9 Best Things to Do in Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung Attractions

    Kaohsiung is the second largest city of Taiwan and has both an extraordinary history and a vibrant future. Founded at a time in history when the Ming Dynasty, it’s among the island’s oldest cities, so expect plenty of historical attractions among our list of the best things to do in Kaohsiung.

    The city is largely built around its historical harbour. It was an important facility for the Dutch in the 17th century and continues to be a major international trading port. Waterways reach out into the city, especially the Love River, which is a top attraction in its own right.

    What are the best things to do in Kaohsiung?

    1

    85 Sky Tower

    85 Sky Tower is the tallest structure in Kaohsiung, and held the title of the tallest building in Taiwan until Taipei 101 was completed. The tower is 85 storeys high (hence the name), with the highest level publicly accessible being the observatory on the 75th floor. A visit here gives you a bird's-eye view of Kaohsiung City, Kaohsiung Harbour and the Love River. Just below the observatory is a luxury hotel, with offices taking most of the lower floors.

    Location: No. 5, Ziqiang 3rd Road, Lingya District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 802

    Phone: +886 (0)7 972 2829

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    2

    Cijin Island

    Cijin Island is one of the 11 districts of Kaohsiung and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the province. The island is best known for its great beaches and numerous restaurants selling amazing seafood. There are places where you can pick fresh produce and watch it being prepared right in front of your eyes. This is the closest it gets to fishing and preparing the meal yourself.

    It’s an island situated about 15 minutes from the mainland by ferry. The ride on the Cijin-Goushan ferry costs around NT$15 and is one of the most fun parts of a visit there. Cijin is also accessible from the mainland through tunnels connecting the island with the rest of Kaohsiung.

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    3

    Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts

    Kaohsiung is known as a centre of cultural excellence and historical significance for Taiwan, and the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts is a shining example of this fact. Be sure to check out the 3rd floor, where you’ll find precious works of calligraphy. The gallery and cases here are kept very carefully climate controlled to preserve these unique artworks.

    Located in the Gushan District, the Museum of Fine Arts is a part of the Neiweipi Cultural Park, which also contains an ecology park, a sculpture park and an entrance plaza. In all, this complete area spans more than 16 hectares of art and beauty.

    Location: No. 80, Meishuguan Rd, Gushan District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 804

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 9.30am to 5.30pm

    Phone: +886 (0)7 555 0331

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    photo by Adece033090 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    4

    Kaohsiung National Stadium

    Being the largest stadium in Taiwan, the Kaohsiung National Stadium attracts a considerable number of visitors all year round. The stadium is recognised around the world as one of the most energy efficient and was built primarily to host the main field events of the 2009 World Games.

    Kaohsiung National Stadium can host 55,000 people for concerts and local Taiwan football matches. Designed by a Japanese architect, it's a marvel just to see from the outside. It’s powered by huge solar panels and generates more power than it uses, putting the excess into the local grid.

    Location: No. 100, Shiyun Boulevard, Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 813

    Phone: +886 (0)7 582 9000

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    photo by bryan... (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    5

    Lotus Lake

    Located on the eastern side of Zuoying District, Lotus Lake is a manmade marvel and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kaohsiung. The lake is known for 2 main things: the numerous varieties of lotus flowers that grow in the lake and the number of temples along its banks.

    The most famous temples here are the Confucian Temple, Dragon and Tiger Pagodas and the Spring and Autumn Pavilions. The lake was also home to a number of water sporting events during the 2009 World Games.

    Location: Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 813

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    photo by Zairon (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    6

    Liuhe Night Market

    One of the most famous spots in Taiwan, the Liuhe Night Market offers an enthralling overall experience. It’s most famous for its open-air eating joints and especially the seafood. Make sure you try the eel spaghetti.

    Items for sale here include handicrafts, electronic gadgetry, knives and even monkeys! This is an unusual market in that you can barter item for item at some stalls. You can trade your used stuff for something you might actually need and use for a long time to come.

    Location: Liuhe 2nd Road, Xinxing District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 800

    Open: Daily from 6pm to late

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    photo by Zairon (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    7

    Love River

    The Love River winds for about 12 km through the city before emptying itself into Kaohsiung Harbour. There’s a night market that operates along one of its banks, as well as a couple of great outdoor riverside cafés to check out. Most of the city's cultural events and live music events are held riverside, making it the heart of Kaohsiung.

    The river got its romantic name from a pair of lovers who leapt into the water to commit suicide in the 1940s and, from its popular usage, it became the official name. Couples can enjoy cruises up and down the river, seeing much of the centre of the city along the way.

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    8

    Old City of Zuoying

    The Old City of Zuoying is laden with culture and tradition, offering a peek into the many facets of the traditional Taiwanese way of life. Also known as the Old City of Fongshan County, Zuoying was one of the first cities in Taiwan to be built with fortified walls, though some of the walls and gates have been destroyed over the hundreds of years since their construction.

    Aside from its walls and historical streets, the Old City contains the Lotus Lake, a botanical garden, the Banping Lake Wetland Park and the Kaohsiung Confucius Temple. It’s a pleasant place to stroll around and explore.

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    photo by WEI, WAN-CHEN(魏琬臻) (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    9

    Monkey Mountain

    Properly known as Shoushan, Monkey Mountain is a fantastic viewpoint, a natural wonder and a historical attraction all rolled into one. Located to the north of the main entrance to Kaohsiung Harbour, the peak was originally named Ape Hill by the Dutch in the 18th century because of the number of primates living there. As the creatures there are actually Formosan rock macaques, the name evolved to Monkey Mountain.

    There are a number of small hillocks in the region, each having its own name and its own significance. The mountain is composed primarily of two peaks – Snake Hill towards the northern part and the Long Life Peak towards its southern end. The whole region has now been converted to a nature park that boasts a large number of plant and animal species, as well as a great selection of hiking trails. Among the historical points of interest are ruins dating back over 4,000 years, as well as military installations built by the Qing dynasty and the Japanese.

    Location: Gushan District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 804

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    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveler

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