The metropolitan heart of southern Taiwan
As the second largest Taiwanese city after Taipei, Kaohsiung is a must for the urban explorer on an in-depth tour of the island state.
Rows of ultramodern skyscrapers define the cityscape, while ritzy malls and bustling open-air markets offer ample retail therapy below. Slicing through its heart is Love River, where local lovebirds come to stroll tree-lined parks and dine in delightful riverfront cafes. The best way to soak up the romantic scene is on a sunset river cruise.
Kaohsiung boasts its own international airport and is connected to Taiwan’s High Speed Rail (THSR), which means getting in and out is a breeze. It’s also got a high-tech MRT network so you can navigate the modern metropolis with ease.
Retail mad Kaohsiung offers ample opportunity for shopaholics to max out their credit cards. Dream Mall is the biggest shopping center in town (and one of the biggest in Asia), with an enormous 400,000 m2 complex with over 2,300 shops to choose from.
For something a little more soulful, hit the night markets instead. Liuhe Night Market is famed for its open-air seafood stalls (try the eel spaghetti) and Nanhua Night Market boasts a mind-boggling array of woman’s fashion and accessories.
The Shinkuchan Shopping District is the place to go for high-tech gadgets at low-low prices. Finally, the Singda Harbour Fish Market offers an authentic glimpse of traditional Taiwanese life. Local fisherman hawk octopus, crab, oysters, and all manner of other ocean-faring wares.
Located 45 minutes outside the city, Fo Guang Shan Museum (Buddha Memorial Center) is the epicentre of south Taiwanese Buddhism and well worth the drive.
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Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum is an awe inspiring sight and popular tourist destination. This religious centre, 45 minutes outside #Kaohsiung, is littered with mesmerising structures, beautiful statues, amazing views and interesting museums. You’ll need at least 2 days to see everything but luckily you can stay overnight for NT$1,200 and try the delicious vegetarian food 🌱 📸 Jirka Matousek #FoGuangShanBuddhaMuseum #FoGuangShan #FoGuangShanTemple #FoGuangShanBuddhaMemorialCenter #Buddha #Buddhist #Buddhism #HsingYun #Taiwan #TaiwanTravel #Taiwan_Touriam #Vegetarian
The sprawling Humanistic Buddhism complex houses an impressive ensemble of gilded temples, towering pagodas, and leafy gardens. Residing within are an army of amicable English-speaking monks, who are more than happy to dish out an impromptu guided tour. Don’t miss the 36 meter statue of a seated Amitabha Buddha.
More than just a shopping destination, this former industrial port town is fast becoming a thriving hub for Asian arts and culture. The Pier-2 Art District personifies its bold new face, with a colourful collection of old harbor front warehouses that now host chic boutiques and abstract art galleries.
A scenic 10-minute sail away from the pier is Cijin Island (Qijin Island), a top spot for cycling, temple hopping, and strolling through the quirky Windmill Park. The Museum of Fine Arts is a little more traditional, showcasing an eclectic array of ancient indigenous works.
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Cijin Island in Kaohsiung is a long, thin island that runs along the city’s coastline ⚓️🛳 The beautiful island is a great compliment to city life complete with beach, market shopping, and great food. 😽 Getting there is a quick and easy ferry ride from the Gushan Ferry Pier. 📸 Ted McGrath #CijinIsland #Cijin #QijinIsland #Qijin #KaohsiungHarbor #Kaohsiung #GushanFerryPier #KaohsiungCity #Taiwan #TaiwanTravel
Other worthwhile spots include the National Science and Technology Museum, the Kaohsiung City Shou Shan Zoo, and the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center.
The city’s up and coming Qianzhen District is a hit for its sweeping harbor views and thriving cultural scene. Bustling outdoor markets, crisscrossing ferries, and hip artistic hubs make it among the most vibrant parts of town.
On its northern fringe, the 85 Sky Inn offers the best views in town, hardly surprising considering the 248 meter building is the tallest in the city. Rather than bustling for space on the observatory deck, book yourself into its hotel to soak up those sweeping views all day long. Each well-appointed room comes with plush marble ensuites and the hotel amenities include a swimming pool and gym.