By Daniel White
Translated by Anna Yang
When the weather is inclement, playing sports outside is not always an option. Luckily, Taichung has a ton of places for indoor sports and recreation. Boasting several new government-run community centers, the city also has plenty of longstanding entertainment centers as well as novel new venues scattered all over. Whether you want to enjoy a relaxing game of bowling or billiards, try your hand at acrobatics, team sports or even martial arts, Taichung has something for you, hopefully right in your backyard.
Tiger sports center in Nantun District has long provided a sizable venue for enjoying a wide range of sports and games. Bowling and billiards are the most popular, with batting cages, pitching, basketball free-throw machines and video arcade games also drawing lots of visitors.
Chaoma Sports Center, which opened officially in December, 2016, and the North District Civil Sports Center, which opened in late September this year (official opening scheduled for October) are both part of a government initiative to provide healthy recreational options for residents. Both centers feature similar sporting venues.
The North District Center, for example, has an Olympic-sized swimming pool and diving pools, with a spa area and saunas, plus basketball, badminton and volleyball courts, a fully-equipped gym, dance and exercise rooms, and table tennis tables. The facilities are all clean and new, there is ample space for everyone, and prices are very reasonable. Using the swimming pool is NT$90 for adults with discounts for the elderly or children. Badminton is NT$280-350 per hour, depending on the time, table tennis is NT$90 per hour, and basketball is NT$1,000-1,500 per hour for the court. Rackets, balls and other gear for the sports are also available. Dance, yoga, aerobics, martial arts and other physical activity classes are offered, starting at NT$100 per class with discounts available for longer-term contracts.
For something a bit more adventurous, Ninja Factory is a great place for the whole family and centrally located in Xitun District. There are plenty of trampolines divided into several areas where you can bounce off walls, slam dunk basketballs or just see how high you can jump. Besides spacious regular areas, there's an area for younger kids as well as a "Ninja Warrior" obstacle course to test the mettle of any hopeful athlete. Prices range from NT$210 to NT$280 per hour, depending on the time and whether or not you're a member. The even newer and larger Air Gene trampoline park has similar facilities, including trampoline basketball and dodgeball areas and four large Olympic-grade trampolines, plus a four-meter-high climbing will divided into seven areas. Users are charged NT$250/hour and there are regular classes for kids and adults (check their Facebook page).
Recently opened in Nantun District, Lazer Treks also offers a unique experience. Players are each given vests and laser guns and set loose in a dark maze to shoot each other. There are several games, including classic team battles and free-for-alls, with some more creative games like "vampire" in which some players are vampires and must shoot the humans enough times to turn them into vampires. The humans are conversely tasked with surviving for five minutes against the vampires that never stay dead for long. The owner also plans to also open up a mini-golf area in the near future and several other arenas for Airsoft guns. Rates for laser tag are NT$300-350 for an hour or NT$450-600 for two hours, with cheaper prices during weekdays.
A few blocks north of Lazer Treks, is a small and unique martial arts academy called Capoeria Madinga. Capoeria stands out as a martial art because it was created by slaves who did not want their masters to know they were practicing, so they disguised it as a dance. Today music is still central to its rhythms and style. Lessons are held at this academy every Tuesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. with informal Sunday practices when students want to spend extra time training. A great way to work up a sweat, Capoeria is a high-intensity workout that's as fun as it is invigorating. Participants can pay NT$300 per class, or NT$2,500 for a 10-class card, with those planning on attending more often able to buy an unlimited monthly pass for NT$2,000. Besides capoeria, there are many other excellent venues to study other martial arts in Taichung. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competitions have inspired the establishment of several Muay Thai and Brazilian Jujitsu schools, and there are more traditional dojos where you can learn taekwondo.
Taichung golfers can also enjoy their sport inside at the 500-square-meter 72 Screen Golf, Taiwan's most state-of-the-art indoor golf center. This facility offers nine high-tech practice stations from top Korean golf simulator Gswing for putting/driving practice and 18-hole games on 80-90 real Korean courses, plus two rooms where small groups can play 18-hole games with HD projectors, five-meter-screens and moving, hydraulic swing plates simulating real terrain. Prices start from NT$250/person for practice stations and NT$400/person/game before 4 p.m. Kids' golf camps are also planned for the coming winter-holiday period.
Another fairly new spot is Taroko Sports, located on the tenth floor of Taroko Mall and featuring darts, billiards and bowling, making it excellent for those wanting a break from shopping and/or wanting a couple hours of fun. Bowling is NT$120 per person (plus NT$40 for shoe rental) and other games cost one token (about NT$25 each).
Truly standing apart as an exceptional indoor recreational option, Divecube Hotel features a large scuba diving pool with tunnels that stretch down 21 meters and include windows overlooking the city. Diving is a little pricier than the other activities in this article, costing NT$1,500 per person and NT$3,000 for first-time divers, but this experience is certainly one of the most unique that you'll find anywhere in Taiwan.
Taichung undoubtedly has many other excellent indoor recreational destinations besides those in this article and can be found with a simple online search, with a good place to start being www.taiwanfun.com (affiliated with this magazine), which serves as a great archive of Taichung's best places to visit, from sports and entertainment to fine dining and culture.
Tiger Sports Center
497, HuiWen Rd, Nantun Dist
Chaoma Sports Center
199, ChaoGui Rd, Xitun Dist
6 am-10 pm
North District Civil Sports Center
55, ChongDe Rd, Sec 1, North Dist
6 am-10 pm
886, Taiwan Blvd, Sec 2, B1, Xitun Dist
Mon-Thu 10 am-9 pm; Fri-Sun 9 am-10 pm
439, LongFu Rd, Sec 4, Nantun Dist (near WuQuan W Rd)
10 am-10 pm
87, FengWei Rd, B1 level, Nantun Dist
10 am-10 pm (reservations required--call Wed-Sun 10 am-8 pm)
51, WenXin S 1st Rd, Nantun Dist
Mon-Thu 7:15-9:30 pm
Mixed Martial Arts
2, NingXia W 7th St, 2F, Xitun Dist
5-9 pm (closed Sun)
72 Screen Golf
988, HuanZhong Rd, Sec 3, Xitun Dist
9-12 am (last customer 10 pm)
186, FuXing Rd, Sec 4,10F, East Dist
weekdays 11 am-10 pm; weekends 10:30 am-10 pm
Divecube City Diving & Hotel
69, AnHe W Rd, Xitun Dist
Dive hours: 9:30 am-11 pm