To mention my last blog, I explained that Tainan felt like my home and it is a place I could see myself living in. To continue with that, I never really travelled outside of Tainan. However, at this moment I can say that I have seen a large portion of Taiwan due to its very convenient public transportation and it being an island. I have been everywhere; Taipei (台北), Taichung (台中), and even Kaohsiung (高雄)! All of these places reaffirm my claims from my first blog, I love Taiwan!
To mention Taipei for a bit, I would love to point out that it is in fact the third largest city in Taiwan and in being so, it is understandable that it is also the most modern city I’ve been to in Taiwan. Taipei has a great feeling to it, from the business development and modernization of the metropolitan area to the endless streets filled with both history and small businesses, it is exactly what I expected it to be, and more! My experience with big cities is usually filled with less than pleasant citizens but not Taipei, everyone I had the pleasure of interacting with were friendly and relaxing. On the other hand, night life here is also exciting! There is a whole street dedicated to entertainment such as having three different movie theaters in close proximity of each other and more stores than one can count! Taipei is one of those places that you could never be bored in.
On the note of big cities, Kaohsiung is the sixth biggest city in Taiwan right behind Taipei, but it is Taipei’s equal in many aspects. Kaohsiung does not fall behind Taipei except in its population, meaning that Kaohsiung is an equally exciting place and the variety of activities that can be done in Kaohsiung makes it one of my favorite cities I have ever been to! One of these activities was climbing Chai Shan, a mountain literally filled with monkeys! They were the cutest little animals I have ever seen and definitely made my trip in Kaohsiung one of the most memorable trips I have ever had. Also, Kaohsiung houses many gigantic statues making Kaohsiung’s character meaning genuinely literal (高雄, Tall, Powerful Individual).
Taichung is different from Taipei and Kaohsiung but only in the sense of its maturity as a modern city. Taichung is a place that is experiencing growth and modernization in the recent years, making it a city that has great potential to rival the previously mentioned cities as a specific central municipality since it has already beat both Kaohsiung and Taipei in terms of population! Taichung’s feel is that of every Taiwan city, hustling and welcoming, except for the food. Taiwan is known for its snacks however, there are snacks I have never seen before until I visited Taichung, and I recommend trying any and all of them! The common theme (at least as I can tell) is combining different foods or similar foods and creating something unique and delicious! I spent a lot of my money at the night market in Taichung trying anything I can and would recommend all that I ate!
I thoroughly enjoy my time in Taiwan because even after being here for a month and a half, I could discover something new on this perceived self-contained island! I cannot recommend just one thing from each of these cities, one has to go out into the city and discover the best things of Taiwan.
By: Stephan Meza
Term: Summer 2018