The map above is missing a lot of stops, and even entire train lines. But for my purposes it's probably good enough. I'm skipping over several stops anyway.
1. Kaohsiung 高雄. I already talked about Kaohsiung in this entry and this entry. I'll just leave it there...
...aside from the general fact that if you approach Kaohsiung in the right way it can be a good time. If you get there, and it's Friday afternoon, and you're trying to fight your way over to Shidzewan 西子灣, of course you're going to HATE it, but if you can learn to approach it on its own terms it can be... fun - or at least amusing to some extent.
|Gangshan is close to Kaohsiung's "Moon World" 月世界|
2. Gangshan 岡山. My mother in law lives in Gangshan. According to my wife she lives in a tiny apartment, and for some reason she spends most of her time volunteering in a real estate office. I say again: volunteering in a real estate office. Who works in a real estate office for free? My mother in law, apparently.
Gangshan is one of Kaohsiung's big industrial suburbs. It is NOT scenic, but there are some very "local" attractions around there. Nothing that will blow your mind, but wouldn't you like to see the Soya Mixed-Meat Museum? Come on, you know you want to!
3. Tainan 台南. Tainan's (self-applied?) nickname is the "ancient capital," (古都) and it definitely has a lot of history. I used to have in-laws there, I've run several marathons within the city limits, and I enjoy visiting it when I have the time.
|Temple gate in Tainan.|
A lot of Tainan's history is to be found down little alleyways. It's nothing grand - not even An Ping Fort 安平古堡 is that impressive - but in the right location, and at the right time of day, Tainan can feel very old.
Tainan also boasts a lot of famous food. It is in some ways the most "Taiwanese" of Taiwanese cities, and the bustling trade seen at local night markets attests to this fact. Despite its long history of settlement it's still also very rural, and there are some somewhat-scenic points of interest in that part of Taiwan.
4. Jiayi 嘉義. "Jiayi, home of turkey rice." Jiayi is famous for its turkey rice, and yeah, I guess you could stop there and try it.
|Turkey rice is good, but not worth driving to Jiayi for.|
My wife and I recently spent a weekend exploring Jiayi, and I was very happy with some of the places we discovered. It won't jump out at you the way Taipei, Kaohsiung, or Tainan will, but it can be a nice place to spend the day. Most people pass through Jiayi City on their way to Alishan 阿里山, and if you did, and don't remember it, I don't blame you.
5. Dounan 斗南. Isn't there a train station in Yunlin's 雲林 biggest city, Douliou 斗六? I'm fairly certain there is, but on the above map it doesn't look like it.
I've been to Dounan a hundred times. We usually pass through it on our way back from the village where my wife grew up. I could tell you about some places in Douliou further north, but Dounan's tourist spots are slipping my mind right now.
|Tianjhong Train Station.|
6. Tianjhong 田中. Don't ask me why, but long ago we once took the train there and went to a park. It was completely uninteresting.
7. Yuanlin 員林. Yuanlin's in Changhua County, just across the river from Yunlin. Like Dounan, I've been through it a hundred times, though I'd be at pains to tell you what there is to do there. I seem to remember a lot of grapes and wine for sale along the road. "Hundred Fruit Mountain" 百果山? That's in Yuanlin, isn't it?
8. Changhua 彰化. I once lived fairly close to Changhua City. At that time we lived across the river to the north, in Taichung's Industrial Area, so it was a straight shot down the road to downtown Changhua. Strange as it may seem now, back then Chang Hua offered the closest Mos Burger to our house.
Bagua Mountain 八卦山 in downtown Changhua is worth visiting in the early morning or late afternoon (depending on the air quality). You can take some great pictures up there. Walking up into the big Buddha is also fun.
One tourist attraction I've never really understood is Lugang 鹿港. It's down the road to the west from downtown Changhua, and getting there usually involves quite a fight with traffic. It's somewhat historic (in that it's in all the social studies textbooks), but I've never found it that interesting.
9. Taichung 台中. I lived in Taichung for four years, but haven't been back there for eons. Sometimes I want to go back and see how certain friends are doing, but then I think about the drive and change my mind.
|Taichung's air quality (or lack thereof).|
Taichung is a big, bustling city and I'm sure there's a lot of new stuff there that I have no knowledge of. Yes, the air is terrible, and yes, the traffic can be frightening, but it can be a fun city if you go to the right part of it.
It's like Kaohsiung I suppose. Or like anywhere. In a bad mood everyplace sucks, and every big city has its less pleasant side.
|Much better at night?|
My Sister's Visit to Taiwan 我妹妹來台的旅遊
台灣西方文明初體驗 The Influence of Western Civilization on Taiwan (3 of 4)
Dongjhu 東竹 to Hualien 花蓮, According to the Hualien-Taitung Line 花東線 and My Faulty Memory
Getting Lost Near Highway 11 在台11線附近迷路