Step Inside Taiwan’s Unique Freeway Service Areas

Taiwan’s freeway service areas have become destinations where people can shop, dine, relax, and have fun. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

There are two major longitudinal (north to south) national freeways in Taiwan — National Freeway No. 1, also known as the Sun Yat-sen Freeway (中山高速公路), and National Freeway No. 3, also called the Formosa Freeway (福爾摩沙高速公路). Both have freeway service areas about every 50 kilometers.

One of Taiwan's many freeway service areas.
One of the landmark structures at the Qingshui Service Area. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

There are a total of 13 service areas along the two national freeways from Keelung City in the north to Kaohsiung City and Pingtung County in the south, respectively.

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An aquarium in one of the freeway service  areas.
A 6-meter aquarium at the Dongshan Service Area. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

Apart from gas stations, convenience stores, gift shops, cafés, and food courts, Taiwan’s freeway service areas also offer other convenient and diversified amenities free of charge, such as exquisite gardens, driver’s lounges with shower rooms, breastfeeding rooms, charging stations, bookcrossing stations (漂書站), tire pressure gauges, female-only parking spaces, Wi-Fi, blood pressure gauges, and other leisure and recreational facilities.

Please watch the following video of Taiwan’s freeway service areas:

Each service area is designed with a unique theme according to the principles of “Dining for All,” “Traveler-Friendliness,” “Local Highlights,” and “Social Responsibility.”

Qingshui Service Area is the most popular and profitable highway service areas in Taiwan. (Image: Billy Shyu / Nspirement)
The Qingshui Service Area is the most popular and profitable highway service area in Taiwan. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

With the theme “Green Boat in Qingshui, Song of Happiness,” the Qingshui Service Area (清水服務區) emphasizes the natural and cultural characteristics of the Qingshui District.

A balloon artist performs live and interacts with guests at Qingshui Service Area. (Image: Billy Shyu / Nspirement)
A balloon artist performs live and interacts with guests at the Qingshui Service Area. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

Freeway Service Areas

The Qingshui Service Area is the most popular and profitable freeway service area in Taiwan. With an area of 13.8 hectares (34.1 acres), this service area can accommodate 645 cars (including 4 parking spaces at the Night Safe Parking Lot), 32 buses, 33 trailers, and 71 trucks. In 2017, it ranked first, with a turnover amounting to NT$739,752,684 (US$24.7 million).

Qingshui Service Area offers a heart-warming atmosphere for travelers. (Image: Julia Fu / Nspirement)
The Qingshui Service Area offers a heart-warming atmosphere for travelers. (Image: Julia Fu via Nspirement)

There are “Eight Sights” in the Qingshui Service Area, including the “Stairs of History,” “Flower of History,” “Rock of History,” and “Tree of History.” Topped with a variety of thematic landscapes, the Qingshui Service Area offers a  heart-warming atmosphere for travelers.

"The Stairs of History" in Qingshui Service Area, on which major historical events of Qingshui are inscribed. (Image: Billy Shyu / Nspirement)
‘The Stairs of History’ in the Qingshui Service Area, on which major historical events of Qingshui are inscribed. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

Moreover, the Qingshui Service Area is the only freeway service area in Taiwan that offers an Islamic prayer room, a pet bar (寵物共餐區), and a paw-cleaning area (寵物洗足區).

There is a high-ceiling shopping area in Dongshan Service Area. (Image: Billy Shyu / Nspirement)
There is a high-ceiling shopping area in the Dongshan Service Area. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

Additionally, the service area has a 4-meter aquarium with various sharks and sturgeon (鱘龍魚), a Message Wall of Joy (幸福留言牆), and a Walkway of Love (心鎖情人步道). The service area is not only a place for travelers to rest and dine, but also a destination for people to experience fun and enjoyment.

The bus stop at Zhongli Service Area. (Image: Billy Shyu / Nspirement)
The bus stop at Zhongli Service Area. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

With the theme “Watery Dongshan (水漾東山),” the main building of the Dongshan Service Area (東山服務區) is designed like a gigantic aquarium. Covering an area of 40 hectares (99 acres) with 501 parking spaces, this service area is one of the biggest of its kind in Southeast Asia.

The pet park in Dongshan Service Area. (Image: Billy Shyu / Nspirement)
The pet park in Dongshan Service Area. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

Walking into the high-ceiling lounge, travelers feel like being in a shopping mall with a 6-meter long aquarium. Adjacent to the parking lot, you feel like you are walking through a beautiful community park, with musicians playing for tips outside the building.

Featured theme of Hukou Service Area is "Old street, Paradise Island--A rendezvous in 1974. (Image: Billy Shyu / Nspirement)
The featured theme of the Hukou Service Area is ‘Old Street.’ (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

Featuring an “Old Street” theme, the Hukou Service Area (湖口服務區) has a vintage scene constructed with a bricked arch. Symbolizing a “Fairy and Music Concert,” the Tai-an Service Area (泰安服務區) is designed like an artistic community, with an ecology theme park and a fairyland outdoor space. With the theme “Intellectual Tainan — Ancient Capital (知性南瀛 古都風情),” the Xinying Service Area (新營服務區) is based upon an Anping tree house (安平樹屋) and vintage Xingyin finery (新營糖廠).

A land art structure at Tai-an Service Area. (Image: Billy Shyu / Nspirement)
Artwork at the Tai-an Service Area. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

No matter the theme, Taiwan’s freeway service areas are destinations where people can shop, dine, relax, and have fun!

The spacious garden at Qingshui Service Area. (Image: Billy Shyu / Nspirement)
The spacious garden at the Qingshui Service Area. (Image: Billy Shyu via Nspirement)

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