For you expats or foreigners who have never left Taipei, Miaoli is a large 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 out some of the best places in Miaoli that I have visited. I will be sure to update this blog as I visit more places later.
How to get around in Miaoli?
As always, we recommend renting a scooter as the best way to see Taiwan. However, you can also a great deal of Miaoli 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:
So what is there to do in Miaoli?
Here is our top 10 list:
1. Miaoli Hakka Roundhouse 苗栗客家圓樓
The Miaoli Hakka Roundhouse is an exhibition center focused on local Hakka culture, as well as a tourist center, performance hall, and DIY art center. It was completed in 2014 and was built to resemble the Tulou Roundouses in Fujian, China. Taiwan has no historical roundhouses. Even if it is not historically accurate, it is a beautiful building with some very educational exhibitions on Hakka culture...(read more)
9 AM to 5 PM, closed Mondays.
2. Miaoli Yingcai Night Market 苗栗市英才觀光夜市
Miaoli Yingcai Night Market it the largest night market in Miaoli and has some great treats and foods that you would expect from a Taiwan Market. However, the market is only open Friday, Saturday, and Wednesday. Here you can find an authenitic Taiwan night market experience unspoiled from foreign tourists and large crowds...(read more)
Friday: 6:30-11:30 PM
Satruday: 5-10 PM
Sunday: Closed. Moves to Houlong Night Market which is open from 5-11 PM.
Wednesday: 5-10 PM
3. Longteng Broken Bridge 龍騰斷橋
Longteng Bridge in Sanyi township of Miaoli County is a popular Japanese era bridge that has fallen and been destroyed by numerous earthquakes. The bridge can be reached by road or by rail from Sheng Hsing train station, and is a popular tourist spot in the area...(read more)
4. Sanyi Old Mountain Rail Train Ride 三義舊山線小火車
The Sanyi Old Mountain Rail Train Ride is a fun trip that takes you on a small four person train along part of the Old Mountain Rail Line built during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. On the ride you can see the beautiful scenery between the disused Shenghsing Station (which is now a tourist spot) and Longteng Broken Bridge, or between Longteng Bridge and Liyutan Tunnel.
Train times: 9:20-11:05, 11:40-13:05, 14:20-15:45, 16:20-17:45
200-275 NT per person
5. Zhuolan Grand Canyon 卓蘭大峽谷
Zhuolan Grand Canyon (aka Zhuolan Gorge) is actually a short river canyon near Zhuolan Township of Miaoli County. The canyon is only a few years old, caused by land uplift during the large 921 earthquake that struck Taiwan. It is a bit off the beaten path, but has incredible views of this new nature made wonder...(read more)
6. Huoyanshan 火炎山
Huoyanshan (literally Fire Mountain or Mountain of Flames) is a quickly eroding mountain in Miaoli County that has deep canyons and red coloration due to mineral seepage. It's unique landscape is popular with hikers and instagrammers, and also has great views of Taichung and the surrounding area...(read more)
Time needed to hike (round trip):
3-4 hours, easy hike
7. Flying Cow Ranch 飛牛牧場
Flying Cow Ranch is a recreational farm in Miaoli County that is open for tourists. Activities there include cow milking, pony rides, as well as feeding ducks, goats, and rabbits, making a trip to this farm fun for the whole family...(read more)
7 AM to 10 PM every day
220 NT per person (including a free dairy product)
50 NT per car
3000-5000 NT per night (1000+ NT per campsite), you can book a room here.
8. Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum 三義木雕博物館
The Sanyi Wood sculpture museum is the premier wood sculpture museum in Taiwan, in the heart of wood carving land: Sanyi. Near the museum are numerous wood carving shops with exquisite products. If you are a fan of wood carvings, and especially if you want to buy some to put in your home, Sanyi is the place to go.
80 NT per person
9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Photography is not allowed in the museum, but I snuck in the photo above just to give you a taste of the art inside. The museum is several stories high and will keep you busy for about an hour or more.
9. Liyutan Reserviour 鯉魚潭水庫
Liyutan Reservoir is a beautiful and large reservoir in Miaoli. Here you can enjoy serene and beautiful landscapes of the reservoir and nearby mountains. There are also a few farms nearby that allow you to pick your own strawberries.
Another view of the reservoir from one of the many lookout pavilions on the shoreline.
You also have some nice views of Zhuolan and Taichung from near the reservoir.
10. Tongxiao Beach 通霄海水浴場
The beaches in Miaoli are some of the best in Western Taiwan, and Tongxiao Beach is the only swimmable beach in central Taiwan. The sand is fine and stretches a long way into the ocean. It's best to visit in summer when it is not as windy and the water is warm. The only official swimmable part of the beach is Tongxiao Beach, which opens during the summer (most years).
8 AM to 5 PM (from May to October)
May, June, September, October: Free
July and August: Roughly 100-200 NT per person (can be spent at local shops along the beach)
The year we visited unfortunately the beach was closed, but as of 2019 it reopened and should open again in 2020. It is one of the longest and widest beaches I have seen in Taiwan, with the flattest sand.
11. Go discover Miaoli for yourself!
There are plenty of other places to visit in Miaoli, like this small night market in Sanyi District, called Guangsheng Old Street (廣盛老街) which is only open on Fridays.
Other places to visit in Miaoli (on our bucket list):
Don't wait for a blog to tell you where to go, just take the train or rent a scooter, look on Google Maps and start exploring!
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.