Is Taichung the best place to live in Taiwan?

hi Y’all

I’m getting a teaching assignment with the Joy Schools in Taichung. Most stuff on this web site is directed towards activities in Taipei. Can anyone respond to my query on: What is there cool to do in Taichung? Any sports activities? Clubs? etc.

Thanks,
Mary

Mary,

Most expats in Taichung make there start at Napoli, as I’m sure you will find out when you come. The art museum is a nice place to have an evening walk. The botanical garden is another place to spend some time. Enjoy.

Cafe Zhino. Great coffee, no cigarette smoking but a walk-in cigar humidor upstairs and a stack of French cookery magazines that’ll have your stomach rumbling in five minutes flat! Its very near the pedestrian street that you’ll find real soon when you start living in Taichung.
Its a FAR better place to live than Taipei.

Hello folks!

We are looking for volunteers in the Taichung area to help us spread the word about ORIENTED to the English-speaking community there. More information “About Us” can be found here: http://oriented.org/aboutus

If you are interested (or know of others who might be), please write to info@oriented.org for more information. We can’t pay with $$, but perhaps we can help in other ways? Thanks in advance!

Sincerely,
Gus Adapon and Christine Hsu
ORIENTED Administrators

Taichung is the best city to live in Taiwan. 80% or more of the Taiwanese I ask say that. And every foreigner I know says there is something special about Taichung. And, no, I don’t mean the sex industry here. There is just something different about Taichung. Just a few minutes after I first visited Taichung, I felt there was something desirable about the place, but it is difficult to say what.

Possibilities:

  1. Because of the big plain, it has more space: wider streets, bigger restaurants.
  2. The weather is supposedly more mild than other places.

I think there is something different about the attitude of the people, too…something they exude that one can feel all the time but not really identify easily. One Taiwanese told me she thinks Taichung people are conceited. That was interesting. It got me thinking…I think she is on to something. I think that people in Taichung know that their city is something different and special in Taiwan and that they are clued in on the good life better than Taipei people, who imagine they have a good lives because they are ‘metropolitan’.

I taught business English in Hsinchu, Taipei, and Taichung. The students in Taichung are the best. Best English. Best attitudes. Most active.

Does anyone else know that special Taichung feeling? I feel sorry for foreigners who are stuck in Taipei all the time. COme on, let’s hear it for Taichung…hooray!

I haven’t spent much time in Taichung, but I know what you mean. The streets are more open, the weather is better, and it just has a different feel. Apartments are cheaper and sunnier, and there’s easier access to some reaaly nice destinations, like Sun-Moon lake and the central mountains. I’m not familiar with the night life there, but it’s an easy trip back to Taipei for the weekend, anyway.

Hooray.

OK, you’re going to think I’m some kind of assho… oops, sorry Jeff, I mean “some kind of silly person,” but I feel Taichung has a kind of almost Mediterranean feel to it in some ways. Maybe its the wider streets, MUCH more pleasant climate (less than 1/3 of the rain Taipei gets but without the oppressive heat and dryness of Kaohsiung), different light, I don’t know.

It definitely has a more cosmopolitan feel to it than Taipei. And better restaurants.

Maybe Cranky can shed a little light on why on earth the Nationalists (or was it the Japanese?)chose to set up in Taipei rather than further south – I mean, the original “capital” was Tainan, wasn’t it?

The KMT did set up shop here in a way – south of Taichung City in U-Fong. The Provincial Assembly was located there until Lee Teng Hui abolished it. Many government (KMT) houses are located here and a little further away in Nantou in the little official capital of Taiwan as a province. So, even the KMT had enough sense to realize what a fine enviornment it is here.

quote:
Originally posted by sandman: Maybe Cranky can shed a little light on why on earth the Nationalists (or was it the Japanese?)chose to set up in Taipei rather than further south -- I mean, the original "capital" was Tainan, wasn't it?

The original capital was indeed Tainan – and it remained so until the Japanese took over. Although Taipei wasn’t even a tiny spot on the map until the eighteenth century, it grew fairly rapidly to become the main center for commerce in the north. Around 1870, Taipei was large and important enough to be declared a special municipality, governed through Beijing rather than the local capital.

Tainan, while not stagnant, no longer had the same drive to it. (It was also a seat of resistance to the Japanese invasion, whereas many merchants in Taipei were more than willing to help the Japanese enter the city.) Taichung was too small and too far removed from resouces and commercial centers. Taipei was the logical choice for the Japanese, who were interested in not only exploiting the island’s resources but also demonstrating that Japan could be just as “advanced” as the Western colonial powers by building and lifting up Taiwan.

The climate of Taiwan was on the minds of the Japanese, though. I’ve read that of the thousands of Japanese who died in the invasion of Taiwan (because that’s what it was to the locals, no matter what the treaty of Shimonoseki said), only a few died in battle. The rest succumbed to various tropical diseases.

I’ve never spent any time to speak of in Taichung. People usually tell me of its many coffee houses. “Big deal,” I think. “I don’t even much like coffee.” But maybe I should visit the city properly and get a better feel for it. This gray, rainy Taipei morning makes such a visit seem all the more appealing.

The old ‘tea shop street’ in Taichung City is full of beautiful tea and coffee shops. The new ‘coffee shop street’ by the Art Museum is, to use SANDMAN’s words, Mediterranean. I have never seen another such place in Taiwan. And there is a third street – deliberately styled to be European – where traffic is not allowed.

Not a coffee drinker or appreciater or European style?..try one of these:

The Art Museum is world class, both inside and out.

The Museum of Science and Technology is also world class.

(Both of these museums is better designed than any in Taipei.)

One more tidbit…I highly recommend that everyone visit the 921 Earthquake Museum in U-Fong, 20 minutes south of Taichung Train Station on Provincial Road 3. It is built on the grounds of the middle school that was destroyed in the earthquake. I think many people remember the newspaper photographs of the huge fault line running through the middle of the school’s track, raising the ground about 3 meters. The museum is the most cleverly designed museum I have ever seen. You have to see it to understand what I mean. It presents the earthquake experience in very interesting and ‘cutting edge’ ways – none of which make light of the tragedy or play shamelessly on people’s emotions. It’s really something special…if you ignore the usual people hocking food and souveniers. (That really p****s me off in Taiwan, especially when displayed in places that deserve dignity and respect.)

Taichung,

Is it just me or is Taichung just a boring place ?

I spent two and a half years up North in Taoyuan and Jung Li, had a great time, then through work came to Taichung about 6 months back. Despite trying all the supposed “happening” places, nothing seems to be happening in Taichung, and combined with the fact there is no culture here, it really does seem to be a duff city, and amazingly boring ?

So ?

Interested to hear a few comments

Cheers

Goldfish

Good heavens, and just when I thought I should move from Taipei to Taichung, because it seems that’s the place where things are happening! :astonished:

I’d have to agree, it can be a little boring. It’s cheaper, though, and the weather is terrific. Taipei is only two hours away.

Two questions. Boring in what way? No culture in what way?

If Taichung is boring to you, then every city outside of Taipei is going to be boring. Kaohsiung has a huge population but it’s got too much of a new-wealth cowboy/redneck/merchant seaman, seedy vibe to it to be considered very cultural. Tainan is “fun” and “happening”…if you like ancient temples. Party down with the monks on the temple tour! Hsinchu’s full of lots of “We are wild and crazy guys!” - engineer/computer nerds. Out of the lot of’em, I think Taichung wins hands down.

I agree. The difference is that there are less foreigners, i.e. there is less decent western food and not so much entertainment etc. especially for foreigners in Taichung.

Also, the foreigners here don’t seem to have the urge to form a community, but then again, that may be just me. Look at the Forumosa Taichung Happy Hour thread and you know what I mean. Nobody can be bothered.

I wouldn’t say it’s boring though.

Less culture? Taipeh sucks up all the budget for prestigeous schools, theatres etc. and naturally the young arti-people all have to go to Taipeh if they want to become somebody. A lot of them come back later and start their own little thing in Taichung, where you can have more space and the climate is just so much better than in Taipeh. Taichung nearly got a Guggenheim museum, too, hahaha…

There is no MRT, that sucks.

More boring than Taoyuan? Tell me, what interesting things did you get up to while you were here?

I have never had a lack of decent Western food in Taichung. And I can’t say that I’ve been bored but I have great friends and we do things all the time. There is a lot to do and a lot of places to go. It depends on what you are into.

Entertainment wise you need to know what you want in order to find it.

Also something to consider is that not that many people from Taichung post or read Forumosa as they perceive it to be more for the Taipei people. I have of course done my best to convince them otherwise. :slight_smile:

I hate Taipei. I would move back to Taichung or Kaohsiung any time.

I only spent any time in Taichung as a student, so maybe I would have a different impression today. But at that time I always thought Taichung was a fun and interesting town. It always felt more relaxed and laid back than Taipei – which I thought made it an enjoyable place to live.