When thinking of a trip to Taiwan, the mind conjures up images of lively night markets, enchanting lanterns, vibrant temples, and buzzing traffic of scooters traversing busy streets. Yes, these are the undeniable charms of Taiwan, but there’s so much more to discover – especially their great outdoors and offshore islands. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next trip to Taiwan, read on!
Enthralled by Taiwan’s rolling hills, rugged coastline, and misty mountains, I recently ventured all the way to the eastern part of the country, Taitung, where the pace of life is slower and the breathtaking views never fail to inspire. This time, I experienced the charm of Taitung during the enchanting days of early summer, in June.
Taitung is the biggest county in Taiwan. It is known for its great outdoors and clean air, and it is often called “Taiwan’s agricultural arm”. And if you asked the locals what Taitung is known for, they will tell you that Taitung produces the best rice in the country. I tried their delicious local lunchbox and had no regrets. I was even tempted to bring a bag of rice back to Singapore.
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It would be remiss to not try one of these traditional Chishang bento. Here are three historic bento shops near Chishang station:
Hometown Chishang Lunchbox (家鄉正宗池上飯包)
Woo Chishang Lunchbox (悟饕池上飯包)
Quanmei Chishang Lunchbox (全美行池上飯包)
One of Taiwan’s hidden gems – Chishang, Taitung
Chishang – Rice Town of Taitung
Chishang is an idyllic village that has picturesque rice fields with misty mountains in the distance. It literally felt like I was in Jay Chou’s music video. It was a refreshing change of scenery, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, with nothing but the majestic mountains, scenic rice fields and cottages.
What’s interesting to note is that the rice fields of Chishang was made famous by a TV commercial featuring Japanese-Taiwanese actor, Takeshi Kaneshiro, for EVA Airlines, as well as a local commercial featuring Mr Brown Coffee.
Brown Boulevard (伯朗大道)
Despite the scorching heat of the summer sun, I set off on my bike from Chishang station just a few hours before sunset. It took me about 30 minutes to pedal to Brown Boulevard, which is approximately 5km away from where I was staying.
Brown Boulevard is an iconic attraction in Chishang. Named after the famous local coffee brand, Mr. Brown Coffee, this scenic road winds through the golden rice fields.
As soon as I got there, I was captivated by the golden fields that stretch endlessly into the horizon with majestic mountains in the distance. The photo-worthy spot was bustling with locals and cyclists. As the sun began to set, a gentle breeze added to the delightful atmosphere. Since I wasn’t residing next to Brown Boulevard, I had to make sure I cater ample time to cycle back to Chishang Station before the sky completely darkens. Keep in mind that the rice fields are not illuminated by lighting poles so it can become a challenge to navigate your way out in the dark.
To truly immerse yourself in the enchanting allure of Chishang and discover its beautiful cycling routes, I suggest spending a minimum of two nights in this delightful destination.
Getting to Chishang from Taitung Station
Chishang is easily accessible via car or train. If you are on a budget, the train is the cheapest option. The train station at Chishang offers bicycle rentals and (a handful) of taxis for visitors to get around easily in this slow town.
- The train journey from Taitung Station to Chishang Station takes 54 minutes and costs 70 to 90 NTD (one-way). Trains depart hourly from Taitung Station and arrive at Chishang Station.
- The train station in Chishang is located in the center of town, making it easy to walk to your destination.