Who says traveling in Taiwan can be that expensive? Actually, it is just up to the person traveling if he’s after to save cost or to save time. During the long weekend for Dragon Festival, we decided to go on a South trip. Everybody knows that bullet trains (HSRs) are really expensive and one way would cost more or less around 1,500NT going to Kaohsiung which is located in the Southern part of Taiwan. With this, we opted to have TRA and buses though it might be time consuming compared to HSRs.
Since it was a long weekend here in Taiwan and most people come home to their respective provinces, almost all tickets going to our first destination, Kaohsiung, were sold out and the only option we had was to take a taxi that costs more than 3,000NT. It was way too expensive so we chose to take a cutting trip going to Tainan first by bus just to go on with our itinerary.
Below is our itinerary for our 4 days and 3 nights South Trip.
DAY 1: KAOSHIUNG | Fo Guang Shan Monastery, Lotus Pond
FO GUANG SHAN MONASTERY
Fo Guang Shan Monastery is the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan which covers 100 hectares of land situated on a hilltop with overlooking view. It was nine years in the making that started in 2003 before it open its door to the public, but until now, construction and renovations are still going on. The entrance to this place is ABSOLUTELY FREE but donations are highly encouraged. Visitors can pray, meditate, relax, or just enjoy the peaceful environment.
Whatever religion you might have, you will surely enjoy getting along the monastery as the monks and other volunteers there are very accommodating. After all, you don’t need a religion just to appreciate a beautiful place. If you will be coming over here in summer, be sure to put a lot of sunscreen since most of the time, you will be walking outside under the heat of the sun. Inside the monastery, there are a lot of restaurants, souvenir shops, and even a mall.
This is one of the highly recommended places to visit here in Taiwan if you want that Instagram-worthy photos that will surely depict the Taiwan culture with a lot of temples of different styles and architecture. Also, you will see a lot of little Buddha statues surrounding the 108 meter tall Buddha made out of steel and bronze.
Most people end their visit in Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum to which eight Chinese style pagoda will welcome you. The view from afar is very stunning and most visitors take time to capture a good shot in this area.
The Monastery is open from 9:00am to 19:00 (20:00 on weekends and public holidays). You can also check their website here.
Lotus Pond is a man-made lake and is famous for its lotus plants to which it was named after. The place is surrounded by numerous temples, the spring and autumn pavilions, the dragon and tiger pagodas, and the Confucian Temple.
The Spring and Autumn Pavilions is composed of a two 4-storey tower with green tiles and yellow walls like an antique pagoda where there is a Guanyin statue riding the dragon which, according to local legends, the Goddess of Mercy had ride the dragon to instruct the followers to build an icon as if it was coming between two pavilions.
Also, it is believed that you need to get in through the dragon’s mouth and get out through the tiger’s mouth to get rid of the bad luck and welcome the good fortune. Inside the Dragon and Tiger’s body are paintings of different Buddhist and Taoist characters and stories.
This place is another tourist destination in Kaohsiung that portrays Chinese legends and culture.
DAY 2: TAINAN | Chimei Museum
On our 2nd day, we only had one destination, Chimei Museum, since we decided to take more rest.
Chimei Museum is a 40,000 square meters private museum that is established in 1992 by Shi Wen-Long of Chi Mei Corporation, the product of his childhood dream. The Museum is divided into 6 parts:
- Fine Arts that displays the paintings from 13th to 20th century.
- Rodin Gallery that showcase the artworks during the time of Rodin including his teachers, contemporaries, and assistants.
- Natural History and Fossils with animal taxidermy from all five continents.
- Musical Instruments presenting the diversity of musical instruments in various cultures, with the most unique “Walk-in Orchestra”.
- Sculpture Halls exhibiting sculptures from the Ancient Greco-Roman Period to 20th century.
- Arms and Armor that shows advancement of the technology in the field of critical battles.
Photographs are strictly prohibited so as to preserved the collections at its finest form. There are a lot of staffs roaming around to remind the visitors of the DO’s and DON’Ts inside the museum. Fortunately, we took some stolen shots of some exhibits.
Outside the museum is a vast area for recreation – food stalls, a lake, a little playground with trees and grass that provide complete refreshment and relaxation to the visitors. Also, the bridge leading to the museum was lined with marble statues of Roman gods.
The museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30 – 17:30. Entrance fee for adult is 200NT while 150NT for students below 21 years old.
DAY 3: TAICHUNG | Miyahara, Taichung Park, Feng Jia Night Market
Taichung City is the third largest city in Taiwan and considered as an industrial city. The city is famous for its natural sceneries, night markets, museums and food to which foreigners and even Taiwanese often visit the city for these.
Our first stop is the Miyahara which is a popular destination when in Taichung. It is used to be Miyahara Eye Clinic but was recreated to be a dessert restaurant and shopping area for souvenirs. When you visit the place, you will be amazed of its Harry Potter world-like interior design with high ceilings, glossy floors, and huge wooden furniture. The restaurant offers more than a dozen flavors of ice cream along with unique complimentary toppings. Unfortunately, we were not able to try their best-selling chocolate ice cream since the line was too long and actually, occupied the whole walk way.
Next is the Taichung Park which is just a 5-minute walking distance from our accommodation, the Good Ground Hotel. It was built during the Japanese era and declared as a historical landmark in 1999. The 10-acres park is not only considered a historical spot but also a popular leisure destination with a man-made lake where one can do kayaking while enjoying the view of the whole area.
And of course, Taichung trip will not be complete without having a visit to Feng Jia Night Market, the largest night market in Taiwan. You can find delicious snack food and drinks, fashionable and good quality stuffs at a reasonable price that you can even bargain. The place is very crowded and in some areas, you barely can pass because of the human traffic. Despite this, you will still enjoy getting yourself out of the crowd. 😀
DAY 4: TAICHUNG | National Museum of Fine Arts
Our last day was welcomed by a strong rain but it did not stop us from getting around Taichung. Our last and only destination for this day is the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.
The museum was first opened in 1988 but was temporarily close in 1999 after the 9/21 earthquake that dramatically struck the country. With more than 24 exhibition halls in a 102,000 square meter land, the museum reopens its doors to the public in 2004 with a brand new look. Most collections in the museum emphasizes on the works of Taiwanese artists promoting visual and digital arts.
The museum has a variety of modern facilities, user-friendly library, restaurants and shops for its visitors. The admission is FREE and is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:00-18:00. You can also check their website for updates for the available exhibitions when you visit.
So that’s it for our 4D/3N DIY South Trip in Taiwan. The summary of our transportation, entrances, and accommodation are as follows:
We did not include our food expenses because our appetite might not be the same as yours. But don’t worry, the cost of food in the Southern part of Taiwan is way cheaper than here in the center of Taipei.
For more of our DIY itineraries, you can check our Taiwan Blog to make the most out of your stay here in Taiwan. Enjoy and don’t forget to subscribe and follow our social media pages to get updated on our blog posts!