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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chiayi City 嘉義市, Taiwan

Southern Taiwan's third largest city


Chiayi 嘉義市 is Southern Taiwan's third largest city, famous for being the transition point to Alishan mountain, one of Taiwan's most famous natural wonders and an extremely popular destination with domestic and foreign travelers. Most people may not really explore the city itself, but instead just pass through - I on the other side was curious and wanted to find out, what is there to see and do in Chiayi and this post is meant to show you a snippet of that. Surprisingly, there are some very interesting spots to discover.

Chiayi welcomes visitors to come - very nicely done.

Aside from associating it with Alishan, I had no idea, what is there to see in Chiayi. The city is not famous for its history like the neighboring Tainan, foodwise it can't compare to Tainan either. It's not easy to find your distinct identity, when you are in the shadow of such big and important city as Tainan. But there is hope: Chiayi has its own charm - maybe not immediately felt, but if you spend some time in the area, it grows on you. It certainly grew on me a little, even though it initially looked as generic as Zhongli or Taoyuan, but less depressing, with better weather and friendlier people.

This is Chiayi's most famous food: Turkey or chicken with rice. Very delicious.

Aside from the Alishan train station, which we haven't visited this time, you can find some of the most interesting spots in Chiayi city below. In case you're interested to visit yourself, this post might serve you as a good reference. Don't forget to read my related articles, which are lined below some photos.

1. Chiayi Railway Station

Located in the center, it's usually the point of entrance for visitors.

The glorious days of this station are long over.

Buses and cabs are waiting nearby.

This is Zhongzheng road, where our hotel was located. It's a minute away from the station. We rented our scooter here, which was very convenient (price 450 NTD).

2. Zhongshan Road

Zhongshan Road, Chiayi's most important road with lots of shops.

Most central part of Chiayi - the intersection of Zhongshan and Wenhua Road.

3. Famous restaurant: 噴水雞肉飯

This is one of the most popular stalls in Chiayi.

Their famous dish is chicken rice. Read more about the restaurant here>>

We cruised to the end of Zhongshan road to visit the Chiayi park.

4. Chiayi park

Chiayi park is a beautiful park in the northeast part of the city.

A statue of an old Chinese man.

5. Chiayi Confucius Temple

This small temple in the middle of the park is very charming.

Walking further it will lead you to Kagi Shrine and Chiayi Tower.

6. Chiayi Martyrs' Shrine

This is a gate to the Martyrs' shrine which is located below the Chiayi Tower.

7. Kagi Shrine

The Kagi Shrine is the best preserved Japanese shrine in Taiwan. Read more here>>

My wife admiring the wooden structure.

Today it inhabits the Chiayi City Historical Relic Museum.

View from the small slope above.

8. Chiayi Tower

This 62m tall structure is Chiayi's landmark.

It has a very unique design. On top is a café and an observatory.

The top is like a small terrace with garden.

The view over Chiayi is amazing here.

Chiayi's urban jungle.

Look to the south.

Look to the west.

Sculptures of tigers outside the park.

The Chiayi park from the parking lot nearby.

9. Jiouhuashan Temple

Very tall and impressive temple.

Red lanterns above the road.

First I thought there were 5 people on the scooter, but I was wrong.

A road in Chiayi.

Most of the roads look like this one.

Chiayi also has a Statue of Liberty - just smaller than New York.

Looks awesome: Lady Liberty in Chiayi, Taiwan.

When night falls, Chiayi doesn't sleep. I've not really explored the local night life, but I've had the pleasure to visit two night markets, which were quite interesting:

Wenhua Road Night market is occupying a long road in the center.

Carrefour night market is located in the southeast.

Chiayi City is definitely worth a day or two, in case you decide to explore Southern Taiwan. It might not be a gem, but it has a few lovely spots, good food and friendly people. I will definitely return to see more and most likely combine everything with a trip to Alishan. I can't wait! What's your impression of Chiayi City?

[My TAIWAN TRAVEL post][TAIWAN][All photos by MKL, 2012]

11 COMMENTS:

Next time I visit China or Taiwan I must go find Confucius places if possible - like the above it was a great stuff.

This one seem a very small city but crowded with people - I will died hahaha maybe if I go with you I would have lot of fun.

Did you see Alishan Qu Niang? I want to Chang San Ge with them :)

The status of that man in Chiayi Park looks almost like a jack-in-the-box or like one of those circus performers about to be fired out of a cannon.

@Netster: Haha.. too crowded for you! You can find smaller towns with nice view and slurp bubble tea at sunset with your dear one :)

@Tommykey: Haha.. your comment made my day :)

very well done sir

a 15 year chiayi resident who would not live anywhere else says BRAVO.... you got it!
re
..... it has a few lovely spots, good food and VERY friendly people.

@Anonymous: Thanks for the cheerful comment! :)

Hi! As a Taiwanese American and have lived in Chiayi for 6 years, I can say that you've described this city far better than I would be able to!
All those pictures looked so familiar to me and instantly made me feel like home.
Other things I think of Chiayi is the Minxiong Haunted House, which has a pretty interesting history. Also, Lin Hwai-min, founder of the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (famous Taiwanese modern dance group) who is from Chiayi.

Thanks so much for sharing the post! I'll definitely look forward to your future blogs.

Oh I forgot to ask this question I've pondered interminably. Does this chicken statue that stands in the middle of the central Chiayi city area spins or not? I'm always confused because I always drive by and couldn't really tell. XD

@TK: I usually try to see as many popular spots in a city as possible, but I'm glad you mentioned some I haven't seen. Next time I visit Chiayi, I will try to see the rest and add to this post.

I made a short clip of that roundabout and it seems like that chicken is slowly turning, but I'm not sure :) Btw, you can read more posts about Chiayi here.

i will be staying at tainan before going to chiayi to stay for a night so that i can have a day trip to yushan. but i can't find any attraction spot in chiayi, do you think i should skip yushan and chiayi all together?

@Billy: How come you can't find any attraction? You have the Chiayi park, Kagi Shrine, Sun Shooting tower, night markets and lots of good restaurants. I like Chiayi. It's not Tainan by far, but spending there a day is not so bad.. well, at least not for me. I don't know what you consider attractions.

hey where did you stay in chiayi? is the hotel recommended? how much per night? thanks!

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