Taipei may be the most popular destination among travelers visiting Taiwan but Kaohsiung also has a lot to offer to the travelers. Why should you visit Kaohsiung? What is there for you in Kaohsiung?
The Dome of Light, Pier2 Art Centre, Love River, Lotus Lake, Yuan Heng Temple, Dream Mall, Shoushan Martyr’s Shrine are a few of the must-visit places in Kaohsiung. Moreover, there is less traffic congestion and fewer tourists in Kaohsiung than Taipei.
Kaohsiung is the second biggest city of Taiwan, first being Taipei. Lying in the south of the island, it is the biggest port city of Taiwan.
Most of the foreign tourists choose Taipei as a destination while traveling to Taiwan, but Kaohsiung is an alluring amalgamation of art, culture, and modernity with a laid-back feel to it.
Things to do in Kaohsiung
Visit the Dome of Light MRT station
Formosa Boulevard MRT station is a place where many people stop with mostly no intention of leaving the station. The station has a huge piece of art installed, called the Dome of Light . Glass roof and pillars in bright yellow, orange, red, green and blue colors transfer you into another world.
I felt surrounded by colors and light at this place. People were taking pictures but very considerate about not spoiling the others’ photos.
Stations in Taiwan are usually clean but this one looked so squeaky clean that I just sat down on the floor and watched it to my heart’s fill.
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Bring Good luck from Lotus Pond
Lotus Pond, located in Zuoying District is one of the most scenic areas of Kaohsiung. There are two towers in the pond that are seven stories tall. One has an entrance gate constructed as Dragon’s mouth and the other as Tiger’s mouth.
Both are interconnected. It is a popular belief that entering through the Dragon’s mouth and exiting from Tiger’s would avoid bad luck bring you good luck. No harm in trying, so we did as the locals were doing.
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Walls inside are adorned with artwork. Pink lotus flowers in the lake attracted me a lot through the lake itself didn’t look clean. There are many temples and statues nearby.
- Opening time- Open throughout the day, daily
- Entry Fee- No fee
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Pier 2 Art Center
This place is an open space that was once an abandoned warehouse area. It has been utilized by the artists as their canvas and platform to display their art and transformed into an open art gallery.
We used the Metro for reaching this place.
Just after exiting the MRT station and a few minutes walk, we were greeted by a wall full of amazing photographs of landscapes and portraits. This place is full of art and creativity.
There are graffiti and murals on the walls of buildings.
Quirky statues and art pieces are at display in open space.
It is situated in Yancheng District and the place is used to hold art and cultural events. The venue attracts lots of photographers and instagrammers that you can observe putting everything around here to great use for photography.
There was a small local market too with many small stalls selling various kinds of art and craft pieces like soaps, candles, bags, paintings, sketches, toys.
The places are really huge and involve a lot of walking. A cycling track is also nearby if you want to explore the area on cycle.
Opening hours- Mon-Thurs 10.00 am to 6.oo pm
Fri-Sun 10.00 am to 8.oo pm
No entry fee
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Very popular among the couples, families and visitors alike, Love River is a water-body running in the Kaohsiung city.
You may sit on the benches or lawn on the banks or choose a boat ride in the river.
We went for a ride that cost NT$150 per person and lasted around 20 minutes.
The duration was short and I was expecting the boat to cover more distance than it did. Then we chose to stroll around the river for some time. It looked more beautiful at sunset when the place was lighted up.
There are many cafes and restaurant around where you can get something to eat or drink. You can rent a bike and ride along the river bank.
It is an open space with no entry fee.
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Visiting Malls in not in my list when I travel but I had heard a lot about this place. With some spare time on hand, we chose to visit this and honestly, I was not disappointed.
With around 600 retail shops incorporating lots of showrooms, cafes, restaurants, theatre, rides, games section, banquet halls, it is a recreational hub for the locals and visitors.
The interior of the mall is very aesthetically designed. The open space outside the mall is equally mesmerizing with lots of trees, plants, decorative lights and colorful stations for taking pictures.
This is the place where I enthusiastically posed and had a lot of pictures.
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Yuan Heng Temple
It is a huge Buddhist temple located on a hill, away from the hustle-bustle of the city. You can get a view of the city from here.
The place is quite peaceful and the premises are very widespread. There were a large number of monks inside the main hall and some religious procession was on when we arrived.
So we just offered our prayers and came out. There are many carved images on the exterior walls of the hall.
Visiting hours 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
No entry fee
Shoushan Martyr’s Shrine & LOVE sculpture
Located in the south of Shoushan, Martyr’s Shrine was constructed for honoring the martyred soldiers.
It provides a peaceful ambience to the visitors. There is ‘LOVE’ sign just opposite the shrine which is a very popular spot for photography among youngsters and couples.
You can get a great view of the city, its skyline, and harbor at this place.
It is recommended to visit it around sunset as the views are more beautiful at night.
Transport within the city
Kaohsiung has its own metro called KRT (Kaohsiung Rapid Transit) that connects major parts of the city. You can purchase one day pass at any metro station for NT$150 or use EasyCard.
Taxi and local city buses are also a convenient way to travel within the city.
You can also rent a bike from public bicycle rental stations that are usually located near most of the MRT stations and tourist spots.
Is there Uber in Kaohsiung?
Yes, Uber is available in Kaohsiung.
Can one use easy card in Kaohsiung?
Yes, EasyCard can be used in Kaohsiung and is highly recommended for making payments for bike rides, metro fare, etc.
Things to do at night in Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Night Markets – Night markets are lifelines of the local nightlife in Taiwan. Liuhe Night market and Ruifeng Night Market are the most famous ones in Kaohsiung. You can shop, eat local food and explore. If you want to have a closer look at the local life, a trip to the night markets is a must.
Bars & clubs– Nightlife may not be as happening in Kaohsiung as in Taipei, there is no dearth of Bars and clubs either. The Lighthouse Bar & Grill, Western Cowboys Pub, Mercury Bar, The Brickyard are some of the popular places if you want to experience some happening nightlife in Kaohsiung.
Stroll at Love River– Love river is a very romantic place to spend time with your loved one, especially at night. You can stroll around the river or find a peaceful place to just sit and have a heart to heart conversation.
Where to stay in Kaohsiung in Taiwan?
It has a mixed dormitory, female dormitory and private rooms to choose from, as per your requirement.
Guests prefer it for its good location as it is only 2 minute walk away from Central Park MRT station and New Juejiang shopping station.
Convenient location, squeaky clean rooms, and friendly staff are the reasons for this place for getting 9 ratings on booking.com.
Multilinguil staff, good breakfast and contemporary decor further add to the whole experience of stay.
A four-star property rated 9.2 at booking.com providing lavish experience. A good option if you want to splurge on staying. Airport shuttle, bar, continental breakfast, and rooms with terrace make it a popular choice in Kaohsiung.
Best time to visit Kaohsiung
Kaohsiung experiences warm weather during major part of the year. April to November is warm and humid with temperature ranging between 25 degree Celsius to 35 degree Celsius.
December to March is cooler period with temperature ranging from 15 degree to 30 degree Celsius. May to September is a rainy season which usually is accompanied by typhoons occurring during July to September.
How to reach Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Being a major city of Taiwan, Kaohsiung is well connected with other cities by Rail and bus.
HSR -You can take High-Speed Rail from Taipei Main Station for Zuoying station. This would take around 1.5 to 2 hours and cost you around TW$1500. From Zuoying KRT (Kaohsiung Metro Train ) station you can travel to other places in the city.
Train – There are many trains from Taiwan Main Station to Kaohsiung. Costing around TW$700 to 900, the journey would take around 4 to 6 hours depending upon the train you choose.
Bus – Direct buses from Taipei Bus Station to Kaohsiung run regularly. It takes around 6 to 8 hours to reach and fare is around NT$5oo to 600
Flight – There is an airport in Kaohsiung but there are no direct flights from Taipei to Kaohsiung at present. So, if you want to save time, HSR is the best option and TRA (normal train) is the most convenient and economical one.
Wondering which places to visit to make the most of your money spent?
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To avoid settling for something less than what you pay for, I recommend you plan your itinerary well in advance.
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After having spent three days in Kaohsiung, I still feel that there are a lot more things yet to be visited and explored.
I am definitely going there again. With all the above-mentioned places and experiences (and more that I have planned for my next visit), Kaohsiung won’t disappoint you as a tourist destination.