The Visitor Center should be the first place to visit when touring Lion-Head Mountain, where the very friendly and helpful staff can give pointers where one can go.
Next have a cup of coffee and a cake or ice-cream at the nearby cafe. Where the coffee itself isn't anything to cheer about, the mountain scenery and the quiet relaxing atmosphere is just great.
This is a natural cave where water drips down like a curtain over the mouth of the cave, hence the name Shuei-lian cave ('Shueilian' means 'water curtain'). Inside this cave is a temple known as Fan-Ying Temple, worshiping Sukyamuni Buddha. The cave was discovered in 1946.
This is a very quiet, serene, and secluded place, good for a leisurely half-hour or 1-hour walk but otherwise nothing really exciting.
The Quanhua Temple in Lion-Head Mountain, Miao-li county, is one of the few temples here that is opened everyday. Built in 1898, this is one of the oldest temple in Lion-Head Mountain. The simple walk up the mountain from the car park to the temple is very interesting. One first pass by an entrance with several stone lions, and then walk through a small cave with lights that has motion-detection (once it senses movement, it switches on).
This temple serves both Taoism and Buddhism, with the main patron being the Jade Emperor (from Taoism).
The view from the temple overlooking the hills and valleys is spectacular.
This is strictly not ONE attraction but several attractions scattered around this mountain. Lion-head mountain spans 2 towns - Sanwan, and Nanzhuang - in Miao-li county, and Ermei town in Hsinchu county.
The best place to visit first is the visitor center. The extremely friendly and extremely helpful staff there will be able to give advice where one can visit.
The one temple here that is open everyday is the Quanhua Temple. The other temples are open only on Sundays to public.
Flying Cow Ranch is, just like any other ranch, a farm with cows and goats, and several restaurants and shops to eat and/or buy their dairy products. But what's different here is that part of the ranch is a forest-like area where wild butterflies roam, hence the name "Flying Cow". No, they don't have cows that fly. The "flying" part of the name refers to the butterflies.
And just like any other ranch, visitors can buy food to feed the cows, goats and rabbits.
There are about 3 restaurants here to dine in, and the entrance tickets can be used to exchange for a free bottle of fresh milk.
There's also lodging in this ranch if you want to spend a night or two here.
A very quiet and peaceful port on the north-west coast of Miao-li county.
A stone fisherman statue and a plastic huge shark makes for good photography subjects but otherwise just a very quiet fishing port.
The Insectorium Eco-classroom is really a classroom. I couldn't find any live insects here except the occasional housefly, bug and mosquito (not belonging to the classroom). Here, children can learn how to use plastics, wood or cloth to make insects such as stag beetles or dragonflies.
Should be good for a half-day activity for kids.
West Lake Resortopia is a large theme park located in the West Lake (Xihu) village, Sanyi township of Miaoli county. There is a large European-style Garden called Versailles Garden at the front of the park, and a huge Cartoon Garden behind that with life-size statues of cartoon characters. Right at the back of the park is a hilly area called Guandao Hill where a Dinosaur Park is, as well as a resort where visitors can stay for a night. Or two. Kids will love this place.
When the season is right, there is also a forest area where one can see fireflies.
At one side of the park is an Insectorium but because I can only post 5 photos here, I will have to create a new tip just on that.
Shengxing Railway Station is an old unused railway station but remarkably a very popular tourist destination. Even during weekdays this place is swarmed with tourists, mostly locals. There isn't even an old unused locomotive nearby, although the railway track remains. It is so popular that some couples even come here for their wedding photography shoot.
Outside the railway station is a narrow street lined up with hundreds of shops selling souvenirs and food.
Shengxing Railway Station was completed in 1906 and was registered as a historical site in 1999.
In the middle of Sanyi Art Village is a beautifully landscaped shop called Fugui Sanyi Shop. ('Fugui' means wealthy in Chinese.) This is just a shop where several contemporary artists exhibits their wares (mostly ceramic or metal sculptures) in order to sell them. Part of the shop is not opened for visitors unless you make prior appointment with the shop assistants.
Anyway if you buy any of them, the artists will be wealthy (maybe that's how the name of the shop came about).
Sanyi Art Village is within a minute's walk from Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum. One cannot miss the big poster saying "Sanyi Art Village" (in Chinese of course). To walk to this Art Village, one must walk through a very short alley with food stalls selling noodles and traditional Taiwanese snacks.
However the Art Village is a little disappointing. Except for a few sculptures, most shops are closed. There isn't much activities here except for a commercial shop selling expensive ceramic and metal sculptures. The food stalls are more exciting.
The township of Sanyi is well done throughout Taiwan for its fine wood curving and sculpture, and so is this Wood Sculpture Museum. Entrance fees is NT$60 per person. The exhibits inside are of the finest quality, and ranges from traditional dragons, fishes to religious statues of Buddha, Goddess of Mercy and the Guardian Angels, to more abstract forms of contemporary art.
Unfortunately photography is not allowed inside the museum.
In the village of Qing-An, Tai-An town, there is an old street called Qing-An Toufu (Bean Curd) Street, whose main products are food cooked with Bean Curd or snacks made from soy beans. This is because the water here are so clean and high quality that it is perfect for making bean curd.
However there isn't any crowd here, so it's perfect if you like quiet places, but that also means that many stalls here are also closed since there isn't a lot of potential customers.
The town of Dahu (meaning 'Big Lake') is famed for their strawberries. There are strawberry farms everywhere. Besides Dahu Winery (see my other post), there are shops selling snacks and cakes made from strawberries, drinks made from strawberries, balloons in the shape of strawberries, on the pavements you can see strawberry pictures, you see them on the walls, even the shelter on the bus stops are shaped like strawberries.
Dahu Winery, located within the town of Dahu (means 'Big Lake'), sells anything made from Strawberry, from wine made from strawberry (big range between 6% to 50% alcohol content), vinegar made from strawberry, strawberry cakes and bread, even strawberry-flavored coffee.
Dahu is a town in Miao-li whose chief product is strawberries.