Taichung was our last stop in Taiwan and also a connection city to Sun Moon Lake. It was a pretty big city (third largest in Taiwan) and just like the others, it offers a lot in terms of attractions and food that we couldn’t miss. Even though Taichung doesn’t have a metro system, the bus system made it very convenient to get around – the major lines were free of charge (with EasyCard) and take you to most places of interest.
Taichung Park (台中公园)
Situated in the heart of the city, Taichung park is a place to escape from the buzz of the city. It is a nice open green area where many people come to exercise, play with their kids or just chill. The park has tennis courts and a nice lake, where it is possible to kayak.
We passed through Taichung Park in order to go to other destinations, and it seemed pretty crowded, mostly with what we thought were Asian foreigners. They definitely didn’t look Taiwanese. There was also a concert going on, filled with people, so we didn’t stay long.
Laughing Buddha / Paochueh Temple (宝觉寺)
By this time in our trip we have already seen countless Buddhist temples and Buddha statues, so we weren’t particularly excited about this one. But boy were we wrong. No other Buddha statue we’ve ever seen looks quite like the Laughing Buddha in Taichung. It is called the “laughing” Buddha for a reason. This big (and incredibly fat!) golden Buddha had the funniest expression ever! It’s so happy that I smile every time I look at it. I can’t help it!
We literally stood there for a good while just staring at it and giggling. I still laugh every time I think about this Laughing Buddha.
Chun Shui Tang (春水堂) – First Bubble Tea Ever!
Taichung is where, legend say, our most favorite Taiwanese drink originated – bubble tea! We couldn’t leave Taiwan without going to the place where it was invented. We came to Chun Shui Tang expecting nothing else than the most perfect bubble tea that we have ever had (and we’ve tried a lot!). They were pretty busy, even on a Wednesday afternoon.
We ordered our usual teas. I went for the signature pearl milk tea, while Julie went for the winter melon tea, and we also got some food to go along with it. Everything looked incredibly delicious and they tasted even better!
Both teas came in large glass mugs. The signature pearl milk tea was very classic, but Chun Shui Tang put their unique stamp on the drink by offering small pearls, instead of the larger ones in your average bubble tea. I quite liked the small bubbles, actually. It was big enough to be chewy, but small such that the focus is still on the tea itself, as it should be.
It’s crazy to think that bubble tea was only invented 30 years ago. It’s ubiquitous in so many parts of Asia and the world these days that it feels like it has been around forever. We found visiting the first ever bubble tea shop to be a pretty cool experience. History, good food, and drinks all rolled into one – what’s not to like?
Taichung marked the last city we visited in Taiwan – we went directly to the airport from there. We made our way around the entire island!