Tainan to Kaohsiung

(61 KMs)

Saturday 2nd March

Tainan - Kaohsiung

The Golden Coast

It was a very overcast morning and even rained a little whilst we were having breakfast. Fortunately it didn’t amount to much and it was cool and cloudy when G, Si and I departed a little after 9am. We left Jonno in bed to check out at his leisure.

After the chaos of the day before, it was good to be cycling out of Tainan before the roads became really busy and it wasn’t long before we were cycling down wide, quiet streets.  We picked up the Tainan Golden Coast cycle path and could see the Taiwan Strait, part of the South China Sea. We passed a few interesting bike sculptures and heaps of stray dogs.  At one point around 8 dogs crossed the path in front of me, seemingly oblivious to my presence.  A little further on we stopped to consider a detour, but there was an even bigger pack of dogs heading down the path so we turned back to the main trail and continued on.

We stopped at a beach that was definitely not golden and there were heaps of people on the beach  - it looked like it was a clean up day.  The cycle path continued on a few more kilometres and we could see a power plant in the distance as we turned on to the road again.  Fortunately the roads were quiet and we enjoyed the occasional detour along canals until one detour became too rough to follow and we stayed on the main road. 

There were no strategically located cafes so we picked up some morning tea snacks at a 7-11 and found a cycle rest stop a few kilometres further on where there were seats and a table for a morning coffee stop.  Soon after we ran into Jonno and said a brief hello before he zoomed off into the distance.

We turned off onto some quiet back roads, passing yet another temple, cow barns and more rice paddies with the buildings of Kaohsiung visible in the distance.  We found a beef noodle place for lunch that served excellent beef noodle soup and we took our time over lunch, enjoying the warm, comfortable restaurant.

Our route took us past the Lotus Pond at the northern end of the city.  This man made pond is surrounded by many temples including the Zouyong Yuandi temple with its magnificent statue of Syuantian Shangdi who is worshipped in Taoism for his miraculous powers that can drive away evil and cure illnesses.

A little further on we passed the Spring and Autumn pavilions built to commemorative GuanGon (a saint of military). The two pavilions are connected by a curved bridge and accessed via a grand dragon like entrance.  Unfortunately the famous Drsgon and Tiger Pagodas were covered in scaffolding whilst being repaired.

The ride to our accommodation was mainly along cycle paths including a route along the tramway that made for very pleasant cycling.  Jonno arrived as we were checking in to the Sa-yo Hotel, having spent the past hour having lunch and exploring some of the local sights.  We were able to leave our bikes in the lobby and I was given a small gift of body lotion for my birthday which was fast approaching.

The room was small but functional and we dropped off our gear and headed up to the Soushan Love lookout, just over a kilometre from the hotel, in addition to the large LOVE installation art, there were statues of macaques symbolising the three different stages of love: pursuit, passion and union.  Unfortunately the haze meant that the views weren’t great but we could see across the city, the harbour and over to Cijin Island. 

We had dinner at nearby Duck Zhen renowned for its duck rice.  Whilst there was a bit of a queue, it moved quickly.  I sought advice from one of the locals who recommended avoiding the platters if we didn’t fancy all different parts of the duck.  We settled on four bowls of duck rice, two duck legs and some vegetables and were also given a free bowl of duck broth. 

Not sure if it was enough food, we wandered to the nearby night markets but no one was particularly hungry.  We bought some dried mango and savoury biscuits for the ride tomorrow and returned via the nearby 7-11 for some ice creams on our way back to the hotel.