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Central Taiwan’s largest city, Taichung, has in recent years been taking over as one of the country’s most popular places to visit.
For those who love art, history, culture, street food, quirky sights, and Instagram-worthy treats, Taichung has so much to offer.
If you’ve already read my list of 20 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!
Keep in mind that “Taichung City” now refers to what used to be a whole county, Taichung County, covering a huge area from the west coast all the way to Taroko Gorge National Park in the east. Most of the things in this Taichung itinerary will be in the urban “city center” of Taichung.
Below I’ll tell you how to spend 1 to 2 days in Taichung’s city center. If you’re visiting Taichung as a day trip from Taipei, you could stick to the day 1 itinerary, but it would be less rushed to spend the night.
If you’ve got a third day, I encourage you to get out of the downtown area. I’ll mention several great ideas below, or you can find even more in my complete guide to the best day trips from Taichung.
One more thing: popular Sun Moon Lake is not in Taichung like some people think, but Taichung is the main access point for getting to it. See my super detailed Sun Moon Lake guide for everything you need to know.
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 and Rainbow Village: 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.
The sights in Taichung are quite spread out. You can avoid the hassle of taking local buses by hiring a private driver to take you on a customized tour.
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 get a 3-day HSR pass. You also take a shuttle bus directly from Taoyuan airport to Taichung.
– The Taichung MRT is up and running as of early 2021, after many years of delays. 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 or iPass (available at 7-11 or the airport).
– Order a WiFi device for pick up when you arrive!
– If you visit Taichung during Chinese New Year in Taiwan, you may find that almost all 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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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 is an absolute must-visit in Taichung: Rainbow Village. 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!
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, and he still lives there (at age 94!). People call him Rainbow Grandpa, and you may even meet him when you go! Rainbow Village is a little remote from other attractions, but you can’t leave it off your Taichung itinerary. For all the details, visit my guide to Rainbow Village.
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.
Last, but certainly not least, it’s time to have a dinner feast at Taichung’s most famous night market, Feng-Chia Night Market. Don’t worry if you show up too early; many of the stalls open up in the mid-afternoon, and 4-6 p.m. is a great time to come to avoid the worst of the crowds.
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.
For night market lovers, also check out my guide to the best night markets in Taipei!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I personally didn’t find it worth the stop, but you may want to visit if anything to get a photo of the giant blue blown up man checking his phone on the roof. And by the way, there’s no relation to the artist Dali; it’s just the name of this Taichung district.
Whether or not you stop at Dali Plaza, continue on bus #50 to Xingda Post Office 興大郵局) stop to reach our final quirky Taichung attraction: the famed Totoro Bus Stop. You’ll need to walk about 15 minutes from the bus stop to get there.
There really isn’t any reason to visit this attraction other than to get a selfie of yourself waiting for the bus (it’s not a real bus stop) with Totoro and No-Face. And yes, you will have to wait in a line to do it 🙂 But don’t worry; people are polite and the line moves fast!
Taichung Itinerary 3 days
If you’ve got 3 days in Taichung, I’ll give two option for your third day.
The first is to see more things in Taichung’s city center that you missed on the first two days. Here are few attractions that you may want to check out. You can find more details about each of them in my detailed guide to Taichung City.
– Shenji New Village: a trendy craft market and collection of hip cafés
– Walk the Calligraphy Greenway
– The Taichung National Museum of Natural Science (with moving dinosaurs!)
Your second option is to do a day trip from Taichung. For way more details on all the possibilities, consult my guide to the 11 best day trips from Taichung.
The following are some of the most popular options:
– Sun Moon Lake (though I personally feel it deserves an overnight visit at least). One of the most popular attractions in Central Taiwan, along with the mountain resort of Alishan. See my detailed guides to to Sun Moon Lake, the Sun Moon Lake Pass, and best Sun Moon Lake 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.
– Gao Mei Wetlands: Wildlife and epic sunsets on the coast. The easiest way to get there is on this tour, which also includes Rainbow Village
– 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.
– Changhua: Visit Lugang and other cultural sights in this neighboring county by joining this tour.
– Guguan: One of the most famous hot springs in Taiwan
Where to Stay in Taichung
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!
For a boutique hotel with a slide right into the lobby, stay at RedDot (see on Agoda / see prices / read reviews).
Inhouse Hotel Grand (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor) is anothe decent mid-range choice.
Also don’t miss my detailed guide to where to stay in Taipei for before/after your Taichung visit.
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!