An Easy Taichung Itinerary for 1, 2, or 3 Days

Dear reader: This article contains links to products and services that I may be compensated for, at no extra cost to you.

Central Taiwan’s largest city, Taichung, is one of the country’s most compelling places to visit. For those who love art, history, culture, street food, quirky sights, and Instagram-worthy hot spots, Taichung has much to offer.

If you’ve already read my list of unique things to do in Taichung, you may be wondering how to put it all together for your visit. That’s why I’ve compiled this Taichung itinerary for one, two, or three days. It’s important to plan your visit well because the city is quite spread out! You can also fine tune your plans with my Taichung visitor’s guide.

Keep in mind that “Taichung City” now refers to what used to be a whole county, called “Taichung County”. Taichung city and county were combined in 2010. So “Taichung city” now covers a huge area from the west coast all the way to Taroko Gorge National Park in the east of Taiwan.

Most of the things in this Taichung itinerary will be in the city center of Taichung. For more remote parts of Taichung, you’ll want to see my list of the best day trips from Taichung!

How Many Days to Spend in Taichung

Totoro bus stop on painted animation lane, a must on your Taichung itinerary!
Totoro Bus Stop, Painted Animation Lane, Taichung

It’s possible to visit Taichung as a day trip from Taipei. You could stick to my day 1 itinerary below, but it would be less rushed if you spend the night. You can ride the HSR to get there fastest (find discounted tickets and see my HSR booking guide), but note that the Taichung HSR station is outside of the city center, so you need to add a little time to take a local train or taxi once you arrive.

Most visitors spend 1 or 2 nights in Taichung. With one full day, you can see the main attractions in the city center, visit Rainbow Village, Gaomei Wetland, or Zhongshe Flower Market, in the afternoon, and check out a night market in the evening.

If you have more time on your trip and are able to spend a third day in taichung, I encourage you to get out of the city center are and explore some more remote Taichung attractions. I’ll give several ideas for that below.

Hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll understand why Taichung is one of the best places to visit in Taiwan, and certainly deserves a spot on your Taiwan itinerary! For more general information about traveling in Taiwan, see my blog about travel in Taiwan.

Best Taichung Day Tours

If you decide to sign up for any of the Klook tours or activities I recommend below, make sure to use my referral link to sign up for Klook first and get TWD100 off your booking. I personally use Klook all the time and highly recommend it!

Gaomei Wetland, Rainbow Village, and Miyahara: The most popular Taichung tour out there.

If you’re interested in history and culture, try this Taichung Downtown Tour with DIY Sun Cake making.

For DIY touring, consider renting a scooter in Taichung. A Taiwanese license or IDP is needed.

More Taichung Itinerary Essentials

– Taichung is about 2 hours from Taipei by regular bus/train, or one hour on the High Speed Rail. Book your HSR ticket online to get a discount or take advantage of this 2-for-1 HSR ticket deal. You can also take a shuttle bus directly from Taoyuan airport to Taichung.

– The Taichung MRT started running in 2021, but there is only 1 line. It goes from the HSR station to Fengchia Night Market, but it doesn’t go to Taichung station or the city center area yet. Taichung buses are free for rides under 10 km. You still need to swipe on (look for 上 on the sign) or off (下) with an EasyCard. Learn how to use EasyCard in Taiwan here.

– Also consider getting around Taichung by YouBike. Read my guide to using YouBike with or without a local phone number.

– If you visit Taichung during Chinese New Year in Taiwan, you may find that many shops, attractions, and restaurants are closed on from New Year’s Eve to Day 2 of the New Year.

Taichung Itinerary 1 Day

If you’ve only got one day in Taichung, it’s still possible to take in some of the best this city has to offer. Below I’ll squeeze what I believe to be the city’s best sights into a Taichung 1 day itinerary.

This Taichung one day itinerary is a little rushed, I must admit, so feel free to cut out some of the stops if necessary. But I’d rather give you too many ideas than not enough!

Morning time involves a lot of walking, so I would totally recommend hopping on a YouBike if you can!

Morning

Taichung Cultural Heritage Park, a great way to start your Taichung one day tour
Taichung Cultural Heritage Park

Start your day with a stroll through Taichung Cultural Heritage Park (opens 6 a.m., free), a Japanese-era sake distillery located on the southwest side of the Taichung Railway Station.

The distillery has been converted into an arts & culture village, with lots of colorful artworks on display and craft markets on weekends. There are lots of Instagram-worthy photo ops, such as a lane with a canopy of colorful lanterns.

Natura Way Six Arts Cultural Center Taichung, and must when you have 1 day in Taichung
Natural Way Six Arts Cultural Center (See what camera I use here!)

Next, head to Natural Way Six Arts Cultural Center (13 minute walk, opens at 9:30 a.m., free), a former Japanese martial arts center. The wooden buildings here are really photogenic and peaceful. Perfect background for a photo shoot!

For more cool Japanese-era architecture in Taiwan, see my articles on Dihua Street in Taipei, Jiufen in New Taipei City, and Beitou Hot Springs!

Chun Shui Tang Taichung, the original pearl milk tea (bubble tea) store, a must on your Taichung itinerary!
The world’s first bubble tea at Chun Shui Tang (my wife and daughter pictured) Here’s more info about visiting Taiwan with kids!

Now it’s time to make a pilgrimage to Chun Shui Tang (6 minute walk), the supposed birthplace of bubble tea (boba or pearl milk tea). Heads up, their signature original bubble teas are huge! You can even learn how to make your own bubble tea there.

Once you’ve refreshed your thirst, make your way to Painted Animation Lane (10 minute walk, 24-hours, free). A quirky sight, indeed, but don’t expect too much more than a short alley with cartoons painted on the sides!

Painted Animation Lane Taichung
Painted Animation Lane

Still, it’s a must if you love anime, and there’s even a Totoro Bus Stop here if you don’t make it to the more famous one (see day 2 below!)

After that, follow the Liuchuan Riverside Walk along the canal to Taichung Second Market (15-minute walk), a traditional market in a cool historical building with an internal courtyard. I would personally recommend Yang Mama Lishi (楊媽媽立食), which specializes in sushi, cold sesame noodles, and fish skin stew.

You can also find many other Taiwanese street food classics there.

Afternoon

Taichung Park Pavilion, Taichung Park
Taichung Park

If you’ve somehow got extra time/energy at this point, walk off your lunch at enormous Taichung Park (12-minute walk), or head back towards Taichung Train Station to have dessert at Miyahara Ice Cream (10-minute walk). Heads up, though; this ice cream shop (and restaurant and cake & souvenir shop) is EXTREMELY popular and there is always a long line.

If you really have your heart set on getting one of their ridiculously oversized ice creams, just join the line, or consider going right when they open at 10 a.m!

Miyahara ice cream, Taichung
Wild ice cream at Miyahara

But even if you don’t want to bother with the ice cream, it’s still worth taking a look inside the shop; it’s quirky as hell; most people describe it as straight out of Harry Potter!

Your next stop will be the famous Rainbow Village is a small collection of buildings that was once part of a military dependent’s village built to house soldiers from China. One soldier didn’t want to leave, so he painted every surface of his home with bright colors.

His idea worked, so his house still stands! People call him Rainbow Grandpa, and he turned 100 years old in 2023! Rainbow Village is a little remote from other attractions, but you can’t leave it off your Taichung itinerary.

Read about my visit to Rainbow Village before it was damaged and my more recent visit to Rainbow Village now that it has reopened again.

Rainbow Village, a sight that you can't leave off your Taichung itinerary!
Rainbow Village, one of the most popular attractions in Taichung

To get there, hop in a taxi (around NTD300) or take bus #27 (one hour) from the north side of Taichung Railway Station (the side you are on already). Get off at Gancheng Village 6 stop (千城六村站), one stop after Lin Tung University (嶺東科技大學).

If that seems like too much trouble, just sign up for this popular Rainbow Village and Gaomei Wetland tour! Head to this article to read all about Gaomei Wetland.

After visiting Rainbow Village, if you’ve still got time and energy before dinner, head to Luce Memorial Chapel (路思義教堂), an iconic Taichung building located on the campus of Tunghai University (東海大學).

You can get there in about an hour by walking from Rainbow Village to Ling Tung University (Yongchun S Rd) bus stop and hopping on bus #48 towards Gancheng Station. If you don’t mind spending the cash, simply hop in a cab.

Fengchia Night Market (Fengjia Night Market) Taichung)
Feng-Chia, Taichung’s most famous night market.

Last, but certainly not least, it’s time to have a dinner feast at Taichung’s most famous night market, Feng-Chia Night Market. The market is huge and its easy to get lost, so make sure you see my map and guide to Feng-Chia Night Market.

If you decide to skip Luce Memorial Chapel, you can take bus #74 from Rainbow Village (Lingdong S. Rd.) bus stop to Chao Ma Bus station then walk the remaining 20 minutes, or walk eight minutes from Chao Ma to Henan Taiwan Blvd. Intersection and take bus 33, 63, or 358 to Feng Chia University (Fuxing Rd.) stop.

You can also get to Fengchia Night Market by riding the new Taichung MRT green line to Wenxin Yinghua Station and walking about 15 minutes.

For night market lovers, also check out my guide to the other night markets in Taichung!

Taichung 2 Days Itinerary

If you’ve got 2 days in Taichung, then follow my Taichung 1 day tour above on your first day, and continue below for your day 2 in Taichung.

Your second day in Taichung shall be devoted to a collection of worthwhile attractions in the southern end of the city. While these aren’t the traditional “must-sees” of Taichung’s city center, they may appeal even more to certain types of travelers.

This second day in Taichung isn’t quite as busy as the first, so you may have time in the late afternoon to see anything that you missed on Day 1.

Morning

921 Earthquake Museum, something to add to your Taichung 2 day itinerary
921 Earthquake Museum

Take Ubus #50 (45 minutes) to the 921 Earthquake Museum (NTD50, opens 9 a.m., free before 10 a.m. on Wednesdays, closed Mondays, see official site). Cross the street from the north side of the train station to find the bus stop.

The 921 Earthquake Museum is a vivid reminder of the immense damage that was done to the region in earthquake of September 21, 1999, the largest and deadliest in Taiwan’s history.

The museum occupies a former junior high school that was right on the earthquake’s fault line and was completely damaged by it. Everything was left right in place, so you can see caved in classrooms, distorted track and field lines, and even try an earthquake simulation experience.

Guangfu New Village, Taichung
Guangfu New Village

After spending an hour or two at the museum, walk to Guangfu New Village (10 minutes) from the front entrance of the 921 museum (not the back one where you were dropped off by the bus).

Guangfu New Village (光復新村) is a former military dependent’s village, just like Rainbow Village. But compared to Rainbow Village, it is larger and has more things to see. Here you can find several blocks of semi-dilapidated buildings that have been converted into art galleries, cute cafés, and restaurants.

You may find the village very quiet and empty if you come too early/on a weekday morning, but afternoons and especially weekend afternoons have the most going on. This is also a great spot to have lunch before you continue on to the next stop.

Taichung Lin Family Garden in Wufeng District
Wufeng Lin Family Garden

From Guangfu New Village, walk to Kengkou Village (Guangfu New Village) 坑口里(光復新村) bus stop and take bus 50 or 151 to Wufeng Post Office (霧峰郵局) stop to reach Wufeng Lin Family Garden (霧峰林家宮保第園區).

Wufeng Lin Family Garden is a beautifully preserved traditional mansion, occupying two large compounds, with a garden nearby (“Lai-Yuan of Wufeng’s Lin Family” on GoogleMaps).

Next, if you have the interest/desire, catch bus #50 from the same bus stop to Caohu (草湖) stop to take a look at Dali Art Plaza, an art-focused department store and plaza. This stop will mainly appeal to anyone who likes art and/or shopping.

Dali Art Plaza, Taichung
Dali Art Plaza

Depending on how quickly you moved today, you may or may not have time to spare once you get back to the Taichung City Center. If you do, hit any stops that you missed on Day 1.

Consider visiting Taichung Park for sunset. Then I recommend finishing this day at Yizhong Street Night Market, which is just north of the park.

Taichung Itinerary 3 days

Lihpao Discovery Land, which you can consider adding to your taichung 3 day itinerary
Giant Ferris Wheel at Lihpao Discovery Land

If you have a third day in Taichung, then it’s definitely time to get out of the city center. here I’ve compiled over 20 possibilities for day trips from Taichung.

The following are some of the most popular ones:

Zhongshe Flower Market: A very popular collection of flower displays open year round. It’s just north of the city center and you can get there in about 1 hour by bus. See my guide to Zhongshe Flower Market.

Sun Moon Lake One of the most popular attractions in Central Taiwan, along with the mountain resort of Alishan. See my guide to Sun Moon Lake for all the details. As a day trip, it might be best to join one of these tours.

Xitou Monster Village: yet another quirky sight, a Japanese monster themed village up in the hills of Central Taiwan. See my complete guide to Xitou Monster Village here.

Gaomei Wetlands: Wildlife and epic sunsets on the coast. The easiest way to get there is on this tour. See my guide to Gaomei Wetlands.

Cingjing Farm: see cows and sheep graze on the roof of Taiwan! It’s quite a journey, but you can make it by joining this tour or this one. See my Cingjing Farm guide, how to get from Taichung to Cingjing, and why Cingjing isn’t my favorite place.

Guguan: One of the most famous hot springs in Taiwan

Sun Moon Lake, the most popular day trip from Taichung
Stunning Sun Moon Lake

Where to Stay in Taichung

Budget

Norden Ruder Hostel (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor) is a great new, highly rated hostel conveniently located right across from the Taichung’s main train station. You wouldn’t believe the views from the 12th floor windows!

A friend of mine also recommended Blue Sky Hotel (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor).

Mid-Range

Visitors rave about Old School (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor), a cheaper mid-range option just south of the train station with friendly staff and large rooms.

For a boutique hotel with a slide right into the lobby, stay at RedDot (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor).

Inhouse Hotel Grand (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor) is another decent mid-range choice.

Also don’t miss my detailed guide to where to stay in Taipei for before/after your Taichung visit.

Confucius Temple Taichung
Confucius Temple Taichung

Well, I hope you found all the information you need for planning your Taichung itinerary. If you’ve got any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!

12 thoughts on “An Easy Taichung Itinerary for 1, 2, or 3 Days”

  1. Hi, am I able to buy the HSR tickets from Taoyuan airport and to use it on the next day to travel from Taipei Shilin to Sun moon lake Taichung? Cos with 2 large luggages it’s quite inconvenient to take a bus. How much is taxi?

    Reply
    • Hi Lynette,
      No, you are not able to buy HSR tickets at the airport, because there is no HSR station there. There IS a Taoyuan HSR station, but it’s not at the airport, it’s about 10 minutes drive from the airport.
      But it doesn’t matter, you don’t need to buy a ticket one day before.
      You can just go to Taipei Main Station HSR and buy a non-reserved ticket on the same day you will take the HSR to Taichung. Then you can sit in any chair in the non-reserved section, cars 10-12 on the train.
      Sun Moon Lake is not in Taichung, it’s in Nantou. You can take a bus from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake, about 90 minutes.There should be space under the bus for your luggage. If you want to take a taxi from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake it will be very expensive.

      Reply
    • Hey Letecia,
      I think it depends on the person. The castle/mansion looks European-style, so it’s a little unusual for Taiwan. There isn’t much to do there besides walking around and taking pictures. So if you are looking for pictures with a special background, it might be worth it, but for some people, this might not be their thing. Note that you need to pay 250 NT to go in, and you get a 100 NT voucher to use at one of the restaurants or souvenir places inside.

      Reply
  2. Hi Nick,
    We will arrive at Taoyuan at 1.30pm and plan to visit Cingjing the following day. Should we spend the night at Taichung so we can catch the bus to Cingjing next morning ? There seems to be very limited hotels near Taichung HSR station and they are not walking distance. Any recommendations ?
    Alternatively we can stay in Taipei and take early HSR to Taichung.

    Reply
    • You could take the HSR to Taichung, then transfer to the regular train (Xinwuri station, right beside the HSR station), ride the train to the Taichung city center, and stay in a hotel there. Then the next morning, you can catch the bus from Taichung bus station to Cingjing via Puli.

      Reply
  3. Hi Nick
    If to choose one, Cingjing or Sun Moon Lake? Which is the better choice with 4 kids in tow from 7 to 18yo? Should we spend a night in either choice? We will spend 4 nights in Taichung. Thank you

    Reply
    • That’s a tough choice. I would say Cingjing has better mountain views, and seeing the farm animals and sheep shearing show / horsemanship shows should be fun for kids. It’s nice to spend a night there to be able to enjoy the sunset and sunrise views. SML on the other hand has a bigger range of activities – cycling, boat rides, temples, gondola. It’s also nice to spend a night there to enjoy the lake view at sunset. Ideally you should try to spend a night at each one if you can! If not, you’ll just have to choose which one sounds more interesting for your kids. The bus takes longer to Cingjing, if that’s a factor.

      Reply
  4. Hi Nick,

    I am figuring out where I can try the indigenous people’s lives and their very own cuisine in the area. Got any recommendations?

    Also, if I am doing a 7-day trip to Taiwan, the very first time. Would you recommend just 2days 1 night trip in tai Chung and most of the time in Taipei and explore the historical part of the city itself? We are more into historical sites, very local authentic food and the wild nature.

    Reply
    • Taichung is not a very aboriginal city/area. Your best bets would be Wulai (day trip from Taipei) or Ita Thao (a village on Sun Moon Lake). Both of those have market streets with lots of aboriginal foods and drinks. For wild nature, look up my recommended hikes in northern Taiwan (search “Taipei hikes” on this site). Consider making a day trip or overnight trip to Hehuanshan for wild, high mountain hiking. Search “Hehuanshan” on my TaiwanObsessed website.

      Reply

Leave a Comment