One day in Taichung means keeping things simple. Here are six suggestions near enough to be practical, but different enough to give you a taste of the city.
1. Earthquake Museum
Early morning, take bus 50 from the train station for 60 minutes all the way to the end (basically don’t get off). The Earthquake museum is an outstanding memory to the roughly thousand people who died in the 1999 earthquake in Taiwan. If you never had a sense of what being in an earthquake is like, this unique place will give you a unique perspective. Doors open at 9am and close at 5pm, though it’s easy to spend a few hours walking around this vast preserved school. Buses can get take an hour to get there depending on the time of day you leave.
2. Miyahara Ice Cream Parlor
A few minutes north of Taichung train station on Zhong Shan Road is Miyahara Ice Cream Parlor. The parlor is based in an old renovated Japanese-era eye hospital. Its interior decor, staff in historical costumes and heaps of symbolism inside make for a fascinating visit. The are also over 50 handmade flavors of ice cream on offer. Be prepared to get there ear as the lines of people often stretch around the block.
3. The Original Bubble Tea Shop
Chun Shui Tang lies a kilometer from the station and is the origin of bubble tea. Inside an old, traditional wooden tea shop, you can order brunch, drink bubble tea and even learn to make it yourself if you give the shop advance notice. Great atmosphere and a living slice of history around the corner from the train station.
4. Taichung Second Market
Leave the tea shop on Siwei street and turn right on Sanmin Road to Taichung Second Market for lunch (or brunch)! (Alternatively head up Zhong Shan Road for 1 km through Taichung ‘old town’ from train station). Second Market was originally called the Japanese market for all its Japanese goods back in the fifties. Today it’s the place to try hundreds of different foods under one roof. A must-visit for anyone interested in sampling Taichung cuisine, and experiencing local culture. temple and photo gallery within make this a must-see for a visitor to the city.
5. Taichung Park
From Second Market, head straight up Sanmin Road for ten minutes to the arching gate of Taichung Park. The park was laid out by the Japanese with the founding of Taichung in 1903. There’s a pretty lake and pavilion as well as some well-labeled tropical plants throughout the park for those curious about Taiwan’s flora. Taichung’s old Qing dynasty North gate has also been relocated here. Great for a short quiet retreat from the noise of the nearby city. Adjacent to the park is a little-known jade market worth checking out – busiest on Saturdays with hundreds of sellers.
6. Herbal Medicine Street
Five to six minutes from Taichung train station, Herbal Medicine street lies on Lane 90 off Chenggong Road. It contains dozens of Chinese herbal medicine shops selling every kind of green tea imaginable. If you wish to try the tea, you’ll need some Chinese speaking ability to understand the differences. Otherwise, just a meander down through one of Taichung’s oldest areas is a chance cultural encounter not worth giving up.