Most travelers in Taiwan usually flock to Taipei or the coast, often neglecting central Taiwan altogether. Home to fantastic scenery and some of the country’s proudest industry, central Taiwan is a more than worthy inclusion to any traveler’s Taiwan itinerary. Here’s how to spend a couple of days in the area that isn’t just a trip to Taichung.
Day 1 Taipei – Lugang – Yunlin – Taichung
Kick off your central Taiwan tour in the sleepy town of Lugang (鹿港) in Changhua county (彰化). You’ll enjoy a walking tour of the old street and find out the many customs and traditions upheld by the people in the local area. While you’re there, you’ll have the opportunity to try Mitaimu ice (米苔目冰), a dish consisting of rice noodles, ice and jelly. A firm local favorite but a combination of tastes and textures that may come across as very foreign to non-Taiwanese.
In the early afternoon you’ll arrive in Hsilo (西螺) in Yunlin county (雲林) and take a tour of the Yudingxing soy sauce factory (御鼎興醬油). See how one of Asia’s most popular products is produced and also tuck-in to a buffet lunch where every single item available uses soy sauce as an ingredient; even the dessert. You will even get the chance to try some fresh soy sauce straight out of the vat, as well as being able to pick up a bottle or two as a souvenir.
Next, the tour will take you to Nantou and the Omar whisky distillery where you’ll spend a couple of hours learning about the whisky production process, as well as sampling some of their products for yourself. Be sure to pick up a bottle to further add to your collection of central Taiwan souvenirs. (You might also like: Lakeside Luxury: Sun Moon Lake’s Top Luxury Experiences)
Come evening, you’ll check into The Place hotel in Taichung and have dinner at ZEBRA, a restaurant pairing traditional Taiwanese fare with contemporary Italian dishes. For the rest of the night, you’ll have free time to do as you wish. Your hotel is adjacent to one of Taichung’s many parks, a perfect place for an evening stroll to help you digest your dinner.
What should you bring?
As per usual in Taiwan, sun screen is a must, as is a hat and sunglasses. We’d also recommend bringing an extra bag for all the souvenirs you’ll have the opportunity to buy on your first day.
Day 2 Taichung – Miaoli -Taipei
You’ll start day two in Miaoli (苗栗) county at Longteng Broken Bridge (龍騰斷橋) in Sanyi (三義), an old railway route with stunning views. Enjoy the picturesque ride and hopefully work up an appetite as soon after you’ll enjoy a vegetarian lunch, including hot pot, at quaint log cabin restaurant Joye/Zhue Ye Cottage (卓也小屋), complete with its own coy carp pond outside.
Later in the afternoon, you’ll make your final stop of the tour at Taiwan Yuan-li Handiwork Association (台灣藺草學會) where you’ll enjoy your own DIY handicraft experience and this time make your own souvenir rather than buying it. You’ll receive an introduction to the local industry as well as step-by-step instructions on how to make your own straw horse or deer.
What should you bring?
The same as day one, basically. The train ride at Longteng Broken Bridge is approximately half an hour, so if it’s hot, it might be a good idea to take a bottle of water onboard with you.
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