Nantou has a plenty of interesting places to explore at night. There's the internationally certified Dark Sky Park, where you can enjoy starry skies that you won’t see in the metropolitan area. Another place offering great night-time views is Xiaobanshan. Fancy doing something special? Head to Small Swiss Garden to see the water fountains dance at night, look for frogs in Taomi Eco-Village, then watch fireflies light up the sky at Lotus Pond. If you're a photographer, don't miss the night lights of Liyu Lake Scenic Area and the beautiful night-time views at Checheng Visitor Centre. Nantou's beautiful mountains and rivers have plenty to offer even at night.

    1

    Shuren Night Market

    Shuren Night Market is located at the intersection of Zhonghua Road and Shuren Road in downtown Puli. Despite the lack of a clear layout, each stall in the market is automatically positioned in a way that allows visitors to move around freely. The market, which only opens on Wednesdays, is small enough to walk around in about 30 minutes. It's also popular among Puli locals, so it's no exaggeration to say that it's a good place to go for nightlife in Puli. The proximity to the station, major scenic spots and many accommodation options around the market, combined with the hard work and creativity of stallholders, have made Shuren Night Market famous, attracting many visitors who come here for the night market experience. Tofu pudding, bean curd chicken wings or takoyaki ‒ which one do you want to taste at the night market? Or maybe you want to follow the crowds, stopping off at interesting stalls along the way. Browse for clothes and shoes, hardware, snacks and food, or simply have fun with the pinball and bumper cars, experiencing the joy of rediscovering childhood games.

    Location: Intersection of Shuren Road and Zhonghua Road, Puli Township, Nantou County, near Hong Ren Junior High School

    Open: After 5.30 pm on Wednesdays

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    2

    Night View at Houtanjing Recreation Area

    • Nightlife
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    Houtanjing Recreation Area is located in Fushanli, Nantou City, Nantou County, near Shetou Township, Changhua County. The park's attractions include temples, an astronomical and geological exhibition hall, a steeple observatory, a sky bridge and a scenic pavilion. Along the country road leading to Houtanjing, you'll see many tea plantations and pineapple orchards, filling the air with the fragrance of tea and fruit. On sunny days, from the sky bridge and the scenic pavilion you can see as far as Changhua Plain, Xiluo Bridge, the mouth of Zhuoshui River and the high-speed railway running through Changhua Plain, as well as the green Pakua Mountain Range and the soaring eagles. At dusk, the gorgeous sunset makes a magical appearance, its glow combining with the surrounding air temperature and the sound of birdsong and wind to create an idyllic atmosphere. As you bid farewell to the sun on the smiling sky bridge, the night begins. Trains passing through Shetou Township, Changhua and the lights of the houses in the distance, coupled with its high altitude and low light pollution, make Houtanjing Recreation Area one of the best places to see the starry night sky in Nantou.

    Location: No. 300, Houtanjing St., Fushanli, Nantou City, Nantou County, Taiwan 540

    Open: Open 24 hours

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    photo by lienyuan lee (CC BY 3.0) modified

    3

    Liyu Lake Scenic Area

    • Nightlife
    • Photo

    Known as "Little West Lake", Liyu Lake in Puli has astonishing lake and mountain views and, according to legend, is home to the seven lucky caves. Located at the foot of Hutou Mountain, Liyu Lake is surrounded by mountains on all sides and divided into two by a willow dyke, with North Lake on the right and South Lake on the left. Encircling the lake is a 1.2-mile (2-kilometre) trail with a tourist train. Many people come here to visit the famous seven lucky caves around the lake, hoping to be blessed with good fortune. Although the lake is more popular during the day, at night it has a special charm. After nightfall, the colourful lights come on, reflecting on the water to create a romantic atmosphere. At 8 pm, spectacular water fountain shows are staged in the centre of the lake, enticing you to stay just a little bit longer. When you visit Puli, Nantou, come to Liyu Lake at night to enjoy a different view from the daytime scenery.

    Location: No. 20, Liyu 2nd Ln., Puli Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 545

    Open: Open 24 hours

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    photo by Malcolm Koo (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    4

    Taking Night-Time Photos at Checheng Visitor Centre

    • Nightlife
    • Photo

    Located in Shuili, Nantou, Checheng Visitor Service Centre was originally a log pond near Checheng Station, which is one of the stations on Taiwan Railways' Jiji Line and known as the most beautiful station in Taiwan. Checheng was severely damaged during the 921 earthquake. Later, Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration rebuilt the station and the visitor centre with Japanese-style wooden architecture. The building's elegant appearance attracts many people to take photos with it. The log pond, which was used to store logs in the early days, has been redesigned as an ecological pond with a wooden walkway around it for visitors to have a stroll and enjoy the scenery. The unique beauty of Checheng Visitor Centre reveals itself after nightfall, when the lights come on and the Japanese-style wooden buildings are illuminated by the dim light, making you feel as if you've been transported back in time. The reflections in the pond further enhance its charm, creating a heaven on earth that attracts many photography enthusiasts.

    Location: No. 111, Minquan Ln., Checheng Village, Shuili Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 553

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

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    photo by lienyuan lee (CC BY 3.0) modified

    5

    Cingjing-Yuanfeng Rest Area

    • Nightlife
    • Adventure

    Cingjing-Yuanfeng rest area is located at 15 miles (24.3 kilometres) on Highway 14A, at an altitude of 9,022 feet (2,750 metres). It's a must-stop if you're going to Hehuan Mountain or Wuling. The winding wooden plank road and observation deck are the ideal place to enjoy the expansive views and admire the Formosa lilies and Mori rhododendrons. Hehuan Mountain is one of the best spots for stargazing in East Asia. The starry skies and galactic views during summer have made it a long-standing pilgrimage for astronomy fans. Even overseas visitors have come here to take galactic wedding photos. Thanks to the efforts of tourism operators, residents, astronomical societies and government agencies, Nantou County has established "Hehuan Mountain International Dark Sky Park" at Yuanfeng rest area, with accreditation from the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), making it the first of its kind in Taiwan. You can take the free shuttle bus between Cingjing and Yuanfeng to the park. The bus has telescopes and a professional instructor to help you explore the infinite universe and shining stars.

    Location: 15 miles (24.3 kilometres) on Highway 14A

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

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    6

    Night-Time Water Show in Small Swiss Garden

    • Nightlife
    • Photo

    Small Swiss Garden in Cingjing is known as “Taiwan's Little Switzerland” on account of its beautiful Northern European-style landscape. As you enter Swiss Square, the first thing you'll notice are the two pointed spires and bright parasol flowers. Next, you'll see the Green Light Fairy Garden and pumpkin carriage. Strolling along the lake, you'll get a taste of Europe with Dutch windmills, and see the reflections of the blue sky and white clouds and cherry blossom in the water. You can stop for a coffee at the Garden Corner Café by the lakeside. The white church in front of the cafe is more than just an art installation. It also represents the owner's longing for heaven. The grassland has a children's adventure area and camping area. The campsites here are built from pallet wood, with one parking space per tent. If you're looking to stay the night in Cingjing, camping is a good option. From above the camping area you can see the whole park. Follow the lakeside cherry blossom path and you'll come to Alice's Water Garden, which is where you'll see the water fountains perform their graceful dance at night. The lights and sounds of the water fountains dancing, the music and the people walking around make Small Swiss Garden feel like a little bit of Europe in Taiwan.

    Location: No. 28, Dingyuan New Village, Ren'ai Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 546

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 9 pm

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    photo by Chi-Hung Lin (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    7

    Frog Watching at Night in Taomi Eco-Village

    • Nightlife
    • Adventure

    Taomi Eco-Village, located in Puli, Nantou, at an altitude of 1,377-2,788 feet (420-850 metres) above sea level, is one of the villages along Zhongtan Highway (Provincial Highway 21). The village covers an area of 7 square miles (18 square kilometres), 80% of which is hilly and has not been developed or destroyed by man, thus preserving a rich forest ecosystem with a wide variety of species. Among the rich and diverse species in Taomi Eco-Village, the most famous is frogs. Of the 33 species of frogs in Taiwan, 23 species inhabit Taomi Eco-Village, making night-time frog watching trips very popular. Every weekend night, professional guides lead teams to visit these distinguished creatures. The night frog watching trips require advance registration. Searching for different species of frogs at the streams or ponds and listening to the frog chorus as you walk along the forest trails at night with a group of people wearing wellington boots and carrying torches is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.

    Location: No. 37, Taomi Ln., Taomili, Puli Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 545

    Open: From 9 am to 8 pm (extended to 9 pm on holidays)

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    8

    Firefly Watching Trail at Lienhuachih Research Centre

    • Nightlife
    • Adventure

    Located in Yuchi, Nantou, Lienhuachih is a branch research centre of Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, covering an area of 460 hectares. Green trees and beautiful scenery make the park a wonderful destination. The "Lienhuachih Forest Firefly Watching Trail" is a popular spot for watching fireflies on summer nights. You can access the Firefly Watching Trail from Shuishang Lane in the Taomi Community or Dayan Lane near Sun Moon Lake. If you choose the Shuishang Lane route, you'll pass through a wetland, a fluorescent tunnel and the famous sea of fireflies that light up the forest trails, creating an almost surreal landscape. The best time to see fireflies is from 7 pm to 8 pm, when they gather together like stars on the ground, competing with those in the sky. Don't forget to check out the fireflies during your summer visit to Nantou for a memorable night out.

    Location: No. 43, Hualong Ln., Wucheng Village, Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 555

    Open: Outdoor space: open 24 hours

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    9

    Starry Night in Zhushan

    • Nightlife
    • Photo

    Zhushan Township is located at the southwestern end of Nantou County, extending to the northern edge of Alishan Mountain Range, and surrounded by two major rivers ‒ Cingshuei River and Choshui River, with other tributaries and irrigation channels running through it. The highest point of the town is Luqushan Mountain at 7,506 feet (2,288 metres), and the lowest point is the Xiangyuanjiao sandbar of Choshui River at 348 feet (106 metres). County Highway 49-1 in Zhushan Township winds its way up to many mountain camping areas and recreational farms of varying altitudes. Zhushan Township is surrounded by hills and mountains on all sides ‒ high in the south, low in the north and flat in the east and west. As Nantou County actively promotes tourism by connecting the whole county, all venues from residential areas to commercial zones answer the call to turn off lights at night. Thanks to those efforts, Zhushan Township has become an internationally renowned stargazing destination in a forest surrounded by mountains. There are several camping areas located at around 3,608 feet (1,100 metres) in Zhushan Township, where you can take in all of the sunrise, clouds, sunset and night views. If you choose to stay overnight under Zhushan's starry canopy with friends and family, turn off the artificial electronics and immerse yourself in the tranquillity of the mountain and the shining stars that have travelled countless miles through the universe, allowing yourself to imagine that you are one of them.

    Location: Zhushan Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 557

    Open: Open 24 hours

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    10

    A Night Out in Xiaobanshan

    • Nightlife
    • Adventure

    Xiaobanshan is located on the western side of Nantou City, roughly covering the area of Fuxingli (excluding the northwest and south) and the two sides of south section of Fengshan Road, to the east of Fengshanli. The area is best known for its steep slopes and the spectacular night views from the top. There are several restaurants, all of which incorporate the surrounding landscape as a feature, allowing customers to enjoy a meal while overlooking the night view of downtown Nantou below. The restaurants serve a wide range of meals, from set meals to after-dinner snacks and drinks. Visitors who come to Xiaobanshan for a night-time stroll can sit and chat over a drink while watching the magnificent lights down the hill. On a clear and cloudless night, this is a great place to gaze at the moon and the stars. If you're lucky, you might even see a meteor.

    Location: Nantou City, Nantou County, Taiwan 540

    Open: Outdoor space: open 24 hours, varies depending on the provider

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