Literally, Zhúnán (竹南) means "bamboo south" but in this context, zhú is short for "Hsinchu". Thus, Zhunan lies south of Hsinchu (cf. Zhubei which lies north [běi] of Hsinchu). Zhunan was traditionally a beach and fishing community, and is closely associated with the sea goddess Matsu. Zhunan's main tourist attraction is its largest Matsu Temple.
Zhunan is served by the mountain and coastal lines of the Taiwan Railway Administration.
- 1 Zhunan (竹南車站), 166 Zhongshan Rd. The original station was constructed in 1902. Although it is a first-class station, the Taroko Express, a variant of the Tzu-Chiang Limited Express which passes through the Taichung line (Mountain line), does not stop at this station.
- 2 Qiding (崎頂車站).
It can be reached by bus and is served by National Highway No. 3 (Taiwan) and Provincial Highway No. 61.
- 1 Qidingsuidao Cultural Park (崎頂隧道文化公園), No. 12, Nangang Street, ☏ . An area of parkland established around a pair of Japanese-colonial-era railway tunnels that have since been decomissioned and are now accessible to the public.
- 2 Northern Miaoli Art Center (苗北藝文中心), No. 206, Gongyuan Road, ☏ . 09:00-17:00. The city's main art gallery and performance space.
- 3 Fourways Cheese Museum (四方鮮乳酪故事館), ☏ . 09:00-17:00. A small museum that exhibits various aspects of the dairy industry and cheese-making.
The principal tourist attractions are the two temples with large statues on their top:
- 4 Zhunan Wugu Temple (竹南五穀宮), 16 Wugu Street, ☏ . 09:00-17:00. A temple dedicated to the Shennong Emperor which features a large red statue of the aforementioned deity atop the temple roof.
- 5 Hotsu Longfong Temple (竹南后厝龍鳳宮), ☏ . 05:00-21:00. An elaborate temple complex dedicated to Matsu and featuring a 40m tall fibreglass statue of the goddess.
- 6 Zhonggang Cihyu Temple (中港慈裕宮). The temple was constructed in 1685, making it the oldest ancient Matsu temple in the county.
- Matsu temple. The largest Matsu statue in Taiwan can be seen here. To get here from the train station, leave by the west exit and go down Bo-Ai Street (the main road running out the west exit) and make a right on Longfeng Rd. It takes 20-30 minutes walking.
- 7 Desheng Temple (德勝宮), ☏ . An ornate, multi-storey temple originally constructed in 1870.
Jhunan's large beach is suitable for surfing and kite-surfing. You can rent equipment from the centre near the Child and Parent Forest.
There is an RT-Mart off Ziqiang Road a short drive away in Toufen (see "Go next").
- 1 Guotai Night Market (國泰夜市). Sat 18:00-00:00. A typical Taiwan-style night market featuring a number of snacks, games, and other stalls selling a variety of wares.
- 2 Zhunan Second Market (竹南第二公有零售市場), No. 109, Minzu Street. 05:00-12:00. A covered market featuring food, homewares, and other items.
- 1 Red Forest (紅林), No. 27-9, Yanping Road, ☏ . 11:00-22:00. 紅林 (pinyin: hóng-lín) means Red Forest in English. Popular with locals, Hong Lin is a teppanyaki or tiě bǎn shāo (鐵板燒) restaurant that serves a variety of meat, vegetable and seafood dishes cooked in full view on a flat grill. Dishes include pork, beef, lamb, cuttlefish, shrimp, cod, mushrooms and omelettes. Main courses can be had as a set with rice, vegetables and soup. Prices vary between NT$100-200. English menu available.
- 2 MínZú Street (民治街). There are lots of cheap street food stalls and small restaurants on this street, particularly near Wellcome supermarket. The "Ji Pai Fan" (black pepper chicken plate) from 2nd shop to the right of Wellcome is particularly good, as are the bantiao (flat noodles) & dumplings from the cart under the purple-signed clothing store. This cart is usually next to a guabao "Taiwanese hamburger" kiosk which is also pretty tasty.
- 3 Fantastic Thai (繽紛泰泰式料理), No. 158, Daye Street, ☏ . 11:00-21:30. Authentic Thai food. This is a small, family run place with friendly service. English menu available.
- 4 Amici (艾蜜奇義大利坊), No. 11, Section 2, Huanshi Road, ☏ . 11:00-21:30. Italian food. English menu available.
- 5 Guo Ding hot pot shop (鍋鼎北海道昆布鍋), Park Road No. 116 (near Zhunan Sports Park), ☏ . 11:00-24:00. A hot pot shop, good indoor atmosphere, delicious meat and soup good. NT$310.
- 6 Longfeng Harbor (龍鳳漁港), ☏ . There are a lot of places to eat fresh seafood here.
- 阿呆鳥刀切牛肉麵. You can recognize this restaurant by the small sign with a picture of a bird. Various kinds of noodles and noodle soups are served. The curry noodles and black bean noodles are both popular. English menu available.
- 一品 serves almost exclusively duck based dishes. It's at 115 ZhōngZhèng Road.
- There's a good and inexpensive vegetarian restaurant on the NW corner of Longtian & Santai Rd, near Huanshi Rd. The 2nd rice item, some kind of pepper-flavored purple rice friend with veggies, eggs and walnuts is superb.
- A few buildings west of 阿呆鳥刀切牛肉麵 on Bo-Ai St is a Cafeteria Buffet (look for the yellow sign w/red text), open for lunch and dinner. Unlike most of the other cafeterias in town, this one is modern and clean with a wide selection of dishes if you come at the right time. Expect to pay NT$90-110.
- 1 TTL Jhunan Brewery Product Display Center (台灣菸酒(竹南啤酒廠)), No. 345, Hexing Road, ☏ . 09:00-17:00. An outlet for Taiwan's largest brewery where you can browse and buy from their range of beverages and related paraphrenalia.
Zhunan isn't known for its nightlife, but there are a few bars.
- Till Village is a 24-hour Western style bar, a minute's walk from the west exit of the train station on Bo Ai Street (博愛街), the main road leading to the station. It has Western and Asian food.
- Oh! 麥 has food and a few different kinds of flavored beer, including banana. It's located at the corner of Bo Ai Street (博愛街) and Huanshi Road (環市路). Walk 15 or 20 minutes straight from the west exit of the train station.
- 2 Jo Ku (酒酷), No. 559, Kaiyuan Road, ☏ . a bar, restaurant and bakery a little bit away from the center of town, but one of the few places to get decent Western-style food in Zhunan.
There are a number hotels near the train station. Hotel Zhu Feng has a dorm with capsules for NT$500.
Zhunan train station is at the intersection of the mountain and coastal train lines, so it's easy to get a train to anywhere in the country. The two closest cities are Hsinchu to the north and Miaoli to the south (both about 10-15 minutes by train).
There is a small, free Ten-Ren Tea Museum in the industrial area near the intersection of Zhonghua (Hwy 1) & Kexue Roads. It's nothing spectacular but worth a visit if you're in town for an extended period of time and need something to do.
Bus Departure Schedule from Zhunan station. The first big column are the buses to Nanzhuang, 2nd column is Hsinchu, 3rd Miaoli, 4th Toufen, 5th Haikou, & not sure what the 6th bus is. Most of them leave from the train station's East Exit.
There is also a tourist shuttle from Nanzhuang train station to Lion Head Mountain. Ask at the tourist information centre in the train station for a route map and time table in English. Information is also available from the bus webpage although this is more confusing.
Toufen is the next town east of Zhunan and is about twice the size. It has a superior selection of restaurants, particularly along Zhongyang Rd. Besides eating however, there isn't much to do here.
Central Toufen, while out of walking distance, its only 10 minutes by bike and 5 by scooter from Zhunan. Buses from the train station's east portal make this run regularly.
There is a night market in a big parking lot in Toufen. It is on Jianguo Rd. It is open on Tuesday and Sunday nights.
Shitoushan (Lion's Head Mountain) & Nanzhuang
Shitoushan is a hill in the highlands above Toufen home to a number of temples and nature trails. Many offer great views of the valley below, and the largest of them offers overnight stays for a reasonable price.
Nanzhuang is a nearby old farming town home to traditional food, hot springs and Xiantian Lake. There is a narrow historic street running through the town center where you can buy treats, tea, etc.
There is a shuttle bus from the Zhunan train station east exit that goes to Shitoushan, Nanzhuang and Xiangtian. An all day multi-use ticket costs NT$100. Buses depart the station at the half hour from 08:30-12:30, then on the hour from 13:00-17:00. The trip to takes about an hour.
It can also be reached by scooter or bike via either Zhongzheng Rd or Shuiyan Rd. in Toufen -> Hwy 3 -> Hwy 124. Hwy 124 runs a loop around the Nanzhuang valley before reconnecting with the 3 farther south. Zhongzheng Road is faster and flatter, Shuiyan Road is challenging but more scenic, running past a large mountain reservoir.