Day 7 started out as a bit of a rest day, which we needed after our non-stop adventures since touching down in Taipei. We headed for the high speed rail in the afternoon to catch a train south to Tainan. After connecting from the HSR to a local train, we arrived in the city center.
We had a bit of time to kill before our host arrived so we ventured to a nearby park for a rest. It was a nice retreat from the bustling streets of the city.
We had hoped to hit up Tainan’s night market that evening, one of the oldest and most famous in Taiwan, but we had arrived on a Friday and didn’t realize the market was only held Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays (doh!). We made the most of our time in Tainan, though, and visited Anping Fort, site of Fort Zeelandia, which was built by the Dutch when the region was a Dutch colony.
Only 1 wall remains from the original fort but the reconstruction shows what it must have looked like back in the day.
We were able to climb the observation tower to get a great view of the sunset over Tainan.
Since the Tainan Night Market was a bust, we headed down the old street nearby to see what the local street vendors had on offer.
We eventually settled on a local recommendation of a local cafe to fuel up before heading to Taipei’s 2nd largest city, Kaohsiung, for the night.
Did I mention that I’m a vegetarian? Well, it’s not strictly true: I eat fish and can eat regular meat, such as those times when I visit a friend’s house for dinner and they make something that is not vegetarian (it would be rude to my host, I think, to say something about that at such a time). All of my companions know I prefer not to eat meat, tough, and they have been very accommodating. Fortunately, seafood is big here so I have options. This evening, I ended up having a lot of fish skin in broth – not my favorite but it worked. 🙂
We cabbed it down to Kaohsiung and arrived at the Just Sleep hotel. As our host explained, the Just Sleep hotel has all of the luxury of a 5-star hotel in the rooms but it deliberately does without extras like a pool and fitness center – it’s mainly for accommodation rather than resort living, which was perfect for us.
The bed looks a lot more comfortable than it really was, though. Beds in Taiwan (and my host tells me Asia in general) tend to be quite firm, ranging from the feel of sleeping on a wooden slab to sleeping on a wooden slab with a 1-2″ bit of foam on top. Western beds tend to be more cushioned with more give so it’s a bit different sleeping on these Taiwanese beds. Our guide explained that sleeping on a hard surface is really good for one’s health. My back is having a hard time adjusting to that, unfortunately. Having said that, the pillows at this hotel were super soft and it was easy to fall asleep. Here’s a view from my room:
Tomorrow we hike up Chai Shan (aka “Monkey Mountain”). See you then!