After a pretty quick recovery and rehabilitation I looked up for a cheap flight where I could travel on a whim and found out a 160$ ticket flying to Kaohsiung, Taiwan (of course including a return ticket). I already had been to Taipei, Taiwanese capital back then in 5 years ago but I had never expected to go back to its second or third largest city, I mean it’s always nice to be traveling around, but as I was already aware of the massive Taiwanese summer humidity I wasn’t completely sure if I would like to walk all day long under the sun. Funny though, I once again survived from humidity and aggressively strong Taiwanese sun.
I stayed at a decent hotel called “Nanhai Hotel(South Sea Hotel)”that wasn’t extremely costly, but close to everything A traveler ever needs. 5 minutes by walk to Liuhe Night Market, A MRT Station, lots of banks if needed and cheap food places nearby. The hoteliers were very helpful despite some language barriers.
Overall I spent five days in Kaohsiung, excluding one since I made it to Tainan (the most historical city in Taiwan), I guess it was more than enough to get to know about the city. Due to the weather I got so lazy and wasn’t being as productive as I believed myself to be, still it was enough, though I ended up with missing “Cijin Island”.
After leaving my luggage at the hotel I headed off to River Love (Ai He River) and got a couple of nice pictures there. A friend of mine who has lived in the city for 3 years told me it would be a nice idea to take a boat tour but since it was raining hard I gave it up. In stead, I had a nice walk along the riverside and took stunning shots.
Kaohsiung’s trip is supposed to start from Formosa Boulevard as it’s basically the heart of the city and its MRT station is the only transfer section. Speaking of Formosa Boulevard, its MRT station is definitely worth having a look and getting some photos. Very easy to access and couldn’t be more convenient to stop by. The stained-glass art makes the station chosen as the second beauty station in the world.
By the time finishing having a look at the fabulous station’s artwork, you will probably get hungry and want to try some traditional Taiwanese food.
According to my first experience in Taipei 5 years ago, there was no such ‘so-so’ food, it was either so tasty or so bad that I couldn’t even afford trying. Well, but it’s always nice to try something new when you travel, right? If you agree, head off to Liuhe Night Market.
Since Kaohsiung has become a bit more famous than ever, the night market also has become more costly and crowded but I hope you don’t miss the chance to visit this one and try some street food.
Note – Cleanness is also a must to consider when it comes to street food, so it’d be nice to check how the food conditions are.
Taiwanese people deserve a positive mention. They’re very friendly no matter where you come from. Kaohsiung is not as international as Taipei yet, so it’s not well known which means there’s not so many tourists coming by, thus struggling with a language barrier with locals could be a problem, but not too serious. I used Google Translator if needed and those friendly people helped me out all the time, from asking directions to catching up a taxi. I think that was also one of the reasons why I came back to Taiwan. People are lovely!
Kaohsiung’s nightlife can be really fun if you think that’s a good idea. Since I was too tired I couldn’t afford drinking out but there are a couple of famous bars and clubs you can go while staying in the city.
The next day I headed off to the most visited noodle place. It’s called Gang Yuan. I usually believe that most food places with high rates are either overpriced or overrated but this one was great to stop by and have a meal at. Plus, it was pretty cheap (110 Taiwanese dollar)
Taiwan is definitely overflowing with healthy and tasty food, I wonder how Taiwanese people stay skinny all the time.
Afterwards, I moved to Gongcha (Taiwanese tea store) to get a nice milk tea. I suggest you to have lots of different milk teas in Taiwan, not only from Gongcha but everywhere.
Gongcha is pretty international and it could be found out of Taiwan but it’s a lot cheaper to have one in Taiwan. I took a strawberry tea and it was delicious! Although I’m not a big fan of sweet teas, one needs some sweet sometimes.
The pier-2 art center is without doubt my favorite place in Kaohsiung. The graffiti walls were really nice to look at. The sun couldn’t ever be stronger, nonetheless I really enjoyed having a walk through the art center. There are many shops and coffee places, and also the vibe is energetic. You can also check Hamesan Taiwanese railway museum if you are interested.
I was worn out after having visited the art center, mostly because of the humidity and massive sun. So I thought it’d be nice to be somewhere that is air conditioned and noticed that there’s Kaohsiung history museum nearby. Not necessarily close, but around 10-15 minutes by walk which worked fine.
Note – If you aren’t fond of sweating and extreme hot weather, consider going to Kaohsiung after summer is gone.
A great place to learn about Taiwan’s past. Peaceful atmosphere and not so many tourists when I got there, if I have a complaint, that would be lack of English information. In case you read Chinese, there would be no problem.
Oh I gotta mention that I love the vintage building itself.
Most of Taiwanese museums are free or rather very cheap to enter, so if you are a museum person I suggest you to leave your footprint at those museums.
My favorite museum in Kaohsiung is “The Kaohsiung museum of Fine Arts”. I got to visit this one in my last day so it was a bit rushing but definitely worth having a look and the efforts got paid off.
When you finish having a look, keep walking for 10 minutes through the lake and you will be able to find something stunning.
It’s supposedly not really well known for tourists, the park was completely empty. Besides, I don’t think many people would want to walk under the massive sun.
If you seek for a nice spot to see a night-view of the city, Tuntex 85 Sky Tower wouldn’t be a wrong decision. It’s a bit tricky to find out, well, at least it was for me, but I still don’t think there’s better spot when it comes to Kaohsiung’s night views.
(Entrance fee – 180 TD – around 5-6 US$)
I really don’t like to compare, but if you do it to Taipei 101, Kaohsiung’s 85 Sky Tower would look a lot smaller and it is!
Apparently many local couples visit here for a date. I usually don’t feel lonely or anything but I do whenever I get surrounded by couples. Well, who doesn’t, right?
If you have some extra time to wander the city, I’d recommend you to visit The British Consulate At Takao and Fo Guang Shan, both are two of the most loved places where tourists visit.
The British Consulate At Takao is a part of South Taiwanese history, so if you are into learning about history, that’s a good place. The area itself is not so big but it asks you to walk a little bit since it has two parts. As soon as you get on the top you will see the beautiful harbor view. If you are there in the summer, avoid early afternoon to escape the heat.
There are a few rooms that provide history info but not all of them are in English, so you know it.
In order to return from this area, I suggest you to take a bus #1, quite convenient and cheap as well.
Fo Guang Shan on the other hand is a bit out of town, so you will need to take a bus from Zuoying Station. The buses don’t come very often, so it’d be wise to check it before you depart. It takes around 30-50 minutes depending on traffic conditions.
I think it’s a very interesting place when you are looking for a spot where you can learn about Taiwanese buddhism and this place will provide you some peace.
Ready to calm yourself down? 🙂
Fo Guang Shan gets full of tourists visiting, so there MUST be something interesting and I understand the attractions.
It’s always so interesting getting to know about some different religions no matter what it is. I’m not a buddhist myself but still it’s great and entertaining to know a bit of it.
I spent around two hours in Fo Guang Shan and headed back to Kaohsiung’s downtown. The heat was beyond my imaginations. Sweating and sweating all the time.
Right after returning back to downtown, I moved to Dragon Tiger Tower to see the fabulous night view. See? Despite the fact that it’s not a big city there are always things to do and see.
It’s also well known for fairy tales and religious cultures. Free and culturally rich which offers a beautiful view of many other sites on and off the lake.
Don’t miss this attraction!
Don’t worry, food is the last thing you’d need to worry about while staying in the city. Taiwan has interesting and tasty food, some dislike it for the odd smell (especially Stinky Tofu) but most foreign tourists love it and so did I!
Besides the traditional Taiwanese noodle I already mentioned above, there’s more I’d like to suggest you to eat!
Dan Dan Hamburg – Taiwanese version of McDonalds according to locals and I absolutely loved it. It was also my first meal after arriving in Kaohsiung.
You’d more likely find it interesting to be given burgers with traditional noodles, I think it’s only in Taiwan. The menus cost only around 70-100 TD, which is very cheap.
Jipai – Taiwanese fried chicken. I’m not a big fan of this to be honest. Too oily for me. It will be easily found in the night market. Also, don’t miss the cheap and tasty drinks while in the city, Taiwan overflows with nice drinks from fresh fruit juice to some cocktails.
Seafood – Kaohsiung is a seaport, thus you will easily find nice seafood out there. Speaking of them, it’s always interesting to hear people’s opinions. People either love seafood or hate them.
Din Tai Fung (Traditional Taiwanese restaurant) – Realistically the most well known restaurant from Taiwan. It’s a bit more costly than what you can get in the market or ordinary food places, but I also think it’s worth trying while you are in Taiwan. I went to Hanshin Department Store since that’s basically the only Din Tai Fung that can be found in Kaohsiung (There’s more in Taipei I assume). I ordered Taiwanese black bean sauce noodles and dumplings. Well, let’s say, they deserve a positive mention as everything was delicious.
Tonkatsu(Pork Cutlet) – I know it’s a Japanese cuisine, yet, Taiwan also has some pretty nice Tonkatsu places as the country has undergone various influences (mostly food and culture) by Japan. I was dead hungry when I got this lovely Tonkatsu so it wasn’t terribly hard to finish it.
Fun facts & little tips about Kaohsiung
1.Language barriers – You might have some if you aren’t able to speak Chinese (neither was I) but there’s nothing to worry about. People will help you until you find something you are looking for. If you have to choose between a youngster and an elderly person, choose the younger one, the possibility of speaking English is higher then.
2.Get an Usim card – It will definitely help you out. I got one in the Airport and it costed only 150 TD (for 5 days with no limitations of Data and phone calls).
3.Avoid a summer season – Unless you go crazy if you don’t swear and if you enjoy humidity.
4.Get an I-pass – It costs 100 TD to get a card and you will need to charge it as soon as the money you put is gone. It’s a lot cheaper than paying by cash each time. Did you get one? You’re free to take everything in the city. MRT, Bus and even the boat going to Cijin Island.
5.Taxi is not terribly expensive – It starts from 85 TD (around 3$ or 3.5$), so it’s not really bad. Besides most tourists attractions are pretty near each other.
Wow, I think this post must be the longest I have ever posted on my wordpress. A big applause to my efforts (joking of course).
Have you been to Kaohsiung? What’re your favorite Taiwanese drinks?
All the love,