Alas, it's the end of another month and here in Taiwan, February 28th is Peace Day and the end of a holiday weekend.  The previous weekend, I had met up with my friend, Lynn, and explore Miaoli.  We tried local restaurants, went to an island, and stumbled upon a lavender festival.  It was a jam packed Sunday, followed by colder weather and for me, another terrible round of illness.

But, I didn't let the illness that followed my Miaoli adventures with Lynn hold me up this holiday weekend.  One of my good friends, Rona, and I had long planned to see each other around this time--and every two months--and the south of Taiwan was in our vision.  A hotel was booked and we had a small idea of what we were doing.  It was Kaohsiung or bust, but more importantly to us: sunshine or bust.

Kaohsiung was far more laid back and full of sunshine than Taipei or Taichung have been as of late.  When we left our prospective home cities for vacation, the rain and the cold was plaguing our neighborhoods.  Last time I checked the radar on Saturday when I departed, it was easily sixteen degrees Celsius and drizzling on and off in Taichung.  Taipei, due to the northern location, was colder and is still rainier than Kaohsiung is today.

Kaohsiung is one of the major ports of Taiwan and has loads of history, dating back to the Japanese occupation and the British rule over Taiwan before Taiwan was the Republic of China.  One of our stops was the British consulate, which overlooks the bright blue Taiwan strait for what seemed like endless kilometers.  It was, genuinely, a view that was unlike anything we had seen in a long time.

The views didn't stop there though!  We boarded a ferry for a fee of $.80 US dollars and crossed over the Kaohsiung harbor, heading for Cijin district.  It is separated by the harbor and is full of adventure.  There's a market, a beach, a forest park, a lighthouse, and a fort.  We trekked through a cave, exiting to the crashing of waves against what looked like the end of the world.  All you saw for miles was the ocean, and all you heard was the sound of the waves hitting the land.  It was one of the most relaxing scenes I've seen!

If you're up for it, there's a hike up the little mountain to the lighthouse and the fortress.  We picked the perfect time too: the sun was descending and sunset was fast approaching.  It was mid afternoon and we got our photos, our videos, our panoramic shots before we crossed to the old fort.  Still majorly intact, the doors of cells were sealed shot and people gathered by the edge at the top of the structure, watching as local street performers guided macaws to fly in the air above us.  Somewhere, I have video.  It was jaw dropping and pretty awesome, to say the least.

It wasn't the view of the ocean and the city from the fort that solidified how wonderful Kaohsiung was for me.  It was buying fresh coconut juice with Rona, some fresh cu fruit, and some french fries before we sat in the dark sand and awaited the sunset.  We perfectly timed it, somehow in the midst of our spontaneous plans, and the orange glow of the Taiwanese sunset ended our time on the island district--before we stood in line for an hour to get back to the mainland.

There's more to Kaohsiung than Cijin district and the British consulate in the Gushan district.  Before we headed back up north, one of our friends showed us the Lotus pond, which was complete with water sports, the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, and a bar that overlooks the oasis.  Forty-eight hours in the city was not long enough, and I can't wait for the next time I return to explore the city more, and of course, soak up more of the southern Taiwanese sun.

Published by Marie Soukup