Warm Vibes In The South: Top 12 Things To Do In Chiayi, Taiwan

things to do in chiayi
| 5 min read

This city is often referred to as the gateway to Alishan National Scenic Area, but that doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer. As a matter of fact, it’s an ideal place for anyone who loves an off the beaten track adventure. With its warm atmosphere and well-preserved culture, you will definitely feel the Southern charm all throughout. Here are some of the best things to do in the city of Chiayi.

1. Chiayi Park

Chia yi park st3
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Niceplaza~commons... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located in the city’s East District, Chiayi Park is where you can spend an afternoon of relaxation. Go for a stroll and be amazed by the lush surroundings, fish ponds, and historic monuments such as the Mt. Ali Forest Railway No. 21 Steam Locomotive and the 12 Ancient Cannons. Another highlight of the park is Chiayi Tower, which we’ll talk about in the next entry. You will also see the friendly locals enjoying their leisure time here. Apart from the sights, the tranquil atmosphere will make you want to stay longer.

Chiayi Park

Address: Minquan Rd, East District, Chiayi City, Taiwan

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Contact: +886 52254321

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2. Chiayi Tower

Chia yi park st3
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Niceplaza~commons... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Chiayi Tower remains to be one of the city’s landmarks thanks to its unique architecture. It has a brown aluminium pattern resembling a sacred tree in Alishan. Inside, you will see the awe-inspiring Sun Shooting bronze sculpture, which is based on a famous aboriginal tale. Legend has it that the Earth had two suns, and the first one was shot down by members of an old tribe.

The first floor of the tower contains plaques of courageous soldiers who lost their lives in the war. On the tenth floor, there’s a glass skywalk offering a bird’s-eye view of the ground. You can enjoy a cup of tea at the eleventh floor café or proceed to the top of the building for a panoramic view of the city.

Chiayi Tower

Address: 46, Gongyuan St., East Dist., Chiayi City 600, Taiwan

Price: from 2 USD

Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. Closed on Mondays.

Contact: +886 52751357

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3. Lantan Lake

Sunset on The Dike_CRW_2805_Lantan
Source: Photo by Flickr user Mark used under CC BY 2.0

Another peaceful moment is waiting for you at Lantan Lake, which is located in Xiaoya Road. Take a leisurely stroll and admire the crystal clear water and serene vibes. You can also visit the pavilion to relax and just enjoy the view. Ambient lights and installation art fill up the place at night, giving it a magical feel. If you want to avoid the large crowds, then Lantan Lake is where you should go.

Lantan Lake

Address: Xiaoya Rd., East Dist., Chiayi City

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Contact: +886 52294593

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4. NCYU Insect Museum

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

NCYU Insect Museum on Xuefu Road is the biggest insect museum in Taiwan, and it’s famous for its hemispherical greenhouse garden. The garden is home to over a thousand colorful butterflies, and you will see them fly freely through the flowers. As you explore the other areas, you will also have a chance to touch beetle larvae and Madagascar cockroaches. You don’t have to worry about caressing those insects; they’re all known to be friendly. Other highlights include the Specimens Area, the Living Aquatic Insects Area, the World’s Rarest Insect Area, and the Insect Resources Industry Area. If you visit during the Chinese New Year, there are free guided tours and film showings.

NCYU Insect Museum

Address: 300, Xuefu Rd, East District, Chiayi City, Taiwan

Price: from 7 USD

Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Contact: +886 52779225

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5. Chiayi Botanical Garden

Shanzihding Botanical Garden ecology pond, Chiayi City (Taiwan)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mk2010 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Spreading across 8.6 hectares (~21 acres), Chiayi Botanical Garden in Shanziding serves as the experimental ground for the city’s Forestry Research Institute. It’s where you will see huge tropical trees such as Chinese firs, Brazilian rubber, Alstonia, Hook Pines, and West Indian Mahogany. With over 140 species of trees present, it definitely looks more like a forest. Go for a walk here and enjoy not only the sights, but also the fresh breeze.

Chiayi Botanical Garden

Address: 270, Shanziding, East District, Chiayi City

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 7:00 am to 6:00 pm

Contact: 886 52717343

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6. Hinoki Village

Hinoki Village, Chiayi City 20130505
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mk2010 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Art is very much alive in Hinoki Village. Located in Linsean East Road, the village has lily ponds and over 28 Japanese-style dormitories, which originally belonged to the Chiayi Forest Bureau. Admire the well-preserved houses and visit some of the shops to buy some local artwork and snacks. There’s also a museum dedicated to the famous Taiwanese movie Kano.

Hinoki Village

Address: 1, Linsen E. Rd., East Dist., Chiayi City 600, Taiwan

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Contact: +886 52761601

Website: Hinoki Village

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7. Wenhua Road Night Market

Nightmarket chiayi
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Naplee12 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Eat, shop, and enjoy the vibes at Wenhua Road Night Market. It’s located in the West District, and it’s famous for its wide selection of local delicacies. Satisfy your appetite with turkey rice, fresh fried eel, rice cakes, fish head soup, and many more. There are also shops that sell clothes and shoes at affordable prices. Make sure you come early to avoid the huge crowds. Most of the stalls start opening at 5:00 pm.

Wenhua Road Night Market

Address: Wenhua Rd, East District, Chiayi City, Taiwan

Opening Hours: 5:00 pm to 1:00 am

Contact: +886 52294593

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8. Xingang Bantou Village

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Xingang Bantou Village is the perfect place to appreciate Koji pottery, which is seen in the colorful temples and sculptures of Taiwan’s temples. As you walk around the area, get ready to be enthralled by the collection of mosaics made by the local craftsmen. You will see mosaics of walls, chairs, televisions, and people. There are also wall paintings depicting the village’s rich agricultural life. For the kids, they can visit the studio to color a pottery item of their choice.

Xingang Bantou Village

Address: Bantoucuo, Xingang Township, Chiayi County 616, Taiwan

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Contact: +886 57810832

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9. Chiayi Prison Museum

Old Chiayi Prison, Chih Cell Block (Taiwan)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mk2010 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This wooden prison no longer houses inmates, but there are free tours that will still give you a glimpse of life behind bars. Chiayi Prison Museum is located on Weixin Road, and just like Alcatraz in San Francisco, it also has an eventful history. On the outside, the image of a dummy dressed as an inmate and trying to escape will surely grab your attention. Inside, you will see the well-preserved cells, visitation rooms, and central monitoring station. The toilets may be unsettling, but it will provide a clearer picture of prison life. You’re also going to hear stories about rumored mistreatment of prisoners and supernatural occurrences. Tours are conducted in Mandarin, so if you want an English-speaking guide, you should inquire by phone.

Chiayi Prison Museum

Address: 140, Weixin Rd., East Dist., Chiayi City 600, Taiwan

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (closed on Mondays)

Contact: +886 52789242

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10. Xingang Fengtian Temple

Singang Fengtian Temple 20081012
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Peellden used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Xingang Fengtian Temple on Xinmin Road was built in honor of Mazu and the Tiger General, two beloved deities in Taiwan. Mazu is a goddess who keeps the sea travelers safe while the Tiger General is the protector of children. After admiring the intricately-carved lion sculptures on the entrance, come inside to see the colorful deity images up-close. The third floor contains Koji artworks based on local folklores. You may encounter a large crowd of worshippers during your visit, but it’s a good way to experience the local culture.

Xingang Fengtian Temple

Address: 53, Xinmin Rd., Xingang Township, Chiayi County 616, Taiwan

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 6:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Contact: +886 53742034


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11. Chug through a century-old forest railway - Alishan Forest Railway

Alishan Taiwan Alishan-Forest-Railway-03c
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user CEphoto, Uwe Aranas used under CC BY-SA 3.0

All aboard the red and cream trains of the Alishan Forest Railway and take the scenic route through the lush tropical forests of Taiwan’s Alishan mountain range. Built during the Japanese occupation of Formosa, the railway was once used to transport logs out of Alishan. When logging was banned the 71.4 kilometer (44.4 miles) railway system was converted into the only mass commuter transport service in and out of the mountains but now offers cruise-style tours to Chiayi’s visitors. Book a train ride and travel back in time to an age when train travel was romantic and exciting – the railroad ties are still made of wood and the train engineer still needs to stop the train and get off to change directions manually. The ride runs from Chiayi to Chusan, with stops in between at the Beimen and Jhuchi stations, rebuilt to match their original timber structures.

Alishan Forest Railway

Address: Chiayi County, Taiwan

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12. Song of the Forest

森林之歌 Songs of the Forest - panoramio (1)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user lienyuan lee used under CC BY 3.0

You may be thinking of a musical concert set amidst the woods, but the Song of the Forest is a dome-shaped landmark to celebrate Taiwan’s prosperous timber capital, Chiayi. The structure is built from timber provided by the local Forestry Bureau according to the vision of local artist Wang Wen-Chih. The dome represents a divine tree, the foundation of the city’s economy, and the Alishan railway. To get inside the dome you pass through rattan-covered archways. Once inside, you will be cradled in an atmosphere of calm, much like being in the middle of a forest that has miraculously sprouted up from nowhere. The Song of the Forest, ironically, sits in the middle of a wide open field and is surrounded by a timber boardwalk. The structure’s shape, materials and location make for great photo opportunities as you explore Chiayi on your Taiwan holiday.

Song of the Forest

Address: Chiayi, Taiwan

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Appreciate the beauty of Chiayi

It may not be as popular as the other cities, but keep in mind that treasures are always hidden. Take a break from the usual destinations and explore something different. The beauty of Chiayi will definitely surprise you.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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