Southern Taiwan is the region in the south of Taiwan that includes Pingtung County, Kaohsiung City, and Tainan City. We visited Southern Taiwan last year and spent 8 amazing days there. We checked out the many night markets, drank lots of milk tea, tried the different street foods, and ate lots of xiaolongbaos, explored parks, and visited temples and many beautiful tourist sites on a motorbike. Below is our eight days Southern Taiwan itinerary with some photos from the places we visited, and a video of our trip made by Andreu. Eight days is kinda long so this post will be a brief one with lots of pictures. I will make a more detailed post next time (hopefully).
Southern Taiwan Day 1: Arrived in Kaohsiung; checked out the Liuhe Night Market
Andreu arrived in Kaohsiung earlier than me. He had to wait for more than six hours because he took the early flight. If he didn’t, it would have been me who’ll have to wait for him, and he didn’t want that to happen (so nice of him). He flew from Singapore; I flew from Clark, Philippines. My flight arrived at almost 6 PM. After leaving my bags at the hotel, we went out to check the Liuhe Night Market.
Southern Taiwan Day 2: Visited Lotus Lake and Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center
On the second day, we went to the bike shop near Kaohsiung Railway Station to rent a bike. After renting the bike, our first stop was Lotus Lake. It is an artificial lake located on the east side of Zuoying District in Kaohsiung. There we visited the Zuoying Yuandi Temple, the Wuliting, the Dragon and Tiger Pagoda, and the Chiji Temple.
After exploring the Lotus Lake Complex, our next destination was the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum. It is a Mahayana Buddhist cultural, religious, and educational museum located in Dashu District, Kaohsiung.
The motorbike ride back to the city center from Fo Guang Shan takes about 40 minutes. It was already past 7 PM when we left Fo Guang Shan. On our way back, we passed by a restaurant that looks like a place frequented by locals. I’m not sure if the name is Soy Bean Milk of Lai Lai Shop. We decided to check out the place and had our dinner there. Their food is good and cheap. I love the xiaolongbao. If you manage to find this place, try it out.
Southern Taiwan Day 3: Explored Tainan- Salt Field Eco-Cultural Village, Sicao Dazhong Temple, Anping Tree House, Eternal Golden Castle, Anping Old Street andGrand Mazu Temple
On the third day, we explored Tainan, a city in Southern Taiwan. It is about an hour and a half motorbike ride from Kaohsiung. Tainan is the oldest city on the island of Taiwan. Our first stop in Tainan was the Salt Field Eco-Cultural Village. It was Taiwan’s first industrial salt production facility. But this is not in operation anymore. While there, we were able to check out one of the abandoned staff houses (it’s in Andreu’s video).
There is another salt field in Tainan, the Jingzaijiao Tile-Paved Salt Fields. There you can see pyramid salt fields and is a famous tourist attraction. We didn’t go there because it is far from the city and we were only there for a day trip.
Next, we went to Sicao Dazhong Temple. It is a large, modern-looking temple that dates back to the 1700s. It was built to honor the spirits that died in the battles between Zheng Chenggong and the Dutch. Near the temple, there’s a food court. It is where we had our lunch.
Our next stop was the Anping Tree House. It was originally a Tait & Co. Warehouse, one of the top five trading companies in Anping area during the Japanese occupation. It was abandoned for many years. Living banyan roots and branches now cover the building, that’s why it is referred to as a treehouse.
Next, we went to Eternal Golden Castle. We thought it is a castle, like the ones in Europe. But it is actually a small fort that was built in 1876 to resist the Japanese troops who invaded Taiwan.
Then we checked out Anping Old Street, Taiwan’s oldest street. It features stalls and shops and a maze of alleyways.
Lastly, we visited the Grand Mazu Temple. It is a Taoist temple. It is the largest temple in Anping District and has a spacious temple square.
Southern Taiwan Day 4: Travel to Kenting; Visited the Sail Rock, Southernmost Point, Eulanbi Lighthouse, and Kenting Night Market
On our fourth day, we checked out of the hotel and traveled to Kenting. It was a more than 3 hours ride by motorbike.
After checking-in at Amanda Hotel Kenting, we set off to the southernmost point of Taiwan. We stopped by Sail Rock located along the west coast. They say that from a distance it looks like a sailboat that is about to sail, from where it got its name.
Next, we stopped at a beach bistro located near Banana Bay to have lunch. There we tried their Teppanyaki Ice Cream with wine. It consists of fresh cream at the top, vanilla ice cream in the middle, and homemade cake at the bottom. Then the wine is poured over.
After having lunch, we proceeded to the southernmost point of Taiwan. It has a cone-shaped concrete marker with a flat side facing the western side of the island. The place has an awesome view of the ocean.
Next, we went to Eluanbi Park. This is where the Eluanbi lighthouse is located. Eluanbi Park is a big natural area with caves, viewpoints where you have amazing views of the ocean and a nice spot to watch the sunset, interesting looking rocks, and trees.
Before going back to the hotel, we stopped by the Kenting Night Market. It is a 2 km strip of stalls along the main street with a wide range of food. We love the fried xiaolongbao from one of the stalls there.
Southern Taiwan Day 5: Explored the Kenting National Forest Recreation Area, visited Fongchueisha Beach, went back to the night market, and had cake at 85C Cakeshop
Our fifth day in Taiwan was Andreu’s birthday. We spent the whole day exploring Kenting National Forest Recreation Area. We explored the Sheding Natural Park and the Kenting Forest Recreation Area. Both have trails, coral rocks, and ocean views.
From Kenting National Forest Recreation Area, we went to Fongchueisha Beach. It is a roadside beach area offering breathtaking views of the sea. The place is very windy. Drive slowly on your way there when going on a motorbike because the wind is so strong.
Next, we went to Kenting Night Market again and had fried xiaolongbao again. And since it’s Andreu’s birthday, we thought he needs to have a cake. We went to 85C Cakeshop at Hengchun Township, about 20 minutes motorbike ride from the night market.
I highly recommend staying at Kenting Amanda Hotel on your trip to Kenting. It is a lavish Middle Eastern-themed hotel surrounded by gardens. The room was clean, spacious, and beautiful. And I love the large tub outside on a patio with privacy.
Southern Taiwan Day 6: Travel back to Kaohsiung; tried traditional snacks at Yan-Cheng District, visited Pier 2 Art District and Love Lookout, and had dinner at Din Tai Fung
On our 6th day, we traveled back to Kaohsiung. After checking in at WO Hotel, we went to Yan-cheng District to try out some traditional snacks. The hotel gave us a map of the area. There we had mochi and I also bought some tea cake. I was looking for tea leaves similar to the ones I bought in Fenchihu, but they don’t have them.
Next, we went to The Pier 2 Art Center. It is a big area with many art pieces, murals, sculptures, and statues all over. If you are looking for Instagrammable spots in Kaohsiung, you should visit this place.
From Pier 2 Art Center, we went to Shoushan LOVE Lookout. It is a nice place to hang out and see Kaohsiung’s night scenery. The place has an observation deck and an illuminated metal LOVE sign.
For dinner, we went to Din Tai Fung. It is located inside a mall (can’t remember the name). The queue was long but was worth it.
Southern Taiwan Day 7: Explored Cijin Island, visited Fu Ding Jin Bao An Temple and Rueifong Night Market
For day 7, we went to Cijin Island. We took a ferry at Gushan Ferry Pier. The ferry trip to the island is about 5 to 10 minutes.
Our first stop on the island is the Cihou Lighthouse. There you have an excellent view of the entire Kaohsiung port and Cijin Island.
Next, we walked to Cihou Fort. It was built mainly to defend Kaohsiung Harbor.
From Cihou Fort, we went to Cijin Star Tunnel. It was originally a military tunnel, excavated in the Japanese Colonial Era. It passes through Cihou Mountain.
Next, we made our way to the beach. We passed by a market selling fish and other kinds of seafood.
Next, we walked towards Shell House, an enormous oyster-like installation.
There are also other outdoor art installations near the Shell House and of course, I asked Andreu to take a photo of me in one of those.
After exploring Cijin Island, we went to Fu Ding Jin Bao An Temple. It is one of the largest temples in Taiwan devoted to the worship of “Jhongtan Yuanshuai”. It is built on the banks of Jinshih Lake.
After that, we went to Rueifong Night Market. It is one of the most famous and largest night markets in the city.
Before going back to the hotel, we went to Heart of Love River. It is a riverside cove with a paved perimeter trail and a curved bridge. At the bridge, we took a timelapse of Kaohsiung traffic.
Southern Taiwan Day 8: Went to 85 Sky Tower and Central Park; Fly out of Kaohsiung
On our last day, we checked out of the hotel then returned the motorbike. After that, we went to 85 Sky Tower. It is the tallest building in Kaohsiung. We were supposed to go to 85 Sky Tower’s Observatory because it is a good place to enjoy panoramic views of the city. However, when we got there we were told that it is closed due to redecoration. Because it was still early for our flights, we checked out the mall near 85 Sky Tower.
After that, we went to Central Park. It is a city park in Kaohsiung. It is a beautiful park with a relaxing atmosphere. When we were there, there were stalls selling handmade stuff like soap, accessories, and decorations. There were also food stalls.
That’s how we spent eight days in Taiwan. I had a great time exploring the place with someone else. The first time I visited Taiwan, it was a solo trip. I had fun traveling alone, but it’s also fun exploring with someone else who is as flexible as me. I also love how organized Andreu was. We even had a spreadsheet of our itinerary.
How I wish this pandemic will be over soon. I would love to go back to Taiwan and buy some more tea leaves. And explore more places. There’s a lot of things to do there and I really miss the street food.
Where to rent a motorbike in Kaohsiung
There are plenty of rental shops near the high-speed railway station in Kaohsiung. We rented the motorbike from Mr. Chiang. You can find him at http://www.globalmoto.com.tw/