What are the top attractions to visit in Chiayi?
Table of Contents
Located in southwestern Taiwan, Chiayi City may not be the first destination for travelers when they come to mind as its mostly known as the gateway to Alishan, one of Taiwan’s top attractions. But the city posses its own charm that fascinates travelers if they stay long enough in the city. Chiayi’s many attractions give travelers the perfect mix of urban city life, rich cultural experience, and beautiful natural landmarks.
Curious at what this often overlooked Taiwanese City has to offer? Here is a list of the best things to do in Chiayi, Taiwan.
Take a Train Ride through a Forest Railway to the Alishan Mountain Range
Chiayi is a Taiwanese City famous for being the gateway to the Alishan Mountain Range. It’s this seemingly magical place with huge cypress trees and amazing views of the mountains below above the clouds. The Alishan Forest Railway, the railway where the train passes that people need to take there is an attraction all on its own. The railway was established during the Japanese occupation and old traditional trains are still in operation to this day. The trains will go through a beautiful forest to reach the Alishan Mountain Range.
Discover the Song of the Forest
The Song of the Forest isn’t a theatre production but it’s a beautiful landmark that serves to celebrate the prosperity of Chiayi City, mainly from its prosperous lumber industry. The song of the Forest is an egg-shaped dome structure that’s made out of local timber and designed according to the vision of the local artist Wang Wen-Chih. Visitors can get inside the dome through a ratan covered archway that symbolizes the railway leading to the Alishan Mountain Range.
Address? Wenhua Rd., East Dist., Chiayi City 600, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Business hours? 24 hours
Explore Hinoki Village
Hinoki Village is a traditional Japanese village also established during the Japanese occupation using local Cypress woods. It’s used as dormitories by various organizations over its history with 28 well preserved traditional Japanese houses surviving to this day. Currently, Hinoki Village is reestablished as Taiwan’s first forest cultural and creative park with its traditional Japanese houses now being home to different business establishments customers can visit. Visitors can even rent a yukata for a few hours while strolling around in the village.
Visit Chiayi Tower
Another great landmark that celebrates Chiayi’s forest industries and represents the city’s culture. Chiayi Tower is a 62-meter tall tower made of brown aluminum that serves to represent the sacred tree in Alishan from a popular folktale. Inside, visitors can admire the Sun Shooting bronze sculpture, also from a Taiwanese folktale. The first floor has plaques of courageous soldiers as tributes for soldiers who lost their lives during the war. Visitors can visit an art gallery, a cafe, and a rooftop garden in the tower.
Stroll Around Chiayi Park
Chiayi Park is located in the East district of Chiayi City and is actually where visitors can find Chiayi Tower. The park is green and lush where locals and tourists alike can spend their time on a relaxing day. There are numerous historical monuments in the park visitors can check out as well as fish ponds and other notable landmarks. It’s a great place to stroll around in nature within the hustle and bustle of the city.
Join a Tour at Chiayi’s Old Prison
In Chiayi, there’s a historic prison simply referred to as the Old Prison and it sort of developed a legend on its own similar to the Alcatraz in the US. Today, it serves as a museum where people can join a guided tour talking about its history, how the prisoners were treated, walks around the well-preserved cells, visitation rooms, bathrooms central-monitoring station, etc. The tour guide tells stories about prison life, rumors about how the prisoners were treated, supernatural occurrences. It’s all in Mandarin though but the tour still paints an eery picture of prison life.
Learn Taiwanese Folklore at Xingang Fengtian Temple
For a great way to experience the local culture, visit the Xingang Fengtian Temple built in honor of two Taiwanese deities, Mazu and Tiger General. Every intricate part and design of the temple symbolize the folklore that surrounds these two deities. The goddess Mazu is a beloved deity that keeps sea travelers safe while Tiger General is believed to offer its protection to children. Admire the intricately made sculptures and the temple in general. Be respectful of worshippers while you’re there.
Get Lost in Nature at Chiayi Botanical Garden
Chiayi’s Botanical Garden is more of a huge forest spreading across 8.6 hectares. Throughout the garden, visitors can walk through winding roads while enjoying the cool breeze and shade from the towering trees with over 140 different species. It’s the experimental ground of Chiayi’s Forestry Research Institute where they study both local and foreign tree species. Visitors can meanwhile admire nature as they stroll through this serene forest within the city.
Try Taiwanese Snacks at Wenhua Night Market
For certified foodies visiting Chiayi, there’s nowhere better to be than at Wenhua Night Market where visitors can get a taste of every Taiwanese food and snack they can get their hands on. Located in the city’s West district, the night market occupies a long stretch of road and offers a wide selection of local Taiwanese cuisine. The busy atmosphere can be exhilarating and the market also offers different shops for clothes and shoes for affordable prices. Wenhua Night Market opens at 5 PM and attracts huge crowds late into the night.
Admire the Views at Lantan Lake Scenic Area
Chiayi is a city that perfectly balances the beauty of nature and the modern conveniences of the city. The last entry on this list is visiting the Lantan Lake Scenic Area that gives visitors a panoramic view of the beautiful Lake Lantan or Orchid Lake. Relax at the scenic area or stroll near the banks of the lake while enjoying the views of the crystal clear waters and serene atmosphere. Visitors can also check out different attractions and landmarks that surround the lake.
Chiayi Travel and Tour Packages