Sure, at least one day of a Chiayi itinerary should be dedicated to exploring Alishan National Forest Recreation Area, but travelers don’t want to overlook Chiayi’s other great attractions! Chiayi City alone contains great places to see like Chiayi Park, Hinoki Village and Lantan Lake, and outlying attractions in Chiayi County can keep any sightseer on the move for at least three days – and that’s not even including an excursion to Alishan!
Getting around Chiayi
Most out-of-towners come and go to Chiayi by train at Chiayi Station. Visitors should be aware, however, that the city contains two Chiayi train stations. The station in the center of town is used as a transit station for passengers who want to land in city center or catch a bus at nearby Zhongshan Bus Stop. (The other station, known as THSR Chiayi Station, handles high-speed train traffic and is about a 30-minute drive west of the city.) After arriving in Chiayi City, tourists can either rent a motor scooter or bicycle. Walking in Chiayi City isn’t out of the question, either. Popular attractions like Song of the Forest (Kuai Yi Forest Village) and Chiayi Park can be reached on foot from the train station in less than 30 minutes.
Day 1 Chiayi Itinerary | Explore Top City Parks
Chiayi City maintains several green spaces and parks, and two of the best are Chiayi Park and Alishan Forest Railway Garage Park. The two attractions are just a 25-minute walk apart, and visitors will find several things to see in between.
- Chiayi Park – home of Chiayi Tower (Sun-Shooting Tower) and several Chiayi landmarks, Chiayi Park is a fun place to explore in the morning. Walking trails lead to landmarks like Chiayi City Historical Relic Museum, Chiayi Botanical Garden and Chiayi Confucius Temple. Chiayi Park is open 24 hours, and entry is free.
Alishan Forest Railway Garage Park – as fun for adults as it is for kids, this park near Song of the Forest contains decommissioned steam trains, locomotives, passenger and freight cars that once were used on the Alishan Forest Railway. Photo ops are abundant here, and entry is free. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Day 2 Chiayi Itinerary | 2 Can’t-Miss Tours & a Night Market
It’s hard to choose which museums are worth touring in Chiayi, but the city does have two standouts that shouldn’t be missed. Activities on the second day of a holiday in Chiayi City might include a tour of both and an evening shopping for souvenirs and eating street food at the city’s popular night market.
- Chiayi Old Prison – located between Chiayi Park and Song of the Forest, Chiayi Old Prison gives guests an inside glimpse of the legal system in 1922 when the prison was built. The museum is open from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and 1:30 to 3 p.m daily (closed Monday).
Hinoki Village – visitors can step into dormitories once used by members of the Chiayi Forest Division with a trip to Hinoki Village. The community contains 28 Japanese-style dorms, many of which have been transformed into quaint coffee shops and charming boutiques, which are fun to visit while meandering through the neighborhood. One dormitory now houses a museum dedicated to the film “Kano,” which tells the story of a local baseball team’s achievements in the 1930s. Hinoki Village is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Entry is free.
Wenhua Road Night Market – at 5 p.m., die-hard foodies will want to head to this night market in downtown Chiayi City for a taste of authentic Taiwanese street food and to shop for souvenirs. The market closes at 1 a.m. and is located next to Fountain Circle, a roundabout that pays tribute to the revered 1931 Kano baseball team.
Day 3 Chiayi Itinerary | Lantan Scenic Area or Alishan National Forest Recreation Area
It might be possible to squeeze both these attractions into one day, but both are more enjoyable when not rushed. Travelers who want to stay close to Chiayi City should head to Lantan Scenic Area, and guests looking for an escape from the city should book a train ticket to Alishan National Forest Recreation Area.
- Lantan Scenic Area – this dreamy oasis on the outskirts of Chiayi and next to the beautiful campus of National Chiayi University contains camping spots, hiking trails and gorgeous dam views. Guests can enjoy scenic views on the south side of Lantan Lake. Hiking trails and Lantan Camping Area are on the north.
Alishan National Forest Recreation Area – last but not least and worth more than a daytrip really, this scenic national park is the reason most people visit Chiayi County. It’s loved for its fun rides on Forest Railway, hiking trails where seas of clouds are visible and cooler weather. If one day simply is not enough time, several accommodations inside Alishan National Forest Recreation Area allow visitors to spend the night. The park is open all day, every day. Entry fee is 300 TWD (10.30 USD).
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