Taiwan Day 6 – Kaohsiung (Pau Breakfast, Qiaotou/Ciaotou Sugar Refinery Museum, Ten Drum, Taroko Batting Cage, Carrefour, Costco, Shinkuchan Night Market, Kaisyuan Night Market)
After a good rest, we woke up to have an early breakfast at 兴隆居, which was a short distance away from our hotel. It was ridiculously crowded, so we decided to buy buns and soya milk from the pau shop just next door (the corner unit), which was also popular but had a shorter queue.
It was cold (15 degrees) and drizzly, so we quickly ate before walking to the MRT station to take the train to Ciaotou Sugar Refinery Station. I had set my sights on an abandoned sugar refinery factory nearby that other websites had promised ruinporn, lots of it!!!
We exited the station and followed the signs to the sugar refinery factory. There were al fresco cafés along the way, but it was just too cold, so we continued onwards for about 5-10 minutes before we reached the entrance, where we saw old trains that used to carry harvested sugar canes to the sugar factory, that was opened in the early 1900s and closed down in 1997.
The sign above was about the best English sign I could find; most of the exhibits I read (or couldn’t read for that matter) were in 繁体字。
We walked further inwards and climbed up a walkway (on the left of the photo above). There were very few people here, but we loved it because we hate crowds and like free places (yes it’s totally free), plus ruinporn galore!
The walkways were usually well laid out, except for a couple of sections which looked like you needed to duck under beams or watch your step. I think you could consider taking older children here, but prams and toddlers are a no-no.
We spent at least an hour taking our time to walk around and take lots of photos. There was a dilapidated room with broken glass windows panes, falling ceiling sheets and messy old cabinets, which made you wonder whether the workers had to leave in a hurry.
MTVs, horror shows and creepy wedding photos could totally be shot here. It seems that after decades of sugar production, other newer factories offered faster, more productive processes to produce sugar, hence making the machinery in this old factory obsolete.
We walked further North after exiting the factory and stumbled upon the Ten Drum Cultural Centre. We didn’t have time to tour the area and just stopped by their souvenir store to purchase gifts to take home.
It was windy and really cold on our way to the Qiaotou MRT, and we saw a cow and some mini farms on the east side of the MRT station. We took the MRT to Ecological District where, a short 5 minute walk away, there’s a Taroko Batting Cage and amusement centre.
We exchanged NT400 for 13 tokens. Each token gave us 20 balls to hit with a bat that was included in each batting cage section, which was laid out left to right, from fastest speed to slowest. We found the batting cage more fun that the pitching cage (only 8 balls).
Well I missed most of the balls, but it felt very song whenever I managed to hit one.
Hungry and tired, we took an MRT to Shihjia MRT and walked to the Carrefour for noodle lunch and shopping for Taiwanese foodstuffs and tea to take home. We visited the nearby Costco but didn’t purchase anything as we didn’t have a member card, but the Costco was definitely more crowded than Carrefour.
After taking a quick rest at the hotel, we went to the Shinkuchan Night Market, by exciting Central Park MRT Exit 2, crossing the road and entering by Renzhi Street. It was not as big as I thought, so we only bought a chicken cutlet and tried our luck at the biggest night market in Kaohsiung, Kaisyuan Night Market.
The Kaisyuan Night Market turned out to a bigger disappointment. As the temperatures were below 10 degrees and it was drizzly, many vendors didn’t open (it is an outdoor market), and justifiably so as there weren’t many people visiting it.
We had a quick sizzling hot plate dinner and went back to the hotel to rest. We should have just stuck to Liuhe Night Market again.
I think there are more places that we could have visited within Kaohsiung city, and would definitely come back here again as a good base to explore the countryside and go to Kenting.
Refer to my Taiwan Day 7 and 8 – Kaohsiung, Taoyuan blogpost for the last 2 days of my memorable Taiwan trip.
Taiwan Travel Tips
These are a few very important links or apps you need to bookmark or download if you’re self-planning a trip to Taiwan.
High speed rail – twice as fast as TRA’s 自强 (Tzechiang) and twice as expensive too. It only takes a couple of hours from Taipei to Kaohsiung.
Normal railway – there are 3 types of trains. Take the faster 自强 Tzechiang for long distances to save time (if you want assigned seats, buy online or go to the counter in advance), and the slower trains (chukuang and local train) for short distances to save money.
Taiwan’s iBus app
Download from Google Play store. Apparently it has the timetables and even a moving geolocation of running buses in Taiwan. You need to be able to understand 繁体字 to use it.
Google maps app
Useful if you’re figuring your way around.
Type in your location, click on Places Of Interest and click on the map option to check out the tourist spots in the vicinity. It works for restaurants and hotels too (but we prefer Booking.com and travelking for this).
Also published on Medium.