When shopping in Nantou, the most purchased products are handicrafts, fresh produce, delicious delicacies and pieces of art. It’s not every day that you visit Nantou, and so you should make the most of it by buying the coolest commodities that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.
Located in Central Asia, Nantou is not known to have the biggest and most modern facilities and structures in Taiwan. There are no huge malls here. The best places to go shopping when in Nantou are the ubiquitous night markets, although the night markets here are not the largest or most beautiful in Taiwan. Nonetheless they still offer a one-of-kind shopping experience that Western foreigners look for when visiting an Asian country.
If you wish to buy the most exciting Chinese works of art, there are a number of excellent art studios. Art pieces are always good souvenirs for their authenticity. Many of the art studios here are run by families of well-known artists, which means as you shop, you are not only dealing with business owners whose out to take your money, but also with honest-to-goodness artists whose primarily goal is to promote the unique brand of Nantou art. These artist-businessmen are only too willing to autograph the piece of art that you purchased and pose for a picture with you.
Also, a different kind of art that you could take home as souvenir is creative gift items made completely from paper. The Kwang Hsin Paper sells these paper-art pieces and their bestseller is the paper fans that are painted with images of Taiwan. Again, this unique, artistic shop is run by a family of artists.
Two other art stores that you should check out are Puyuan Art Studio and Yen Pin Hsin Village in Chushan Town and Xiu Huan Studio, which is owned by the artist Xiu Huan himself, located on Xin Yi Ln, Da Tong Village in the Township of Renai. Puyuan Art Studio is known for its customized art items and the bestseller is the moso bamboo paperweight. (Moso bamboo is a rare bamboo that grows only in Nantou.) On the other hand, Xiu Huan Studio is popular for its diamond-pattern handbags.
Another shop you can visit if you wish to purchase souvenirs or gift items is the Owl Factory at Sun Moon Lake. The gift items here are of good quality and very affordable; so cheap you won’t need to negotiate. The Owl Factory, as its name suggests, sells all kinds of owl-related handicrafts, such as owl lovebirds and T-shirts with owl designs. The choice of owl as motif is neither an accident nor out of whim. To the aboriginal tribe of Thao, the owl is a spiritual bird that protects their tribe. The Owl Factory is found on Yiyong Street in the township of Yuchi. It is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Meanwhile, if you’re on the lookout for the best wines and spirits in Nantou, go to Puli Brewery on Chungshan Road in Puli. The most popular drink among wine lovers is the exquisite Ailan wine, which was carefully brewed by wine masters and infused with Crushan bamboo. For non-wine lovers that are shopping in Nantou, Puli Brewery is still an attractive gift shop since the wine containers are by themselves works of art, delicately hand-painted with beautiful Calligraphy and Taiwanese sceneries. The store is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.