If you have a penchant for paint, a romance for reclaimed space, and a hankering for hordes of tourists, Rainbow Village, Taichung should definitely be on your bucket list! In all seriousness though, although it garners a large tourist crowd it’s a pretty special place with a colourful story.
What is Rainbow Village?
Rainbow Village never used to be quite so colourful – in fact, it was the slam-dunk the opposite. Originally a ‘veteran village,’ it was hastily and cheaply built to house ex-soldiers. Veteran villages used to exist all over the country but slowly get torn down by developers.
Rainbow Village faced a similar depressing fate – its buildings were slowly being sold-off and deconstructed. Mr Huang, a resident, was watching as his village was falling down around him. One by one, his neighbours and friends deserted the area, leaving Mr Huang all alone. One day, he picked up a paintbrush and began to paint a bird on the wall of his home. His startlingly bright artwork began spreading like ink through the buildings and alleyways of the small area.
It may not have been his plan, but it worked – university students discovered the incredible art in Rainbow Village, and protested about it being torn down. The government suspended the demolition, and Rainbow Village became an artistic institution in Taichung. Hello, can I please speak with Hollywood?
Now, Rainbow Village is not so much a quaint old village but a pilgrimage for Instagrammers. People flock to discover the brightly coloured walls, buildings, and artwork – and when I say flock, boy do I mean flock.
Where is Rainbow Village and How Do You Get There?
Rainbow Village is in Taichung, about two-hours train ride from Taipei on the west coast of the country. The creative hotspot is located outside of the city centre in Nantung District, so if you’re planning on using public transport there allow some time – you’re going to need it!
There aren’t too many options to get to the village. The easiest and cheapest is the public bus, but I’m going to save you a list of a bunch of bus numbers and random stops that will just confuse you and instead point you to our lord and saviour Google Maps (amen).
Otherwise, a taxi from the city centre will cost anywhere from $200-$350 NTD, or if you have a rental car there is enough parking nearby to drive straight there. If you’re short on time, there are several tour options from Taipei that will take you here and to Gaomei Wetlands.
How Long to Spend at Rainbow Village?
Surprisingly, for one of the main draw-cards of Taichung (alongside SunMoon Lake), Rainbow Village is not a overly large attraction. In fact, you could walk through the whole village in less than ten minutes, or sprint through in less than two minutes (you know, if you wanted). But, if you would like to take your time to amble through, admire the artwork, take some super-fun pics to pimp our your social media, and check out the souvenirs on offer you could easily spend an hour or so here.
Tips to Explore Rainbow Village
Rainbow Village is an insanely popular attraction for both the Taiwanese and many Chinese tourists, which means you could well be fighting for space for photos. The village is open from 8am until 6pm, so arriving as early as possible will help you avoid the hordes coming on the various tour buses.
While you’re there, you will find many enterprising businesses have sprung up in the area. Inside the village is a juice shop, and various souvenir shops, while outside you can purchase fresh fruit, black eggs, or t-shirts to your hearts content.
Finally, you can have the chance to meet the father of the Rainbow Village, Mr Huang himself. He’s gotten on in years, is pretty quiet, and doesn’t speak much English, but put a camera in his face and he’ll (slowly) come to life. You can take a picture with Mr Huang for a donation to charity, his security guard will be your photographer, and you’ll get some cute photos of your and the brains behind the village doing peace signs and pulling funny faces. Not bad!