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:
Baguanshan is perhaps the most famous religious site in Changhua, and has the best views of the city and the surrounding area. It is also known for its large buddha statue and viewing platform. There are also hiking trails and historical sights nearby. It is definitely worth a visit on your next trip to Changhua...(read more)
For a full view of the area, see our drone video above.
Red Hair Well 八卦山紅毛井
Baguashan Red Hair Well is one of the few surviving wells from the Dutch rule of Taiwan. It was an important place to get fresh water in the region and was used as a communal washing area for many local residents. Now it stands as a cultural heritage site for the citizens of Changhua...(read more)
Fountain of Youth 不老泉
Also near Baguashan, a water treatment facility was built by the Japanese in 1907 is known as the Fountain of Youth. It is only open on weekdays from 8AM - 5PM.
Changhua Confucius Temple 彰化孔子廟
Changhua's Confucius Temple is one of the oldest Confucius Temples in Taiwan and one of the first Academies in Taiwan, dating back nearly 300 years ago. Today it is an important place for Confucian learning and a popular tourist attraction in Changhua...(read more)
Changhua Roundhouse 彰化扇形車庫
The Changhua Roundhouse is perhaps the last of its kind in Asia. It was originally made to turn steam locomotives around that could not reverse and repair/service them in the fan-shaped building. It is still in operation and is open to the public to visit for free...(read more)
Changhua TRA Dormitory Village 彰化台鐵宿舍村
The Changhua TRA Dormitory Village is an abandoned village near Changhua Station that was used as housing for TRA employees and their families until 2004. It was originally set for demolition, but this did not happen due to local backlash. It still stands today abandoned, waiting to be renovated someday. It is the best preserved TRA dormitory area in Taiwan...(read more)
Changhua Anti-Aircraft Gun Towers 彰化防空古砲台
The Anti Aircraft towers in Fanpo/Waipu Villages of Fuxing Township, Changhua County have stood the test of time to tell a tale of an earlier era when the Japanese were trying to ward off American air raid attacks in Taiwan. Quite a few towers still exist in what is now farmland in rural Changhua county, free for all passersby to see...(read more)
The Old Walled City of Changua 彰化舊城
The walled city of Changhua was the first walled city in Taiwan to be built from brick. It was completed in 1734 and had four city gates. All of the original gates and walls have been destroyed. Currently there are four temples near where the four gates once stood, one for the north, south, east, and west. Pictured above is the South Gate Fude Temple, which has a small replica of the south gate in front of it.
Another view of the south gate temple.
Papaya Milk 木瓜牛奶
Papaya milk is a popular local drink in Changhua, and there is a chain store here dedicated to this drink (see photo above).
Rouyuan is also a popular local delicacy here. It is usually pork wrapped in gelatinous rice and savory sauce.
Lukang Old Street 鹿港老街
Lukang Old Street is one of the biggest and best old streets in Taiwan. Not only is it full of historical buildings, but it also has some of the most distinctive shopping and food choices. During the Dutch and Qing eras of Taiwan, it was the most populous city and most important trading port in central Taiwan. There are more historical buildings here than anywhere in Taiwan except Tainan. Now the area is a tourist shopping district, famous for traditional crafts and foods such as oyster omelets, shrimp balls, taro cakes, and meat buns...(read more)
Ice jelly is the specialty here.
Famous taro cakes and other confections here.
Ershui Songbo Temple Trail 二水松柏廟步道
The Songbo Temple Trail runs through the forest that goes from Ershui Village in Changhua County up the mountain to Songbo Temple in Nantou County. Along this trail one can spot lots of Formosan Macaques which are indigenous to Taiwan. If you come, you can enjoy a sure sighting of monkeys, but for your safety do not feed them or get close to them...(read more)
Houtanjing Sky Bridge 猴探井天空之橋
Houtanjing Sky Bridge (aka just Sky Bridge) is a tourist attraction near Nantou City, which features great views of Yuanlin and Changhua county. If you visit Nantou, this place should definitely be on your list...(read more)
View of the Sunset over Yuanlin.
Places we missed:
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more of our Taiwan blogs to come!
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.