After spending some time in Hualien and Taroko National Park, it’s time for me to move to the west coast of Taiwan. I stopped in three major cities along the way: Kaohsiung, Tainan, and Taichung, spending two nights in each city.

I know it’s a bit rushed to move from one place to another within a couple of days. However, considering the time I had left, the upcoming itinerary, and the fact that I’ve been relaxing for a whole week in Hualien, I think I made the right decision.

So, where did I go and what did I do? Keep scrolling down.

From the east to the west coast of Taiwan, Kaohsiung came first!

Here’s the thing: I wished I could cut through the middle of the country since most of the places I really wanted to visit were concentrated on the west, especially since I had just come down from Jade Mountain in Taiwan.

It’s too complicated to cross the country by public transportation due to the mountainous terrain, unless you drive your own car or hitchhike.

In short, I ended up making a big (I mean half) loop from Hualien to Kaohsiung. Check the map; it’s quite a distance, right?

If you’re planning to stop in Taitung and then Kenting National Park, it’ll be fine.

In my case, I skipped them and went straight to Kaohsiung. It took me about 7-8 hours by train, including a transit in Taitung.

Pier 2 art center kaohsiung
Artsy statue in Pier 2 Art Center

Kaohsiung is located on the southern west coast of Taiwan. Surprisingly, I felt attached to this city, regardless of its status as the second-biggest city in Taiwan.

There’s a strong flow of art and creativity blending with modernity. Kaohsiung has a well-balanced city landscape, with parks, rivers, the sea, and cohesive buildings.

I unpacked my belongings at the hotel and had a pleasant afternoon stroll around Pier 2 Art Center.

It used to be warehouses and now is home to contemporary art. Some have been transformed into restaurants, gift shops, and, if you’re lucky, you will see bazaars selling clothes, accessories, and featuring live music—a very lively area.

pier 2 kaohsiung
The colorful building in Pier 2

Enough with Pier 2 Art Center, I took the metro to Formosa Boulevard Station to see the Dome of Light.

It is undoubtedly a masterpiece. All this shining glass on the ceiling shows a unique character with different colors; it’s beautiful.

The light show runs every day at different times: the morning show starts at 11 a.m., the afternoon at 3 p.m., and the night at 8 p.m.

Then, it’s night market time. I went to Liuhe Night Market, which is not too far from Formosa Boulevard—time to stuff myself with some food!

Formosa Boulevard Kaohsiung
Formosa Boulevard
Liuhe Night Market Kaohsiung
Liuhe Night Market

I turned my active mode on cause this day would be a full exploration day. I had picked the highlights that I wanted to visit, first it was the Kaohsiung Museum Fine Arts.

It is a very interesting museum with different sections of art.

One of my favorite is the art turning plastic into beautiful hanging form and with the lights and music as the background, it creates a different ambience of it.

Next, I went to Lotus Lake and didn’t expect that this lake would be this huge!

I don’t think it’s a good idea to walk around the lake in this hot sunny day, should have rented a bicycle with me.

There are about 10 temples surrounded the lake and the most famous one is Dragon and Tiger Pagoda and Spring and Autumn Pavilion.

Unfortunately the lotus flowers were not blooming at that time.

Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts
Contemporary arts in Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts
Dragon and Tiger Pagodas Kaohsiung
Dragon and Tiger Pagodas
around lotus lake taiwan
Lotus lake and Five Miles Pavillion

Then I traveled to my last destination, the furthest one which is Fo Guang Shan.

It’s a big complex of Buddhist Temple. Entering the main gate it is more like a shopping mall actually, until I exit the other door and found myself in a big garden.

Both of my sides were pagodas and between them there is a big giant Buddha statue.

I heard chanting from the loudspeaker, I was lucky because there was a ceremony and many monks were praying together.

Each of the pagodas has different precepts, some are used for museum, learning center, etc.

Another impressive part is the Twin Pavilion, coated with a bright golden colour.

Fo Guang Shan west coast of taiwan
Big Buddha in Fo Guang Shan

Inside Fo Guang Shan

Twin Pavilions Fo Guang Shan
Twin Pavilions Fo Guang Shan

Tainan as the former capital city during the dynasty period

Most of guidebooks will tell you that Tainan is special – the real evidence of Dutch settlement a while ago in Taiwan.

Several forts are still maintained, most popular one is Anping District.

I just did a slow approach again to see the city. I visited more temples since it’s not far from each other.

Shennong Street is a cool area to see old houses, then I visited the Confucius Temple.

The next day, I went to Taijiang National Park and did the boat tour passing the famous wetland area.

The reflection of the trees on the water were amazing and the most exciting part was watching different kinds of bird here in the national park.

Shennong Street Tainan
A corner of Shennong Street
temples in tainan
Sightseeing around Tainan
temple near taijiang national park
Sihcao Dahjong Temple near Taijiang National Park
Boat tour in Taijiang National Park
Boat tour in Taijiang National Park
Taijiang National Park west coast of taiwan
bird taijiang national park

Short and relax in Taichung

Moving fast drained my energy a lot, so in Taichung I just wanted to rest. The only place that I really wanted to see in the Rainbow Village.

It has an interesting story behind it.

It is a protest from an old military veteran and he did it by painting the village to prevent the government from demolishing the houses.

And look, it was a success. Now it becomes so popular which I understand why, the bright colors, unique drawing, even the floors are all painted. It is entertaining.

There are also some night markets in Taichung that you can check out. I always love Taiwan’s night market, full of interesting snacks to try.

Rainbow Village Taichung
Rainbow Village
Taiwan Pinterest
Pint it!

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6 Replies to “Exploring the West Coast of Taiwan: Kaohsiung, Tainan, and Taichung in A Row”

  1. Hi Velysia. Currently I’m preparing for the itinerary and I must say your blog helps me a lot.

    May I know the time you depart from Hualien to Kaohsiung. I visited the TRA website already but I’m not very sure about the booking, thought of buying the ticket from the station later.

    1. I took the train from Hualien to Taitung in the morning then continue with separate train ticket from Taitung to Kaohsiung. I think the schedule is quite often in a day and you can buy it on the spot 🙂 Have fun!

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