One of the things that I was missing out on so far during this trip was the chance to get out of Tainan. Tainan is a beautiful city, but there was still a lingering sense that there was a whole country to explore. Luckily, the end of my classes gave me a free day to travel to Kaohsiung with some of my fellow Auckland students.
Although Kaohsiung is the second most populous city in the country (a point I didn’t know until I was on the train there!), I knew shockingly little about the city. However, I was excited to explore a different part of Taiwan. Getting the train there was a remarkably easy experience that puts Aotearoa’s public transport systems to shame. Upon arriving at the station in Tainan, we could purchase a ticket to Kaohsiung, which we could use for any train time. That ticket also only cost $68NTD (NZD 3.50) each way. Although we could’ve paid double the price for the fast train, we weren’t in a rush. Even then, within an hour and a half, we arrived in a new city.
The most exciting destination of our excursion was the beach. The most fun part of getting to the beach was that we had to pass through National Sun Yat-Sen University. The University hugs the coastline, with its sports field hanging out towards the sea. All of us could agree it would be a stunning place to study. Although some comedically placed clouds thwarted our attempt to see the sunset, it was still an incredible place to visit, with shockingly powerful waves (as the back half of my shirt and jeans would come to intimately understand).
After the beach, we stopped for dinner at the Shinkuchan Shopping District. Compared to Tainan, I was struck by how wide the streets of Kaohsiung are, with its footpaths not nearly in such a state of disorder (see previous blog post). From the shopping district, we also got an excellent feel for the vibe of the city. Compared to Tainan, it felt much more young and hip, with trendy clothes shops composing the bulk of the market stalls.
Sadly, however, it was time to make our way back to Tainan after our delicious meal. In spite of the brevity of our jaunt to Kaohsiung, it was an enjoyable experience and made me even more excited to sample more Taiwanese cities on this trip or on my future return.