Most visitors to Taiwan only visit the capital Taipei or at the very least the northern portion of the island. Few realize Taiwan’s less-visited south offers much more of less. Fewer crowds, less expensive, and often fewer fellow tourists. Outside of its main cities of Tainan and Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan is mostly rural. Reaching into the tropic zone the south has miles of mostly uncrowded beaches and lush verdant mountains. Many small towns have missed urbanization and prefer a more traditional way of life maintaining their centuries-old culture. Confucian and Buddhist temples abound. The largest is the Guang Shan Buddhist temple in Kaoshiungand it’s is stunning.
Once in Tapei travel to the south is very inexpensive with a ride on the bullet train costing less than 8 US Dollars and only takes about two hours. When the Portuguese explorers first reached Taiwan they called the island “Ilha Formosa” (beautiful island). Many tourists who only see the urban sprawl of Taipei might doubt how it ever got that name, but those who venture south, know better.