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Kaohsiung Travel Guide

Kaohsiung is the largest and second-most populous municipality of Taiwan. It grew into a port city and a military area during the Japanese colonial era (1895-1945), and Taiwan communicated with the outside world mainly through it. Since the mid twentieth century, it has been developed into the political and economic center of southern Taiwan. Due to its advantageous location, it has a diversity of cultures, including traditional Chinese, Japanese, and western. In addition, many youngsters there can communicate in English.

 Location: to the east coast of the Taiwan Strait, in the southwest of Taiwan Island
 Area: 1,138 square miles (2,947 square kilometers)
 Population: about 2,770,000

 Attractions
Kaohsiung as a port and tropical city, has beautiful seas, beaches, lakes, big and small wharves, hot springs, and many kinds of fruit. Pastries and local food attract a large number of people from all over the world. It is likened to a graceful lady, because of its fragrant flowers and charming night scenes. Come here and you will find that life can be so peaceful and pleasant.

 The Dome of Light: Located inside the metro Formosa Station, it is a huge public artwork designed by a famous artist Maestro Narcissus Quagliata. Its theme is "Love and Pardon", and it presents a person's whole life as well as his renascence through pictures.

 Love River: Trees shade the streets on both sides. Riding a bike along the riverside and taking a cruise boat are good choices to appreciate the scenery of the river. The night scene of the riverside is really charming, which attracts many lovers. During the Lantern Festival, you can see lantern, fountain, and firework shows, and the dragon boat race is held in the Dragon Boat Festival.

 The Pier-2 Art Center: It used to be a port warehouse, and has been transformed into an art park with old iron gates and cement walls being left. Different exhibitions are held there periodically. What's more, the concert is held almost every weekend.

 Hsitzuwan Scenic Area: It is a beautiful bay with golden beach, blue sea, and natural coral reefs. Numerous people travel all the way to Hsitzuwan to appreciate the charming sunset. Hsitzuwan Bathing Beach, National Sun Yat-sen University, and Former British Consulate at Takao are all in the scenic area.

 The Former British Consulate at Takao consists of an official residence and a consulate. In the baroque style official residence, you can learn about the history of Kaohsiung and drink the English style afternoon tea. A number of wax images showing scenes of the negotiation between the officials in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and the consuls are displayed in the consulate. Several well-protected bomb shelters are outside the consulate.
Cijin Peninsula
Cijin Peninsula
Thean Hou Temple on Cijin Peninsula
Thean Hou Temple on Cijin Peninsula

 Cijin Peninsula: The most famous attractions on the peninsula are Cijin Ferry, Lighthouse, Thean Hou Temple, and Seashore Park. On the lighthouse, you can see the entire Kaohsiung Harbor. There is also a gun battery, a bathing beach, and a seafood street.

 Tuntex Sky Tower: It has 92 lifts. The fastest one can rise to the 77th floor within 45 seconds, the third fastest in the world. The building is about 1,140 feet (347 meters) high. On the 74th floor, you can see the whole city and the vast sea.

 Foguang Mountain Monastery: It is the largest and the most famous Buddhist shrine in Taiwan. The architectures are all very magnificent and imposing. The landmark of the temple is a 120-foot-high (36-meter-high) golden big Buddha. From the Spring Festival to Lantern Festival, festive lanterns are hanged everywhere, when is a great time for a visit.
 

 Transportation
Kaohsiung International Airport (KHH) is situated in Hsiaokang, Kaohsiung. As the second largest airport in Taiwan, it has direct flights to/from Seoul, Tokyo, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. For more flights, you need to transfer in Hong Kong, Taipei, or Hanoi.

If you are in Taiwan, you can take the normal or high speed trains to get there. From Taipei, a normal train ride takes about 5-7 hours and TWD 650-843, a bullet train ride takes about 2 hours and TWD 1,490 for a standard seat.   See more about Taiwan Train

Local urban transport is very convenient, thanks to the MRT system. The city has two metro lines: Red Line and Orange Line. The Red Line passes Ciaotou Station, Zuoying Station, Kaohsiung Railway Station, Central Park, Sanduo Shopping District, the airport and many other places. The Orange Line has stations nearby two famous scenic spots: Sizihwan and Formosa. A one-way ticket costs TWD 20-60 based on travel distance. To save money, you can buy an I Pass card.

City buses ramify all over the city. Kaohsiung Railway Station, Jhongshan Road, Jianguo Road, Yancheng Roundabout, and Jhongjheng Fourth Road Roundabout are all important transfer places.

Taxi is also available. The flag-down rate is TWD 85 for the first 1.5km (0.9 mi) and TWD 5 per extra 250m (273 yards). The waiting charge is TW5 per 3 minutes. During the night from 23:00 to next 06:00, passengers need to pay additional 20% of the total fare. There are sightseeing taxis, which costs TWD 2,400 within 4 hours and TWD 500 every extra hour.

Bicycle is also available there. I Pass, VISA, Master Card, and JCB can be used to rent one. It is free for the first an hour and costs TWD 10 per extra 30 minutes.

To reach the famous Cijin Peninsula, you can take a ferry at Gushan Ferry Pier; a single ferry trip takes only about 10 minutes.

Ferry to Cijin Peninsula
Take a ferry to Cijin Peninsula
Cijin Peninsula Ferry Pier
Cijin Peninsula Ferry Pier

 Weather
You can’t exactly feel the temperature variation in Kaohsiung, because it is hot almost the whole year round, except December to February, when it is a little cold in the morning and evening. With an average temperature of 65ºF (18.6ºC), February is the coolest month, while June is the hottest with the average temperature of 84ºF (28.7ºC). In addition, the rainy season is from May to September, and in winter it is rainless. Moreover, typhoons may be frequent between July to September, so the best time to visit is from October to November.

 Dining

Kaohsiung Night Market
Kaohsiung Night Market
Kaohsiung has numerous delicious foods, including pastries: like fire lion cakes, chestnut crisps, kapok crisps, green bean cakes, and Chinese cheeses. Native fruits like guavas, bananas, jujubes, lichi nuts, pineapples, and pawpaws. Moreover, you can try traditional Taiwanese snacks such as eel noodles and tube rice puddings. The best places to taste these foods are Liuohe Tourist Night Market and Guanghua Night Market.

 Shopping
Sanduo Shopping District is the most prosperous business center of the city, having a great many shopping malls and shops. Dream Mall is the most popular among the locals. You can not only buy clothes of famous brands, but also purchase all kinds of sundries there.

 Nightlife
Muse Pub and Lamp Pub are more famous than any other nightclubs. You can carouse, dance, drink, and watch live shows of rock bands. If you like the retro style, you can go to Western Cowboys Pub, which attracts many people, too.