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Top 13 Things to Do in Hsinchu

Hsinchu is a short trip away from the capital city of Taiwan - it may be small in size but teeming with interesting things to do!

Sometimes the smallest places hold the biggest surprises. Hsinchu, a tiny city in northern Taiwan, is one perfect example. Though mostly unheard of, there are many gems and attractions that can be found right in Hsinchu — northern Taiwan’s oldest city. Read on to find out what you can do here!

1. City God Temple

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Hsinchu City God Temple is the most visited temple in the town, and for good reasons. Visitors can catch the traditional Taiwanese operas held in the courtyard, or grab some local snacks at the day and night markets operating just beside it. Also known as Cheng Huang Temple, this place of worship holds the highest rank of all the City God temples in Taiwan. With its splendid wall carvings and paintings, the grandeur of the temple can’t be missed.

2. Leofoo Village Theme Park

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Image credit: Pang Yu Liu

As Taiwan’s biggest theme park, how could you not visit Leofoo Village Theme Park when in Hsinchu? More than 30 rollercoasters, a safari, and a water park make up the entertainment facilities of the theme park — but it doesn’t just stop there. Daily parades and musical shows mean that the whole family will be able to enjoy everything the theme park has to offer.

3. East Gate

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The East Gate holds a historical significance for the town of Hsinchu. As the only gate still standing after the Japanese era, the East Gate was labelled a historical monument and has since become an important landmark of the city. The gate, made up of a pagoda lying atop an arched walkway, dates back to the 18th century. Though it was initially constructed with bamboo, the East Gate has since been rebuilt with concrete. Sitting in the middle of a traffic intersection, the gate certainly brings to mind Hsinchu’s own Arc de Triomphe.

4. 18 Peaks Mountain Park

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Just as its name suggests, the 18 Peaks Mountain Park has 18 different peaks and a winding road between seven to eight kilometres long. With trails and pathways lining the mountain, the 18 Peaks Mountain Park is a great place for hikers. Though the distance may sound daunting, the slopes are fairly gentle and manageable even for kids. The 18 Peaks Mountain Park is definitely the locals’ favourite place to head to for some exercise.

5. Nanliao Fishing Port

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If hiking mountains aren’t your thing, there is a popular seafront walkway at Nanliao Fishing Port that is equally scenic. Plenty of bike rental shops can be found around the area at Hsinchu Harbour. The entire stretch measures 17km, which may seem like a long distance, but with the seascape accompanying you and the promise of delicious seafood at the end, the 17km will pass by faster than you think. Even stops along the way, such as Gangnan Canal, boast scenic views.

6. Neiwan Old Street

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This old street is filled with traditional wooden structures that give it a rustic feel. Stroll through the streets and stop by any of the stores for some local delicacies which the area is famous for. The Hakka sticky rice, mochi, and rice dumplings are all excellent choices to satisfy your tastebuds. Other attractions in Neiwan Old Street include Neiwan Theatre, Neiwan train station and the various suspension bridges found around the street, so you’ll be sure to have your hands — and mouth — full when visiting Neiwan Old Street.

7. Glass Museum

Ever wonder what kind of art can be created from glass? Well, you’ll be able to find all your answers in Hsinchu’s glass museum. In order to promote the glass industry, the government converted an old royal residence into the museum it is now. The beautiful glass art range from mini glass figurines to stained glass works, made with an assortment of colours that shine brilliantly under the sunlight. You’ll definitely want to visit Hsinchu’s glass museum just to catch these dazzlers for yourself.

8. Lavender Cottage

Though nowhere near as spectacular as a lavender field, Lavender Cottage holds its own for the sprightly lavender patch on its land. Soak in the glorious lavender fragrance and admire the rich violet flowers as you meander through the farm. Lavender products are sold as souvenirs, and you can visit the nearby restaurant as well if you’re feeling hungry or just wish to have a meal surrounded by such beauty. Remember to take some photos for your Instagram!

9. Hsinchu Zoo

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Taiwan’s oldest zoo can be found right in Hsinchu itself! With more than 300 animals from 100 different species, Hsinchu Zoo attracts 300,000 visitors every year. The zoo is divided into six different sections, namely the Children’s Zoo, Primates’ Families, Birds’ Paradise, Tropical Rainforest, Reptile Kingdom and Deer’s Wonderland. The whole family is sure to be entertained by the sweeping amount of sights and activities offered by the zoo.

10. Moat Park

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What’s so significant about the Moat Park in Hsinchu is that it is the only moat left in the whole of Taiwan. It has since been converted into a riverbank park with artwork occasionally displayed around the area, making it a grand spectacle at times for those dropping by the neighbourhood. On other days, the nearby flora is sufficient enough reason to head to the park.

11. Image Museum

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Detailing the history of Taiwanese cinema, the Image Museum in Hsinchu was once a theatre and the first in Taiwan to be installed with air-conditioners. The theatre lived through many historical events such as the Second Sino-Japanese War and the handover of Taiwan from Japan to China. In 2000, the government decided to preserve the historical and cultural experience of the theater and thus opened up the Image Museum. Today, visitors can watch these old movies and educate themselves more about cinema.

12. Green Grass Lake

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The Green Grass Lake, surrounded by lush greenery and a clear lake, has both cycling paths and walking trails to entice visitors to take a ride or a stroll here. Traverse from one bank to another via a beautiful concrete bridge and enjoy the scenic views of the lake as you do. There is even a statue park nearby where you can get to glimpse figures like the deity Guang Gong, Statue of Liberty, The Thinker, and more!

13. Municipal Government Hall

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A two-storey red brick building, the Municipal Government Hall stands imposingly in Hsinchu. This U-shaped building is a mix of Japanese and western architectural style, with its oriental roof and occidental veranda respectively.

Hsinchu ultimately is a destination worth visiting if you happen to be passing by the area. Just southwest of Taipei, Hsinchu is a short trip away from the capital city. So the next time you find yourself in Taiwan wondering what else you could do, definitely hop on over to Hsinchu to check out its attractions!

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