Recapitulation: Northbound Hop (May 2014)

I didn’t really create the recapitulation to just “recap” the trip (which, in this case, was Northbound Hop, which I finished last Wednesday). I created it to share my thoughts, what I would do with a similar trip next time, and that stuff.

But I still like to recapitulate the trip sometimes. Okay, here goes…

I’ll give a mention to the four parts (1, 2, 3, 4) of my (picture-less) live reports, written each night from my hotel bed in Kaohsiung (I don’t normally bring my computer along to trips due to my mom – and school – wanting me to be less tech-driven).

On May 12th I rushed to the airport at 6am to meet with the school to take the (very tedious) Dragonair Flight 432 in Economy (it’s a school trip, what do you expect?) from Hong Kong to Kaohsiung.

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Almost immediately we drove to the (trashy) Cijin Scenic Area for a ferry ride down to Gushan, where we visited Xiziwan and other touristy destinations. The boat ride was nothing special, but the views from the boat were!

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From Xiziwan we drove over to the first international budget hotel reviewed here, the Toong Mao Evergreen Hotel, which was nice and definitely worth the cost, as most parts of it was on par with some chain hotels out there.

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We continued from there to explore Kaohsiung. I loved the vibe and some districts (like Meinong) were beautiful.

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One night we decided to visit the Jinzuan Night Markets, which is a great place to explore Taiwanese culture as well as fill your stomach.

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We made a day trip up over to Tainan and had a great day. Next time I go to Southern Taiwan I’m bound to stay in Tainan so I can indulge into more of the vibe. (More on that later.)

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On the second last day we made a trip down to Kenting (as well as exploring some of Pingtung – including the aquarium – along the way), and stayed at the Toong Mao Kao Shang Ching Hotel Kenting, which was much better than we expected and apart from the noise level was on par with many luxury hotels out there. The catch was the location…

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Then we explored Pingtung, which was fun in the most part. The only thing that didn’t catch was Kenting itself, which was over-touristy and lacked a vibe. 😦

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We also made the most of our night in Kenting, and visited the Kenting Street Night Markets. The selection was rather limited – all food – and it was really touristy. Not a problem in the small town, just that it doesn’t deserve so much hype.

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On Day 5 we went to the airport (Kaohsiung Airport International Terminal) and an adjacent restaurant, and both were surreal experiences (OK, the airport was really practical but not surreal, I’ll admit it). One thing I learned: being ten meters from the runway is nice.

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At last we headed home on Dragonair Flight 437 one of Dragonair’s shell seat A330s. Shell seats on Dragonair…what the…?

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As much as I enjoyed this trip, next time I would most likely cut Kenting off (though I would definitely still make a trip down to the aquarium). The Shangri-La Tainan next time is a no-brainer (come on, I have to review chain hotels). I would make trips in Tainan national parks as I have heard awesome things about them. I would want to make a two-night trip down to Taitung but 5 hours of car is a little too much (without a toilet, at least). I could even make the two hours up to Alishan. There are places in Taiwan definitely worth a visit that are accessible and within 5 hours from Tainan, however regarding Kaohsiung and Tainan, these two cities are definitely worth a visit.

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