Have a day or two to spare and need a change of scene? There are some great day/overnight trips and you don’t have to go far or even have a car.
Day Trips (that I have done):
1. The beach. There is Golden Beach, Tainan beach, the beach over Yuguang bridge.
2. Guanziling hot Springs- If you don’t have wheels, a bus from Tainan train station takes about 45 minutes one way. Just ask the info booth in the train station.
3. Tiger Head Lake- Been there once and am going back this April 4th holiday. It’s a ten minute drive from Tainan city and nice for a BBQ and bike ride.
4. Cijin Island, Kaohsiung- Also bike riding and fresh seafood. The beach is nice too, clean sand and showers. From the train station take a taxi to the ferry. You can rent bikes there.
5. Chaishan Nature reserve, Kaohsiung: Or as my daughter likes to call it, “Monkey Mountain.” Nice for asweaty hike. The macaques are unpredictable, beware.
6. Hsitzuwan Beach, Kaohsiung. Beautiful at sunset, mountain backdrop, very clean, on the campus of SunYat Sen University campus.
7. Xiao Liuqiu island- Definitely worth spending the night. The campground is amazing and nearby are some cheap cottages on a green field overlooking the sea. A truly magical little coral island, hard to believe someplace so close to Kaohsiung is so clean. Snorkling, beaches, scooter freedom. Take a train south to Kaohsiung-Pingdong. Then take a bus to Dongang (40 minutes, every 20 minutes), last stop is the ferry treminal. The first terminal leaves every hour in the morning, takes about 30 minutes one way. My friend got seasick, so if youre a landlover, buy meds in advance.
8. The Reservoirs (Wushantou, Tsengwen, Baihe)- Everytime I went was in a car, don’t know about buses going there. Nice for a BBQ. I camped at one of these and don’t recommend it (late night KTV by the campers next to me.)
9. Various coffee farms in Northern Tainan Co. Definitely need a car and if youre not a total coffee buff, then I’d skip this. The coffee shops selling the stuff are totally overpriced.
Day Trips I haven’t done yet (and let’s be honest, I will probably never will, see final list):
1. Biking around Lotus Pond (Lianchi Tan), Kaohsiung
2. Taiwan Salt Museum
3. Black Faced Spoonbill reserve
Weekend/One nighter trips: With high speed trains, you could easily spend a weekend near and around any city. These are just some of the one closest to Tainan.
3. Sun Moon Lake
3 Day weekend: In the lucky event you have 3 or 4 days to roam, then I’d highly recommend the following;
1. Penghu Archipelago (the Pescadores). Also known as the Hawaii of Taiwan, need I say more?
2. Green Island
3. Biking Guanshan+ 60 Stone Mt
4. Taipei (So much to see and do in the city and around).
Taiwan is an excellent base to explore Asia. There are always deals on Air Asia and Tiger Air to major cities like KL, HK and BKK and from there you can go to just about anywhere. Flights to Manila and Seoul are fairly cheap.
5. Hong Kong
9. Seoul- Haven’t actually made a trip there from Tainan, but l worked there before and always recommend it for a few days if you have the time, so much to see and do and possible for a long weekend.
Yes I have been in Tainan for almost 4 years and there are tons of iconic places I still haven’t gone and plan to before I say my final farewell. Trips happen when their meant to happen, right? So I’m hoping I will go to all of these places within this year and create some new memories and adventures, even if I don’t have a 3 day weekend. (Yet, I have been to Nantou so many times, I’ve lost track. Weekend trips, day trips, I just keep on returning to different places in Nantou, must be my affinity for altitude and my Rocky Mountain heritage.)
Here is my list of places I haven’t gone but really want to:
1. Hsinchu- I want to see my dear friend Grace up there since she moved from Tainan and she wants to show me around.
2. Lanyu Island/ Pongso No Tao
3. Matsu Island
4. Camp at Liyu Lake
5. South Cross Highway- I have had this road trip fantasy about the South Cross highway since the day I first started reading up on Tainan. It just seems like a road trippers dream to stop here and there and explore all the hot springs along the way. My scooter wouldn’t make the trip and it just hasn’t worked out with friends w/cars.
6. Finish East Rift Valley, Highway 9
7. Biking the East coast
8. Hike Jade Mt.
9. Hualien and Taroko
10. Biking Ershui, Jiji Rail line
I know what you’re thinking, its sad and shocking that I still haven’t seen Taiwan’s number one natural wonder, the Taroko Gorge. Its definitely high on my list, there were a few 3 day weekends years past when I was making plans and all accommodations were just booked way in advance. There is also no easy way to get there from Tainan, highspeed train to Taipei and then another train to Hualien, or fly there I guess, but I definitely need to go. I guess I’d like time to explore Huelien and also camp in the park.
For one little island, Taiwan is jam packed with plenty of options worthy of exploration. Mountains and sea, islands and hot springs galore, good things do come in small packages.
- Kathy (杜 言 艷)
- Yilan, Taiwan
- I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.