Taiwan trip – Sun Moon Lake to Kaohsiung

A buffet breakfast is always something to be enjoyed and Fleur de Chine offered many options to savour. After breakfast we packed our gear and made our way down to the lobby where our luggage was loaded onto the bus and we began the day with a short drive to the Xiangshan Visitor Centre carpark. The building is quite architecturally interesting. The adjoining infinity pond offered a good view but it was the nearby scenic viewpoint that was of more interest. It was a short 400m walk. From the viewpoint we had an excellent view to nearby Lalu Island as well as layers of misty hills in the background.To our left we could also spot Ci’en Pagoda across the lake atop a distant hill.Some tourists were taking boat rides around the island.After a suitable time we were back in the coach and heading off away from Sun Moon Lake. Our next stop was the town of Jiji. Back in 1999 a major earthquake occurred in the area. The Wuchang temple was greatly affected. Instead of demolishing it local authorities decided to leave it in place. It seems to be quite stable as it sits and is quite an unusual sight. We had a good stroll around it to check things out.Intriguingly a new temple has been constructed in front of the old one.Here’s a photo of the interior.Jiji was a strategic town during WW II. The train station and some old engines are now on display.We also had a tour group photo taken here.Back on the bus we continued our drive further south. We stopped at a huge fuel/food court stop along the way for lunch. Again our guide, Alan, recommended a few local delicacies to try and we were pleased we did try the small pastie-like ones. The drive continued until the outskirts of Taiwan’s second biggest city, Kaohsiung. Here we stopped at the Fo Guang Yuan Buddhist complex. Masks were donned and off the bus we went. We were met by one of the monks, a German man, who was our local guide. Initially we walked uphill. To our right were gardens with a row of cute statues.Along the way we came to a formal garden, Lumbini Garden which we took a short stroll through.We passed through a library and a massive dining room before taking a lift up to a higher level of the complex. We passed a number of different buildings as we made our way through a large courtyard.This brought us to the side of the main temple. After taking a brief look insidewe made our way down this broad promenade away from the temple.Down some stairs we walked before ascending this path towards the giant golden Buddha.Along the way we passed what seemed like hundreds of Buddha statues.After a steep ascent we finally found ourselves beneath the giant Golden Buddha.Following another path we descended a short distance to another small temple.As we exited there some of our group took the opportunity to ring the bell, Karen included.Our arrival into Kaohsiung was just before 5pm but traffic was reasonably light. We passed this rather striking building on our way to Love River where we disembarked the coach for a short walk along a popular stretch of the river.A number of art installations, large and small could be seen here.After our walk our driver picked us up again and drove us to the Liouhe Tourist Night Market. The street is blocked off from cars so pedestrian traffic can move safely, although we did have to dodge the occasional motor scooter.Here, Alan told us a few local food specialities we should aim to try. We tried these sweet potato balls.This family had a fantastic process line going as they made dumplings.The seafood was guaranteed fresh. You just pointed and they scooped it out of the tank and cooked it on the spot.The same applied if you wanted a fresh juice made.As we walked along we had plenty of offers for the different things. As you can see in the next photo blocking tourists from corona virus stricken China had had a huge effect on the tourist numbers at this night market. Our group was one of few busloads there so it does look a bit bare.After about an hour there we were driven to our hotel the Grand Hi Lai Hotel which sits above a six level shopping centre. Our room was on one of the top floors. We ate at a Japanese restaurant, Gyoza Ohsho, down in the restaurant area of the shopping mall below. Good food but we were the only patrons.The tinted view from our window allowed us to see the tallest building in Kaohsiung the next morning as we packed for our next destination, on the south east coast of Taiwan.

More about that next post.

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