Sinying and Liuying Introduction
For vacationers interested in the arts, culture, and history, or those who are just looking for a quick weekend jaunt, the Xinying/Liuying route is ideal. There are train stations in both districts for an easy start, and to get from point to point on this route only requires short trips over flat terrain that even novice bike riders won’t find too challenging.
A great place to start is to take the train into Sinying Station. From there, you can head to the Sinying Railway Culture Park, only a couple of minutes away. The park is a real treat for railroad buffs. It’s possible to get a first-hand look at a whole range of narrow-gauge rail cars and engines while there. You can even ride an old sugar cane train down to the Happy Cow Farm, where visitors feed the farm animals and nosh on milk hotpot in an old railroad dining car. After returning, take in the Tangfu Printing Museum right next door to the Railway Park to learn about the traditional print industry and view their collection of 150,000 lead character dies.
When you’re done here, it’s a short ride south to Liuying and the beautifully preserved Liu Family Ancestral Mansion, built in 1870 and still owned by this eminent local family. Next door to the mansion, you will find the Liu Chi-hsiang Museum, which houses a large number of the famous painter’s works and recounts the story of his life.
If you haven’t gotten enough cultural input for one weekend, then keep on riding and check out the wonderfully retro Wu Jin-huai Memorial Hall, the former home of the father of Taiwanese pop, now transformed into an interactive museum that allows visitors to vicariously experience his life, songs, and impact on the local music scene.
If temple touring is more your thing, you’re in luck. A mere few minutes outside of Liuying, you can visit the Tongji Temple at Ironbridge. This temple, now split between a large and ornate new temple building and the older, smaller, and very picturesque original temple, is a study in contrasts, and it’s anybody’s guess which one you’ll prefer.
Head back up to the outskirts of Sinying for a visit to Taizih Temple, the first temple in Taiwan dedicated to the worship of Nezha, a.k.a. the Third Prince. With its giant golden statue of the Third Prince himself up on the roof, this temple is easy to find. If you arrive in September, you might just be able to join Nezha’s wild and crazy birthday celebration.
From here, you can choose to return to Sinying Station and end your trip, or if you are feeling adventurous, continue on to the nearby community of Zhupu with its beautiful brick courtyard homes and thence to Poetry Road, where you can enjoy an afternoon of tea drinking and poetry recitations. Either way, an easy weekend filled with music, art, architecture, and the printed word is the perfect antidote to the daily drudge of weekday work, so start making plans now; this is a trip you’ll really enjoy.
∎ Sinying/Liuying Recommended route ∎
Sinying Railway Culture Park—Happy Cow Farm—Tangfu Printing Museum—Liu Family Ancestral Mansion—Liu Chi-hsiang Museum—Wu Jin-huai Memorial Hall—Tongji Temple at Ironbridge—Sinying Taizih Temple
∎ Where to visit ∎
∎ Where to Rent Motorbike/Bicycle ∎
∎ Where to eat-drink-buy ∎
∎ Where to stay ∎