Tunghai University: the Beautiful Campus

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A view of Luce Chapel in Tunghai University in Taichung.

A view of Luce Chapel in Tunghai University in Taichung.

Tunghai University is considered by many the most beautiful campus in Taiwan. It is probably the largest. It extends for 345 acres (1.39 square km), on the gentle eastern slope of Dadu Hill, overlooking Taichung city center and, on a clear day,  the Central Range.

Surrounded by the bustling Xitun District, Tunghai provides the residents of Western Taichung with a vast oasis of lush greenery, clean air and graceful buildings.

The monumental Phoenix Tree close to Luce Chapel

The monumental Flamboyant Tree close to Luce Chapel


About Tunghai University

  1. Tunghai University is a Christian University. It was established in 1955 by Methodist missionaries.
  2. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious private universities in Taiwan.
  3. Tunghai has 35 departments. About 17,000 students attend the university.
  4. Tunghai is the most used spelling for this university but you can also find Donghai (Hanyu Pinyin). The name means East China Sea University
Tunghai is considered one of the best places to study Chinese in Taichung. Their Chinese Language Center offers an 8-weeks summer session and 16-weeks spring and fall sessions. More information can be found here.
The Luce Chapel in Tunghai University, Taichung

Luce Chapel in Tunghai University, Taichung

Places to See in Tunghai Uni

1. Luce Memorial Chapel

It is the landmark of Tunghai University. This small church was built in the early ’60s (1962-1963) by Chen Chi-Kwan in collaboration with I. M. Pei (the famous Chinese-American architect). The chapel was named after an American missionary, father of the influential publisher Henry Luce, a staunch supporter of Chang Kay-Shek.

The church is built with reinforced concrete and is covered by glazed tiles. It is so well built that it has endured several earthquakes without any damage, even to the tiles. The Luce Chapel is shaped as a tent but, if you look from the front or the back, you can see the profile of two praying hands. The Luce Chapel is often open for Mass or for concerts and activities.

The Mall

The Mall

2. The Mall

This is a pedestrian “boulevard”, lined by banyan trees, that goes uphill from the Luce Chapel. At the sides you can see the oldest colleges, built in the ’50s in an elegant and sober Tang dynasty style.

The Mall is the backbone of Tunghai, connecting the Luce Chapel and the Library uphill. If you come here on a quiet and sunny day you will really appreciate this place. The banyan trees play with the sun and the breeze and it seems as if they are blessing the people walking in their shade. The writer of this post feels that the Mall is a place of great beauty and power.

If you walk uphill from the library, soon you will reach the bustling and crowded Tunghai Village area, outside of the campus. One of the famous Taichung night markets is just here. Many students rent rooms in this area, that offers plenty of budget accommodations, shops and eateries.

3. The New Colleges

The new College of Management and the Fine Arts Center. These two facilities are located in the lower part of the campus, close to a secondary gate. They are modern concrete buildings, built in the last decade. Still, these buldings are beautiful and they prove that Tunghai has not lost the contact with the good architecture.

One of the old colleges, built in Tang style

One of the old colleges, built in Tang style

Walking in Tunghai

Tunghai campus is big. This, together with Taichung Metropolitan Park, makes a really good place for long leisure walkings in the western part of Taichung. Besides the places listed above, there are other nice places for walking in Tunghai.

One is the Experimental Farm, with its large “grassland”, that provides the hay for a few cows. The large open space attracts RC models enthusiasts who fly their  airplanes and helicopters in the southeastern corner of Tunghai.

Milk and dairy products from Tunghai Farm are sold in the Dairy Shop, just in the middle of Tunghai campus. The ice cream is quite ordinary but the milk and the yogurt are among the best in Taiwan. This is a shop not to be missed, if you miss good milk!
Teacher houses in the residential area of Tunghai campus in Taichung

Teacher houses in the residential area of Tunghai campus in Taichung

Just a little bit above lays the residential area for the teaching staff. It is a very quiet and beautiful area with cottages nestled in lush gardens and small woods. The hustle and pollution of Taichung Harbor Road are very far from here.

Exploring all the different places, you can easily walk for 2.0 hours or more. One word of caution: snakes are still living in some areas so, after dusk, just stay on the roads and always be careful in the footpaths along the creeks.

A jungle? No, a secluded spot in Tunghai University.

A jungle? No, a secluded spot in Tunghai University.

How to get to Tunghai University

Tunghai is easily reached with the public transport. Most of the gates of the campus are on Taiwan Boulevard (called Taichung Harbour Road until the end of 2012).

Taiwan Boulevard is the main artery of Taichung so there are plenty of buses. The fastest and most frequent ones run on the dedicated bus lane. These are the #300-#308 bus lines. They all serve Taichung Train Station and the important Chaoma Bus Station.

Along the slower motorcycle lane you can also catch bus #75 that stops in front of Taichung Art Museum (direction Yijiang Bridge).

From the THSR (High Speed Railway) station you can instead take the free shuttle bus (line to Tunghai and Central Taiwan Science Park, look for the English signs at the bus stop).

The bus stop for Tunghai Main gate is Taichung Veteran Hospital. The university gate closest to the new College of Management is at about 200m downhill from Yumen Road bus stop.

A taxi would from Taichung Railway Station to Tunghai would cost 280-320NTD, from THSR station would cost 300-350NTD.

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