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Taichung is located in the west-central part of the island of Taiwan. It has a pleasant climate and a population of just over 2.6 million people, making it the third largest city on the island after New Taipei and Kaohsiung. The city is home to many manufacturers and in recent years has experienced rapid growth in the diversity of its cultural offerings. Among the activities to catch when visiting Taichung: the world-class science museum and hiking in the nearby hills. There are also many famous night markets that provide night-time excitement. Here you can enjoy delicious food and drink, and find cheap and interesting items for sale. These include the ChungHwa night market (中華夜市), the Feng-Chia university night market (逢甲夜市), the Tung-Hai university night market (東海夜市), and the Chung-Shiao night market (忠孝夜市). (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Taichung
- National Museum of Natural Science, 1 Guanchien Road, ☎ +886 4 2322-6940. 9AM-5PM (closed Mondays). This is a very large and elaborate science themed museum, actually composed of seven museums in one. Its Science Center features a huge assortment of "hands-on" exhibits that demonstrate scientific principles. The separate Life Sciences section is also very large. There's also a large botanical garden with an impressive greenhouse and a giant mosquito, an earthquake museum, greenhouse, global cultures and global environment museums, as well as theaters. Can easily spend more than a day here, especially with kids. It should be noted that the majority of the exhibits have accompanying information only in Chinese. While it is easy to make sense of the scientific experiments by pushing buttons and seeing what happens, the archaeology and Chinese antiquity parts, that are necessarily less hands on, can be daunting.
- National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, 2 Wu Quan West Road, ☎ +886 4 2372-3552. Sec.1 - Open:9AM~5PM. Closed on Mondays. The Fine Arts museum is a very large and elaborate modern arts museum, featuring rotating visual exhibits. The museum also has a very elaborate children's section, featuring hands-on art exhibits and creative playthings. There's also a children's reading room in the basement with Chinese and English books. Bring your children. Admission is free.
- Municipal Cultural Center, The Municipal Cultural Center is located on Yingcai Road on property adjacent to the National Art Museum.
- Taichung Folklore Park (closed), This park is dedicated to presenting a more traditional Taiwanese way of life. It includes a combination of authentic and recreated buildings and streets in an attempt to recreate a more rustic Taiwan. It is small, but well worth the visit at 50 NT and the lack of these kinds of buildings anywhere else in Taichung. To get here, you can take buses 31, 33 or 105 as lonely planet suggests, but these will take you a long time to get there. An easier option would be to get a taxi or other city bus to the intersection of Rehe Road and WenXin Road, then walk the three blocks North. Unfortunately, no taxi drivers in Taichung know about the place (or the street it's on), even if either are written out in Chinese. You probably want to google street view it first. It's referred to there as "MinSu Park".
- Taichung Winery, Dating back to the Japanese-era, this still- operational winery also includes a Wine Museum, which has displays on wine-making and the history of the winery.
- Stock 20, This converted railroad warehouse provides exhibition space for regular displays of modern art. Adjacent warehouses have been converted to provide studio space for local and foreign artists, and are frequently open to the public.
- Wenying Hall, A frequent venue for local art exhibitions and events. It includes an art display area along with a folk art museum and Zhongzheng Hall.
- Taichung Metropolitan Opera House, A world classed opera house designed by famous architect, Toyo Ito. This opera house would be finished in December 2013
- Taichung Tower, located in the Shui Nan Financial District is the tallest building in Taichung with a unique shape of a bamboo. ( Currently in the planning stage)
- Taichung City Hall, located in the most developed district of the city is build by world classed architect, Weber+Hofer AG Architects. This is not only a city hall but offers a big plaza with water, trees, birds, and flowers.
- Dasyueshan (Great Snow Mountain). National Forest Recreational Area
Taiwanese aborigines originally populated the plain where modern Taichung City is located. They lived by cultivating millet and taro and hunted deer. Several local names in central Taiwan contain the word for "deer," including Shalu Township and Lukang Township in Changhua County.
Early history of Taichung
Taichung was founded in 1705 as a part of Changhua County with the name of Dadun (ch: 大墩; p: Dàdūn; w: Ta-tun; lit. large mound). At this point in history, the Qing Dynasty, formed by invading Manchus in the 1640s, was consolidating its hold on western Taiwan, which it had wrested from the Cheng family in 1682. As a part of strengthening its control, a garrison was founded in 1721 near the site of present-day Taichung Park by Lan Ting-chen.
All was not peaceful for Qing authorities in central Taiwan. North of the city, at the Dajia River, an aboriginal revolt broke out in 1731 after Chinese officials moved in and compelled them to provide labor. After being joined by other aboriginals, they drove as far south as the county seat of Changhua in May, 1732 before being chased into the mountains by Qing forces.
Another rebellion, this one in 1786, against Qing authorities had its roots in the nearby town of Dali, just south of Taichung City. Led by Lin Shuang-wen, it began as an attempt to overthrow the Manchu government and restore the Ming Dynasty. Unfortunately, as they moved northward, they turned to slaughter and looting. They were eventually defeated by a coalition of Hakka, Quanzhou Fujianese descendants, and Aboriginal volunteers who joined with the government to defeat the rebels.
Qing Dynasty rule era
Taiwan became a province of Qing-dynasty China in 1885, and the city, named Taiwan at the time, was named capital of Taiwan Prefecture, one of three prefectures in the newly created Taiwan Province. It was also initially designated as the provincial capital, and Qing official Liu Mung-chuan received the authority from the Guangxu Emperor to oversee development of the area. However, four years later, Liu was forced to “retire” by Empress Dowager Cixi, and the provincial capital was moved to what is now known as Taipei.
Japanese colonial era
China lost the Sino-Japanese War in 1895. As a consequence, the Qing Dynasty was forced to surrender Taiwan to the Japanese in the Treaty of Shimonoseki. The Japanese changed the name of the city from Dadun to Taichū (台中), and began to develop the city, setting out to make it the first “modern” area of Taiwan.
However, Taichū bore the brunt of early Japanese repression. There were many rebels who stated that they had accepted amnesty from the earlier period of rebellion when the Republic of Taiwan was declared in 1895. However, many of those same people continued anti-Japanese activities. On May 25, 1902, some 360 rebels and their families accepted invitations to surrender and receive amnesty and rewards. Instead of receiving amnesty, once inside, the Japanese locked the doors and slaughtered the former rebels.
Taichū Park was completed in 1903. The old north gate, one of the few Liu-era structures to survive the Japanese reconstruction of the city, was moved to the new park. To this day, Taichung Park is one of the most popular places in the city for people to relax.
The first market in Taichū was built in 1908 along JiGuang Road between ZhongZheng and ChengGong Roads. It is still used today, and is a popular spot to purchase food and other items in downtown Taichung. Taichung Middle School (now known as Taichung First High School) was founded in 1913 by Lin Hsien-tang and his brother Lin Lie-tang, two wealthy Taiwanese intellectuals of the era. This was done in an effort to teach children the traditional culture of Taiwan and to foster a sense of local pride.
Taichū was officially designated as a city by Japanese Imperial authorities in 1920, and Taichū City Hall was completed in 1924 after eleven years of construction.
A Taiwanese cultural association founded in 1921 in Taipei by Lin Hsien-tang was moved to Taichū in 1927. Most of the members of this association were from Taichū and the surrounding area. The city became a center of Taiwanese culture and nationalism.
The newfound prosperity of Taichū was eventually squandered by the war effort. When World War II ended in 1945, Taiwan’s economy, like Japan’s, was in shambles.
Republic of China era (1945-)
The Japanese were forced to surrender to Republic of China forces on behalf of Allied forces on 1945-10-25, who came across the Strait on U.S. ships and accepted their surrender on behalf of the Allied Powers.
The Kuomintang (KMT), also known as the Chinese Nationalist Party, relocated the government of the Republic of China to Taiwan upon losing the Chinese Civil War to the Communists.
The early post-war era was one of transition and turmoil for Taiwan. Taiwanese nationalists had divided into three prominent groups, one of which was known as the Taichung Clique. These were men with relatively high social standing during the Japanese era, such as Lin Hsien-t’ang, Yang Chao-chia, Yeh Jung-chung, and others. These men attempted to take what they believed to be their rightful place as the political leaders of the island. However, the administrator of the island, Chen Yi, opposed this faction as it contained many people, especially merchants and landlords, who had opposed his policies.
Under the authorities of the Republic of China, Taichung had become the center for organized crime and associated businesses.
On 2010-12-25, Taichung City and County of Taiwan Province merged into a new a special municipality of Taichung.
Taichung is blessed with pleasant climate. It is often compared to California because of the frequency of sunny dry days. The subtropical monsoon climate gives Taichung south wind from June to August and north wind from October to May. The highest temperature appears in the summer months of July, August, and September, and the lowest temperature arrives in the winter months of January and February. The difference in temperature between summer and winter seldom exceeds about 16c. However, there will be short periods during the winter when the temperature barely rises much above 10c. The city enjoys mild weather throughout the year, with the average annual temperature being a comfortable 23c. The average annual rainfall is around 1600 mm. The rain falls generously in the wet season (May – August) and scarcely in the dry season (October – February). The unique landform of basin means that the city is suffers less from typhoons than other areas in Taiwan. However, typhoons still affect the city and often bring very heavy rainfall and flooding. However, by being in a valley and not having much rain, Taichung also has air quality problems throughout the year.
With a proliferation of noodle shops and street vendors peddling anything from the exotic to common household dishes, there is no lack of choice for enjoying local delicacies. Walking through streets of taichung one can locate exotic cuisines like Indian, Japanese, Indonesia, continental et al., . Fortunately, the Taiwanese are quite accustomed to non-Chinese speakers, so using gestures will get you what you want (with perhaps a little surprise!)
- Gulu Gulu, No. 2 Lane 13 Wuquan W. 4th St. West District (Near the Art Museum), ☎ 04-23783128. This is a great place to experience Taiwan's Aboriginal food in the City. Unique upscale set meals with live music at night.
- Salut Pizza, De Ye Road (Soho Street).
- Match Cafe, 60-3 2nd Section Zhonggong Rd. (中港路二段60-3號), ☎ 04-23134597. Match provides a pleasant atmosphere where one can have a cup of coffee, a bagel or a sandwich and work on one's computer.
- The Naked Cafe, 575 1st Section Meicun Rd. West District (About two blocks from the Art Museum.), ☎ 04-23783161. The Naked Cafe serves up not only coffee and tea, but great sandwiches and fries in a somewhat Euro-inspired atmosphere.
- Oldies Franks Hot Dogs, 384 Hua Mei Jie West District (華美街384號), ☎ 04-23287072. Best dogs in town if not Taiwan. Casual diner atmosphere with interesting hot dog combinations.
- Pizza Buena, 206 Sec. 1 Meichun Rd. (美村一段206號), ☎ 2302-8083. 11am-10pm. Thin crust pizza by the slice, so good you may forget where you are. Seating upstairs.
- Little India Muslim Restaurant (Halal), No. 60 Boguan 3rd St. West District (Behind the Splendor Hotel), ☎ 04-23261425. This little hole in the wall is more about good honest food and less about decorations.
- Mei Nung Hakka Restaurant, No. 137 Dadun 12th St. Nantun District (大墩12街137號) (A couple blocks East of Carrefour and Dadun Rd.), ☎ 04-23105131. lunch and dinner. Excellent quality Hakka food in atmospheric little restaurant.
- Bollywood Restaurant & Pub, 1026, JianXing Road, ☎ +886-04 2319-2828. 11 am-2 pm, 4:30-11 pm. Without question the best Indian food in town. Great atmosphere and service, above average beer selection and really good food. 300NT.
- Tonton Philou, No 459-3, Sec. 1, Dongshan Rd, ☎ 0422399196. Great French cuisine.
- Weng's Goose, 99-1, XiangShang Rd, Sec 1, ☎ (04) 2305-9865. Hour: 5 pm-1 am. This restaurant offers Goose cooked in three different ways Smoked Goose, Drunken Goose, and Salt-Water Goose. No matter which flavor you choose, the meat is tender and juicy From NT$15.
- UZO Mediterranean Bar & Grill, #22, Jing Cheng 5th Street (精誠5街，22號）, ☎ 04－2327－3518. 6pm-late; Closed Monday. Fresh Mediterranean specialties: Kebab Wraps, Gyros, Falafel, Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Dolma, Pizzas, salads and a selection of appetizers. Large selection of import beers. Comfy outdoor seating. Staff speak great English and service is good. Relaxed and easygoing atmosphere, rowdy kids and adults are not tolerated.
Foreign-owned Restaurants - The listings below are intended to guide people who are looking for meals prepared by restauranteurs from different countries around the world.
- UZO Mediterranean Bar & Grill, 22, JingCheng 5th Street, ☎ +886-04-2327-3518. 18:00 - 24:00, closed on Monday. Great place for a drink. Possibly the best beer selection in Taichung, well beyond the typical Taiwan Beer and Heineken. Relaxed quite atmosphere with outside seating available.
Taichung has many department stores which can be accessed by bus.
- Sogo Department Store
- Shinkong Mitsukoshi Department Store
- Chungyo Department Store
Taichung is also well known for its Chinese bakeries. Pastries that are worth a try include sun cakes(太陽餅) and pineapple tarts(鳯梨酥)
- Sun Patisserie, ☎ +886-4-22222662/22237888. (太陽堂餅店), 23 Freedom Road sect. 2. Famous for being the first bakery to sell sun cakes, a favourite among locals.
- KaoMay Marsh (高美溼地), At the west side of Taichung, nice sunset, and you can catch wild little crab there.
- Taichung Metropolitan Park (台中都會公園), It's on the west side of the mountain. Great place for the weekend. Good Night View.
- Jin Ming First Street (精明一街), Great place for tea break.
- Taiwan Banana New Paradise (香蕉新樂園), It's a restaurant. With the atmosphere of 1940's of Taichung City.
- The Moon God of Love (月下老人), A good place for asking dating fate. Close to Taichung Metropolitan Park.
- Lavender Forest (薰衣草森林), A nice place for weekend. At north side of Taichung.
- Dah-Ken Forest Park (大坑森林公園), A great place for hiking. At north side of Taichung.
- Gu-Guan Hot Spring (谷關溫泉), A nice Hot Spring at north side of Taichung.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Taichung on Wikivoyage.