Jane: Summer Internship in Taiwan – #2

Hello everyone! Hope that summer is going well for you guys. Time has certainly flown as it is now nearly the end of my internship period. Soon enough I’ll be heading back home! In this post, I thought I’d talk about what my typical weekday looks like and what we get up to during the weekend.

The research project that I am part of involves fuel cells and takes place in one of the labs on campus. I don’t actually have a fixed working time but I usually get to the lab around 9.30 am and leave at 6pm. I would drop by the little stand near the dorms for breakfast and drink my coffee while walking to the lab, a nice 15 minute walk to start my day. For lunch and dinner I would head out with my lab mates or fellow interns to one of the restaurants on the street in front of the university. On Mondays and Thursdays, there is a night market on in a neighbouring town, Dalin. We’d usually take a taxi there on most Mondays. When you’re in Taiwan, a night market visit is a must.

To occupy the evenings, there are quite a number of sports facilities available around campus. Bowling, pool, golf, you name it, they have it! Although the places are not always available due to team practices and what not. For bowling especially, it is quite hard to get a lane as there are uni team practices on Monday and Thursdays and it’s a pretty popular activity to do. Some people would come on in as the center opens at 6pm and leave at 9pm when it closes. But there is always karaoke down the road.

On the weekends, we would usually take short trip to neighbouring cities. We definitely took advantage of the amazing public transport system in Taiwan. Of course, the one city that everyone will know in Taiwan is Taipei. It’s a cool city to visit but everybody knows that’s so I’ll skip it. Here are two lesser known places that I’d like to introduce you to!

Chiayi: half an hour by bus from CCU

This is the closest “big”city from uni although it is much quieter compared to the likes of Taipei. Chiayi is located slightly off the centre of Taiwan and it is usually where visitors would take to train or bus to Alishan Mountain. There are buses hourly buses that go to Chiayi from the campus itself.

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Alishan Forest Railway Garage Park

Admire the collection of old trains park in this garage and take lots of aesthetic picture for the ‘gram. Free admission!

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Chiayi Old Prison

There are tours of the prison conducted by volunteer staff four times a day for an hour. It is in Mandarin though so you might not learn much but the architecture speaks for itself, I’d say. It’s quite a fascinating place to visit as you can really imagine what prison life might have been like. Also free admission.

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Sun Shooting Tower

Watch the sunset over the horizon from the top of the tower. It’s a pretty cool place to hang out, literally and figuratively. Admission to top of tower is 50 NTD.

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Sunset view from Sun Shooting Tower

It was pretty cloudy initially,  we were lucky that the clouds cleared when it did.

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Hinoki Village

This place is made up of cute little Japanese style houses selling different local products like food and knick knacks. Spend the afternoon here stocking up on souvenirs to bring back to Auckland.

Kaohsiung: taxi/bus to Minxiong train station and three hour train journey

We had a long weekend for New Years so we decided to spend it in Kaohsiung, the third most populated city in Taiwan, since Taipei was way too expensive and already booked out. We stayed on Cijin Island, a little island just off Kaohsiung, and spent most of our time there biking under the blazing hot sun and all got a wicked tan (in some cases, a wicked sunburn). We also took a day trip down to Kenting, the southernmost part of Taiwan where we scootered in the rain.

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The southernmost point of Taiwan: Kenting

Take a two hour bus ride from Kaohsiung to Kenting the southernmost point of Taiwan. The best way to get around Kenting is to hire a electric scooter, you can explore the whole of Kenting with it. It was raining when we got there, it’s quite hard to see when you’re being pelted by rain and wind!

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Elaunbi Park

The lighthouse is one of the iconic landmarks of Kenting. Took us a while to find the lighthouse as the signage is pretty small. It’s located in a park which costs 60 NTD to get in. We spent a few hours here exploring the walking trails and getting acquainted with Mother Nature.

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Night view of Kaohsiung from the Dream Mall Ferris Wheel

Take a ride on the Ferris Wheel located on top of the Dream Mall. A ticket costs 120 NTD if you show them your student ID. Frankly, I’m not a fan of Ferris wheels, they’re kinda boring but I guess why not see the view of Kaohsiung from high up?

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Cijin Island Lighthouse

Rent a bike and spend the day exploring Cijin Island. A bike is the easiest mode of transport as there are designated bike paths along the coast and to the tourist attractions. You’ll definitely see a lot of visiting families riding by in a four manned pedicab.

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Dragon and Tiger Pagodas – Lotus Pond

Take the convenient Kaohsiung Metro system to go to places such as the Lotus Pond with many pagoda and temples surrounding it. The Dragon and Tiger Pagoda is the most iconic one. It is said that if you go in through the tiger and out the dragon while running without stopping, you’ll have good luck for the year.

There are certainly many more places to be explored around Taiwan these are the two starters I’d recommend. Hopefully this post will show you that Taiwan is a country worth visiting, whether it’s for studies or just sightseeing.

As always, I’ll be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Drop me an email at jpan643@aucklanduni.ac.nz! If you want to see more of what I got up to in Taiwan, check out my Instagram @totorojane ☺️. See you next time!

Jane

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