Chiayi Travel Guide
Chinese Name: 嘉义市 (jiā yì shì)
Area: 60 square kilometers (23 square miles)
Location: in the southwest of Taiwan Island, southeast China
Administrative Division: 2 districts (East District, West District)
Area Code: 05
GDP (2019): CNY 44.7 billion (USD 6.5 billion)
Highlighting Famous Summer Resort - Ali Mountain
Located in the southwest of Taiwan, Chiayi is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Taiwan with a convenient transportation system and beautiful scenery. Its Ali Mountain is the most ideal summer resort because of its mild climate and lush trees. By taking the Alishan Railway, you can see different plants as if you are in a natural museum. Also, watching the sunrise in Zhu Mountain cannot be missed. There are many other natural scenic spots showing different landscapes including primitive jungles, geothermal geological landscapes, wetlands, and lakes. The distinctive parks and bustling night markets also provide tourists with a deeper understanding of the local life.
Attractions - Things to Do
Ali Mountain is the most representative attraction in Chiayi. It is called "Light of Taiwan" and the sunrise, sunset, cloud seas, railways, and forests are together called "Five Wonders at Ali Mountain". Fenchihu, Reilly Scenic Area, and Tanayiku are all in Ali Mountain National Scenic Area.
Walking in Fenchihu, you will feel like you are exploring a primeval jungle. It has waterfalls, rivers, stones in different shapes, and various trees. At Fenchihu Old Town, you can see old roads, houses, a rail and two steam locomotives, and eat the railway box dishwhich is very popular. Reilly Scenic Area used to be an alpine village and now abounds in rivers, valleys, cliffs, and waterfalls. In Tanayiku, you can feed the fish and play in the river.
March to June is the best time to come to Ali Mountain. "Firefly Season" and "Sakura Season" are held every year. "Firefly Season" is from April to June, and "Sakura Season" is from mid-March to mid-April.
Alishan Township is the hometown of Tsou people. In February, the divine Mayasvi will be held in Tapangu Village. They used to make a living mainly by hunting, but to protect animals, they begin to plant teas, wasabi, cabbages, flowers, and coffees. All of the Tsou people are good at singing and dancing. They like the sound of the waterfalls, so their songs sound like the resonances of waterfalls and forests.
Siraya National Scenic Area has not only natural waterfalls but also geothermal geological landscapes. Prehistoric human beings used to live here, and now it is home to numerous Pingpu and Siraya people.
Southwest Coast Scenic Area is special for its vast sandbanks, wetlands, lagoons, salt pans, aquaculture ponds, temples, and historic sites. Among them the Black-faced Spoonbill Habitat Protection Area draws the most attention.
The majestic scenery of Tsengwen Reservoir attracts lots of people. Walking along the lakeside, you can visit Bird Palace which has a number of birds and Wayside Garden which has tall trees and flower seas.
Renyitan Dam is a lake surrounded by a long road. There are pavilions and chairs for you to have a rest. Many people fly a kite or do sports here.
At Boat Leisure Art Village, you can experience the rural life by taking a cart, makingpottery, and doing farm works. Or you can take the boat to Dongshih Fishing Port which has seafood markets, Marine Cultural Museum and sea view pavilions. On the way you can not only enjoy the coastal view but also approach the mangrove forests.
Other Attractions: Ao Drum Wetland, Tropic of Cancer Monument, Southwest Coast Scenic Area, Ogasawara Hill, Good Misato Conservation Area, AlishanJhushan, Sister Lake, Tsou Culture Tribe,Bag Saltwork, Chiayi Prison Museum…
How to Get to Chiayi
It is recommended that you take the train to Chiayi from other cities of Taiwan such as Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung. The ordinary train from Taipei takes 3.5-5 hours with the ticket price of TWD 461-598, and 75 minutes to 2 hours and TWD 189-245 from Kaohsiung. The high speed train from Taipei takes 1.5 hours and TWD 1,045 for a non-reserved seat and TWD 1,080 for a standard seat.
See more about Taiwan Train
To travel around the scenic spots, you are recommended to hire a private car which costs about TWD 2,500 for half of the day and TWD 3,500 for a whole day.
Chiayi Travel Tips
Local Highlights: Swing Contest is Chiayi's unique activity which is over 300 years old. It is held twice every five years at Mysterious Heaven Emperor Temple on Wutang Mountain. The swing frame is made of bamboos and rattans without a nail. It is as high as four floors, and the swing board has the height of 3 meters.
Koji Pottery is a kind of ceramic with colorful glazes. The ceramists laminate the pottery with clays, then paint with colorful glazes, last bake it many times. Koji Pottery combines kneading, painting, and bake with religion, which can be said the treasure of Han nationality’s traditional folk art.
Local Snacks: There are all kinds of snacks in Chiayi, including fried duck soups and salty rice puddings at Singang Township, train cakes and Gongpo biscuits at Zhonghe Village, bamboo rice and wild vegetable on Ali Mountain, tea iron eggs at Fenchihu, Luoshan rice cakes, sesame crisps, cabbage shrimp eggs, and stewed fish heads. Among these local foods, turkey rice is the most popular.