Barely 40 minutes away by superfast Taipei High Speed Rail from Taipei’s main station lies Taichung, an industrial city on the western side of central Taiwan which has a pleasant climate and environment in comparison to the cold weather in Taipei.
Taichung is a gateway for exploring the island’s mountainous interior, including nature areas like Sun Moon Lake, popular for boating and hiking.
Members of the media from Brunei Darussalam visited Taiwan as part of a familiarisation trip organised by Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) recently. One of the stops during the trip was Taichung.
In its bustling city centre, one can find a colourful Rainbow Village, a tiny settlement famous for its vibrantly painted houses and streets. It is one of the most colourful spots in Taiwan and, for participants of the familiarisation trip, visiting the Rainbow Village was one of our favourite things to do in Taichung.
Rainbow Village began like many other villages scattered throughout Taichung and Taiwan. Later, developers moved in to buy and redevelop the land, and there are now just 11 of the original 1,200 houses remaining in Rainbow Village.
A man named Huang (now affectionately known as Grandpa) refused to leave and began painting the buildings in the village with vibrant colours.
The images depict toys, animals, manga characters, making the village uplifting and fun.
Over one million people now visit the village every year.
On some days, Grandpa makes a star appearance. He still lives in the village and continues to paint. However, on the day of our tour, we did not get to meet him.
With the houses painted in a memorable and creative manner, the Rainbow Village attracts many tourists and entrance is free.
Another interesting place to visit is Pingxi, and most notably, the Sky Lantern Festival there. Costing around TWD150 (BND6.80), you can write your wish on the lantern and set it into the sky.
Tourists are encouraged to visit Pingxi during Chinese New Year and release a Chinese lantern into the sky.
Pingxi is special for its unique architecture and design and is built into a hill with a train track going overhead right through the middle with shops around selling local food and gifts.
Visitors can check out shops built during the 1930s and 1940s, as well as wooden houses built during the Japanese occupation era.
Additionally, if you are a fan of trinkets, antiques and unique artisan items, then it is worthwhile to head to a weekend Lole Market that is full of interesting local designers’ creations.
The market is a must-visit stop if you are in Taichung. It is lively and has many visitors.
While at the market, one can grab some coffee or get some gelato sold from a jeep, and take pictures with it, while savouring some cheap snacks.