Tainan – Kaohsiung, Taiwan
29-31°C w/no wind & the sun was harsh.
First stop of the day – Chou’s Shrimp Rolls in the Anping district. We shared the shrimp cake 80TWD, shrimp roll 80TWD, Milk fish sausage 40TWD, rice noodle in thick fish soup 65TWD & vegetable in boiling water 50TWD.
I got a drink from Mung Bean Saud – red bean & Mung bean mix 50TWD.
We stopped at Li Peanut Brittle 阿丽花生糖 – they serve peanut rolled coriander (chewy & not overpowering) plus other flavours w/peanuts. 7 little treats totalled 95TWD. Bev went back for more cranberry ones.
We stopped into Anping Kaitai Tianhou Temple before going into the Anping Old Fort 安平古堡 – Fort Zeelandia 70TWD. The Zeelandia museum was under exhibition changeover so it was closed. This fort was built in 1624 by the Dutch and used as an administrative centre and a hub for trading.
We were going to go into the Former Tait & Co Merchant House 原英商德記洋行 70TWD but the sun really zonked us. We hopped onto a bus and made our way to Hayashi Department Store 原林百貨 – built in 1932 and has a small rooftop detail. It currently holds some fun little boutique stores filled with local made goods.
We went to Du Hsiao Yueh for some Tainan speciality slack seasoned Dan zai noodles – over 130 years old recipe. We ordered the Dan Zai noodles 50TWD, Dan Zai rice noodle w/braised meat ball 70TWD & a vegetable dish 90TWD.
On our way back to our hotel to grab our luggage, we walked the outer grounds of the Tainan Art Museum Building 2.
Last stop before we grabbed our things was for a cold refreshing drink at Tea & Magic Hands. I ordered a L Hawthorn Oolong Tea 40TWD.
We hopped on the THSR bus to Tainan HSR Station and finally made our way to Kaohsiung via HSR. It only took a 15 minute ride to get to Zuoying Station in Kaohsiung. We also got to pass through Formosa Station with the beautiful stained glass. It was humid in Kaohsiung.
After settling into our hostel – Pipe Hostel, final thing to do for the night was to eat.
Duck Zhen 鴨肉珍 for duck on rice, innards soup & veggies 160TWD.
We went to Liuhe Night Market. We ate at Shengyi for a Taiwanese hotdog. I got just a sausage w/garlic 30TWD. I’m not usually a fan of papaya but I was told Papaya Milk 50TWD was a thing here I needed to try and boy I’m happy to have tasted it. We also grabbed potato balls 50TWD (mochi like). I grabbed a Winter melon Oolong Tea from Dancing Charm. The cup size is only Supercup size and it cost only 35TWD!
Started the morning with a solo walk up to Shoushan lookout point. It was stifling hot and little to no wind. Wild monkeys and dogs along the way. Up the stairs where the temple is is where you will get the views you are looking for.
Walking in the heat was rewarded with Dou shushu soy milk 55TWD.
The morning/early afternoon was dedicated to Pier 2 Art Centre. It opens at 10AM but especially on weekends, you want to be there around noon as the vendors come out in full force. A bunch of warehouses and open space for fun art and shopping. Hamasen railway cultural park is fun for the large art installations/sculptures.
Pier 2 is a massive area and took awhile to cover majority of the area. There was even a special exhibit for Ito Junji. There’s a bridge that takes you over to another warehouse area of shops and food. Under the light rail track was an area filled with vendors. Definitely allot 2-3 hours if you plan on going to Pier2.
We checked out the exterior of Kaohsiung Music Centre before hopping on the Light Rail to make our way up to Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts area to attend the Mingcheng 2 day coffee x dessert festival. Special guest of the day and the main reason to come to Kaohsiung – my friend Willy!
Willy has been living in Taiwan for the past 5 years and I promised I’d visit him. Took longer than expected but happy it happened. This coffee x dessert festival was massive however, it being so dry and it taking place on a field, there was so much dust and dirt. The wind I wish I had on my morning walk came full force during the festival.
By the time we met up, we had a thick layer of dust all over us that if you scratched, you would have dark brown dirt under your nails. We walked around a bit before going for a nice stroll in the park. We stopped by the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts but decided to not pay to go into the exhibits.
We hopped in Willy’s car and went on a adventure. First stop was Oolong Tea Project – we ordered the Cheese milk foam dark roasted oolong tea 60TWD. It was absolutely delicious.
We took a evening stroll along a portion of Love River before making our way to the famous Ruifeng Night Market. But before we even got in, we had to grab a pineapple bun w/butter at HohoMei 45TWD.
The kiddy-corner from the pineapple buns has an all-person cross and the Nightmarket was busy. We squeezed into one of the rows and tried our best not to touch anyone as we were sticky and well dirt-y. It was such a great experience as Willy was our food guide through and pointed out certain foods we would have missed without him.
I grabbed garlic chicken feet 150TWD. Then we kept grabbing more food along the way. Duck bun 60TWD, Lemon Red Tea 50TWD (HK style vs green tea base) but the onion pancake – half 45TWD was the spotlight stealer. Get it with salt & pepper seasoning. Willy showed us the famous chicken stall with basically a chicken steak but we were too full to even try.
Our final stop of the day was at Lighthouse bar. Had a Taiwan beer 100TWD and super cozy atmosphere that many expats goto.
Did you know it’s law that if you drink (even if its 1 beer) you cannot drive. Penalties could include large sums of money fines to jail time and for foreigners potential visa could be revoked.
Kaohsiung – Taipei, Taiwan
A quiet morning and slower start to the day. Walked to this little alley that was serving up 70’s vibes but also some local classics. I picked up pork belly gua baos 55TWD from Qi Yu Wan (旗魚丸) – 王記魚丸旗魚丸(大溝頂純旗魚丸) and if it was easier and more portable, there is a milk fish soup place called Da Gou Ding (大溝頂) beside it I would have taken it to go. What was portable were these very light Chocolate Cream Puffs 80TWD.
Willy helped us figure out the rest of our weekend plans so we were on the move. Took the MRT and made our way to HSR Zuoying early where we could store our luggage then do activities around the area.
It being a weekend, loads of travellers and all the lockers in the HSR and MRT were full BUT the mall Shin Kong Mitsukoshi had their own near the escalator below the arcade under the Uniqlo – 50TWD for 4 hours. After storing our things, we walked over to Lotus Pond.
The Kaohsiung Confucius Temple is on the North West corner and we made our way down alongside the pond from there. We stopped along the way at Spring and Autumn Pavilions but the Dragon & Tiger Pagodas was the main objective. Entering the Dragon’s throat and coming out a Tiger’s mouth symbolizes turning bad luck to good fortune.
It was so hot so we turned back and skipped the Fengyi East Gate. I grabbed freshly squeezed sugar cane juice 50TWD and Winter melon Oolong from Shiny Tea 35twd. I downed them and gave myself a sugar headache.
Back to Shin Kong Mitsukoshi and per Willy’s recommendations, we had a late lunch at Duan Chunzhen Zuoying Xinguang 段純貞-左營新光店 . We got the Garlic Beef noodle soup combo w/wintermelon w/lemon and the Heavy Braised Chicken noodle soup 415TWD.
His other recommendation was Cozy Tea Loft (御私藏) – Cloud Foam (cheese foam) – grey cloud (sesame) with an Earl grey tea base (I got Assam black tea but found it a little too light of a pairing) 55TWD.
Hopped on the HSR and made our way back to Taipei (2hr14min). We stayed just down the street from Comma Boutique at The Hub Hotel Ximen Inn. We ate at Cheng Wei Zhen. We shared dry noodles with wonton, braised pork and a blanket of egg 95TWD and beansprouts 35TWD.
Task of the night was laundry.
Started the morning with breakfast at Comida Toast. I ordered the pork & egg (runny egg) sandwich w/cheese & mix nut butter 95TWD, milk tea w/roasted sugar cane 55TWD. We shared mixed nut butter & Nutella toast w/walnuts 60TWD.
With our bellies full, we hopped into a car and made our way to the main physical activity for the day – walking up Elephant Mountain. From Ximending area, it’s either a 45min-1 hour bus/train ride or a 30min drive.
To get to the top of Elephant Mountain, you will need to climb up 500 steps. At certain points the steps are very short and at times, some a little taller but there is definitely a slope to it. There are also attractions such as temples on the hillside you can goto. At the very top, you will find the giant boulders the mountain is known for for photos. There’s a lookout platform which is the top unless you want to go down the other side of the mountain. It’s also quite shaded and there are WC at a certain point.
We came down the same way we came up and walked over to Taipei 101 (25min walk). Once it held the title of the tallest building but no more. You have the option to check out the Observatory for 420TWD. We didn’t go up. We wandered the mall a bit and checked out the food court. The building also houses companies so it felt like walking the PATH in Toronto.
We continued walking & had a late lunch at Yoshinoya. I got the Mapo Tofu w/pork on rice 170TWD. I also grabbed a delicious Grape Cheese Smoothie from Macu 95TWD.
Continued walking to stop by Tian Jin Onion Pancake 天津蔥抓餅 – I got the original 30TWD. Very soft and flaky as opposed to the one we had at Ruifeng Nightmarket where it basically was crispy like a chip. There’s a CNN made famous Mango shaved ice across the street called Smoothie House but it was packed.
Next stop was a 2-in-1. We visited Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall 國立中正紀念堂 & Library Square. There was an exhibit inside the Memorial Hall called Taiwan’s Long walk to Freedom – where you can go on an audio tour through to see the timeline in Taiwan’s history.
Our final stop for the evening was returning back to the Ximending Walking district. Bev shopped while I bought more tea drinks.
First drink was at Wootea – Wootea w/almond jelly 49TWD (disappointing) & also 50 Lan – wanted to get the delicious Golden Oolong Tea but they didn’t have it on the menu at this place so I grabbed a normal Oolong 35TWD – another let down.
Bev wanted Mango shaved ice which we got at Yi Zhi Ice & Fruit shop 120TWD.
We also got a small bag of Fried Potato Balls 30TWD.
By the end of the night, we had 140TWD cash left in total and grabbed 2 BBQ skewers (chicken & pork). Final stop was to 7/11 to check our Easycard balances where we tried our best to empty the amount on snacks so we had nothing left.