Places: Changhua (彰化)

I made a half-day trip to Changhua last week, during my school holidays.  I was staying in Taichung for a few days, and was keen to see places outside of Taiwan’s 3rd largest city.

Changhua is located about 30 minutes by train from Taichung city.  The train ticket costs only NT$26 (one way), and trains are very frequent.  Once you’re in Taichung, either rent a bike, or make sure you have your walking boots on.  There isn’t a lot to do in the city, but there are a couple of interesting sights which you can see, and as with anywhere in Taiwan, plenty of places to eat – so Changhua is a city that can easily be seen in a few hours.

The tourist information desk, located inside the train station, can help you with a map, and directions on how to get to various sights.  One of the staff there spoke good English and, though they only had a Chinese map,  they were able to explain the different sights to me, and how to get there on foot.

The first place I visited was the Fan-Shaped Train Depot, just a 5 minute walk away from the station.  This is a fantastic place to spend some time walking around. It would be a fantastic place to take kids (especially if you have a young boy/s), and also for photographers.  When you get to the train yard, you will just need to sign-in (despite being told my Passport would be required, I simply signed my name, dated, and was let in).  The best part about the train yard is that you can walk on the tracks, right up to the trains!  The main draw of the depot is the rotating section of track in the middle, which rotates to allow trains in-and-out of the train garages.  Though most of the trains there are being serviced, and are modern, there are two older engines there which are very cool to look at.

Trains parked at the fan-shaped depot in Changhua

Trains parked at the fan-shaped depot in Changhua

Next, I made my way to the other main sight in Changhua City, the Bagushan Buddha.  From the train depot, it is about a half-hour walk.  Along the way, I made a quick trip around the city’s Confucius Temple, partly because it looked cool, and partly because it was just about to rain, and I wanted a place to take refuge in.  Once the rain stopped, I kept walking to the park in which the Buddha is located.  It is a little bit of a hike up to the Buddha, though it is marked fairly well – if you have a scooter, or take a taxi, then you can save yourself the effort and take the road up.  As I went on a weekday, and just after some heavy rain, there were very few people in the grounds around the Buddha.  From the top of the hill, on which the statue sits, there are very good views of Changhua City (which was much bigger than I expected), all the way out to the West coast & the sea.  The Buddha statue itself is very big, though not all that impressive.  The surrounding grounds offer a few places to wander around, before heading back down the hill.  If you’re looking for some food to eat, there is plenty in the streets at the entrance to Bagushan park.  I didn’t venture there, as it was late and I was keen to get back to Taichung for dinner.

The Bagushan Buddha at Changhua

The Bagushan Buddha at Changhua

Changhua can be done as a stop on the way to/from Lukang – which is famous for its temple & old streets.  If you plan to do both, then I would definitely leave much earlier in the morning than I did (I left Taichung at 12pm).  It is about 40 minutes, I’m told, from Changhua to Lukang.  Changhua City can also be used as a base to explore the surrounding countryside of Changhua County, if you would like to spend more than a day in the area.

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