Day 2: Kaohsiung and Tainan City Day Out

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Before I start, this is my second post out of seven (7) that each tells the seven days of my little exploration of Taiwan. On day one, I arrived in Taiwan at Kaohsiung international airport and I discover myself lost in the beauty of Kaohsiung. On the second day, I traveled from Kaohsiung to Tainan, and then I took High Speed Railway Train from Tainan to Taichung to get further north of Taiwan. You can read my day-1 post here.

So, this post is focused on my exploration of Tainan city and all attractions that are still within Kaohsiung Area, but quite far from Kaohsiung City central. Here’s my itinerary for the second day in Taiwan covering Kaohsiung City Greater Area, Tainan City, and concluded in Taichung.

How did I travel from Kaohsiung City to Tainan and then to Taichung

Let me start by saying that I literally catalogued and listed every attraction from every city and region in Taiwan including their pictures (in the excel, nerdy kind of way). This is so I could weight which one I want most and which one I should have left behind (in teary eyes). Because I admit that since my job is not travelling, time spent on travel is limited, precious, and, in my case, I have only 7 days in Taiwan. So, it began the game of picking and throwing.

It’s always and will always be the hardest part in making itinerary, put off some places I know I can’t explore and sometime squeeze a bit here and there to fit the schedule. But of course, I always have put into account the “exploration time”, distance, time to travel from one place to another in my own leisure pace. And I always make my mind open to change itinerary (thanks to several years experiencing hard, twisted change of itineraries). But that’s the key to a happy travel:
Plan Big, Go easy, Ready for unforeseen circumstances, and be happy (no matter annoying and uncomfortable those change and surprises are).

There are too many amazing points of interest between Kaohsiung to Taichung, be it along its west coast or in the middle of Taiwan. And sometime these places are not easy to visit in a public transportation, or the public transports are not that frequent. Also, I don’t want to carry my heavy luggage around when visiting the attractions and I don’t want to go back to the same point (Kaohsiung) to save the time. Thus I thought finding a tour would help with that case.

I had searched numerous local tour packages such as:

  1. Taiwan Tours (web: https://www.taiwantourbus.com.tw/C/us/twbus-home/view )
  2. Tourism Shuttle Bus (Web: http://taiwan-adventures.com/hikes-and-trips/single-day-hikes/ )
  3. Round Taiwan Round (Web: https://www.rtaiwanr.com/yilan/wuling-farm )
  4. KK Day (https://www.kkday.com/en-id/product/5822 )
  5. Travelking (Web: https://www.travelking.com.tw/eng/tourguide/autumn/wuling-farm.html )
  6. KingBus (web: www.kingbus.com.tw )
  7. My Taiwan Tour (Web: https://www.mytaiwantour.com/product-list/product/index/pagi=?page=4 )

But none of them matched my itinerary. So, I stumbled upon Ownrides. (This is not an advertisement whatsoever) Ownrides is a web that accommodates private tour. All we have to do is input our pickup and drop-off point, continued by places we want to visit, how long we want to stay on each place, and we also have options to pick the car type, and whether we need a Chinese-speaking or English-speaking driver (additional TWD 300 for English-speaking driver). The website will calculate the price for you. You can also add days if you want multiple days tour. I’m not sure if the price is lower than if we want to bargain with a private tour by local taxi. But i think it’s relatively cheaper than if we have a private tour by an established travel agent. If you travel with a group, the cost per person can be very low. So that’s how I did it from Kaohsiung to Tainan.

I requested to be dropped off at Tainan High Speed Railways Station instead of Taichung since actually my next destination is in Taichung, and if I chose to be dropped off to Taichung, it exceed Ownrides’s maximum 10 hours per day. So, I got off at Tainan THSR and rode a train from Tainan to Taichung.

How to Book Ownrides

This is a simple step by step how to book your own trip at www.ownrides.com. Just click each of the photos below to know how. If you have decided to go with ownrides, i hope this will help. Again, this is not sponsored.

1. Go to the bottom of the www.ownrides.com and select customize

​Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Museum and Monastery

I must say that I was really impressed by this Museum. It was such a huge complex consists of monastery, museum, and Temple. The museum stores Buddha Gautama’s tooth relics, which was obtain by Master Hsing Yun, a prominent Buddhist Monk, given by Kunga Dorje Rinpoche who had kept the relic for almost thirty years. To preserve this legacy, Master Hsing Yun started to work with organisations to build the Museum. Fo Guang shan had eight pagodas (four on the left, four on the right), each in eight stories. It had this grand entrance hall, followed by main hall, where Buddha giant status was sat upon.

It opens from 9 am to 7 pm In weekdays and to 8 pm in the weekend. The history of the place and the meaning behind the architecture was so rich. And I was glad because my Ownrides drive/tour guide was really familiar with the history and was able to tell the story of the place, the meaning behind the architecture and Buddhist Teaching itself. If you are not practicing Buddhism, the meaning behind this grand architecture and its beauty would still draw you in. This is probably one of my favourite place in Kaohsiung area so far on that day alone.

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The Entrance Hall of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Museum

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The map of the museum, displayed at the front of entrance hall

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The immediate view after we passed the entrance hall

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i have never seen such a complex and beautiful Buddhist Museum

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With the rich history and vast complex, make sure you spend at minimum 2 hours here

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The main and grand building where the tooth relic was stored
In the entrance hall, there were many restaurants and food counter. They were mainly vegetarians and worth to check-out. My guide, Mr. Allen Su suggested that i tried a snack and it was totally worth it. So fluffy and yummy!! It had many kinds of fillings from cream, bean, chocolate, and many more!

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Tianliao Moon World

After Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Museum, I visited Tianliao Moon World. This geopark was famous for its moon-like landscape which had sharp and pointy hills. This area were called badlands and it was formed from a long time of erosion by rain and streams due to rejuvenation of the earth’s crust. It wasn’t as epic as I thought it would be, but I think it’s still attractive to see the unique landscape spread before my eyes.

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This badlands covers pretty much large area, but i think only some of them are open to visitors. It was really hot down there

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i wasn’t sure why i took picture in this place (insert eye-rolling emoticon here)

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I think getting to the highest point is the best way to really enjoy the hills

Chihkan Tower (Fort Provintia)

This simple, interesting building made me decided to visit the place. Chihkan tower was a Dutch outpost build in 1653 during Dutch Colonisation in Taiwan (source: Wikipedia). I visit the place mainly because it was Japanese-like building style and a beautiful garden. It was such a crowded day that afternoon.

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Orthodox Lu-Erh-Men Temple

To be honest, this temple architecture is what attracted me the most that made me go the extra mile to make that itinerary happened. In every trip planning, there was that one place that triggered you to wanting and making it happen, and for me, this place was it. Although, i ended up liking my experience in Fo Guang Shan better than the time i spent here.

I always love unique architecture just as I love nature and landscape. And this temple’s building is exceptionally amazing. My guide was curious about my pick on that day’s itinerary and he asked my motivation behind visiting each place. I answered architecture-interest for Fo Guang Shan, and when we entered Lu-erh-men Temple he already guessed what piqued me to visit the temple. And unlike Fo Guang Shan, he rarely visits the Lu-Erh-Men Temple.

Fo Guang Shan is Buddhist museum and temple while Lu-Erh-Men is more Taoism. When I was there, there was such a big celebration and the temple was crowded with worshipper. There was also a parade as part of the celebration.

Check the video to see from the bird’s view how massive the temple complex is. ​This is a great place if you want to get lost in a Temple architecture.

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I Just blown away by the architecture, stacked floor and bridges

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View from one of the bridges

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Geez, that corner edge!! and the detailss

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So amazing!!!!! I mean…..

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They went all out designing this temple. It was Just. So. Amazing. Love it! Those colour, details, geez…


​Chimei Museum

Chimei Museum is a little Europe in Taiwan, or at least that’s what I think. The design and the architecture smell Europe and i found it amusing. I arrived a little bit late in the afternoon and decided to enjoy the outer part of the museum instead. That was a King’s day celebration and there were lots of vendors and stands outside the museum as well as live music as part of the event. It was a great day-out and about.

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That European style fountain at the Museum entrance. I felt like i was in Paris

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Can you tell where is this place from this picture?

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I queued for about 15 minutes to get a picture like this, wouldn’t you know?

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That amazing entrance hall ceiling

The visit to the Chimei Museum concluded my day around Kaohsiung and Tainan. It was one of those day where the weather cooperates, the road is smooth, and the guide is exceptionally resourceful.

We changed the order of how I wanted to visit each attraction from the beginning as per my guide advice, and It worked well. If you are planning to visit Taiwan with friends and family, and looking for a private tour, consider ownrides as the choice. The itinerary may not always exact as what you inputted in the web, the driver/guide is very professional, and went the extra mile to make you comfortable.  And again, this is not an advertisement, I’m not event paid by Ownrides. It’s just a nice personal experience I would like to share and I hope other can be benefited too.

To add to your consideration, Ownrides may not always an option if you travel within city center where public transportation is plenty and often or where you travel solo. But, if you are set to visit many places within relatively far distance to each other and you have limited time to travel and in a group, Ownrides may just be the answer.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think !!

Asana Kusnadi
I'm Asana Kusnadi from Semarang Indonesia. Some of my friends call me Mei, it is taken from my Chinese Name. I was born in Semarang, capital city of Central Java and lived there until I graduated from University. After graduated i worked in Sumatera island and it's been almost 9 years now i live in Riau Province

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