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24 Hours in Taichung, the Heart of Central Taiwan

Taichung, a boom town in the central part of the island, often features in our private tours of Taiwan. Especially popular with those planning a family tour or a food tour, the city offers an endearing blend of modernity and character — and it’s a launchpad for excursions to Sun Moon Lake and other destinations in Taiwan’s rugged interior.

National Taichung Theater / Taichung Metropolitan Opera House

Thanks to it being a major destination for business visitors as well as tourists, Taichung has more than its fair share of welcoming hotels and excellent eateries. In the shape of the National Taichung Theater (also known as the Taichung Metropolitan Opera House), it has one of Taiwan’s most distinctive new buildings. Designed by Toyo Ito, the Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect who created a number of Taiwan landmarks, the ideas behind this complex are best understood by joining an English-language guided tour. Life of Taiwan’s itinerary planners can make the necessary arrangements.

An even more famous architect — the late I.M. Pei — was responsible for the tent-shaped Luce Memorial Chapel, completed in 1960 and named after an American missionary who worked in China. But not all of Taichung is shiny steel and glass. In another part of the city, there’s a quirky gatehouse built 99 years ago not for defence but instead to enhance the fengshui (geomancy) of a rich merchant’s home. Nearby, some of his relatives commissioned the building of two photogenic mansions that combine Chinese, Japanese, and Western motifs and architectural elements.

Jishan Gatehouse

One of Taichung’s prettiest sets of buildings dates from the 1895-1945 period of Japanese colonial rule. Now known as the Natural Ways Six Arts Cultural Centre, it originally served as a dojo and office at the city’s prison. The centre’s name alludes to the six traditional disciplines which the sage Confucius regarded as key to a good education.

The Natural Ways Six Arts Cultural Centre

If it’s temples that you want to experience, we can drive you from the city centre to Dajia and one of Taiwan’s busiest and most important shrines, less than an hour away.

Taichung has plenty to keep kids happy. Fengle Sculpture Park isn’t just a delightful green space. It’s also home to a collection of bronze and stone sculptures many describe as whimsical or eccentric.

If you’d like your family tour in Taiwan to include some educational stops, we recommend the National Museum of Natural Science and, a bit further out from Taichung’s built-up core, the 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan. The latter focuses on the tremors that sometimes shake the island and preserves the ruins of a high school that was wrecked in 1999’s big quake. It’s truly a memorable sight to see.

For something more light-hearted, there’s the Taiwan Balloons Museum. At one time, this part of Taichung was the world’s no. 1 producer of rubber balloons, while another neighbourhood used to dominate global saxophone production. One balloon factory has repurposed itself as a place where visitors can learn everything there is to know about balloons — and master a few balloon-modelling tricks at the same time.

The size and spread-out nature of Taichung make touring with a car and a personal driver-guide the most sensible option. To design a perfect private tour of Taiwan, get in touch with us today. Our experienced travel designers love to share their know-how and are ready to help you plan a customised trip that meets your every requirement.