Since I have moved from India to Hsinchu, it is officially my home now. Though it took a long to feel like ‘home’ here.
I am currently living with my husband who works in a university. Initially, I felt alienated in this city. For a person who likes observing people, comprehending surroundings and reading almost every word I see, I felt helpless.
I could not read most of the words I saw. I still can’t. I could not understand a single word that I heard. It was all Chinese or Taiwanese or some other local language that I didn’t know.
People looked so unapproachable. It’s not that they are rude or something. They are nice and helpful mostly but it seems that they like to maintain a polite distance. Or perhaps they are shy about talking to a foreigner in a foreign language. I have become habitual of this now.
It does not affect me like before.
I don’t want to know what people are talking about. I have adopted this habit of being happy in my oblivion. I have started liking this city and our rapport is developing slowly but steadily.
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Where is Hsinchu?
Hsinchu is also known as ‘Windy City’ due to the strong winds that blow here throughout the year. It is located in the northern part of Taiwan, around an hour away from Taipei.
What is it famous for?
Hsinchu is not famous as a tourist destination but there are many places to visit. It is known for its Science Park as many big industries and companies are located here.
Places to visit in Hsinchu
Flower Market- This is the place that lifts my mood instantly when I visit. There are so many fresh green plants, flowers, planters, pots and similar other gardening stuff available.
Decorative plants, succulents, climbers etc in cute looking planters can be easily seen in shops, cafes, outside houses, in balconies around here. Looking at these makes me happy.
Temple- I have seen many temples in Hsinchu.
The structure and color are usually similar.
They are beautifully adorned with idols, flowers and decorative pieces. I have often seen people using a set of wooden blocks to seek answers from God.
They throw these blocks together on the floor and their position gives the divine answer to the seeker’s question. This is known as ‘Poe divination’.
NTHU- National Tsing Hua University is a place that has a lot to offer even to the people who do not study or work there.
I often go there with my husband and sometimes alone too. In addition to the classrooms, dormitories, offices etc, there are a lot of interesting things like food courts, shops, cafes, a beautiful lake, hiking trails, parks.
The library offers many things along with a huge collection of books. You can listen to music, do your online work, reserve a private cabin for watching a movie, for meetings, group study, and presentations, etc.
You can use the couches and recliners to relax and read with a beautiful view right across the huge glass windows.
A huge number of people visit Japan during Sakura season but it can be quite heavy on the pocket. Comparatively, Taiwan is more affordable and less crowded than Japan during the season.
If you do not want to travel far away from the capital city then here is the list of places where you can see the pink flowers blooming in Taipei: Cherry Blossom season in Taiwan: All you need to know.
Places to shop in Hsinchu
Big City & Sogo- These are two big malls in the city that offer everything you may need from clothes, bags, jewelry, food, entertainment, household stuff etc. You can find many major international brands here.
Downtown- This is the market area near the train station. There are many big and small shops lined on the sides of the roads. I often shop here for clothes and stuff. It offers a large variety and prices are reasonable too.
Night Market- I have just been to the night market near the lake. You can see some artist playing music or singing in that area. Small stalls are put around the pathways that sell the usual stuff like snacks, jewelry, clothes, accessories, etc.
Convenience stores- In Hsinchu, one can easily find a convenience store nearby. There are so many of these like 7-11, Family mart, Hi-life etc. There are so many services offered by these.
You can buy food, drinks, other necessities, withdraw and transfer money, send parcels, book a taxi, get a photo clicked, take print-outs. They make life so much easy.
Why you should visit Hsinchu
Things that I like about living here may be normal in many other countries but coming from India, there were many things that I experienced here for the first time.
It is quite peaceful and safe: At least the neighborhood where I live is very quiet and peaceful. There are two parks and a temple nearby where I often go for a walk. I have seen young women jogging alone, wearing shorts late at night.
I do often feel a little uncomfortable when I am not able to comprehend anything that is being talked about around me. But I feel safe even while walking alone on a road where I can’t see another human around.
Transportation is very easy: Though you can notice a lot of cars, taxis, buses, and scooters, it is common to see people cycling and walking around.
I like to walk as the roads and pathways are clean and in good condition. I get to walk a lot in the markets, in university, in the park, and around my home.
Walking lets you experience things and places at your own pace. High Speed Rail (HSR) and TRA (Normal Train) make inter-city traveling very convenient. For travelling within the city I use public buses or taxi.
Public buses are frequent, air-conditioned and run on schedule.
People have good civic sense: People like to follow rules and things seem to be orderly here. They line up for buses and trains, follow traffic rules and keep surroundings clean.
Day trips from Hsinchu
Leofoo Village Theme Park
It is located in Guanxi Township, Hsinchu County.
A colorful and happy place with lots of things to do. Kids and adults enjoy this place alike. There are a number of rides, water park, animal safari, theatre, entertainment and of course, food.
I have been twice to this place and loved the experience. It makes you feel like a child again. More information can be found here.
Green-world Ecological Farm
This is a farm located in Beipu Township, Hsinchu County. It is a great place for a family picnic and ecological tour. There is a large variety of birds, animals, butterflies, and plants.
It covers an area of around 70 hectares.
The place is so beautiful and there are many areas inside the farm that look very natural and raw. More information can be found here.
Hike to Eighteen Peaks
It is an easy hike in the city that locals often do for a break from the city humdrum.
It is kind of an oasis in the concrete jungle. You can listen to birds chirruping and have a leisurely walk. It is more of a walk to a mountainous garden than a rough hike.
During the hike you would come across areas thickly covered with bamboo and other trees. When we went there to hike, many times I felt that we were stranded and there was no one around (which was not true).
It often gets that quiet and eerie.
Places to stay in Hsinchu
Hotel Royal Hsinchu: A 5-star property that provides world-class service offering a Swimming pool, Spa and wellness center, fitness center and Bar. The place is popular among guests due to its great location and staff.
For Latest Rates, Room Availability, and review Click Here.
Blowin’ in the wind Hostel: A great option for travelers on a budget, this hostel is located near the Confucius Temple in Hsinchu.
Grand Crystal Hotel: Great location this hotel offers spacious rooms, free parking, family rooms, airport shuttle, and buffet breakfast.