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Chiayi (嘉義), also spelled Jiayi, is the main city of Chiayi County, southern Taiwan.


Chiayi is best known as the access point of the scenic mountain area of Alishan.

Get in[edit]

HSR Chiayi (Taibao) station is on the high-speed line between Taipei (1:30 hours, $1080) and Kaohsiung. The HSR station is over 15 km out of town, but linked to the city by the Chiayi BRT system.

Chiayi is also served by mainline TRA trains and the scenic narrow-gauge Alishan Forest Railway to Alishan, which both leave from the same station, but have separate ticketing counters. Long-distance buses leave from the terminal immediately outside the station, but local buses (notably those to nearby hot spring town Guanzihling) use the Zhongshan Rd bus terminal a few hundred meters down the street.

Downtown Chiayi

Get around[edit]

The Chiayi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) [3] system has three lines, with the main line linking the HSR and TRA railway stations. The trip between the two takes around 30 minutes ($40, exact change - no charge if going directly between the HSR & TRA stations), but note that the BRT stop is on the rear side of the TRA station, so you need to take the pedestrian bridge to cross to the other side. The location of the TRA station is not obvious from the BRT stop. If coming from the direction of the HSR railway, after you get off at the stop, cross to the other side of the street at the intersection you have just passed. The "back station" area is under construction - bear to the right and you should find the pedestrian bridge.

Buses have announcements and signage in English as well as Chinese.

Taxis are plentiful, especially around the train stations, but no English is spoken.

Buses to Alishan costs $250NT one way, and can be bought at the bus station next to the train station. The ride takes 2.5 hours and can be quite windy.

See[edit][add listing]

Chiayi Park and Botanical Gardens are a lovely way to spend the afternoon. The Botanical Gardens provide pleasant trails that weave you through a large variety of plants and trees native to the area. Ponds hold koi, turtles, and frogs. You can even see hints of a traditional cemetery through the trees in some places. Chiayi park is well-maintained and serves as a center of activity for local adults and children.

Do[edit][add listing]

Buy[edit][add listing]

Zhongshan Road (中山路) is Chiayi's main shopping street. It stretches from the train station to a fountain (噴水) at Wenhua Road -- although the water is usually turned off.

One specialty chain store that's located on Zhongshang Road is the "Guang Nan" (光南), which caters in small electronics and other media-related goods. Catch a good deal on cables and computer accessories here.

There are two night markets in Chiayi. One is the Wenhua night market on Wenhua road (just hawker stalls by the side of the road, weekends have bigger selection). The other is the Carrefour Night Market next to the Carrefour on Bo Ai Road (closed on Mondays).

Eat[edit][add listing]

It's turkey! It's rice! It's... turkey rice!

Chiayi is famous in tourist guides for turkey rice (鶏肉飯), a popular dish of turkey strips and a savory sauce ladled on the rice. Most people call it "chicken rice" but it's really turkey meat. Go figure. At any rate, it's available in practically every eatery town, at prices starting from $20.

  • Fountain Turkey Rice (噴水鶏肉飯), 325 Zhongshan Rd (中山路325號). One of the most popular turkey rice joints in town, with a number of franchises. But the joint on Culture Road, around the corner, is the real deal. Don't go to this tourist trap at No. 325. $50-100.  edit
  • Chia Le Fu Night Market (嘉樂福觀光夜市) along Bo Ai Rd near Carrefour which offers a variety of Taiwanese food. The barbeque stall at the entrance is a must-try.
  • New Beiping Restaurant(新北平餐廳) is a whole new famous restaurant in Chiayi. There are lots of Chinese foods with local flavor in New Beiping. Must try their chef's special , roast duck and beer duck soup.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Chiayi has countless tea stalls and quite a few KTV lounges, but virtually no bars in the Western sense.

  • Cha-no-Michi (茶の道), Zhongshan Rd 505-1. Pleasant little modern tea shop right next to the Zhongshan Rd bus terminal, offering up a vast range of strange Taiwanese drinks like milk tea with pudding chunks (布丁奶茶) as well as more traditional fruit juices. $15-40.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There are a large number of mostly identical motels just outside the TRA Chiayi station.

  • Chiayi Dream Hotel (嘉興旅館), Zhongzheng Rd 750 (中正路730號. Recently renovated clean but no-frills motel just around the corner from the station. Beds are small and the bathrooms could do with a bit of polishing. Double/twin $600/750.  edit
  • New Alishan Hot Spring Motel (新阿里山溫泉汽車旅館), Siwei Rd 269 (四維路269號), 05-2314046, [1]. Modern motel about 2km west of the station, offering fancy spa bathrooms in most (but not all) rooms. Standard rooms from $1200, spa rooms from $1680.  edit
  • An Lan Jie Hostel, 14F-1, No.465, Lanjing Street, West Disrict, Chiayi, 052290102, [2]. Located on the 14th floor of one of Chiayi's tallest buildings, this hostel offers a panoramic view of the city from the balcony and dorm. 5 minute walk from the train station. Very friendly staff with excellent English, they will tell you all you need to know about the area and also Alishan. Dorm: NT500 dorm NT500.  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Alishan — one of Taiwan's best known scenic mountain areas. The Alishan Mountain Railway from Chiayi passes through Fenqihu.
  • Guanziling — muddy hot spring resort
  • National Chung Cheng University, one of Taiwan's most beautiful university campuses, is fifteen minutes by car from Chiayi City.

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