Things to Do in Changhua

The colorful front facade of the Dingjia Residence historic building.

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An Insider’s Guide to Changhua County:
A Small Nugget Filled With History

Changhua County may be Taiwan’s smallest county, but it shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone interested in Taiwan’s rich cultural heritage, or its delicious food. The country is not only home to one of the oldest towns in Taiwan, Lukang, but also several precious attractions that are both fun and steeped in history.

Notably, the town of Lukang is filled with historic temples, national heritage sites and old-timey vendors selling traditional snacks, while Fangyuan to the south is home to vast tidal flats where oysters are still farmed by hand and local farmers offer oyster harvesting eco-tours. The orchards in Changhua are also famous for star fruit, lychee, grapes, guava and watermelon, so if you see any being sold at the market, chances are it’s local.

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Lukang Old Street

Tourists of all ages walk around Lukang Old Street.
A cafe operates in a traditional house; the inside is long and narrow with colorful, elaborately painted details.
Bags of flour tea are on display outside of this traditional house and shop in Lukang.
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Lukang Old Street, located in the heart of the historic town of Lukang in Changhua County, is one of Taiwan’s most charming old streets and an essential destination for those who want to get a close look at Taiwan’s cultural heritage. The street, known for its well-preserved traditional architecture and proximity to some of Taiwan’s most famous early temples, is lined with single-story red-brick shops and residences. Many residences here still operate traditional family businesses, selling snacks and souvenirs. The street is particularly famous for two delicacies, flour tea, known in Mandarin as “miancha” and cured gray mullet roe, known as “wuyuzi”. Lukang Old Street is only one of several amazing destinations in Lukang’s historic district. Read one for preserved residences, heritage buildings, and well-preserved temples, all of which offer glimpses into Taiwan’s rich history.

Lukang Folk Arts Museum

Two bridal sedan chairs are on display in Lukang Folk Arts Museum.
A baroque-styled courtyard in the Lukang Folk Arts Museum.
A small exterior space surrounded by wooden windows, red-brick columns and white cement
The front facade of Lukang Folk Arts Museum.
Artifacts, antique furniture and a shrine are on display in a room in the museum.
A tourist looks on at a red-brick doorway in a courtyard of the museum.
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The Lukang Folk Arts Museum is a must-see “time capsule” that is, like most points of interest in Lukang, within walking distance of Lukang Old Street. Housed in a restored Japanese-era baroque-inspired building, the museum recreates the living spaces of late 19th century Taiwanese bourgeoisie. Courtyards, bedrooms, and parlor areas are filled with antique furniture and artifacts from as far back as the Ming and Qing dynasties. Exhibitions on display include photographs, calligraphy, lacquer ware, porcelain, carved stones, embroidery, musical instruments and other items. Some of the wood carvings and porcelain on display were made years ago by Lukang’s own artisans. Like the town in which it’s located, the museum features many interesting courtyards and passages which visitors can explore at their own pace.

Lukang Ting’s Family Historical Residence (Old House Of The Ding’s, Lukang)

Several interior spaces and several courtyards are visible through a series of aligned doors.
A beautiful courtyard leads to two palanquins and a shrine.
A small wood carving of a mythical figure on a dragon on display.
A tourist walks around one of the red-brick courtyards in Ting's Family Historical Residence.
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Located just next door to the Lukang Folk Arts Museum is another wonderful relic of Lukang’s glorious past and county monument: Ting’s Family Historical Residence (also referred to as “Ancient House of Ding’s Family”). 

The Ting’s Family Historical Residence features a “three-section, three-front, two-courtyard” architectural layout, making it one of the few well-preserved buildings in Lukang with an intact layout, and the last remaining example in Taiwan of a Qing Dynasty three-shop-front with an interior courtyard. The unique complex stretches 70-meters deep, which creates opportunities for creative photography. 

The commercial area has since been repurposed to showcase the art of local artists, while deeper inside the residence, original architecture, art and personal possessions like palanquins are on display for guests to enjoy. The house features painted wooden screens that are the works of Lukang’s master painter Guo Youmei.

Lukang Longshan Temple

The central courtyard and front facade of the main hall of Lukang Longshan Temple.
The interior of Lukang Longshan temple has golden effigies, wooden lanterns, and offerings on display.
Looking directly upwards into the colorful caisson ceiling in Lukang Longshan Temple
Aged paint is visible on the massive wooden columns supporting the temple's Theatre Pavilion.
Intricate carvings are visible on several panes in the ceiling of one of Longshan Temple's halls.
An offering table sits in front of the entrance to the main hall, which is decorated with many hand-painted wooden panels.
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Known as both the “Forbidden City of Taiwan” and the “Art Palace of Taiwan”, Lukang Longshan Temple is Lukang’s largest temple, and one of the most important religious sites in the country. The temple has been awarded national monument status in order to preserve Taiwan’s cultural heritage; it is filled with beautiful stone sculptures, wood carvings, hand paintings and many more artworks.

The temple was built in 1786 by early Han Chinese settlers to thank Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, for their safe passage across the dangerous waters of the Taiwan Strait. It has been renovated several times since then and has been declared by The Taiwan Tourism Bureau as Taiwan’s best-preserved and most aesthetically alluring Qing-dynasty architectural work.

The walled complex of the temple features four aligned courtyards, each more elaborate than the next. The temple is also home to one of Taiwan’s most elaborate spiderweb caisson ceilings, a classic engineering technique which features carved and painted wooden pieces joined together with interlocking wooden brackets instead of nails.

Husheng Glass Temple

The sun sets over Lukang Glass Temple, which shines red from its own illumination.
Lukang Glass Temple illuminated by lanterns at night.
Praying at the main altar of Lukang Glass Temple.
The illuminated Lukang Glass Temple seen from the outside at night.
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The Husheng Glass Temple, located just outside of the Town of Lukang, is a modern take on Taiwanese tradition. Made entirely out of glass panels fixed together with glass clamps and without the use of any screws whatsoever, it is the first temple of its kind in the world. 

Although the temple was only constructed in 2012, it worships one of Taiwan’s most important traditional gods, Mazu, and is modeled after various traditional Mazu temples. During the day, the temple’s appearance varies with ambient light. However, on most evenings, special lights are turned on and the temple really shows off its uniqueness.

We recommend visiting at sunset or in the evening when the temple is illuminated by lights. Be sure to check illumination times by inquiring with the temple as they change by season.

Fangyuan Oyster Harvesting

Oyster farmers operate a tour featuring a water buffalo-drawn cart
A first-person view from atop the water buffalo-drawn cart as it rides through the town of Fangyuan.
A tourist barbecues clams, oysters and other seafood at the end of a tour.
A small purple crab the size of a dime is held in a person's hand.
A farmer guide is explaining to his client about the tidal flats.
A tourist holds up a clam she just dug up.
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Fangyuan Township, located in Changhua County, has a rich tradition of oyster farming. Its intertidal zones are home to diverse marine life, and provide a unique opportunity for eco-tours. In the past, Fangyuan’s farmers used water buffalo to help them transport harvested oysters into town. While gasoline powered carts have replaced water buffalo for most actual oyster harvesting, the remaining water buffalo are considered a national intangible cultural asset and continue to be an important part of Fangyuan’s cultural heritage. 

Capitalizing on the tradition of using water buffalo-pulled carts to transport oysters from the fields, entrepreneurial farmers now offer authentic oyster picking tours that give visitors a chance to experience how oysters were once farmed. Not only will you get to experience the slow pace of life of the local farmers, they will also educate you on the local ecosystem and provide a barbecue on the tidal flats. 

Dongzuo’s Inkstone Art Center

An inkstone with very intricate stone carvings on display.
Dozens of inkstones of all sizes and colors are on display in a studio.
Close up shot of an inkstone with simple decorations.
An English sign introduces Dongzuo's Inkstone Art Museum.
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Dongzuo’s Inkstone Art Center (also known as Tung Tso Ink Slap Art Museum)  in Ershui showcases a collection of intricate inkstone carvings and embossments, created by master inkstone carver Dong Zuo. Visitors can view the large collection of inkstones exhibited, gain insights into this traditional art, and immerse themselves in the world of inkstone culture.

Inkstones are tools used in traditional calligraphy and painting. They are typically made of stone and have a smooth, concave surface where ink is ground with water to create ink for writing or painting. Inkstones are not only functional but also considered works of art, with intricate carvings and designs that reflect the cultural heritage and craftsmanship of the region.

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