Overview of Miaoli
Miaoli is a county located in Western Taiwan. Miaoli faces the Taiwan straits, having a coastline of about 50 km, and it is home to the Hakka culture in Taiwan. Miaoli is largely hilly and mountainous and has very few flat land. It is made up of Miaoli city, 6 urban towns and 11 rural towns. Government has promoted Miaoli’s agriculture and food production such as strawberries from Dahu township, Hakka Zongzi, Sanwan Chinese pears, Touwu Daikons, Sanyi wood sculptures, Tai’an persimmons and many more. Each year in April and May, Miaoli turns into a beautiful sea of tung blossoms. These snow-white blooms blanket entire mountainsides and reflect the tranquility of the county lakes.
- For those driving, Miaoli can be accessed from Taipei on the Sun-Yat Sen Expressway (中山高). The interchange is located to the south of the city.
- Miaoli is served by intercity buses from Hsinchu and Taichung. The bus terminal is located next to the train station in the middle of Miaoli.
- Alternatively, visitors can take the Taiwan Rail(TRA) and stop at Miaoli Station which is on the western line of TRA.
- Due to Miaoli's small size, buses run throughout the county but none specifically within Miaoli.
- Taxis can be found right outside the train station. You might be able to convince taxi drivers in nearby cities such as Taichung to take you around, but it will be far more expensive and a bit of a headhunt.
- As the highways in Miaoli are narrow, you would probably manage best on a rented scooter.
Activities & Sightseeing
Nature & Sights
- Shen Xian Valley is a picturesque place for photography and nature-lovers.
- Shei Pa National Park boasts magnificent mountains, towering waterfalls and an astounding diversity of wildlife, many of them endemic to Taiwan. Three recreation areas have been developed to provide visitors activities, information and accommodation.
- Penglai River EcologyTrail is completely natural with only a few bridges made out of bamboo and simple rock and wooden steps. Alongside these paths are rich ecological resources--plants and animals, birds and insects. A fascinating place for ecology tour.
- Fucun Health Farm offers visitors a chance to do some strawberry picking, horse riding, or visiting the Taiwan's Oil Field Museum.
- Flying Firefly is a suitable place to educate your child on biodiversity and environment. Surrounded by lush greenery and mountains, with a creek flowing across the valley, this pristine place is the ideal retreat in nature.
- Miaoli Tahu Ginger Farm is widely regarded as producing some of the best ginger in the country thanks to its ideal soil and climate. It also allows visitors to pick their own ginger and offers absolutely stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
- Flying Cow Ranch is a well-known leisure ranch in central Taiwan, bringing together aspects of farm life, commercial production and eco-tourism. It features a butterfly garden as well as an organic plantation area and visitors will be able to observe the production of milk from the cows on the farm.
- JS Bee Farm displays the signature honey product of the Hakka people during the bustling Tung Blossom Festival which occurs annually from April to May. A must try would be their Osmanthus Honey and Tung Flower Honey.
Museums, Culture & Heritage
- Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum exhibits the various tradtional art of woodsculpturing that reflects the Miaoli Culture.
- Four Seasons Natural Handmade Soap Worshop allows visitors to make natural organic soap using essence oils distilled from the high-grade wood obtained from Miaoli.
- Dahu Strawberry Cultural Centre recounts the history of Dahu, known as the strawberry capital of Taiwan. It also sells a range of strawberry related products, including strawberry wines, meatballs and ice cream.
- Remains of Longteng Bridge have, since Guandaoshan Massive Earthquake in 1935 and 921 Earthquake in 1999, become a tourist attraction for photo-taking with its contrasting red brick columns that still stood among the grass & hills close to the road, and acts as a memorial structure for the two fateful days when the earthquakes happened.
- Nan Zhuang Old Street used to be really old and run-down, that no one would ever believe it is like what it is now. Since then, it has been restored to give tourists a classic old feeling that can only be experienced in this street. Brick walls further enchanted the street so that all the tourists will be able to experience what it is like in the olden days whereby they can only see them on the television.
- Raisinay Dyeing and Weaving Crafts Park lets visitors learn about Taiyal's tribe traditional cloth-weaving and dyeing techniques here.
- Wu Gu Cultural Village has a ceramic factory, a color painting classroom, and a Tung flower Hakka museum. Tour guide service is also available here to lead you through the making of ceramics and the service is free of charge. There are also various DIY activities for the children as well as for the adults. It is a place for fun and education, suitable for people of all ages.
- Holland Sanyi Clogs produces Dutch wooden clogs that are made of American cypress wood. Each pair of wooden clogs made is considered unique and one-of-a-kind coming in a variety of colours and patterns with designs inspired by the graceful Tung blossoms. There is a museum located in this shop which showcases the beautifully designed clogs to customers. Visitors can also choose to design their own clogs through the 'Do-It-Yourself Clogs Painting Course'.
- Lima Workshop is established in the hope of presenting the aboriginal and Hakka life cultures. Tourists can enjoy the Hakka and aboriginal meals and get to appreciate and enjoy their songs sung by the hosts.
- Huataoyao Culture Inc has seasonal tours that consist of the botanical garden night trip, tea feast and music appreciation.
- Shan Ban Qiao Handicraft Workshop is identified by Council of Cultural Affairs and is designated as a culture and nature park, allowing visitors to relish the innocence and tradition of Sanyi's woodcarving culture.
- Tung Ho Tea Shop is the place to visit for Chinese Tea lovers. This tea shop has started its business every since the start of Japanese colonial period. The second generation of owner developed the Oolong Black Tea by combining the quality Qingxin Tea from Miaoli with black tea making method after fermentation.The oolong black tea produced in Tung Ho Tea Shop is smooth, velvety, brownish with the finest quality you could ever hoped for. It is guaranteed to leave a pleasant aftertaste of sweetness with its strong aroma that you will beg for more.
- Pa Gua Li Resort Village showcases the culture of Miaoli's aboriginals.
- Chun Tian Kiln Ceramic Factory Resort is staffed by some of the most talented artists in the area, consistently producing beautiful ceramic artworks. It utilises the expensive traditional Hakka wood-burning kiln but this results in some of the finest ceramic products in the whole of Taiwan.
- Qiding Beach Park is an ideal natural beach for swimming and also as a multi-purpose recreational site for camping and barbecue events. It is definitely the best place to have a getaway since it is strategically located near hotels, restaurants, conference center and other recreational sites.
- Golden Town is a tourist village which still preserves the traditional Hakka methods of food preparation such as producing rice, persimmons, taro, strawberries, preserved leaf mustards and passion fruits.
- Tai An Hot Springs are surrounded by spectacular scenery that includes Manapan Mountain, famous for its brilliant autumn maple leaves, as well as fruits like peaches, plums and pears which are harvested from December through April. Drop by the local eateries to have a taste of the Atayal and Hakka’s delicacies.
- West Lake Resortpia is an European themed park, consisting of two sub parks which are the Cartoon World,for the children, and the amusement park for those who are brave enough to take on the thriller rides.
- Shangrila Paradise is a large-scale amusement park which is an amalgamation of entertainment and culture. Visit the water castle for some spa, jacuzzi and water slides. For those who yearns to watch stunts performances and catch some thriller rides, go to the Universal Square. There is also a Hakka Village displaying the traditional Hakka buildings and food items.
- Huoyan Mountain Hot Spring Theme Park has high-quality hot spring spas, with a children water paddling area and a foot massage area. This is a theme park you would want to visit if there is ever a need for you to have fun and relax at the same time.
- Lugang Camp Site is an outdoor camp site where you can bring tents and cooking materials to cook and camp, while you wait for the sunrise or sunset.
Food & Dining
Given Miaoli’s reputation as the home of the Hakka people, foodie tourists visiting are sure to have a sample of their traditional fare. Hakka food is known to be salty, oily and flavourful. Pickling is commonly done. Some of their popular delicacies include Ngiong tew foo, Dongjiang salt-baked chicken, Duck stuffed with sticky rice, Beef meatball soup, Fried pork with fermented tofu, Kiu nyuk, and Abacus Beads.
- Ngiong tew foo is one of the more popular dishes with deep Hakka origins, it consists of tofu cubes heaped with minced meat (usually pork), salted fish and herbs, and then fried until it produces a golden brown colour, or it can be braised. There are other variations as well.
- Kiu nyuk is park belly cooked with preserved mustard greens or yam with taro.
- Abacus Beads is made of dough formed of tapioca and yam, cut into abacus-bead shapes, which when cooked, are soft on the outside and chewy on the inside. The dish may be cooked with minced chicken or pork, dried shrimps, mushrooms and various other vegetables.
Be sure to visit Guo Jia Zhuang Pickle Shop, Tzao Juang Garden Restaurant, Broken Bridge Restaurant, and Jiou Ding Syuan for some absolutely delectable Hakka cuisine.
For cafes and dessert shops, check out Chateau In the Air Miaoli(themed cafe), Natural View Kite Cafe & Guesthouse, and Shi Qi Cake Shop. Walk Clouds Restaurant serves good western cuisine. Sanyi Duck Treasure Shop and Zhuo Ye Cottage offers a variety of other chinese cuisines.
Accommodation in Miaoli is nothing near luxurious 5 star hotels. However, tourists insisting on high end accommodation still have the option of pricey hot spring resorts such as Sun Rise Hot Spring Resort and Onsen Papawaga Tai An uanzhi Onsen Resort located in Tai An, which is very popular among the Japanese tourists for its odorless and colorless hot springs. Miaoli Maison De Chine Hotel is catered to the business travellers as it offers facilities like business center providing computers and printers, gym, laudromat, outdoor sauna and saloon. The other tourists can choose to stay in the comfortable and clean minsu(B&B) that are the more common accommodations in Taiwan. Opt for Farmmy Resort for some unique and fun farmstay.
Some other recommended minsu:
- Tan Xiang Ba Ba Minsu
- Fu Xuan Home
- Itc Holiday Villa
- Bi Luo Jiao Garden Coffee House
- Nen Chian Jade Garden
- Lily Village
- Tree River Life