After several months of serious hustling, my group & I booked a trip to Taitung Taiwan for a mini get-away.
Located on the southeast coast of Taiwan, Taitung is not as highly populated than the west coast and has preserved a lot of nature tranquility. It's not a busy city during offseason, and it's perfect if you want a budgeted, easy, yet tranquil vacation away from the city.
Whether you use a tour bus, Taiwan rail, motorbike, or a car to get from Kaohsiung to Taitung, you must take a curved route to get to the other side of the country. I chose train because it's the easiest and the ride was quite fun. Along the way, you get to see rare views of rice paddy fields and tall mountains, which is something you don't see in the States.
To get to Taitung from Kaohsiung by train, you simply go to Kaohsiung Main Station to buy rail tickets from the kiosk with English service. It's just one single easy and relaxing ride without any transfer. The train ride cost around 362NTD one way,which is about $11.23USD. Be sure to buy the seat reservation so you won't be standing for 2.5 hours passing through 8 stops to get to the destination.
Experience Local Taiwanese Life
In general, Taitung city is still a bit old-fashioned and is not as advanced with metros like Taipei and Kaohsiung. Taitung Train Station is old-fashioned yet well-maintained. Foreign travelers can certainly experience the traditional side of Taiwan like they never did before.
Since the Buses are mostly in Chinese, it'll be hard to understand unless you know Chinese, the best way to go is to use a taxi or drive your own car or motorbike. You can easily rent a car or motorbike right across the street at the station. Our party rented a car for a full day and it's quite affordable.
I had my mini cultural shock at a local gas station. I can't believe they present you a free box of tissues just to thank you for filling your tank with them. Unbelievable!
You might see this fella lol
Taitung Taiwan Has Some Nice Lodging
You'd be surprised on how many hostels and vacation rentals are available here in Taitung Taiwan. Just a stroll down the street easily gives you a few options to choose from. The town is not too far from the beach, which makes it a very nice getaway for vacations.
Hostels and vacation rentals are easily searched online, Facebook, or Airbnb. Some are cheap, some are higher-end, there are plenty to choose from, and you can get $20 off on your first booking with promo link here for Airbnb in Taitung.
Try the Best Authentic Taiwanese Food
Taiwan is no short for delicious food, but to taste the traditional Taiwanese food it may take some time to research and explore the recommendations.
Thanks to Taiwanese travel bloggers, we were able to find some of the most delicious Taiwanese food up in the mountain in the middle of nowhere. Since the recommendations by the Taiwanese bloggers are mostly in Chinese, it's a bit harder for foreigner travelers to research for local recommendations online. Fear not, that's why I'm here to recommend you from my experience:)
Check out this post on which local Taiwanese restaurants made all of our bellies happy: Authentic Taiwanese Foods You Should Try in Taitung.
Learn the Culture
Aside from the beautiful nature, you can learn Taiwanese history and culture here in Taitung Taiwan.
There is a grand cultural center with magnificent fossil findings on the discovery of aboriginal tribes as well as the interesting history of Taiwan. Within a short distance, there is another art museum that collects lots of Taiwanese history from how the island formed, progress, and transcend to present time.
If you are into history learning, miniature ancient mud houses sculptures, ancient potteries, and mystical remains, you will love it here.
Nothing like a nice tranquil get-away after hard work.
Since Taitung is not heavily populated like other major cities in Taiwan, you can easily find places to relax, enjoy, and have fun.
There are night markets, nice café, and eateries in the town center, and when you move away from that, you get to enjoy the calming serenity of night time. Given good weather with a clean environment, you can even see fireflies at night.
Easy Access to Beautiful Beaches
Taitung is located right next to the coast so it's quite easy to enjoy beautiful beaches. If you pick the right time with great weather, you can experience swimming in the crystal clear water in San Xian Tai or maybe even surf at some secluded pebble beaches. Although we didn't swim because the weather was still chilly, we took lots of fabulous pictures and even met some foreign surfers.
I do have to say, if you are into nightlife, clubbing, city life, Taitung is definitely NOT for you. There are night markets and other entertainments, but options will be limited since it's a small town after all.
Though I only stayed for 2 days 1 night in Taitung Taiwan, we've enjoyed a lot, learned a lot, and experienced something new.
So next time when you are in Taiwan, book yourself a trip to visit Taitung, it'll be quite a travel experience to satisfy your wanderlust souls.
If you want to visit Taiwan and not sure where to start, you can check out this comprehensive guide I made to help you save time, money, and energy from the research. I lived here for a long while to share all the best with you. You can check it out and get yours today!