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Southern Taiwan

Southern Taiwan is a land of timeless rituals and vibrant folk culture. The yearly calendar is chock-full of some of Taiwan's most unforgettable festivals: when they’re not burning boats to ask for peace, southerners let off fierce fireworks to seek supernatural protection against disease.

To many, Tainan – the island’s former capital – is Taiwan's most Taiwanese city. Expect a feast of original street snacks, flamboyant temples and enduring relics at every turn. In Kaohsiung, southern traditions are given a charismatic 21st-century spin as art greets industry by the harbor and chefs reinvent century-old dishes. Outside the cities, wonderful biking routes and beaches offer a world of possibilities for action travelers. From the limestone drama of Little Liuchiu Island to the oddity of mud volcanoes outside Kaohsiung, this is Formosa at its most formidable. No wonder millions of purple and yellow butterflies return yearly to overwinter in Maolin and Meinong. They’ve chosen well.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Southern Taiwan.