Travel in Houbi

Houbi, an agrarian district with some 25,000 residents in the northernmost reaches of Tainan, is a place of quiet rural beauty. Here, you can enjoy a leisurely bike tour on an easy-going route that takes you through traditional farming villages and the peaceful countryside of the Tainan Plain. An added bonus for visitors is that Houbi is surprisingly easy to get to. It’s only a short jaunt from the Chiayi high-speed rail station; travelers can also opt to take a local train to Houbi Train Station, a quaint building that is one of the best remaining examples of wooden Japanese-style train stations left in Taiwan (bicycles and cycling information are available here  making it a good starting point for a trip). Check the Cozybike rental for more information.

In fact, if you know where to look, you’ll find traces of Japanese influence everywhere in this corner of the country. One good example is Houbi’s award-winning bike path, which was created from the system of old local rail lines built during the Japanese occupation to transport sugarcane to the mills.

Another example is the farmland itself. As you make your way through the countryside, you will notice that some areas are set up with irrigation channels and water gates for rice production, while other parts of the district are dedicated to dry crops. This is an inheritance from the Japanese period , when the channels were first constructed.

There is also a surprising amount of Japanese influence still to be seen in local buildings. In historic Jingliao Village, the Huang family mansion has a front façade that is straight out of the colonial era, and the local elementary school library is housed in a wooden Japanese-style structure that was built decades ago. Local favorite fun spot Wushulin Recreation Park is a repurposed Japanese-built sugar mill and rail transport hub complete with old factory buildings, rail engines, and train rides.

But these remnants of the Japanese occupation are firmly grounded in the rich rural Taiwanese culture for which this area is famous. Visitors are welcome to explore the 24 Solar Term Art Trail, a country village walk complete with art installations that illustrate and explain the Chinese seasonal planting calendar. Nearby Shi’an Community is a modern example of the positive impact that cooperative farming has on small rice farming communities. For a glimpse of the religious culture, visitors would do well to check out the astonishing Tai’an Temple, a massive edifice dedicated to Mazu that serves (and is the combined work of) 59 local villages and hamlets. Travelers in the district may be surprised to discover that Houbi is also home to the Shi Jinhui Art Museum, which houses many of the works of nationally renowned painter Shi Jinhui.

Underlying all of this is the natural charm of the local countryside. Whether you are biking through a tunnel of flame-red flowers at Silk Cotton Tree Road, exploring the local villages with their traditional brick farmhouses, or riding along lanes between verdant fields of rice under a blue vault of the sky, Houbi is a place to open your senses and immerse yourself at the moment. 

 

∎ Cultural Events 

Taiwan International Orchid Show 

 

∎ Where to visit 

Attractions for Houbi-Baihe Routes

 

∎ Where to Rent Motorbike/Bicycle 

Da Xinying Scooter Firm

Bike Rental Business

Cozybike Rental

 

∎ Where to eat-drink-buy 

 

English-friendly shops in Sinying

English-friendly shops in Liuying 

English-friendly shops in Yanshuei 

English-friendly shops in Houbi

English-friendly shops in Baihe

English-friendly shops in Dongshan

 

∎ Where to stay  

Moo Time Inn

Kampung Jing-Liao

Chun Kuan Merchant Hotel

Baihe Granduncle's Bed and Breakfast

Xiangyang Garden Homestay

Mu Spring Bed & Breakfast

ReiKei Hot Spring Resort

Travel in Houbi and Baihe

  Houbi District, Tainan City

  +886 6-2991111


Getting to Jingliao
By bike: From Xinying station, 
take the light blue bike route to Swan Lake. 
From there, pick up the dark blue route, 
which starts at Swan Lake and ends 
at the entrance to Jingliao Old street. 
From Houbi station, 
ride west on Tainan Route 82 
until you get to the intersection with Route 85 South. 
This corner is the entrance to Jingliao Old Street.  

By bus: From Xinying station, 
go across the street to the bus station. 
Take the Yellow 6 bus to Jingliao. 
The bus runs seven times a day; 
look for the schedule in the bus station. 
On weekends and holidays, 
you can also take the Yellow 6-1, 
which makes eight runs a day. 

Visitors planning a trip to Jingliao 
should be aware that it is also called Wumile Community, 
so if you see this name on a sign, 
you’re in the right place. 
The Wumile Tourist Information Center,
just around the corner on Route 85 South, 
has maps and bicycle rentals.