Kaohsiung Tourism Information
Kaohsiung City is located in southern-western Taiwan and facing the Taiwan Strait. The city of Kaohsiung, is Taiwan's largest port and centre of the country's heavy and petrochemical industries. Despite this, today's Kaohsiung is a modern urban landscape of airy cafes, wide streets, waterside parks, modern public transport, bicycle lanes and cultural venues that have embraced and re-imagined the city's manufacturing past. There are also two swimming beaches within the city area, and 1000 hectares of almost-pristine forest right on its doorstep.
The climate in the south of the island of Taiwan is much different from Taipei. In Kaohsiung, Winters are less fresh with temperatures not going below 15-18°C most of the time. It doesn't rain as often and sunny days are common during the Winter months.
However, Summers can be very hot and humid with very high temperatures of 35 °C which add discomfort to be on the street and the open air, despite the city being located by the coast. During this time it can also rain more often and the area is also subject to typhoons during June to October.
The best time to visit is during the mid-season, late October and lasting till beginning of March, when temperatures start to pick again.
Getting around in Kaohsiung is easy, since it has a new transport metro system finished in 2008 and quick HSR (High Speed Rail) trains linking the major cities from South to North. When travelling by HRS, you will arrive/depart at Zuoying station. You can then take the metro to reach the city centre. There is also the, Kaohsiung International Airport, the second largest airport in Taiwan. To travel from there you can easily take the metro (Red Line) which takes you to the centre of the city.
The local transport is easy and convenient. You can also use (or buy) the easycard which simultaneously works in Taipei. Currently there are two lines of metro plus one LRT line (light rail train), which in the future will act as a circle line to the city. It operates till midnight. Below you can download the metro map for Kaohsiung.
Kaohsiung has enjoyed a much awaited rejuvenation in recent years. It wasn't considered a tourist city in Taiwan, but now a days, there is a lot changing. There is a lot of new investment into infrastructure, places of culture, viewing platforms and natural scenery to keep any visitor entertained. The city, the people, the artistic vibe, it is something Kaohsiung is known for! We invite you to explore it by yourself, as you travel to Taiwan! So, when making plans to visit Isla Formosa (Taiwan), don’t overlook this city! It won't disappoint you!
Below are some of the best activities and sites to keep you busy during your stay!
- Cijin Island is a small island of Kaohsiung, located near the port, is still considered as one of the districts in Kaohsiung. To get to Cijin, you need to take the ferry from Gushan. They depart every 15 min and the price per adult is 20 NTD, which you can also pay with the transport e-card. (easycard). Cijin Island itself has numerous sites, such as the Cihou Lighthouse, Cihou Fort, Tianhou Temple, Cijin or the Wind Turbine Park. Cijin Beach is also a good place to relax, stroll along the sand, or swim! Remember to bring sun-lotion as the when the sun shines it can be really hot in Southern Taiwan! If you go after sun set the place is ideal for tasting seafood, dining and experiencing the food night market along it's Old Street. Beware the ferry coming back usually gets very crowded particularly at weekends.
- The Kaohsiung Tower also known as the 85 Skytower, it is the 2nd tallest skyscraper in Taiwan. At 378 m it has a mixture of office space, shopping, restaurants and a hotel. The 75th floor is an observation deck where you can get the best views of Kaohsiung. Price is 100 NT per adult. Admire the great views of Kaohsiung City and its harbour. There are also displays of art, classical music, souvenir shop and a small cafe at the top. To get there take the Red Line and get off at R8 (Sanduo Shopping District).
- The Love River is a very iconic spot in Kaohsiung, it circles the city for 12 kilometres right to the harbour. It plays a very important role for both tourism and economical reasons. There are boats that take tourists along the river, or take a walk along the river banks, local people usually run or cycle here. Outdoor cafes and a small night market also operate at the riverside; people usually enjoy the evening and night view of the Love River after a long day. The best location to see the Love River is close to the harbour, closest metro station is Yanchengpu (Orange Line).
- Lotus Pond is an artificial lake and a popular destination also located at Zuoying District. Established in 1951, Lotus Pond is well known for its many lotus plants and temples, including the Spring and Autumn Pavilions, Dragon Tiger Pagodas and the Confucian Temple. This tourist site was also known to be the place of sporting events, such as water ski and dragon boat, in the 2009 World Games. Lotus Pond is one of the most famous sunrise spots in Kaohsiung, so it is quite normal to see photographers standing by at 5 AM. To get there take the metro to Zuoying / THSR station (Red Line), head towards the HRS station, cross the station via a shopping mall inside the HRS station and use West exit to walk towards the park.
- Shoushan, is a mountain in Gushan District, is also widely known as Monkey Mountain as there are usually many monkeys around! This mountain is a favorite among the locals since it offers more than just a good hike and beautiful nature; you can also visit the Shoushan Zoo, the Love Observatory or the Martyr’s Shrine Temple. At the foot of the mountain are other sites that you can visit, such as Sizihwan, the Former British Consulate at Takao, and the National Sun Yat San University. To get there take the Metro to Sizihwan (Orange Line). The base of the mountain is 5 min walk, but the walk itself can be harder, uphill for one hour!
- Pier 2 Art Centre has been a favourite for the locals since the last few years. The art centre has become a place for friends, families and couples. This place in Yancheng District was originally a warehouse site, built in 1973. Because of the persistence of local artists, this abandoned site was finally remade as an art centre.
Most of the art at Pier 2 Art Centre can be enjoyed for free, but there are certain seasonal exhibition that would require an entrance ticket. To get there take the LRT (light rail metro) to Penglai Pier-2.
- Fo Guang Shan, is an attraction that combines travelling and a learning experience. This is a cultural site for travellers to learn and experience the Buddhist traditions, values and history while enjoying beautiful landscapes and architecture. Built in 1967, Fo Guang Shan is the biggest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan and was founded by Hsing Yun, a Chinese Buddhist monk.
There are 3 main areas to visit at the site:
- The Monastery: Here you will find the headquarters of a prominent Buddhist order, established by Master Hsing Yun and his disciples. The architecture of the buildings within the monastery complex is characteristic of the traditional Buddhist monastery. Fo Guang Shan covers an area of more than 30 hectares, which includes shrines, university buildings, and also a cemetery. The highlight of this place is the Great Buddha Land, which is home to a standing Buddha image of 48 metres in height, and 480 smaller Buddha images that surround it. The area is free to walk around and visit some of it's buildings. However note that this is an active Buddhist monastery and University so some places are closed to visitors. However, its allowed to take pictures as you walk around and can even see the monks in their traditional tunic clothes.
- The Buddha Memorial Centre, is a 100 Hectare complex built to enshrine the Buddha’s tooth relic, now housed in the Main Hall. The Fo Guang Big Buddha, which sits atop the Fo Guang Building behind the Main Hall at 108 metres, is the landmark of the site. Within the complex, there are art galleries, an auditorium, a children gallery, souvenir stores and restaurants. In addition, visitors can get to experience Tea Chan, sutra transcription, or join in festive celebrations at the Five Harmonies Pagoda. There are 8 Chinese style built Pagoda, each giving information or activities for visitors and those interested in Buddhist culture. In short, its a Buddhist Museum. Note that visiting the entire complex can take easily 2 hours.
- Sutra Repository, it's the home of the Institute of Humanistic Buddhism and library of over 50 editions of Buddhist canons.The building is very beautiful to walk around, admire the wall murals and it's a good viewing platform over the Buddha Memorial Centre.
✔️Tip: Fo Guang Shan can easily be reached by public transportation. You can hop on a direct bus at Zuoying Station (Red Line MRT). Once outside the station, wait at the bus stop and take bus number 8501. trip costs 35 NT, can be paid by the e-card. The return is also from the same bus stop.
Kaohsiung has a wide variety of pubs and nightclubs to offer to visitors wishing to party the night out. The nightlife in Kaohsiung is slightly less active to that of Taipei, but saying that, you can also expect to see big-name DJs on stage in some of the more popular clubs and even a few celebrities enjoying the cocktails and the classy bars. It’s not all high-society, of course, and there are some more budget-friendly options for those who just want to have a bit of fun after dark.
In Kaohsiung there are many famous night markets: Rui Feng Night Market (Market specializing in Taiwanese cuisine, street food..), Xin Jue Jiang Night Market (Famous market for clothes, fashion accessories, shoes, sandals..),and the Liu He night market, are the 3 most well known.
Love River (Another name is Takao River) flows through the city. The river is associated with the ancient legend of a deeply loving couple, so the river is also known by the locals as the Love River. Along the river you will find plenty of nightlife venues for dinning, bars and cocktail lounges.
There are a large number of department stores including the Dream Mall whichis one of the largest shopping centre in Asia. The shopping can also take place at many of the night markets, listed on the tab above.
If you prefer some more commercial shopping, check khh.travel/Shopping for a guide on more malls and shopping stores in kaohsiung.
Staying in Kaohsiung is cheaper than Taipei, but you can find prices for all budgets, from 5 star Hotels to cheap hostels and self catering. Staying central or further away from the city is not a big problem, since public transport is reliable, comfortable and economical. It's also possible to find private accommodation like Airbnb, as it becomes more popular within Asia. For Hotels you can expect to pay €25-30 per night per room.
Travelling to Kaohsiung is easy and does not require much time. The city is small enough to see within a full day. There are more places to explore and relax than for culture and museums. Therefore it's not a large city for tourism value, but it's a nice city to enjoy chilled walks, sports and scenery.
If travelling from Taipei with HRS then one day is enough. If travelling by bus or local train it will take around 6 hours from Taipei, so make the most of your stay with 2 nights. However, If you are exploring Fo Guan Shan, note this trip visit can take half a day alone.
Kaohsiung Photo Slide 📷