Road Trip through Scenic Taiwan – Southern Taiwan

Road Trip through Scenic Taiwan – Southern Taiwan

Ahhh southern Taiwan.

We woke early to leave from Taitung city and finish our coastal drive. The sun had barely risen and we were in our car on the hunt for starbucks. The skies cleared as the sun rose. It greeted us with warm and bright sunshine. The musty smell of Taitung faded with distance and heat. We really needed it too. A day where we didn’t have to change our wet socks 3 times made for a great day. With my starbucks fix ( I know but in Taiwan they have a rose tea latte. You guys, it’s amazing) we continued our plan. For our day in southern Taiwan, we spent a little time in Kenting National park then drove back up the peninsula to head north into Maolin. We aimed to hit up a beach at Kenting but … We got distracted.

By this guy…

taiwan temple, golden statue, southern taiwan, colorful temple, kenting national park temple
“Looks like he is checking his facebook” — Wade
I really find these temples the most stunning I’ve seen. I’m such a fan of colorful and intricate design. Each scale on the dragon and feather on the phoenix is an individual ceramic tile!
I really find these temples the most stunning I’ve seen. I’m such a fan of colorful and intricate design. Each scale on the dragon and feather on the phoenix is an individual ceramic tile!

 

taiwan temple, golden statue, southern taiwan, colorful temple, kenting national park temple
The details inside the temple were just as detailed at the roof tops.

 

The temple had nice grounds, a clean public bathroom (!!) and no one around. The bright colors of the temple popped against the blue sky, the gold sparkled with the sun. We enjoyed the time to stretch our legs and really see the details and care that goes into building them.  Otherwise, we weren’t falling in love with Kenting park. It seemed a little barren. So after kicking it with that guy, we headed back north to seek out some waterfalls in Maolin.

Maolin and Meinong offer a plethora of peaceful nature and aboriginal culture. The land is mostly used for farming and gave the same feel as my home in Okinawa, a mix of farms and oceans. We stopped at fruit stands with mangos, pineapples, custard and wax apples. We loaded up on fruits, and carried on our way.  Southern Taiwan has unique fruits that are all deliciously sweet. Every one we tried was very good, so don’t be afraid! 

farmers market southern taiwan, fruit farmers taiwan, mangos in baskets, green and red mangos, coconuts, green coconuts

 

farmers market southern taiwan, fruit farmers taiwan, mangos in baskets, green and red mangos, taiwan, southern taiwan

 

taiwanese women
As a people, every taiwanese person we interacted with was incredibly kind and offered advice, encouragement, and genuine hospitality.

taiwan southern waterfall, maolin park, lovers waterfall, thin waterfall, tropical waterfall, waterfall photography, hiking waterfalls. bridges, wooden bridge,

The clouds thickened over the mountains the further inward we went but it never rained. We headed into the woods to find the waterfalls a few hours before dusk. Cloud cover, humidity, dusk = bugs! Everyone talks about Taiwan and their butterflies.  All the research, blog reading and pinteresting told me Taiwan has billions of butterflies, all kinds. Some only found on this island. However, I do feel like NO ONE in our research, blog reading and pinteresting talked about all the other bugs Taiwan has.

I was chased by a bee of some sort, both going up and down the trail. This thing was huge and aggressive — I died. Then while relaxing, taking long exposure photos of  “Lovers Waterfall” I was “bit” by something else. I was quite sure the culprit was a large spider who poisoned me for standing on his rock. I swear I felt the venom moving through my veins, sending this awful pinching feeling up my leg randomly as we walked. Wade went the Occam razor route and decided it was nothing but a mosquito. Either way — I died again. There were large ants, big ass beatles and one really off the wall bird (I’ll get to that in another post). So yes, let me be the one to warn you that Taiwan has rare wildlife in both the bug and bird department. Some more pleasant than others.

 

 

 

taiwan southern waterfall, maolin park, lovers waterfall, thin waterfall, tropical waterfall, waterfall photography, hiking waterfalls

taiwan southern waterfall, maolin park, lovers waterfall, thin waterfall, tropical waterfall, waterfall photography, hiking waterfalls

 

Our last day with our car rental ended perfectly.  While driving through the mountains back to our hotel we stopped to check out the view. I was taking down my tripod we noted the strange noise coming from the trees. Figuring it was a bird, we started to walk to the car when we saw him. I know it was a “him” by the evidence he showed off in many of my photos. Luckily I snapped one where he was being most modest. ? I was beyond excited to come across a wild monkey. Not found in touristy hot spots, but just by chance. (National Geographic, you can contact me regarding work via my blog email.)

 

taiwan southern waterfall, maolin park, lovers waterfall, thin waterfall, tropical waterfall, waterfall photography, hiking waterfalls, southern taiwan monkey

 

taiwan southern waterfall, maolin park, lovers waterfall, thin waterfall, tropical waterfall, waterfall photography, hiking waterfalls, girl at waterfall

 

The sun went down as we started for the car. Tomorrow we would drop off the car and take the bullet train to Taipei.  It was time to leave the mountains, murderous bugs and monkeys and head into the city.

 

 

 

If you are interested in the finer details of our day in southern Taiwan; you can find a map and more specifics on my 7 day Taiwan Itinerary.

 

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14 Comments
  • Indrani says:

    Beautiful temple! Imagine the amount of time and dedication that must have gone in to making this!
    Probably the monkey knew you are blogger and didn’t want to miss the chance of becoming famous. 🙂
    Loved your journey , hope NG contacts you!

  • jessica says:

    We live in South Korea and brightly coloured patterns on the ceilings of the temples are remarkably similar. I’m really surprised!

    • Forever Fernweh says:

      We will be headed to South Korea in 2 weeks! I can’t wait to compare them! Any recommendations on must see or must eat places?

  • Wow, it sounds like you had an amazing time. This looks awesome! We love temples, waterfalls, and monkeys so this sounds like a journey that we would love to take as well. 🙂

  • Anthony Jury says:

    Being an avid Asian traveller, Taiwan has always been on the list. This article has justified my decision to get there real soon, especially the Southern side. Great pictures and that temple looks fantastic.

  • Kallsy says:

    Wow! I want to follow in your footsteps as it seems like there is so much beauty to behold in souther Taiwan! That temple is so exquisite and detailed. I also would love to try that rose tea latte you mentioned as well as some of the fruit! Hopefully if I ever go I’ll see a monkey out in the wild too!

    • Forever Fernweh says:

      I have been looking for that rose latté since our trip, no luck. Must be special for Taiwan. I guess you’ll have to venture over there and try it!

  • Gareth says:

    I absolutely love road trips and having read a post similar to this not so long ago, have actually decided to head to Taiwan in March. Certainly, some of the coastal routes there look spectacular although these temples and waterfalls look pretty incredible as well. Would March be an ideal time to explore Taiwan?

    • Forever Fernweh says:

      Gareth, I think you had read my I am so happy I was able to inspire a trip for you. You are going to love it, eat everything!

  • Colleen says:

    These photos are amazing! What kind of camera are you using? I especially love the pic of you on the bridge. So whimsical! I can’t wait to go to Taiwan, I’ll book mark this post so I can read it when I’m planning 🙂 Safe Travels!

    • Forever Fernweh says:

      I’ve been using Olympus OMD-EM5ii. I love my mirrorless camera. As a hiker, I hate carrying heavy gear. With this system, I can carry my camera and at least 4 lenses in a small camera bag!

  • Vyjay says:

    That was a lovely account and a lovely trip. The temple is exquisite. The colours and designs seem like a painting etched for eternity. The waterfalls and the natural landscapes are stunning too. Loved all the pictures.

  • Sheena says:

    I’ve never associated Taiwan with butterflies – you learn something new everyday! I always think of the food, though I’ve never been, I always hear how amazing Taiwanese street food is – how did you rate it? I love Asian tropical fruits too, mangos & pineapples are my favourites but I’ve never tried custard or wax apples – how do they taste?

  • What an encounter with the wild monkey! Glad to see you enjoyed this trip! I’m originally from Taiwan but I’ve never been anywhere outside of Taipei really so thanks for letting me live vicariously through your gorgeous photos 🙂

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