Deep Dive in South Taiwan


It’s been a minute since I left Ho Chi Minh City. But you have to make the most out of a 3 days Easter/birthday weekend. In my case, a 10 days trip to explore the southern tip of Taiwan.

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This Monday (Easter) happened to also be my birthday. What a lucky boy, a day off on his birthday ! Well, I’m not exactly happy about it, but it’s still awesome to spend it on the other side of the planet under 30 degrees with people you care about (show off mode: ON). But it’s not reality, as it is again, holidays. I just turned 26 and it’s time for a radical lifestyle change. Lately, I’ve been looking for an organization that would judge me on my achievements and results, and not on the amount of time spent in a cubicle. You got it right, I will have found happiness with a location independant job. For the time being, let’s enjoy my holidays.

I’m writing from Amsterdam in the “Transit Area”. Since my flight to Taipei was only the next day at noon, I had plenty of time to organize my thoughts. I was also there to enjoy a night of Drum & Bass, and believe it or not, it was the first time I ever partied in Amsterdam (the three previous times were only for tourism purposes). My plan was the following: rave until 6 am, take the train back to the airport, shower and sleep on the plane. That’s how I plan to reset my body clock. In your face, jetlag. The other reason it that I didn’t bother booking a hotel long enough in advance, and decided I wouldn’t pay 80 eur for a dormitory bed.

Kaohsiung City

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After one afternoon in Taipei resting and celebrating my birthday (with a huge taro pudding cake), we were heading to Kaohsiung, the second biggest city in the country. At 250 km/h, I crossed the island in about 90 minutes using their high speed railway. We made the most of the afternoon in Kaohsiung. The city rental bikes are almost free of charge and led us to an old railroad track, a shipping container village and many random spots. I almost forgot to mention the street food carts and the light show in the metro station. This is a well organized city. A reliable and ultra clean public transport system, bike lanes, big parks. Their night market is also one of the biggest I’ve seen.

Kenting

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During 4 days, I was lucky enough to experience different water activities. With Hsiao-Ching and her friends Tina & Nicky, we wandered in the night market of Kenting Street, went paddling and ate so many dishes to remember.

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For all these water activities, I was a first timer. It was about time (you know, before I get health issues or anything else). Paddling and snorkeling is really fun, but scuba diving requires a bit more focus, as it is a life/death situation. The feeling you get is simply awesome yet scary. You feel disconnected from everything and get to see “only on National Geographic” kind of things.

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Kenting is not only a beach spot: the southern tip of Taiwan is an entire national park. The best way to explore is with the scooter, you’ll enjoy the scenery twice as much.

Back to the City Life

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The last three days were more relaxed. In Kaohsiung, we rented bikes again and the highlight was without a doubt my wakeboard initiation. I failed a few times and eventually, managed to complete two laps of the circuit. Wandering in the narrow alleys of the night market is always better the first time, but still pretty cool.

Bottom line

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It was already my second time in Taiwan. I still think it is an underrated destination: people see it as close to mainland China, home of the consumer electronics industry, etc
When I think of turquoise water and 32°, I would have never thought of Taiwan in the first place. I wish the misconception could stay that way, and that Taiwan could forever remain a best kept secret. Being one of the few western tourists in Kenting was extremely enjoyable.

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