Thursday, January 18, 2018

Taitung to Tainan - Through the Mountains

I am now on my fifth day around Taiwan.  I am now leaving Taitung and going to Tainan.  I have decided to skip Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s largest city in the south since it is very spread-out and will take some time exploring. Tainan, however, I have heard many good things about and I am looking forward to at least exploring the tip of the iceberg.

South-Link line from Taitung

If you look at a map of Taiwan, you will see that Tainan is almost directly across from Taitung.  Taitung is on the east coast and Tainan is on the west coast in southern Taiwan. On the map you will also see that there is a mountain range between the two cities. The best transportation route to the west coast from the east is on the Taiwan Rail Administration South-Link line. I had purchased the ticket earlier to make sure I had a seat on the train.  The 2nd class section of the train was more than comfortable. Because of those mountains, the train went through many tunnels.  I didn’t count them all, but it was a lot.

That's my hotel! How to get there?

Tunnel under the tracks

We made a stop in Kaohsiung and then continued to Tainan. Arriving at Tainan, I got out of the train station and saw my hotel (Shangri-la Plaza Hotel) on the other side of the tracks. Knowing there must be an easy way to get across, I finally found the tunnel in front of the station that goes under the tracks to the other side. Shangri-la Plaza hotel was so very convenient being so close to the train station. I did arrive a little early for check-in, so I went to the Plaza mall food court for some lunch. After a leisure lunch, I went back to reception and my room was ready with the luggage brought up. I had a large room with the typical amenities, but the carpet has seen better days. I was so grateful for a cool space though.  The heat in Tainan was stifling.

Food court lunch

Bus 77 will take you to Anping District

I only had part of a day in Tainan, so I wanted to hit the main attraction which to me was Anping District and what’s left of the Dutch fort Zeelandia. Getting there was easy from the Shangri-la Plaza hotel. Bus 77 stops in front of the hotel and the stop to get off was the Indigenous Culture Center. With a short walk across the canal, I was at the Anping Old Street. Cool food and snacks abound and they cater to all the tourists’ needs. After turning right at the Matsu Temple, I was at the old fort. Not much is left now so it is hard to imagine what it looked like when Koxinga attacked it and drove out the Dutch. The trees in this place are amazing and I got to see the sunset.

Matsu Temple

Fort Zeelandia

Fort Zeelandia

Crazy tree

Sunset from Fort Zeelandia

Time for some snacks!

Nice clean air-conditioned bus #77

Back to the Shangri-la Plaza Hotel

I took the same bus back to the Shangri-la Plaza hotel. From my quick tour through Tainan City, I can see it is a fun place with food and many historical places. Definitely a place to come back to. Now I just need a find a cool month to visit.

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