Travelogue: Chiayi

Chiayi (嘉義) is mostly known for being the closest major city to Alishan (阿里山) national park, but I found it well worth my time to spend a day or so exploring Chiayi, especially after recovering from my climb up Alishan. It’s a modestly sized city, large enough to have its own points of interest, but not large enough to merit more than a day or two of exploration. A view from my hostel:
Chiayi - Panographic view

On a side note, Chiayi was the first stop on my loop of Taiwan – I visited Taiwan during the off season (read: the rainy season), and Chiayi / Alishan were the only places not raining when I decided to set off on an island-wide tour.

Wenhua (文化路 – culture road) night market: Not bad! Not as a big as other night markets in Taiwan, but large enough to have variety, authentic enough to not be full of tourists.
Chiayi - night market

One of Chiayi’s signature foods is this turkey and rice dish, which was quite good (featuring a guest appearance by my hat):

The folks at my hostel also recommended I try this green tea and grapefruit drink; it sounds like an odd combination, but works out surprisingly well:
Chiayi - grapefruit green tea shop Chiayi - grapefruit green tea

???: I really have no idea what this is. It’s like an… upside down… basket… building? Quite picturesque though, especially from the inside.

Chiayi Railway Park: Free to enter, lots of old trains on display! Heaven for a trainspotter, but quite interesting to a layperson too.

They’ve even got an old passenger car converted into a set of toilets:
Chiayi - railway park restroom

Chiayi Park (嘉義公园) – in the dark!: It’s got all the makings of a great park – water fountains, a Confucian temple, statues, artsy architecture, old people dancing, and of course a statue of a little boy peeing:

Sun-shooting Tower (射日塔): Also within Chiayi Park, this tower deserves its own mention. I’m not exactly sure how to describe this tower, except that it’s a unique observation tower from which to view the city. It looks great in both the dark and the day:

At the top (accessible only by elevator, no stairs), you have got a cafe and observation platform to view the city:
Chiayi - Sun Shooting Tower scenery 1 Chiayi - Sun Shooting Tower scenery 2

Even within the tower, it’s a great place to take photos, or just sit and enjoy the day:

You can also make a wish, and hang it on the tower! I made a wish:
Chiayi - Sun Shooting Tower my wish Chiayi - Sun Shooting Tower wish net

Can you see where I hung it? Before:
Chiayi - Sun Shooting Tower wish net before

After:
Chiayi - Sun Shooting Tower wish net after

Chiayi Municipal Museum: Has rocks. Rocks and a very, very lousy earthquake simulator chair. Not worth visiting. Also, only in Chinese.

A pottery museum new the municipal museum:

Chiayi - pottery museum Chiayi - Chiayi museum carving 2

Chiayi Old Jail: Very, very boring. Also, only in Chinese. Here is the gate of the old Chiayi jail, a cell, and a watery punishment cell for uncooperative prisoners:

Bits and bobs:
Future travelers! If you are going to Chiayi, I advise you to stay at the An Lan Jie Hostel. Very nice facilities, great staff, and good location.

I love this photo, taken at nighttime near Chiayi park:
Chiayi - remote control car

It’s not the greatest photo (it’s actually really shitty), but tells an amazing narrative. After work is over, a married couple drives to an empty parking lot next to a secluded park. You think you know where this is going. But then they get out, and the guy pulls out a remote control car. He’s probably an accountant, working a 9-5 that he doesn’t like, just to afford to buy and build remote control cars. And meanwhile, his long-suffering wife stands beside him, playing on her phone.

McDonalds golden arches, taken down for repair:
Chiayi - McDonalds arches

It reminds me of the famous Barclays photo, courtesy of Dealbreaker:

It’s the Nazi association of Taiwan!
Chiayi - swastika

No, the Swastika is actually an ancient Buddhist symbol, one which the Nazis stole.

An old (Japanese) architecture park:

After staying in Chiayi for a couple of days and visiting Alishan, I made my way down south, to Tainan!

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