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15 things to do in Miaoli County Taiwan

1. Flying Cow Ranch

If you’re the kind of city person who finds farm life exotic, or you’ve got kids like us, then Flying Cow Ranch may be for you. Like so many other leisure farms in Taiwan, there are multiple activities on offer and animals to touch or feed.

The Flying Cow Ranch Hotel (read reviews / see prices) actually looks pretty cool, and the fresh yogurt sold in the souvenir shop is quite delicious.

Address: 357, Taiwan, Miaoli County, Tongxiao Township, 南和里166號

2. Global Tea Hut

The only time I’ve ever visited Miaoli City was to attend a morning meditation and tea session at the headquarters of Global Tea Hut, a zen meditation center.

Wu De, the resident American monk, offers free lodging to backpackers, guided meditations, and extremely informative tea education sessions, but the waiting list can be quite long. The organization also publishes Tea & Tao magazine, and subscriptions (which are mailed worldwide) include environmentally friendly tea-of-the-month samples.

Address : No. 16, Yu Ching St., Lane 94, Miaoli 360

3. Hakka Roundhouse

Lying just north of the Houlong River from Miaoli City, the Hakka Roundhouse is an impressive recreation of a traditional Hakka tulou (土樓) or Walled Village. Hakka tulou are common in mountainous regions of southeastern Fujian province in China, and a single one can house up to 800 people.

The Hakka Round House was built by the local government to welcome visitors arriving by HSR to the area. It’s free to enter, but there isn’t much to see inside. It’s only a few steps from the Miaoli HSR station, making it a convenient thing to do in Miaoli if you happen to be waiting for the high speed rail.

Address: No.295, Xingang 3rd Rd., Houlong Township, Miaoli County 356

4. Luxury Camping at Shangri-La Paradise

I visited Shangri-La Paradise in Zaoqiao township a few years ago researching a series of articles on Taiwan’s amusement parks for Travel in Taiwan magazine. Expecting another typical theme park, I arrived to find that the few remaining rides from the park’s glory days in the 1980s had been left to decay, serving as a spooky backdrop to one of Taiwan’s only luxury campgrounds, called CMP Village (勤美學).

The CMP Village luxury camping experience includes information sessions (Mandarin only) on local Miaoli foods and culture, a communal campfire and dinner under the stars, and a variety of DIY activities, like Hakka blue dyeing, pottery making, tree climbing, and rush weaving. The yurt-like tents campers stay in looked amazing; I’d consider staying for the tents alone!

On weekends, visitors can enter the grounds and explore (adults NT500, kids NT280, discounts often available). There are photogenic art installations throughout the park, shops and cafés, a small Hakka museum, and gardens. They will even fire up some of the old rides and let you on if you ask.

Address: 361, Taiwan, Miaoli County, Zaoqiao Township, 豐湖村1鄰乳姑山15之3號

5. Mingde Reservoir

If you are looking for remote, scenic scooter riding or cycling, the area around Mingde Reservoir is very pretty. Consider making the easy trip from Miaoli City to Lion’s Head Mountain and Nanzhuang (see below).

The reservoir was created when the Laotianliao River, a tributary of the Houlong River, was dammed in 1960. The dam features several park areas overlooking the water and two hanging bridges connecting to Rixindao, an island in the middle with an chilled out café boasting reservoir views.

Address: No. 45, Mingde Village, Touwu Town, Miaoli County, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

6. Lion’s Head Mountain

Hiking the network of trails connecting the numerous Buddhist temples on Lion’s Head Mountain (獅頭山 or Shitoushan) is without a doubt my favorite thing to do in Miaoli. I’ve been three times now; most recently my two kids and I braved a super rainy weekend to spend the night in one of temples on the mountain and loved every second of it.

For a much more thorough description of the hiking trails and how to get there or spend the night in a temple, see my complete article on Lion’s Head Mountain.

Lion’s Head Mountain spans Hsinchu and Miaoli counties, and has an entrance on either side. It takes about 1.5 hours to hike from one side to the other, including lots of stops to admire the temples, many of which are built into cliff walls or caves.

7. Nanzhuang & Sweet Osmanthus Lane

A 15-minute drive south of Lion’s Head Mountain, Nanzhuang (南庄) is a very small, laid back Hakka village. It is famous for its old street, called Sweet Osmanthus Lane (桂花巷), which runs parallel to the main road, or Nanzhuang Old Street.

Of the many old streets in Taiwan, this one is quite small but one of my favorites because it is quite atmospheric and we found the vendors to be particularly warm and welcoming. For more information, see my complete article on Nanzhuang. If you enjoy traditional snacks and old streets in Taiwan, then also don’t miss Jiufen near Taipei!

As the name Sweet Osmanthus Lane suggests, the alley’s main specialty is sweet osmanthus, a fragrant flower that thrives in the area. Several foods flavored with the flower are sold, in particular honey.

Address: Wenhua Rd., Nanzhuang Township Taiwan

8. Picking Strawberries in Dahu

Dahu is the strawberry epicenter of Taiwan. Every January and February, people all around Taiwan flock to supermarkets and street market stalls to purchase strawberries from Dahu, the tiny Miaoli village that is practically synonymous with the plump fruit. Dahu’s strawberries are particularly large and sweet.

Address: No. 49-6 Neighborhood 4, Fuxing Village, Dahu County Taiwan

9. Tai An Hot Springs

Remote Tai’an Hot Springs (泰安溫泉) is one of my favorite places in Taiwan. I love the area’s verdant mountains, and there are some great facilities on offer in the small collection of hot spring hotels.

The hot spring water here is colorless and odorless, and staying overnight after soaking in it makes for the perfect weekend getaway.

Address: 365, Taiwan, Miaoli County, Tai'an Township

10. Visit the roof of Taiwan at Shei-Pa National Park

Shei-Pa (Xueba) National Park (雪霸國家公園) is an enormous high mountain park spanning Hsinchu, Miaoli, and Taichung. Its main peaks are Xueshan (Snow Mountan) and Dabajianshan, with its distinctive peak.

One place where you can access the park is Guanwu Recreation Area, which offers incredible vistas and hiking trails often shrouded in mist. You can visit Guanwu Recreation Area on this hiking day trip from Taipei, Taoyuan, or Hsicnhu.

Address: 364, Taiwan, Miaoli County, Dahu Township, 100號

11. Hakka Courtyard

If you are interested in Hakka architecture and flower viewing, then Hakka Courtyard (客家大院) in Tongluo township may be worth checking out. The Hakka-style home was built by the government in 2010, with a combination of modern and traditional elements. Even though it’s not a real home, it’s still a picturesque structure.

Hakka Courtyard is located within LOHAS Tung Blossom Park (桐花樂活公園), which as the name suggests, would be best to visit when the tung blossoms are blooming in April and May.

Address: 366, Taiwan, Miaoli County, Tongluo Township, 龍泉15號

12. Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum

While Hakka Courtyard was a bit of a letdown, the Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum truly exceeded my expectations. I’ve never been particularly interested in wood carvings, but the hundreds of pieces of intricately carved woodworks within the gorgeously designed complex were nothing short of breathtaking.

Wood sculpting in Taiwan predates the Japanese occupation period and was originally tied to temple construction. In the 1960s, the wood carving industry began booming in Sanyi, making use of the camphor which grows abundantly in Miaoli. The museum was opened in 1995.

Address: 367, Taiwan, Miaoli County, Sanyi Township

13. Shengxing Station

If you’re in the Sanyi area or planning to visit Longteng Bridge (see below), then the old Shengxing Station (勝興車站) makes a good stop for lunch. The handsome wooden station was part of the Old Mountain Line, which ceased operation in 1998.

People come here to walk on the tracks and dine at the handful of Hakka restaurants lining the narrow street in front of the station.

The biggest draw used to be walking into the dark tunnel at one end, but now it’s closed off to foot traffic, and you can only enter by riding the Old Mountain Line Rail Bike (it looks like a toy train), which runs four times per day (NT280) to Longteng Bridge.

Address: No. 89, Shengxing Village, Sanyi Township, Miaoli County, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

14. Remains of Longteng Bridge

Longteng Bridge (龍騰斷橋) has become one of the symbols of Taiwan, and you may see it on postcards or packs of Taiwan-themed stickers for kids. The red brick bridge was built in 1906 but destroyed by an large earthquake in 1935. A new iron bridge, the highest in Taiwan at 50 meters, was built nearby.

The attraction makes for an interesting stop and quick stroll, and you can also see tung blossoms in the area. The most interesting way to arrive is by taking the Old Mountain Line Rail Bike (see Shengxing Station above).

Address: 367, Taiwan, Miaoli County, Sanyi Township, 龍騰村9-5號

15. Miaoli City

The Miaoli County capital, Miaoli City, sees few tourists, domestic or foreign, as the county’s rural attractions are a much bigger draw. Nevertheless, the city has a laid-back vibe and a few points of interest that might make it worth a stop for those looking to try something new.

Things to do in Miaoli City include Maolishan Park (貓貍山公園), where you can walk through old railway tunnels filled with lights and music, the Miaoli Railway Museum (苗栗鐵道文物展示館 8am to 5pm), and Yingcai Night Market (英才觀光夜市).
Address: Miaoli City, Miaoli County, Taiwan


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