhing counties, see my articles covering Lion’s Head Mountain, Tai’An Hot Spring, Lukang Old Street, and strawberry picking in Dahu!