Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, Lotus Pond
  • Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, Lotus Pond
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If you have Taipei on your travel agenda, pencil in Kaohsiung as well. Hop on the high-speed rail in Taipei and exactly 2 hours and 15 minutes later, you’re in southern Taiwan, in Taiwan’s second largest city. The contrast between Kaohsiung and Taipei is significant, and Taiwan’s south should not be overlooked for this reason.

The south of Taiwan has more of a homey feel to it, and locals will more often than not use Taiwanese, Taiwan’s own language, which is unintelligible from Mandarin Chinese.

My favorite scenic spot in Kaohsiung is the magnificent Lotus Pond, which has over twenty temples surrounding its perimeter. Take the metro to the Tsoying metro station, and rent a bicycle from the bike share program just steps away from the metro’s exit. It’s a quick ride around the perimeter of Lotus Pond, depending on how often you stop. Lotus Pond is quite possibility the most unique, colorful temple I’ve been to, and even if you’ve traveled all throughout Asia and been to hundreds of temples, you’ll still be taken back.

It’s also enjoyable walking along Love River at dusk; the city has invested significantly in urban renewal. I recommend jumping onto the ferry and heading over to Qi Jin Island, where you can literally pick and choose fresh seafood and have it served to you within minutes. A feast for three people costs about $25 US.

Meinong is a great day trip outside of Kaohsiung. It takes about 30 minutes by public bus, and Meinong’s scenery is some of the island’s most beautiful. About 90% of the residents of Meinong are Hakka, or aboriginals. I recommend the Hakka Museum, as well as the savory Hakka rice noodles known as dan tiao. Additionally, Meinong is known for producing exquisite paper parasols, which make excellent gifts.

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deepeebee June 18, 2011 @ 6:48 a.m.

There are many others throughout Taiwan as they have come to believe the grass is greener elsewhere! This type of culture is a huge problem for western men who do have a significant other at home waiting for them. I have seen it happen a lot over a period of 6 years. Unfortunately, when these women make it out of Taiwan they are not prepared for what they are getting into... They go from simple life with a goal, to a complicated life where they don't know where to start... The result is they end up in a bar playing the games they know very well. If you do happen to meet the "perfect" girl in Taiwan, you need to ask her point blank if she has children. There seems to be some "rule" that keeps them from talking about their children. Some will introduce you to their children and tell you they are their nieces and nephews or they will claim they are babysitting the children of a friend. They do this to "test" you.... After the wedding you will meet them again and they will be called your children! Others won't mention children at all until she is married to you! Just remember if things are, or someone seems, too good to be true, they probably are! Enjoy the scenery and don't get suckered into an ancient scam that leaves you with nothing at all, in the end! I know too many people who have been taken down this road and it's ugly. I have also known a few who woke up and saw what was going on before it was too late for them. China is a place where most are born unhealthy, their skinniness is usually the result of worms, coming from hygiene problems regarding the food they eat... As they age they will develop osteoporosis and it's heart breaking to see the elderly suffer so. The diet over there lacks much needed nutrition for the body, factor in the worms and other things and it's awful to witness. I wouldn't want to be there knowing I was destined to end up that way. These health problems do find a way into the westerners who spend a lot of time over there... Low T is a common ailment for westerners due to the diet... If you are there it is wise to eat from the night markets where you can choose your meal as it's alive and then have it killed and prepared to eat. I offended many locals as I refused to eat from a vendor serving food with flies all over it! Not to mention the highly processed foods that are lacking in nutrition, when "meat" is a white looking meatball, I am not eating it. The people are aware of their lack of nutrition because I always got emails requesting vitamins for them and their families, when they learned I or someone else was going over there. Vitamins there are more expensive than they are in the U.S. and they are highly desired! Bring imodium with you when in Taiwan or China and drink bottled water as sewage runs freely. The place is beautiful but it does have it's darksides!

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