Wondering what to do in Taichung? Follow my detailed Taichung itinerary for 1-3 days to discover all of Taichung’s best bits!
Taichung (台中市) is a beautiful, laid-back city located in central Taiwan and also the main gateway to one of the country’s most revered natural wonders, Sun Moon Lake.
While most people rush through Taichung rather quickly to visit dreamy Sun Moon Lake, a few days’ stay in Taiwan’s second-largest city should not be overlooked.
Since Taichung packs the perfect mix of art, culture, history, and nature within easy reach, it’s a great city to experience a different slice of Taiwan.
In this Taichung itinerary, I’ll cover the best things to do in Taichung for 1, 2 or 3 days. There will be opportunities to see the city’s top attractions, discover its most instagrammable gems, relax in its green spaces, and explore its beautiful outskirts.
Ready to find out what to do in Taichung? Read along to discover the best of Taichung in my detailed Taichung itinerary!
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Table of Contents
Taichung Itinerary Pre-Travel Tips
Before diving into this Taichung itinerary for one day or more, here are a few pre-travel tips to help you plan the perfect trip.
- Search the best hotels and hostels in Taichung. There’s not much need to book accommodation in advance, unless you’re visiting during Chinese New Year or other special holidays. (See all my hotel recommendations below).
- Book a seat on the high-speed rail to access Taichung quickly and easily.
- Make sure you grab a 4G Sim card or pocket WiFi for pickup at the airport. This way you can access maps, translations, and much more on the go.
- Grab an Easy Card, Taiwan’s local transit card. By doing so you can use the free bus system in Taichung (up to 10km).
- This tour is a great way to see all of the city’s highlights if you’re traveling in a group or not comfortable navigating Taichung’s public transport.
- You may need a travel adapter when visiting Taiwan. The standard voltage in Taiwan is 110V with a frequency of 60Hz. The most common plug types are A and B.
- Like the rest of Taiwan, Taichung is an exceptionally safe city to visit — even for solo female travelers. Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong when you travel. World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 activities, as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more.
In a rush? Save this Taichung travel guide to read later.
How to get to Taichung
Taichung is easily accessed by plane, bus, high-speed rail, or train across Taiwan. Along with the tips in my guide on getting from Taipei to Taichung, here are the best ways to access the city.
Getting to Taichung By Plane
Taichung International Airport is the main airport in Taichung and located 25 km from the city center. If you are arriving in Taichung straight from the airport, you can access the center by bus (#302 or #9). Alternatively grab a taxi.
Getting to Taichung By High-Speed Rail
The easiest and fastest way to get to Taichung is by high-speed rail. Depending on your departure point, it shouldn’t take more than 1 hour to reach the city. Make sure to book a discounted HSR ticket online in advance to guarantee a seat. Non-reserved tickets go for slightly lower prices, but you run the risk of not having a place to sit.
Insider Tip: If you plan on only visiting Taichung for 1 day, this discounted HSR ticket for three consecutive days is an excellent option to help you travel onwards.
Getting to Taichung By Bus
It’s easy to take a bus from elsewhere in Taiwan to reach Taichung. Many buses depart from Taipei Main Bus Station (near Taipei Main Station) daily. The bus ride from Taipei to Taichung takes about 2-3 hours. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative and don’t mind a slightly longer journey. See the Ubus schedule here.
If you’ve just arrived at Taoyuan Airport and want to skip Taipei altogether and head straight to Taichung, that is possible too. The bus terminal is located on B1, and from here, you can catch a bus directly to Taichung. Book a discounted seat on the bus here to guarantee a spot. Alternatively, book a private transfer directly from Taoyuan for the most convenient way to access the city.
Getting to Taichung By Train
You can also take the train to Taichung. Prices are considerably cheaper than the HSR, but it can take much longer, depending on the train you take. Make sure to get on a Puyuma and Taroko train, which will get you to the city faster. Tze-Chiang Express trains are cheaper, but take slightly longer to reach the city.
How to get around during your Taichung Itinerary
Taichung is a big city and quite spread out. While it’s possible to explore the city center on foot, you’ll need to rely on public transport further afield.
- Scooter: The easiest way to get around Taichung hassle-free and explore the city at your own pace is by scooter. There is a scooter rental shop, a 2-minute walk away from the HSR station. Alternatively, book a scooter rental online. You will however need a valid international driver’s license for a motorcycle to do so. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have decent travel insurance.
- MRT: While the subway is still under construction, the Green Line which connects Taichung HSR Station and Beitun Depot was recently completed. The line also stops at the Taichung Train Station. See the MRT map here.
- Bus: Taichung also has an extensive bus network that offers free rides up to 10km. To use the free bus service, remember to grab an Easy Card in advance.
- Bike: YouBike is also widely available in Taichung, and it’s a fun way to see all of the city’s best bits on this Taichung itinerary. You’ll need a local SIM card and an Easy Card to rent a bike. Non-residents are also required to pay a NT$2000 deposit in case of accidents.
- Car Hire: Of course, another great way to get around the city is by renting a car or hiring a private driver. This way, you can start your Taichung itinerary from the get-go and never worry about navigating your way around the city.
Where to stay in Taichung
Taichung is a big city with plenty of excellent accommodation options. If you want to maximize your time in town, I’d recommend staying somewhere central. You’ll find a good selection of hotel and hostel options near the train station, while Xitun District also has lots of great choices for all kinds of budgets. Here are my top suggestions on where to stay in Taichung.
Where to Stay in Central Taichung
Staying in central Taichung is an excellent choice for being in the heart of the city. Since you’ll be right in the thick of it, you’ll have easy access to lots of restaurants, shops and, of course, public transport.
Budget – Norden Ruder Hostel Taichung is an excellent budget option if you want to be within walking distance of the train station. The hostel has a lovely communal area and plenty of room choices ranging from dorm-style to private rooms. The best part about staying here is while you’ll be right in the center of town, there are lots of green spaces nearby where you can take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Mid-Range – SOF Hotel is a chic boutique hotel boasting clean, modern rooms at surprisingly affordable rates. The hotel is located mere steps from the Gancheng Bus Station and a 9-minute walk from Taichung Railway Station. SOF Hotel is ideal for travelers looking for something a bit more upscale yet still being in the heart of the city. Don’t forget to check out the Taiwan Museum of Suncake and the Taichung Second Market while staying here!
Where to Stay in Xitun District
Xitun District is the perfect location for those looking to experience all of Taichung’s best bits but in a more modern area of town. Xitun lies on the western side of Taichung, and you’ll find lots of shopping malls, excellent restaurants, and great city vibes here.
Mid-Range – Hotel Mapp is a great mid-range option for travelers looking for an upscale stay at affordable rates. What really sets Hotel Mapp apart from other mid-range options in the city is its uber chic design!
Affordable Luxury – Hotel 7 Taichung is a beautiful 4-star hotel located mere steps from Fengchia Night Market. The hotel features clean, modern rooms and the rooftop terrace is the perfect spot to unwind after a day out and about! Grab some beers at the nearby Family Mart to enjoy while watching the epic sunset from here!
Luxury – If relaxing on a rooftop with breathtaking city views and cooling off in a terrace pool sounds like the perfect location for you, then checking in at Kun Tour Hotel is a must! This beautiful hotel features stylish rooms and all the comforts you would expect from a 4-star property.
Best Time to Visit Taichung
Taichung is a beautiful city surrounded by mountains and hills, making it a great city to visit. The city has a sub-tropical climate with pleasant temperatures during most months. In general, the hottest temperatures reach 34°C, while temperatures drop to around 13°C during colder months.
The best time to visit Taichung is during spring (March-April). Spring in Taichung is an ideal time to explore the city, because you’ll get to see the city and surrounding areas covered in pink cherry blossoms.
Autumn is yet another great time to visit Taichung (Sept – November) as the temperatures start to cool down. Best of all, you’ll get to see the maple leaves change color. In October, the Taichung Jazz Festival is another excellent reason to visit the city during this season.
If you must visit Taichung during summer, be prepared for sweltering heat. From mid-May through June, Taichung experiences some pretty heavy rainfall with the Plum Rains making their arrival. Also, typhoons aren’t uncommon during July and August. Make sure to pack an umbrella and don’t forget to check the weather forecast before starting your Taichung itinerary.
Winter (Dec – Feb) in Taichung is cold but tolerable. Temperatures rarely reach higher than 22°C, and the average low temperature is around 12°C. January is the coldest month in Taichung. If you must visit during this time, it’s a good idea to pack layers and a decent wind-resistant jacket. For more tips, this guide on what to pack for Taiwan will also come in handy.
It’s best to avoid Taichung during Chinese New Year, and Lantern Festival celebrations as buses and trains fill up quickly, and the city is packed with locals returning home.
Taichung Itinerary Quick Overview
- Day 1 : Rainbow Village, Painted Animation Lane, Miyahara, Calligraphy Greenway, National Museum of Fine Arts, Feng Chia Night Market.
- Day 2: Lavender Cottage, Rollin Farm, Gaomei Wetlands.
- Day 3: Take a day trip to Sun Moon Lake
An Unmissable Taichung Itinerary for 1, 2 or 3 days: Top Taichung Attractions
If you’ve just started mapping out your Taiwan trip, make sure to add Taichung to your 2 week Taiwan itinerary because there is an excellent selection of things to do!
Below you’ll find my top recommendations on what to do in Taichung in 1 day or more. That said, feel free to tailor this guide to suit your needs and preferences.
Read on to discover the best things to do in Taichung. Plus, get all my tips and tricks to fully enjoy your Taichung itinerary.
1 Day Taichung Itinerary
Only have one day in Taichung? Why? Taichung is a fantastic city with a whole bunch of exciting things to do and see!
While one day in Taichung is ample time to see the city’s best gems, it will be a busy day! Therefore, to make the most of your 1 day in Taichung, staying overnight is highly encouraged. Of course, if you have a few days to spare on your Taiwan trip, spending 2-3 days in Taichung will allow you to see so much more of the city!
So what should you do on a 1 day Taichung itinerary? Follow my 24 hours in Taichung guide to see the best in the city. Let’s go!
Rainbow Village (彩虹眷村)
Start your 1 day in Taichung itinerary by seeing the city’s most Instagrammable place – Rainbow Village. Located less than a 10-minute drive from Taichung HSR Station, Rainbow Village is the perfect spot to kick off your Taichung trip!
Rainbow Village is a designated cultural area and revered for its quirky, colorful murals and intriguing history. Before becoming a tourist hot spot, Rainbow Village was surprisingly a military dependent’s housing complex. Over time the buildings started to deteriorate, and developers wanted to tear them down. When word got out of this, one resident, Mr. Huang, decided to transform the remaining houses to save his village.
Today Rainbow village is a must-see in Taichung, and if you’re lucky, you might even get a chance to say ‘ni hao’ to the Rainbow Granpa!
While Rainbow Village is a fun stop on your Taichung itinerary, it’s easy to tour the entire complex, take photos, and grab a rainbow ice cream in less than an hour.
It’s best to avoid Rainbow Village on weekends and public holidays, as it is one of Taichung’s most popular tourist spots. Instead, come during morning hours in the week.
Painted Animation Lane (動漫彩繪巷)
Painted Animation Lane is a quirky lane full of colorful murals of anime and cartoon characters. It’s a cute place for a quick stroll, and since the pathway is only a few 100 meters long, it’s perfect for a pitstop on your 1 day Taichung itinerary.
While most travelers only visit here to quickly snap a selfie at the of totally cute Totoro Bus Stop, a short stroll further will afford plenty more Instagrammable gems!
Miyahara is a popular tourist spot in Taichung famous for its Harry Potter-like interior and delectable sweet treats. Besides the excellent selection of gourmet chocolates, crunchy cookies, fine tea, and local snacks like sun cake and pineapple cake, this high-end dessert store has quite a unique history.
Built during the Japanese Colonial Era in the 1920’s Miyahara was formerly an ophthalmology clinic. Today the red brick building is an iconic landmark in Taichung. Not to mention, one of the most famous dessert shops in Taiwan!
If you’re into gourmet ice cream, Miyahara is the perfect place to satisfy your sweet tooth. Just a heads-up; the lines are always long, so prepare to wait! Alternatively, visit during the early morning hours or late at night. Miyahara is open from 10 am-10 pm.
Oh, and travel tip — Taichung Park is a short stroll away from Miyahara. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy your ice cream away from the bustling city streets!
Calligraphy Greenway (草悟道)
Calligraphy Greenway is a scenic walkway stretching 3.6 kilometers between the National Museum of Natural Science to the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.
It is an excellent place for a leisurely walkabout if you have an hour or two to spare on your Taichung 1 day itinerary. Besides the superb greenery on offer, you’ll find tons of quirky art installations dotted around the park, as well as a great selection of restaurants and cafes along the way. While there’s plenty of Taiwanese food, it is one of Taichung’s best places to find an excellent variety of international cuisine.
Another highlight not to miss while strolling Calligraphy Greenway is the CMP Block Museum – a quirky museum housing a fantastic selection of modern and contemporary art.
Make sure to explore the side streets jolting off from the main pathway too! There are lots of boutique stores, DIY shops, and hipster hangouts in the area! If you happen to visit on the weekend, you’ll find the park full of vendors selling handmade crafts and souvenirs and even a few buskers ready to entertain!
Insider Tip: A few blocks from here, you’ll find Chun Shui Tang Tea House (春水堂) – the birthplace of bubble milk tea. It’s a fun pitstop to make if you want to try the best boba tea in Taiwan! More adventurous travelers can also opt to join a DIY bubble milk tea class!
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (國立台灣美術館)
No visit to Taichung would be complete without dropping by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. Located a short stroll south of the Calligraphy Greenway, the museum is a massive must for modern and contemporary art enthusiasts.
With 24 exhibition halls housing an excellent selection of permanent and temporary displays, one could easily spend a few hours here. Most exhibitions focus on Western art, Chinese paintings, and sculptures.
Since admission to the museum is free, it’s one of the best free things to do in Taichung! Oh, and don’t forget to stroll around the beautiful gardens —there are quite a few gems on display here too!
Feng Chia Night Market (逢甲夜市)
If this is your first visit to Taiwan, you’ve probably noticed that night markets are a thing in Taiwan! Taiwanese people love a good night snack, and one of the best places to relish delicious street food is at a night market. The best part, dirt cheap prices!
Luckily for you, Taichung is home to the biggest night market in Taiwan – Fengjia Night Market. It’s a bustling place, and it gets crowded quickly, so try not to come too late. If you want to skip the crowds, it’s best to go before 7 pm or after 10 pm. Alternatively, get ready to join the scrum!
Taichung 2 Days Itinerary
If you have 2 days in Taichung, follow my Taichung 1 day itinerary above on your first day. Then continue with your second day in Taichung with these Taichung attractions below.
On day 2 of your Taichung itinerary, it’s time to explore a few lesser-known gems on the outskirts of the city. While it is possible to reach some of these places via public transport, it’s better to have your own set of wheels. This can be achieved by either renting a scooter, hiring a private driver or renting a car.
Since these places are not within the city center and involve quite a bit of traveling time, I suggest picking two options (at the most) to fill the second day of your Taichung itinerary. For more day trip inspiration, read my detailed guide highlighting 15 of the best day trips from Taichung!
Lavender Cottage (薰衣草森林)
Just one hour east of Taichung City brings you to whimsical Lavender Cottage. While most travelers to Taichung head to Xinshe Castle, Lavender Cottage is an excellent alternative and somewhat of a hidden gem.
Located in Xinshe District, Lavender Cottage is a lovely recreational area surrounded by lush mountains and sweeping lavender fields. If you’re looking to spend a relaxing day outdoors, this is an excellent option for you!
There are many different trails to follow through verdant gardens and plenty of spaces where you can take a breather to admire the stunning views. Afterward, grab a bite to eat at the onsite restaurant or shop for handmade souvenirs like lavender soap and hand cream. If you have a sweet tooth, make sure to try the oh so tasty lavender ice cream!
Insider Tip: To get to Lavender Cottage, take the Taichung—Xinshe line towards Zhongxingling from the Fengyuan Bus Company terminal. Get off at Xiner Station, from where you can take a taxi to Lavender Cottage. Not comfortable navigating the bus system? Check out this great tour!
Rollin Farm (若茵農場)
Rollin Farm is an excellent alternative if you don’t have time to visit Alishan National Recreational Forest to see the epic sea of clouds phenomena.
Located about a 1h30 drive from Taichung, this charming retreat sits 1,200 meters above sea level and offers spectacular views over the Taichung basin no matter which way you turn!
There’s a lovely terrace where you can sit back, grab a bite to eat, and take in the magnificent views. If you’re feeling adventurous, taking a gentle stroll through the bamboo stalk forest won’t disappoint!
If you’d like to see the changing skies and wake up to one heck of a sunrise, consider staying overnight. Check availability and rates here.
Insider Tip: There is no public transportation to Rollin Farm, so you’ll need to find your own way here. It’s also a good idea to pack motion sickness medication as the road up the mountain has many twists and turns!
Gaomei Wetlands (高美濕地)
Gaomei Wetlands is a beautifully scenic area located within a 1-hour drive from Taichung. It’s home to diverse animal and bird life and a dedicated ecological park.
While it is possible to visit during the day, I recommend coming an hour or two before sunset. By doing so, you’ll have enough time to pop by the Visitors’ Center, where you can learn more about the varied ecology and visit the impressive red and white lighthouse. If you’re looking for a fun way to explore the area, make sure to rent a bike at one of the vendors near the Visitors’ Center.
Afterward, grab a snack at one of the outdoor vendors to enjoy the epic sunset over the marshes from the Gaomei Walkway! Make sure to grab a spot early as the walkway gets crowded quickly right before sunset!
Insider Tip: If you don’t have your own set of wheels, take the direct bus #309 from Taichung and alight at stop No. 18 Wind Turbine. If that sounds like too much trouble for you, consider joining this excellent half-day tour!
Looking for a change of scenery? Taiwan’s brand new copper temple, Baiyang Temple of Heaven is located roughly 40 minutes drive from Taichung and offers breathtaking scenery and loads of photo ops!
Taichung Itinerary 3 days: Day Trip to Sun Moon Lake
If you have 3 days in Taichung, then you simply must visit Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) on your last day. While it is possible to explore Sun Moon Lake on a guided day tour or independently, I highly recommend staying longer!
Sun Moon Lake is the largest natural lake in Taiwan and has a wealth of activities to entice visitors! From scenic hiking trails, gorgeous round-the-lake cycling paths, a bustling aboriginal food market, several majestic temples, and an epic cable car ride – Sun Moon Lake has something for everyone!
You can read my detailed Sun Moon Lake travel guide, which sets out absolutely everything you need to know about visiting this spectacular natural wonder. Also see my detailed Sun Moon Lake transport guide to find the easiest route there, and this guide on where to stay in Sun Moon Lake.
1-3 Day Taichung Itinerary Conclusion
Whether you have one day or many, Taichung is a fascinating city to visit! While these are just a handful of top things to do in Taichung, I hope this guide will help you to plan the perfect Taichung itinerary.
That wraps up this Taichung travel guide! Have you visited Taichung yet? What tips or tricks do you have for fellow travelers planning a 1-3 day Taichung itinerary? Let me know in the comments below.
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