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Chiayi , also spelled Jiayi, is the main city of Chiayi County, southern Taiwan.
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Points of Interest in Chiayi
The best way to get to know Chiayi is to take a walk down Culture Road, and not just once but a few times, back and forth. There are also two movie theaters where you can experience watching both Western movies and Chinese-language movies in a theater packed with local Taiwanese viewers, young and old. There is a good bookstore called Hon-too Bookstore with a wide range of English-language magazines which you can peruse at your leisure. For some quiet downtime, Chiayi Park and Botanical Gardens are a lovely way to spend the afternoon. The Botanical Gardens provide pleasant trails that weave you through a large variety of plants and trees native to the area. Ponds hold Japanese koi fish, turtles, and frogs. Chiayi park is well-maintained and serves as a center of activity for local adults—and senior citizens—and children from 5 am to late in the afternoon.
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Chiayi City is a laid-back, friendly country town of around 250,000 people and is the access point for trips to the scenic mountain area of Alishan. If you are on your way to Alishan, note that it is not necessary to stay in Chiayi, as buses leave quite frequently and the city itself is not particularly interesting.
Do visit the 1931 Kano baseball museum, which houses old photographs of the famous Chiayi high school team from 1931.
Chiayi is famous in Taiwan and among tourists for its popular chicken rice (鶏肉飯), a popular dish of chicken [or turkey] strips and a savory sauce ladled over the white rice. Most people call it "chicken rice," as above, but it's really turkey meat. It's available at many sidewalk shops and indoor eateries around town, at prices starting from NT$20 to NT$40.
- Fountain Turkey Rice (噴水鶏肉飯), 325 Zhongshan Rd (中山路325號). One of the most popular chicken rice joints in town, with a number of franchises. But the shop on Culture Road, around the corner, is the most famous -- and crowded. $50-100.
- Carrefour Night Market (嘉樂福觀光夜市) along Bo Ai Rd near the Carrefour store offers a tasty variety of Taiwanese food dishes, and you can sometimes spot foreigners busking, juggling, miming or selling their Chinese-language books there. The barbeque stall at the entrance is a must-try, as is almost every other stall in the market.
Chiayi has many roadside tea shops and quite a few karaoke lounges, and a few pubs and bars, too.
- Cha-no-Michi (茶の道), Zhongshan Rd 505-1. Pleasant little modern tea shop right next to the Zhongshan Rd bus terminal, offering up a vast range of yummy Taiwanese drinks like milk tea with pudding chunks (布丁奶茶) as well as more traditional fruit juices. NT$15-NT$40.
Culture Road (site of the "Wunhua Rd Night Market", see below) is Chiayi's main shopping street. Another shopping street, but more commercial and less cool, is Zhongshan Road (中山路) which stretches from the main train station to a roundabout public fountain area at Culture Road. One specialty chain store that's located on Zhongshang Road is the "Guang Nan" (光南), which sells small electronics and other media-related goods. Catch a good deal on cables and computer accessories here, along with VCDs of Taiwan dramas/Japanese anime/American films (subtitled in traditional Chinese).
There are two night markets in Chiayi, but the most famous and the best is the Culture Road night market. The other night market, also fun and tasty, is the Carrefour Night Market next to the Carrefour store along Bo Ai Road.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Chiayi on Wikivoyage.