There is nothing I love more in this world than browsing through junk. And to learn that Taichung has flea markets and that the biggest one is only a 15 minute walk from my house was a revelation worth shouting off the rootftop of my apartment. (I didn’t actually do this but I really wanted to).

So, Typhoon Morakot came and went and my planned day for flea-marketing went with it. But all was not lost. I went yesterday instead. Rummaging through the rows of stalls selling everything from ceramics, stereos and clothing to tools and sex toys, I came to the happy realisation that flea markets the world over must have the same feeling of exciting discovery to them. That great bargain or one-off find is just around the next vendor. And yes, there actually was a stall selling, among other things, second-hand dildos. Gross.

The market was covered in the rainbow material so often seen covering markets across Taiwan. The range of stalls was huge. Some people had only a few things, maybe gleaned from picking through other people’s actual trash, and some vendors had sophisticated set-ups selling brand new items. The market extends back in a “T” shape with two wings left and right. Scattered through the market are tea and snack stalls providing energy to hungry early morning scavengers.

The only tangible difference between this flea market and the ones Kiwiland or Australia is that the vendors chew a lot of betelnut and speak to you in Taiwanese or Chinese. We did meet, as we often do, a fellow browser who spoke great English. After asking us where we worked he said, “Oh, Hess, cram school. You make a lot of money.” We said, “I guess so”. We do earn well above the minimum wage here, a fact that makes me feel downright guilty sometimes. Hence the reason I didn’t barter for any of my purchases. I figure we get paid enough so if I want something I’ll just deal out what’s asked. If it’s seems too expensive I just say, “No”, and move on.

I think my favourite purchase was a wooden Spare Parts Box. I have already used the bag, which is leather, and I know it will be a great accessory to all the outfits purchased recently on a trip to Tianjin Road, Section 2. I’m going to make pies in the bowl. It’s going to be my official pie bowl.

I want to find out what the Chinese on the medals say. One is from 1949 and has 1949.4 stamped on it and the other is from 1946 (1946.12). I couldn’t find out much about them with a Google search but I think this is around the dates that the Nationalists left China for Taiwan. They look like bronze military medallions. If you know the significance of these dates please leave a comment.


I have decided that the sacrifice of a Sunday morning sleep in for a flea-marketing adventure is well worth it on occasion. You can always partake of a lovely afternoon nap, surrounded by your newly gleaned treasures, to make up for it.

This flea market is near the Taiyuan Train Station on DongGuang Road in Beitun District, Taichung.

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14 Responses to “JoB likes: FLEA MARKETING”

  1. Kim Cusick Says:

    Wonderful! Your purchases sound like the jewels that you were hoping for. Your descriptions put me right there with you.

    Kim 🙂

  2. jarofbuttons Says:

    Thanks! Actually, I thought you might have some idea of the significance of the dates on the medals… JoB x

  3. Jet Says:

    LOL, glad you finally went on with your plan. My favorite part there is the clothes section, somewhere in the right wing (Not sure bout my left and right though, so don’t take my word for it, hehehe!).

    • jarofbuttons Says:

      Hey! Yep. It was a great morning. And found some awesome stuff. I had a look through the clothes section but didn’t find anything that caught my eye. This time… I want to check out the other flea market now. I know you said it wasn’t so good but I want to take a look anyway. JoB x

  4. Thomas Says:

    In case someone wants to know where exactly it is:

    Link to Google

  5. Thomas Says:

    Ok, that didn’t seem to work…,+taichung,+taiwan&sll=24.140429,120.688548&sspn=0.010163,0.019248&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Taiyuan+Train+Station,+No.+833%E8%99%9F,+D%C5%8DngGu%C4%81ng+Rd,+Beitun+District,+Taichung+City,+Taiwan+406&ll=24.16412,120.701235&spn=0.00254,0.004812&z=18

  6. Thomas Says:

    and for completeness, the other flea market, albeit smaller one, can be found here:,+taichung,+taiwan&sll=24.140429,120.688548&sspn=0.010163,0.019248&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Taiyuan+Train+Station,+No.+833%E8%99%9F,+D%C5%8DngGu%C4%81ng+Rd,+Beitun+District,+Taichung+City,+Taiwan+406&ll=24.141712,120.689814&spn=0.00127,0.002406&t=h&z=19

    • jarofbuttons Says:

      Thanks for your input, Thomas. I’ve been unable to update JoB for some time due to other work commitments but hope to get back to it in the near future.

  7. Jacqueline Says:

    Love the info…I just moved to Taichung and love thrift store/flea market shopping…Thanks again!

    • jarofbuttons Says:

      Thanks for the comment, Jacqueline. Let me know if you want to go second hand shopping together. I can show you a few other great spots, too. Otherwise feel free to pop by the office I share with a local book publisher, (address in the bottom footer in Chinese and English).

  8. Jessica Says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I love flea markets and cannot wait to check this out. Did you have to use Chinese a lot?

    • jarofbuttons Says:

      Thanks for your comment, Jessica! You really only need to be able to ask how much something costs (duōshǎo qián) and then be able to understand the answer (the price). Let me know how your visit goes! There is also another flea market down near the Taichung Train Station, it’s nicknamed the “Thieves Market” by local foreigners.

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