Traveling around a country on a limited time really sucks. With that, you need to make the most out of it especially if it’s the only time you’re available to travel around the country. Taipei is a great city to explore when it comes to food, art, nature, and shopping. However, accessibility of this Asian city shouldn’t be a reason to overlook the vibrant cities on central and southern Taiwan. Thanks to Taiwan High Speed Rail, you can easily visit cities such as Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung in about an hour or two from Taipei.
TSHR offers unlimited train rides for 3 days and this could be the ticket for time-constrained tourists to hop from one city to another, easier and faster. With its trains running on a top speed of 300 kilometers per hour, the estimated time of travel from Taipei to Zuoying is just 90 minutes. Yes, just 90 whopping minutes on a comfy seat offering landscapes of western Taiwan.
If mealtime overlaps with your travel, there are restaurants on every station including the TSHR food booths near ticket counters. Eating inside the train is allowed so you can bring your stuff and munch it during the trip.
Considering that you’ve already exhausted every sight and food in Taipei, traveling to the south is a great idea. With the unlimited train rides on the TSHR that come with the pass, here’s a 3-day sample itinerary for Southern Taiwan that you might consider.
DAY 1 – Taichung City
Taichung is an industrial city on the west coast of Taiwan and it’s also one of the vibrant cities the country has. From colorful villages to alleys, museum of fine arts, flower farm, cute coffee shops, night markets, largest lake, and wetlands, Taichung has a great balance of city and nature destinations.
Places to See: Taichung Park, Taichung Folklore Park, Rainbow Village, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Animation Lane, Gaomei Wetlands, Zhong She Flower Market, Sun Moon Lake.
DAY 2 – Tainan City
Around 40 minutes via THSR from Taichung is Tainan. Tainan was the capital of Taiwan during the Qing Dynasty. With that, historical landmarks are scattered around the city. In terms of art, Tainan is not that behind with the presence of Blueprint Culture and Creative Park.
Places to See: Anping Fort, Chimei Museum, Blueprint Culture and Creative Park, Hayashi Department Store, Confucian Temple
DAY 3 – Kaohsiung City
Kaohsiung is the second largest city of Taiwan and home of the largest harbor in the country. Taipei may be the business capital of Taiwan but Kaohsiung secures the center of industrialization of the country. Most areas of the city are accessible on the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit that currently has three line. On your station hopping, don’t miss the Formosa Boulevard Station for the Dome of Light.
Places to See: Formosa Boulevard Dome of Light, Fo Guang Shan Temple, EDA World, Lotus Pond (Confucius Temple, Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, Zuoying Yuan DI Temple, and Spring and Autumn Pavilions), Cijin Island, Pier-2 Art
Before your third day in the south ends, be sure to proceed to the nearest TSHR station for your trip back to Taipei. Unless you fell in love with the Southern cities, which I will surely believe, then plan for an extension to cover others tourist destinations and experiences.