This month I’ve been craving nature, and although nearby Alishan Mountain seems like the ideal destination for a greenery lover based in Chiayi, Taiwan, it’s just not in budget (time-wise or money-wise) this month. I’m really living up to my tagline of a “broke traveler” at the moment. Here’s my cash for the next two days.
Therefore, I’ve been hunting down quiet, cheap, easy-to-get-to green spaces in town. These 5 great parks and green spots are all within biking distance of Chiayi train station and are the perfect respite to concrete city life! So read on if you’re passing through Chiayi and have a free sunny day for exploring.
1. Wenhua Park
Of the five parks on this list, Wenhua Park is the most urban spot. It’s located at the end of Wenhua road, so it’s a perfect place to relax after exploring the night market. Grab yourself a bubble tea and sit down on a bench to watch people practicing dance routines, playing Pokemon Go, and enjoying the cooler evening air in this centrally located escape.
2. Botanical Gardens
Located on the corner of Shixian Road and Wenhua Road close to Jiabei, this park is really empty on a weekday afternoon, which makes it perfect for a real explore. I’ve seen snakes, birds, and weird bugs in this park, so you can feel properly in nature as you wander the long trails, especially if you get off onto the smaller paths.
3. Chiayi Park
Of Chiayi’s parks, I’d say this park is the biggest. There are tons of fun statues, tourist sights, and temples around the park to explore, including Sun-Shooting Tower, which supposedly has a nice café on top with great city views. I’ve yet to go up, as I always seem to get distracted selfie-ing in front of the great statues. It’s on Zhongshan Road.
Located behind Sun-Shooting Tower, this park is surprisingly large and much wilder than the carefully cultivated Chiayi Park which it’s adjacent to. Of the parks, this one might just be my favorite as it genuinely feels like you’re wandering in a tropical forest, despite being just on the edge of Chiayi. Take care though if you’re scared of creepy crawlies, as the arboretum was filled with wildlife, including these terrifying spiders that were as big as my hand. Yikes!
5. Lantan Lake
Lantan Lake is to the Southeast of Chiayi and is a hell of a bike ride, as it’s quite uphill a lot of the way, but it’s doable. It’s worth it for scenic lake views and a spectacular bike ride in the “sort of” countryside. Make sure to bring some tea or water with you though, as there aren’t a lot of shops out here, and you will sweat up a storm on a hot summer’s day.
So there you have it…
I’m aware that this list will appeal to only a small handful of people who find themselves in Chiayi for any length of time with no ability to head up to Alishan, but if it’s been helpful, let me know! Otherwise, tune in next Sunday for a more exciting article about biking rural villages in Taiwan.