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 big cities along the way; Kaohsiung, Tainan, and Taichung, spending two nights in each city. I know it’s a bit rush to move from a place to another within couple days, however, considering the time that I had left, the itinerary after, plus I’ve been relaxing for a whole week in Hualien, I think I made the right decision. Where did I go and what did I do? Keep scrolling down.
From East to the West Coast of Taiwan, Kaohsiung Came First!
Here’s the thing. I wish I could cut through the middle of the country since most of the places that I really wanted to do was concentrated on the west. It’s too complicated to cross the country by public transportation because of the mountainous area, unless you drive your own car or hitchhike. Short story, 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 on Taitung then Kenting National Park, it’ll be fine. In my case, I just skipped them and went straight to Kaohsiung. It took me about 7-8 hours by train including a transit in Taitung.
Kaohsiung is pinned on the southern west coast of Taiwan. Surprisingly, I felt attached to this city, regardless its status as the second biggest city in Taiwan. There’s a strong flux of art and creativity flowing between modernity. Kaohsiung has a well-balanced city landscape, from parks, river, sea, and the buildings are cohesive one and another.
I unpacked my stuffs in the hotel and had a pleasant afternoon stroll after around Pier 2 Art Center. It used to be a warehouses and now it is home to contemporary arts. Some were transformed to restaurants, gift shops, and if you’re lucky you will see bazaars selling clothes, accessories, and live music. A very lively area.
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 show a unique character with different colors, it’s beautiful. The lighting show runs everyday with different time. The morning show starts at 11 a.m., afternoon at 3 p.m. and 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Traveled from 25-30 November 2017
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