Kaohsiung City is located in the south of Taiwan and the weather is much warmer and more humid compared with Taipei in northern Taiwan. The temperature range in Kaohsiung is between 15°c to 32°c throughout the year, making it a great place because the temperature is never that extreme.
The former name of Kaohsiung is Takao, this name comes from the Makatao people, one of the indigenous tribes in the area. Kaohsiung is the second biggest city in Taiwan with a population of 2.773 million people. After 2010, Kaohsiung county became a part of Kaohsiung city, making it the fourth-largest area in Taiwan.
There are many places to explore in Kaohsiung City, the top ten attractions I recommend are pretty easy to get to with public transport and for first-time visitors these suggestions are ideal. Kaohsiung is a great city with a lot to offer. It is not as famous as Taipei sightseeing but there is still so much to see there.
Recommend : Three days unlimited Taiwan High Speed Rail Pass
Where to Go in Kaohsiung City?
- Cijin District
- Shoushan (Monkey Mountain)
- Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum
- The Pier 2 Art Center
- Hong Mao Kang
- Glory Pier/ love river
- Night Market
- Dragon and Tiger Pagodas
- Maolin District
Cijin Island is a small island located next to the Chanzehn District and it is connected to the main island by an underground tunnel.
It is about 11.8 km long and averages 200 meters in width which is quite tiny and therefore easy to get around. There are two ways to get to Cijin, one is by driving through the underground tunnel, and the other is to take a ferry which is easier and more convenient for tourists.
Things to do in Cijin
At the top of your list of things to do in Cijin, should be to go to the beach. The beach at Cijin island is amazing and there are many things to do.
You can go surfing as well as watch the beautiful sunset, one of the most unique things about the beach on Cijin is that the sand on the beach is black and the sands in Kenting are white.
About half of the Cijin district is next to the water and you can literally walk up the island along the beaches.
Read more : The best surfing spot in north Taiwan – Yilan
On Cijin island, visiting the beach is not the only thing to do, you can also ride a bicycle on a path next to the beach, this is particularly nice in the afternoon close to sunset. Cijin also has a great market where there are many street food booths and since Kaohsiung is a seafood paradise there are many seafood restaurants around, too.
Once you have explored Cijin, go to the street in front of the ferry wharf where you can take the ferry to your next destinations Shoushan (Monkey Mountain) and Sizihwan.
Recommend : Renting your surfboard at Surfer House
Cijin Information :
- Address : Cijin District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, 80541
- How to get to Cijin : By Ferries to Cijin Ferry Station
- Ferry : Gushanlundu Station – No1, Binhai 2nd Road, Gushan District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 804
- Ferry : KW 2 – No.17, Penglai Road, Gushan District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 804
- Price of Ferry :
- With I-Pass Adult Single ticket NT $20 (with I-Pass) | NT $40 (without I-Pass)
- Child – under 6-year-old free
- Bike – NT $10
Shoushan/ Monkey Mountain
If you are a fan of mountain hiking, you should go to Shoushan. Shoushan is located not far from the centre of Kaohsiung, which is super simple to get to. There are many entrances you can start your hike from, the easiest entrance to get to is the one close to National Sun Yat-sen University (國立中山大學) through the backdoor of the University.
Thing to do in Shoushan
If the weather is good enough, you should be able to see a nice view of Cijin, Siziwan, and the National Sun Yat-sen University. Hiking is a fun activity in Shoushan and one of the most unique features of Shoushan is that you will be surrounded by monkeys along your hike. The monkeys are all over the place, sometimes you can even see them on campus.
The monkeys look cute but they can be very harmful and not friendly at all; they often like to steal your food. They can even come through the window and into the student dorms for food. So please be aware and make sure you keep your food in a closed bag when hiking in the mountain.
Shoushan Information :
- Address : No. 350, Wanshou Road, Gushan District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 80444
- How to get to Shoushan : By KMRT
- KMRT (Red / Orange line) : R11 Kaohsiung station and transfer No.56 city Bus, Kaohsiung City Shou Shan Zoo stop.
- O2 Yanchengpu station exit 4 and transfer No.56 city Bus, Kaohsiung City Shou Shan Zoo stop.
Sizihwan is one of the best beaches in Kaohsiung if you ask me. Siziwan is situated in an amazing location and is next to the National Sun Yat-sen University (國立中山大學). When I was a kid, I always dreamt that one day I will study here, at a university that is between a mountain and the beach, and how amazing it will be.
These days Sizihwan is getting more popular because of the secret beach, although this secret beach is no longer really secret anymore. The secret beach is still quite nice to go to since it is so beautiful.
Sizihwan is not just known for its secret beach, but it is also a perfect spot to sunbathe and watch the sunset, people often sit on the rocks to enjoy the sun go down.
Thing to do in Siziwan
The British Consulate at Takow is a great place to visit while you’re in the area, since it is on the way to Sizihwan. The building was built in 1865 by the British government for the international trade business.
The British Consulate at Takow has become a museum where you can see wax statues that portray the history of the area. The museum also displays painting as well as documents for that time.
Recommend : Kaohsiung unlimited MRT Day Pass
Sizihwan Information :
- Address : No. 51, Lianhai Road, Gushan District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 804
- How to get to Siziwan : By Ferry or KMRT
- Ferry : Gushanlundu Ferry Station
- KMRT (Orange line) : O1 Sizihwan Station
- Ferry Price :
- Adult Single ticket NT $20 (with I-Pass) | NT $40 (without I-Pass) Child – under 6 year old free | Bike – NT $10
Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum
Religion is an important part of Taiwan’s culture and many religions co-exist, the main religions in Taiwan are Taoism, Buddhism, and Christianity.
Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum is one of the top 10 “must-see” places in Taiwan because of the huge Budda statue, which has become famous since its completion in 2011. Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum is located about a 40 minute drive from Kaohsiung. If you take public transport it will take you about an hour.
In 2011 the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum was founded and the whole area is about 100 hectares. The Buddha statue itself is 40 meters tall, not including the seat which is 10 metres tall. It is currently the largest and tallest Buddha statue in the world.
Thing to do in Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum
I recommend going there in the afternoon, not only so you can avoid the strong sun but also because there is a lookout point（斜張橋觀景處）that overlooks the Formosa highway connecting Kaohsiung and Pingtung, and the view in the afternoon is amazing.
The lookout point is about a 6 minute walk from the museum. Not far away from the lookout point is an area with a few coffee shops (Stayed Bridge River Cafe, 15 mins away) where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and the night view of Formosa Freeway
Recommend : Klook show you around Kaohsiung day tour
Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum Information
- Address : No. 1, Tongling Road, Dashu District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 84049
- Opening Hour : MON – FRI 09:00 – 18:00 (TUE off) | SAT – SUN 09:00 – 19:00
- How to get there : BY BUS
- THRS : Zuoying station take a Bus E2 to Fo Guang Shan or Bus No. 8501 Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum
- KMRT (Red line) : R16 HRS Zuoying station take a Bus E2 to Fo Guang Shan or Bus No. 8501 Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum
- Bus price
- Adult Single : NT $75 | Child Single : NT $35 | Kid under 6 is free
The Pier 2 Art Center
If you are wondering where do the young people like to hang out the most in Kaohsiung… The young generation loves hanging out at The Pier 2 Art Center where you will see a lot of artists’ portfolios and design ideas. These artworks are displayed in warehouses that used to store cane sugar before the 1960s.
Nowadays, Kaosiung no longer produces cane sugar, thus these warehouses have been abandoned until 2000, when a group of artists thought this area may be a great place for displaying art. This area has become a very popular place to hang out.
Thing to do in The Pier 2 Art Center
In this area, there is a long bicycle path near the harbors where you can explore the different harbors of Kaohsiung. In the early 20th century, Yan-cheng District (鹽埕區) was the most important and wealthy district during the Japanese colonial period and was hit by the U.S Air Force during WWII.
Read more about : The oldest city in Taiwan – Tainan
If you are a fan of history, you will enjoy exploring the Yan-cheng alleys and the beauty of old Kaohsiung.
The Pier 2 Art Center is not only popular among the young generation but also among families too. Since The Pier 2 Art Center became a well-received visiting place, the surrounding area has started to develop some new shopping malls, such as KW 2.
There are many events held in this area such as music concerts and other festivals, there is always something to do and see there.
Recommend : Taiwan’s train miniature museum ticket
The Pier 2 Art Center Information
- Address : No. 1, Dayong Road, Yancheng District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 803
- Opening Hour : MON – FRI 10:00 – 18:00 | FRI – SUN 10:00 – 20:00
- How to get to The Pier 2 Art Center : By KMRT or Light Rail
- KMRT (Orange line) : O2 Yanchengpu Station
- Light Rail : C12 Penglai Pier-2
Hong Mao Kang
During the Dutch Empire period, 1624-1662, some dutch people were expelled and came over to settle in Hong Mao Kang. Nowadays no one lives in Hong Mao Kang anymore. The name Hong Mao Kang translates directly to Red Hair Harbour. During this time the Taiwanese people recognised the Dutch by their red hair.
During the Japanese colonial period, the population in Hong Mao Kang was around 5,000 which was quite a lot for a small area. Nowadays, no one lives in Hong Mao Kang anymore because the Government wanted to take over the land and develop it into a manufacturing area around 2007. Many people have been separated from their family and friends, most moved to Cijin or Xiaogang.
Thing to do in Hong Mao Kang
When you visit Hong Mao Kang, you will get to see the Hong Mao Kang Culture Park that is designed to show what the area looked like in the past. You will get to see what people’s houses looked like and get to see how they lived.
Hong Mao Kang Information
- Address : No. 2808, Nanxing Road, Xiaogang District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 812
- Opening Hour : MON -FRI 15:00 – 20:00 (WED off) | SAT – SUN 10:00 – 21:00
- Enterance Fee : NT $99
- How to get there : By Shuttle Bus or Ferry
- KMRT (Red line) : R3 Xiaogang Station and take a Shuttle bus to Hong Mao Kang
- Light Rail : C12 Penglai Pier-2 and transfer a ferry to Hong Mao Kang
- Ferry price : Single ticket : NT $180 | Return NT$360
Glory Pier/ love river
The Glory Pier is one of the many harbors in Kaohsiung and it is also the most popular one. If you remember the giant Rubber Duck during the earlier 2000’s. Kaohsiung was one of the cities that displayed it, since then Kaohsiung’s harbors rebecome the icon of Kaohsiung again.
Thing to do in Glory Pier
Besides the most well-known Glory Pier Wharf, there are many piers nearby as well, for example, Sin-guang Ferry Wharf (新光碼頭), where you will see the tallest building in Kaohsiung, 85 Sky-tower. You can also visit the Love Pier (真愛碼頭) where you can enjoy cycling around the area and visit the nearby Love River.
Thing to do in Love River
Every Lunar New Year which is between January to February, the Glory Pier will hold a Lantern Festival along the Love River. During this period, there are many lantern artworks made by the students from different schools in Kaohsiung.
Love River is an amazing place to take a walk and enjoy the Kaohsiung City views. Not only young people like to roam in this area, but you will also see a lot of families and retired people enjoying the atmosphere, too.
If you would like to get to know more about the history of Kaohsiung, I suggest hopping on a tour boat with a local guide and see the city from the river.
Recommend : One hour Cruise Kaohsiung Harbour
Glory Pier/Love River Information
- Address : No. 31, Haibian Road, Lingya District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 802
- How to get there : By Light Rail or KMRT
- Light Rail : C10 Glory Pier Station
- KMRT (Red line) : R9 Central Park Station
A popular thing to do in Taiwan is to visit a night market. Every city has a night market and some have many night market choices. You can find night markets that specialise in street food as well as night markets that sell all sorts of different things. In Kaohsiung city, there are many night markets that range from, markets for local people to markets for tourists, and everything in between.
As mentioned in the previous article about a food guide to Taiwan, the night market is one of the easier places you can choose to seek out street food. Night market food prices are usually not very expensive, around NT$10 to NT$80 for a snack or small meal.
Which Night Market to go
One of the most popular night markets for local people in Kaohsiung is Rueifong Night Market (瑞豐夜市) located next to the Kaohsiung Arena. Around the Rueifong Night Market, you will find many restaurants, bubble tea shops and other shopping areas nearby.
Some of the popular night markets in Kaohsiung are Kaisyuan Night Market (凱旋夜市), Pier-2 Night Market (駁二夜市 Saturday only) and Guanghua Night Market (光華夜市 which focuses on food more). Liuhe Night Market (六合夜市) is quite famous but I don’t go there often because I find it too ‘touristy’ which also makes it a little pricey compared to other night markets.
Ruei-fong Night Market Information
- Address : No. 523, Yucheng Road, Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 813
- Opening Hour : TUE – SUN 16:00 – 00:00 (MON & WED off)
- How to get there : By KMRT
- KMRT (Red line) : R14 Kaohsiung Arena Station exit 1
Dragon and Tiger Pagodas
Dragon and Tiger Pagodas are significant icons of Kaohsiung City and Taoism. There are four more places I recommend visiting.
- A : Kaohsiung Confucius Temple 高雄左營孔子廟
- B : Zuoying Yuandi Temple 玄天上帝神像
- C : Spring and Autumn Pavilions 春秋御閣
- D: Wuliting 五里亭
- E: Dragon and Tiger Pagodas 龍虎塔
Dragon and Tiger Pagodas are on the Lotus Pond. Before getting there you have to walk through a sort of maze bridge to get to the pagodas.
The architecture of each pagoda has a different religious meaning. You might think Dragon and Tiger Pagodas are pretty old, however, they are actually relatively new compared with the temple nearby, which was built in 1976.
Thing to be aware
Please be aware, you should always go in the dragon’s mouth and exit the tiger’s mouth, it is said to promote Auspiciousness. The area of Lotus Pond is about 42 ha and 3.6km, so it takes about 50 min to one hour to explore the area.
Recommend : Kaohsiung Free Walking Tour
Dragon and Tiger Pagodas Information
- Address : No. 9, Liantan Road, Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 813
- Open Hours : 8 – 18 daily
- How to get there : By KMRT or Shuttle Bus
- KMRT (Red line) : R15 Ecological District Station, about 25 mins from Exit 2 by walking or taking a Red 51 bus 15 mins. The shuttle bus costs $12 NTD.
- KMRT (Red line) : R16 HSR Zuoying Station, 15-20 Mins by walking.
- Train station/THSR – Xin Zuoying Station, 15-20 Mins by walking
Maolin District was part of Kaohsiung county, before it got integrated into the city. It is a remote area about 74 km away from the city, which it is not really far away from the Kaohsiung downtown and is a perfect place for taking a break from the city.
Moalin is great for a day tour if you would like to have a ‘nature day’. Since Maolin National Scenic Area is so large and there are so many activities to do there, I recommend you do some research before visiting so you can pack in as much as you can.
- Taoyuan District (桃源區)
- Liouguei District (六龜區)
- Maolin District (茂林區)
- Sandimen Township (三地門鄉)
- Wutai Township (霧台鄉)
- Majia Township (瑪家鄉)
Thing to do in Maolin
My previous article also talked about Maolin National Scenic Area and the butterfly watching you can do there. However, there are many more things you can do there. For example, visiting an Indigenous tribe and the Taiwan Indigenous Culture Park.
Mountain hiking and hot spring are also things that are worth doing in the Maolin District. In 2009, part of the Maolin National Scenic Area was destroyed by Typhoon Morakot. So if you see some places that look incomplete this is because it is the remnants of the buildings that used to be there, some of the buildings are currently being rebuilt.
- Address : No.171, Liugui District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 842
- Opening Hour : 9:00-00:30
- How to get there : By Bus
- KMRT (Red line) : R16 HRS Zuoying station take E25 to Cishan Bus Transfer station and transfer H31 to Maolin Visitor Center
- KMRT (Red line) : At R11 Kaohsiung Main station take an E25/E28/E32 Bus to Cishan Bus Transfer station and transfer H31 to Maolin Visitor Center
Kaohsiung is a very beautiful harbour city, it is a little bit like Hamburg Germany or Sydney Australia. In Kaohsiung, there are so many attractive destinations to visit and many people are starting to appreciate its beauty more.
If you like a chill place but you also don’t want to leave the city, Kaohsiung is a great city for you to explore. I have just listed 10 great places to check out in Kaohsiung, but there are many more places to see in Kaohsiung.
To sum up, Kaohsiung is a beautiful city that is a little out of the way but it is definitely worth paying it a visit.
*Both offer cheaper entry tickets to many attractions, such as museums and theme parks. You can even get discounts on sim cards, transportations and much much more.
When I look for flight tickets I usually go to:
Skyscanner is the biggest flight ticket search website
When I look for accommodation I usually go to:
- Agoda (Tip: if you book a non-refundable room, you usually get a very good deal).
- Booking.com (my favorite one, easy to manage bookings).
- Hotels.com (If you book more than 10 nights, you will get one night for free).
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