Beautiful Southern Taiwan

Once upon a time, we lived in a city named Kaohsiung. It was a time of being newly married and mostly before having children. It was a time of adventure and feeling pretty carefree. It ended exactly 10 years and 10 days ago, today. (wow… 10/10 is also Taiwan’s national holiday…what are the chances??) We surprised our families that thought we were moving home that summer, by arriving early on April 11, 2005. Sometimes these days I need a moment to stop and figure out my exact age, but I don’t forget dates like that.

We, of course, moved back to the northern, capital city of Taipei in 2009. Often Taiwanese people will ask me where I’m from and how long I’ve lived here. After explaining that we lived 3 years in Kaohsiung and now almost 6 in Taipei, they will inevitably ask me which city I prefer. And that’s a really tough question to answer! (Even tougher is when they ask me why I don’t speak more Chinese.) The weather is pretty different. Even though there is less rain in Kaohsiung there is also more pollution, and I’ll take rain over that for sure. There was something magical about our years in the south, but I think overall now I would have to choose the conveniences, slightly fresher air and international feel of Taipei over the warmth and laid back charm of the south. Taiwan is a beautiful island wherever you go,  but one perk of living in the south that no one could argue is being closer to the beaches of Kenting!

Thankfully, Taiwan is a small island ( Fun Fact! – slightly larger than Vancouver Island, but with about 2/3 the population of Canada) and we can reach the beautiful south in about 5 hours by car. (Much faster via high speed rail.) We tend to get down there once or twice a year. On spring break a couple of weeks ago, we did just that! And boy, was it amazing! For the first time we took a boat to Xiao Liu Qiu, an island just south of Kaohsiung, and stayed for a night. Then we spent the rest of the time in Kenting. We had amazing weather and a large group of really fun people. It was the best vacation we’ve had in a while! And we have pressed the repeat button, indefinitely, for fall and spring breaks to come!

Taiwan is often overlooked as a tourist destination, and understandably so. Compared to other Asian countries that we’ve visited, there is less English and it’s not as tourist friendly. That’s not to say the Taiwanese aren’t friendly. They definitely are! And I’ve heard rumours recently that Taiwan is going to be putting more time and money into growing the tourism industry here. I really hope this is true. We have repeatedly been to many major Asian destinations…Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Hong Kong and Indonesia. And in my honest opinion, Taiwan is up there with the best of them! This little island has a lot to offer. So now, please take a moment to enjoy the beauty that is Southern Taiwan!

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We spent the first night in our old “home town”, Kaohsiung. It was our first experience with Airbnb and it was very positive! We were in a fun, trendy area that felt a lot like Toronto’s Distillery District. We spent the evening with my (WAY back) first ever private English student, who remains a dear friend to this day. We had a delicious dinner at Pasadena and walked along the harbour, with our ice creams to go. Patty, I can’t stop thinking about that ice cream!
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We rented some scooters and were on our way on Xiao Liu Qiu.
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This came to be known as “Urchin Beach” to the group.
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This is why. Definitely worth exploring carefully and enjoying this beautiful spot though!
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Random pretty shot. Xiao Liu Qiu had a different feel to it than the mainland of Taiwan. It felt more tropical and I’m thinking the brightly painted buildings had something to do with it.
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On our one night on Xiao Liu Qiu, we were pretty giddy to get to witness this sunset.
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Quite possibly the most beautiful shot of them all…. Fresh orange, passion fruit green tea with chewy coconut jelly. If you want to know the proper name for this drink, it’s spelled like this… R-E-F-R-E-S-H-M-E-N-T.
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The scooter gang stopping for pretty photo ops.
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The view entering Kenting with the sun behind us.
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Baisha Beach. So many memories. I can’t walk this path without taking this shot.

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Back in the day we used to camp on this mostly abandoned beach. It’s much more built up now. And I won’t complain. There’s no way I’d be camping on it now with 3 kids, and it’s nice to have decent food/drink options available. See the fake tiger/boat on the right? That’s Richard Parker from Life of Pi. A lot of the movie was filmed in Taiwan and the scene when they finally hit land in “Mexico” was filmed on this beloved beach.
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A day well spent!
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If you’re at Baisha in the afternoon, you’ve gotta stay for the sunset.
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Southern most tip of Taiwan.
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If you look closely you can see some of the Philippine’s islands over Jax’s right shoulder. OK, no, not really. But they’re out there!

If you’re a traveler looking for a great destination in Asia, consider Taiwan! If you’re a friend of ours, what are you waiting for?? Visit us!

 

One thought on “Beautiful Southern Taiwan

  1. Great shots of, indeed, beautiful Southern Taiwan. Love, love, love! I recommend to everyone that they should travel Taiwan :). Wish I were there…

    Me

    Ps. Baisha IS built up! That restaurant looks lovely (and yes, needed).

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