Tainan portion of our trip was intended to be more relaxing and laid-back, to balance out the hustle and bustle of Kaohsiung city. It’s also the last leg of the Taiwan trip before we head to Japan, so the intent is basically to “slow down”. It included two parts that included a mud spa experience at Guangziling (關子嶺), as well as Tainan city itself. For the first part, the trip to Guangziling (關子嶺) was a bit of a trek that included an Uber ride (from Kaohsiung to HSR Xin Zuo Ying station), followed by a ride on Taiwan’s bullet train (to Chiayi 嘉義) and then a final cab ride to the resort itself. It was the fastest means to get there without involving long bus/train rides and dragging our luggages for long distances to the resort itself. It wasn’t the cheapest option, but it minimised any headaches for me. Anyway, if I could summarise the entire Guangziling trip itself, it essentially came down to lots of roast chicken and mud spa! Let me explain..
The resort we went to was called King’s Villa (景大渡假莊園), which seemed to have pretty good reputation through my own research. It’s popular among ladies apparently. After-all which self-respecting man is going to go around announcing that they love mud spas! We picked a room that included a rather nice bath built-in so that we can get right into what we came here for.. to relax! And we didn’t waste time going for the special delicacy that tourists come here for too.. the Barrel Chicken 桶仔雞, which is just a fancy way of saying it’s roasted chicken cooked in a barrel. We must have been hungry though, as we chowed down the entire chicken leaving us super full afterwards.
Of course there’s the mud baths itself, which apart from the various mud baths, there’s some pretty entertaining massage machines that kept all of us entertained. Oh, and there’s also mud for your face, which I thought was interesting.
We did spend one of the days exploring the “town”, but must admit there weren’t that much to see at all apart from an aero-bridge and a few animation characters littered around a park. As the terrain was a bit hilly, it was a lot of effort with very little reward. We ended up trying another variation of the roasted chicken called “竹竿雞“ which I can best describe as chicken roasted on a bamboo stick (instead of in a barrel). We waited a good hour for it, but must admit we preferred the barrel chicken we had back at the hotel anyway. After lunch, it was pretty much straight back to the hotel and spent the rest of the day there instead. Don’t get me wrong.. the town was probably great for those who like hiking, but it just wasn’t for us.
After the short trip to Guangziling, we spent the next couple of days in Tainan (臺南). We settled into a guest house (like AirBnB) known as Deely House (迪利小屋), which is purpose designed for families with kids, and ours happened to be “Alice In Wonderland” themed. Which kid wouldn’t like a slide with their bed?
Tainan is the oldest city in Taiwan, and was even the capital city during its imperial past. The surroundings show, as it probably isn’t quite as developed as Taipei itself and the general lack of high rises. Life is slower, and I could definitely tell the difference as we don’t seem to experience as much traffic even during what one would consider as peak hour. We didn’t spend a lot of time sight-seeing though, apart from Fort Zeelandia (安平古堡) and Anping Old Street next to it. We did however, find a pretty kick-ass council operated indoor playground which Ethan enjoyed called 兒福館(here) . If you have kids, it’s highly recommended, as it has a bit of everything for kids of all ages! Best of all.. it’s cheap!
Aside from the above, it’s probably the part of the trip where we actually consciously went out to try quite a number of local cuisines. It included:
- Beef Noddle Soup （牛肉麵）
- Danzai Noodle (擔仔麵)
- Coffin Bread (棺材板)
- Bubble tea flavoured ice cream! By Cold Stone Creamery Ice-Cream
- Glutinous Rice Dumpling (肉粽)
- Rice Ball （飯糰）
We did also pay a visit to Hualian night market （花蓮夜市), which I thought was pretty cool. It’s the only time where we had sit-down food outdoors. Wifey didn’t like it at all.. but I certainly did!
One other highlight worth a photo on its own was probably Ethan falling asleep on the scooter one day, and insisted on sleeping in the following position!
Yes.. as you can imagine, it got some locals worried, asking if he’s ok.
Anyway, I quite enjoyed my time at Tainan, even though it didn’t involve a lot of sight-seeing at all. Can imagine myself just “hanging out” here if I had all the spare time in the world (and if their government would let me).
We finished our trip to Taiwan with a high speed rail ride to the Outlet shops near Taoyuan airport, and eventually flying to Okinawa in the evening. It was New Year’s eve when we took the flight there. It wasn’t much of a celebration, but we did leave feeling like we are embarking on a new adventure in a new country on the first day of 2018!