For you expats or foreigners who have never left Taipei, Changhua is a large mostly rural county in central Taiwan. For years I myself never visited, because I didn't know what was there and had no reason to go. It turns out there are quite a few attractions here in this secret paradise.
Below I will list some of the best places in Changhua that I have visited. I will be sure to update this blog as I visit more places later.
Before Han settlement, Changhua was inhabited by native peoples. During the Dutch era in Taiwan, a well was made to tap into the Zhuokou River water table. The Red Hair Well was made around 1611 by Dutch colonizers and was often used by Dutch soldiers and missionaries,
During the Qing Dynasty, the city of Lukang became an important trading port, because of the depth of the water and the fact that it was closer to Fujian province than other cities in Taiwan. The main product shipped to Fujian was rice. In the 1800s, Lukang was Taiwan's second largest city, with as many as 20,000 residents, even more than Banka (modern day Taipei) and second only to Tainan.
Later on, the port began to silt in, and the railroad bypassed the city, meaning that economic activity here went downhill. However because the city has changed so little in the past 200 years, it has become a cultural relic preserved from the past. The city also has over 200 temples.
After the railroad was moved to Changhua City, it became the most important economic region in the county.
Despite being the smallest county in Taiwan by area, Changhua County is the most populous county in Taiwan. It is often described as being part of the Taichung-Changhua metropolitan area.
How to get around in Changhua?
As always, we recommend renting a scooter as the best way to see Taiwan. However, you can also a great deal of Changhua by taking the train, inter-city bus, or local bus. Getting around in a car is also a convenient option as there is plenty of parking pretty much everywhere in this less crowded county.
You can see a map of all the places that we will visit in this blog below:
Hengchun's old walled city is the best preserved walled city in Taiwan, with all the city gates intact, as well as most of the city wall. The city was built to help contain the native population after the Rover and Mudan incidents. It is definitely a well preserved historical area and worth a trip if you go to Kenting.
Originally the area around Hengchun was goverened by the Qing dynasty under Fengshan County. However after the Rover Incident and Mudan Incident (in which Taiwan indigenous tribes massacred foreign shipwrecked sailors), the Qing decided to take a more assertive role in governing the area and controlling the native populations.
The walls of Hengchun were built as a brick wall and four gates in 1879, and after it was built Hengchun County was established, meaning eternal spring, due to the tropical climate in the area.
After the Japanese took Taiwan, some of the walls were torn down to make roads. There was also a railway made that went through the south city gate. Many of the city gates lasted until well into the 1900s, but because they were made of wood they rotted and collapsed easily.
Now the gates have been mostly restored, and much of the northern and eastern walls remain.
Please see the existing city gates marked with red castle icons below:
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.