Zhongshe Flower Market (中社觀光花市, also spelled Chungshe Flower Market) in Taichung city is one of the best places to see flowers year round-round in Taiwan, thanks to the Central Taiwanese city’s ideal climate.
In Mandarin, the attraction is usually called 中社花海 or “Zhongshe Sea of Flowers”. Come here for the your Instagram-worthy shots surrounded by fields of vibrantly colored flowers. The European-themed garden come with all kinds of props to frame your shots.
This is a tourist magnet, especially for domestic tourists and visitors from nearby Asian countries. However, it’s not the easiest to get to. In this article, I’ve cover everything you need to know for getting to an enjoying this photogenic attraction.
Personally, as someone who doesn’t care too much about flower gardens, I avoided this sight for years, but finally decided to check it out. Even though I was visiting in the low season, and to be honest I had pretty low expectations, I actually enjoyed it!
What is Zhongshe Flower Market?
Zhongshe Flower Market is both a market and tourist attraction spanning 6 hectares (15 acres). In the market area, which has indoor and outdoor sections, a wide variety of potted plants, seeds, small trees, and gardening supplies are sold. This will, of course, mainly appeal to people who are actually living in Taiwan.
For anyone reading this, however, you will most likely be visiting Zhonhshe Flower Market for the seas of flowers in the sprawling outdoor Flower Zone. Like many tourist farms in Taiwan, such as Cingjing Farm, the flower gardens have a European theme, which Taiwanese find exotic.
In winter (December to April), it’s also possible to pick strawberries there (though for serious strawberry picking, I recommend going to Dahu).
There’s also a small shops selling a few drinks and snacks inside and a few rides for young children near the entrance.
Last but not least, there’s a DIY barbecue area under a large tent, complete with karaoke machine for anyone who wants to use it. I’ll cover each of these areas in more detail below.
It’s important to note that Zhongshe Flower Market is NOT a festival. So don’t confuse it with Xinshe Flower Festival (新社花海, also called Xinshe Sea of Flowers or Taichung International Flower Carpet Festival).
This free annual festival takes place in a different part of Taichung every November to December. It also has seas of flowers and statues, but larger and more elaborate than what you’ll see at Zhongshe Flower Market, and with bigger crowds.
Best Time to Visit
Zhongshe Flower Market is open year-round. Like many attractions in Taiwan, they usually only take a break for a day or two at Lunar New Year.
Winter (January to March) is the most popular time to visit Zhongshe Flower Market. That’s when the largest number of flowers are blooming there, including tulips, lilies, and lavender. This will coincide with cherry blossom season in Taiwan, but you won’t see any cherry blossoms at Zhongshe.
You can see a table of all the flowers and when they bloom here. The numbers at the top refer to the 12 months of the year. There are even more flowers than indicated on the table. For example, lavender is not even mentioned – it usually blooms from late October until May.
Some flowers bloom year-round, like roses. Others, like sunflowers, only come in summer. No matter when you visit, there will still be many flowers to see.
Note that there is no shade in the Flower Zone, so it will be extremely hot from June to September. Bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc. They sell water and cold drinks in the shop
If you can, try to avoid weekends, when masses of local visitors come. In the busy season, also try to come first thing in the morning if you want to be able to take pictures without other people in them.
I visited in the afternoon on a weekday in October. There were some visitors, but I was still able to take photos without people in them, sometimes with a bit of a wait. Once in a while, even in slow season, a school group or tour bus can pull up and suddenly it feels busy.
Getting to Zhongshe Flower Market
Zhongshe Flower Market is located in a rural area north of the Taichung city center. There is no super direct or easy way to get there. This is why many visitors drive, hire a driver, or join a day tour which includes Zhongshe as one of its stops.
Driving is the easiest way to reach Zhongshe Night Market. When I visited, I rode the HSR from Taipei to Taichung and rented a car at Taichung HSR Station (see my guide to riding the HSR in Taiwan and buy discounted HSR tickets here).
I then drove to Rainbow Village, Cingjing Farm (night 1), and Songsyue Lodge at Hehuanshan (night 2). Then, on the way back to Taichung, I visited Carton King Creative Park and finally Zhongshe Flower Market before returning the car.
If you aren’t going to Cingjing Farm and Hehuanshan like I did, you might include some of the following on your Taichung driving itinerary: start at Zhongshe Flower Market (less people in the morning), then to Lihpao Discovery Land, Lavender Cottage, or cycling at Houfeng Bikeway, then Gaomei Wetlands for sunset, and finish your day at Feng Chia Night Market.
For those who drive, there’s a large, free parking lot at Zhongshe Flower Market.
By Tour or Private Driver
Taking a Taichung day tour is a very convenient way to visit Zhongshe Flower Market and several other attractions north of Taichung, especially because taking the bus between all these places is very slow and inconvenient.
From Taipei, you can hop on this Taichung Classics Tour from Taipei Main Station. If you’re already in Taichung or prefer to travel there on your own, here’s a Taichung day tour which includes Lavender Forest, Zhongshe, and Gaomei Wetlands.
You can also hire a private driver for Taichung and make your own itinerary.
By Public Transportation
There are bus and train options to Zhongshe from Taipei and Taichung.
Day Trip from Taipei
From Taipei, Fengyuan bus 6606 goes once per day (departing 9:55 AM) from Taipei Bus Station to Fengyuan. Buy your ticket from the Fengyuan Bus Company window. Ride the bus for 2 hours and get off at Zhongshe stop (中社) here, on the same side of the street as the flower market.
The same bus goes back to Taipei from this stop across the street, departing at 3:50 PM. Due to rush hour traffic, the bus back to Taipei can take 3 hours or more. However, that means you’d have to spend nearly 4 hours at Zhongshe, which is too long, unless you have BBQ there. So consider to take the train back instead.
Going from Taipei to Zhongshe by train will have more time options but take longer than the bus. Ride a local train (no reservation needed, just swipe EasyCard) to Tai’an Station (泰安火車站). The ride takes 2.5 to 3 hours. Search the times here.
From Tai’an Station, it’s a 25-minute walk or 10 minute YouBike ride to Zhongshe Flower Market. There is a YouBike station at Tai’an and at Zhongshe. Read my YouBike guide to find out how to rent a YouBike with or without a Taiwan SIM.
Beware that there’s no sidewalk along the road. You can also try to find a taxi or order an Uber to the station, but it may not be possible to find either at this small, rural train station.
There are other more expensive options, which involve taking the High Speed Rail to Miaoli or Taichung station then transferring to a local bus or train. Explore your options by using GoogleMaps directions. The options will vary by time of day. Keep in mind that the HSR is quite a bit more expensive than local buses or trains, but it will barely save you any time here.
Although Zhongshe Flower Market is technically in Taichung city, it’s in a rural area north of the city center, so it still takes about one hour to get there.
Most of the time, it’s fastest to ride a local train from Taichung station to Tai’an station (35 minutes, swipe EasyCard) then walk to Zhongshe Flower Market (25 minutes) or ride a YouBike (10 minutes).
From Taichung HSR station, it will take 1.5 hours. Walk to Xinwuri train station (which is connected to the HSR station). Ride a local train (1 hour) to Tai’an station, then walk (25 minutes) to Zhongshe or ride a YouBike.
Zhongshe Opening Hours and Entrance Fee
Zhongshe Flower Market is open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM, while the barbecue area stays open until 8 PM on weekends.
In the high season (January to March), the entrance fee for the Flower Zone is TWD 150 for adults, TWD 75 for kids (3-12), seniors, or the disabled, and free for age 0 to 2.
In the low season (April to December), the price decreases to TWD 120 for adults and 60 for kids (3-12), seniors, or the disabled.
If you have barbecue on site, you’ll gain free admission to the Flower Zone. See the final section of this article for more information about the barbecue fees and how that works.
What To Expect in the Flower Zone
From the bus station or parking lot, you’ll enter Zhongshe, pass the barbecue area, and then find the small shop and entrance to the Flower Zone, where you’ll pay your entrance fee.
Once you enter the Flower Zone, there is no particular route you need to take through the flower fields. I suggest following your heart, or better yet, going wherever there are fewer people.
To the right from the entrance, I found the Mandarin characters 中社花市 (Zhongshe Flower Market) spelled in a wall of flowers. I also saw windmills and a white female statue, all surrounded by different flowers.
To the left, I found a white gazebo and swing set in flower fields. The photo possibilities are endless here – almost every field has some kind of prop, statue, or display for framing your photos.
I didn’t take too many selfies because A) I’m not an Instagram model and B) I was visiting alone, so I didn’t have anyone to take better photos of me with the props.
Coming with a friend or group of people would definitely be best for taking photos here!
Deeper into the Flower Zone, there are a few different musical instruments, including white pianos placed, in flower fields.
A picture of yourself seated at a white piano, surrounded by a sea of lavender is the classic image of Zhongshe Flower Market that every visitor hopes to take.
In the furthest section, there is a pond with some fish and lotus flowers (when in season). The strawberry picking area is also at the back left.
Eating at Zhongshe Flower Market
If you decide to partake of Zhongshe Market’s DIY all-you-can-eat barbecue, make sure to set aside 1 to 2 hours in your schedule for this. Find more info about it here.
This kind of Taiwanese DIY barbecue, which is provided at many campsites, picnic sites, and hotels across Taiwan, is almost always the same. They’ll provide you with a grill and all the equipment and utensils you need.
The grill is small, hence why it takes so long. Most locals enjoy barbecuing for many hours, cooking the items one at a time, socializing and drinking while they do it. There’s even a small playground in the covered area for kids to play while their families prepare the barbecue. At busy times, it can be very noisy. The tent seats up to 800 people!
The foods provided include pork and beef strips, sausages, fish cakes (tempura), tofu, rice blood cake, vegetables, and barbecue sauce for rubbing on the items before you cook them. There are also noodles and other ready-to-eat dishes. You help yourself to the foods from a station, while drinks cost extra.
The price per adult is TWD 380 and per kid (100 to 140 cm) is 240. Under 100 cm is free. Paying for the meal gives you free access to the Flower Zone, which makes it a pretty good deal. There’s a 2.5-hour time limit in the food tent.
Besides the barbecue, there are almost no restaurants or even convenience stores in the area. So if you’re looking for a quick and easy lunch, it’s probably best to move on to your next destination first.