Best Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Kaohsiung, Taiwan
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Kaohsiung is the second biggest city on the island known as Isla Formosa and it has created a reputation of being a port city over the past years. Kaohsiung is popular as an industrial city but the City Government has done a good job of transforming the city into a beautiful tourist destination. Here are some of the top things to do in Kaohsiung:
How to Get There
AirAsia offers affordable flights to Kaohsiung, Taiwan from Manila, Clark Airport and Cebu. A flight from Clark to Kaohsiung takes an average of 1 hour, 40 minutes while Cebu to Kaohsiung takes an average of 2 hours, 25 minutes. A flight from Manila to Kaohsiung takes an average of 1 hour, 50 minutes.
AirAsia operates 3 flights to Kaohsiung (KHH) from Manila (MNL), Clark (CRK) and Cebu (CEB) every week.
AirAsia has ongoing promo fares P1,490* for BIG Members and P1,550* for non-members. Booking period is from December 2-8 , 2019 and Travel Period is from December 2, 2019 to April 30, 2020. *All-in fares including taxes and fees.
Visit Dashu Old Railway Sky Bridge
Established by the Japanese engineer Toyoji Lida and constructed during the Meiji Reign era of the Japanese colonial period. The old railway bridge was originally constructed to transport passengers and freight of Kaohsiung Harbor. With a total length of 1,526 meters, the bridge was at one time claimed to be the longest bridge in Asia, so far, it remained to be the only railway bridge designated as a national historic monument in Taiwan.
Go sightseeing at the Love River
Love river is one of the places to visit while in Kaohsiung City as it plays a very important role in both economic and tourism development in the city. You can go on a boat cruise here but if you prefer to stay on the land, you can explore the Love River Park where you can go running, cycling, or go on a relaxing stroll just before the sunset. You will love the night view of the Love River and there are outdoor cafes and a night market that you also explore.
Watch the sunset at the Old British Consulate
One of the top things to do in Kaohsiung is to watch the sunset. If you want to watch the sunset, you can take bus 99 and hike the hill which overlooks the harbor. At the top, you will see an elegant red brick building that used to be the colonial mansion for the British Consul. You can watch some exhibitions inside and you can have a drink or meal on the open terrace. You will have a great view of the sea and in the evening, you can also watch the sunset.
Visit Lotus Lake
This is an artificial lake and a tourist attraction located at Zuoying District. The flourishing lotus flowers surrounded the lake won it the name of “Lotus Lake”. With numerous temples on its west bank and the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas in the south, Lotus Lake is no doubt an auspicious attraction. Entering a dragon’s throat and coming out a tiger’s mouth symbolizes turning bad luck to good fortune.
It was built in 1951 and it is well known for its numerous lotus plants and temples. The highlight of the tour is Spring and Autumn Pavilions, Confucian Temple, and Dragon Tiger Pagodas. This is also a famous spot for sporting events like wakeboarding and dragon boat, you can also go and watch the sunrise here and you will get to take Instagram worthy pictures that your friends and family will love.
Go meditate in the mountains
One of the things to do in Kaohsiung is to meditate in the Yuan Heng Temple. You can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city by going to the temple. The Buddhist Monastery is located on a ridge at the southern edge of Shoushan hill. The interior of the temple is quiet and vast and you can sit in front of the three giant Buddhas for hours without being disturbed any time of the week.
Go hiking at Shoushan
If you love adventure, you may want to go hiking at Shoushan. Shoushan is a mountain located in the Gushan District and it is also known as Monkey Mountain because there are many monkeys around it. You can go people-watching here as it is a hotspot for both locals and tourists because of the beautiful nature. You can also go visit the Shoushan zoo, Martyr’s Shrine Temple, the love Observatory and at the foot of the mountain, you can also visit Sizihwan, the national Sun Yat-San University and so on.
Visit Holy Rosary Cathedral Minor Basilica
Located on Wufu 3rd Road, Lingya District, Kaohsiung City, the Holy Rosary Cathedral Minor Basilica which is also popularly known as Kaohsiung Rose Basilica was established in the Xianfeng Reign Period of the Qing Dynasty and is commonly called Qianjin Cathedral. The church was established in the ninth year of Xianfeng Reign of Qing Dynasty (1859) when Spanish missionaries Rev. Terdirand and Rev. Angel Bofurull, o.p. came to Taiwan. It was reformed in 1860 and named Rose Basilica. Reformed again in 1928 into a Renaissance-style architecture, it became Taiwan’s most representative church of decoration art with layers of decorative lines that display beautiful geometric patterns added for its arch ceilings, and the shrine and holy table on the altar that manifests the artistry of Chinese carving. The current Kaohsiung Rose Basilica was completed in 1931 and is an excellent place to visit.
Visit the busy Kaohsiung Harbor
This is a lively place and if you are bored or lonely, then this is the right place for you. There’s a lot of activities that you can try here like cycling, sipping a drink by the bay, watch as ships load and unload containers and even go people-watching at the harbor.
Formosa Boulevard MRT Station
Popularly known for its “Dome of Light”, this beautiful artwork is the main reason why Formosa Boulevard Station was ranked as second most beautiful metro station in the world. The Dome of Light is the largest glass artwork in the world designed by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata. It is 30 meters in diameter and covers an area of 2,180 square meters, made up of 4,500 glass panels.
Visit The Night Markets of Kaohsiung
Just like Taipei, Kaohsiung has its own share of vibrant night markets. It’s a perfect place to explore stalls selling souvenirs items and it’s also the best place to sample the best street foods. Liuhe and Ruifeng are the two most popular night markets in Kaohsiung but there’s a lot more to explore and each one of them will definitely satisfy your craving for local and international street food.
Ten-Drum Ciatou Refinery Cultural Creative Park
After the restoration done by Ten-Drum Cultural Creative Group, the hundred-year Ciatou Refinery Park has rejuvenated itself and launched the “Waterfall Power Chimney Theater”. Just like Ten Drum Culture Village In Tainan City, this village also offers impressive drum shows, museums, and souvenir shops.
Go sightseeing at the Fine Art Museum
This is among the best thing to do in Kaohsiung as you will find tranquility from the hectic pace of the city at this museum. This is located in the middle of a quiet and vast park and the museum displays both foreign and local artwork. This is one of the best places to spend an afternoon on a rainy day.
Learn history at Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center
This is a famous tourist attraction that combines recreation with a learning experience. If you want to learn about history, this is the perfect place for your experience and learn about the Buddhist culture while you enjoy the stunning architecture and landscapes.
Walking along the Buddha avenue, one can see eightfold pagodas towering on both sides while Jade Buddha Shrine, Gold Buddha Shrine, and Avalokitesvara Shrine manifesting stunning craft aesthetics. Among all, the 108-meter high Fo Guang Buddha performs not only the spiritual symbol of the center but the tallest bronze sitting Buddha in the world.
This is also the biggest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan and it was built in 1967. Fo Guang Shan covers 30 hectares’ area and it includes university buildings, shrines, and a cemetery.
Visit Kaohsiung Confucius Temple
The Kaohsiung Confucius Temple is a temple dedicated to the memory of Confucius near Lotus Pond, Zuoying District, in the Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung. With an area of 167 square meters (1,800 square feet), it is Taiwan’s largest Confucian temple complex.
The temple was originally constructed in 1684, during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor. However, during the Japanese colonial period, the temple fell into disuse and disrepair. Only the Chongsheng shrine remains intact; it can be seen on the west side of the Old City Elementary School. A new temple was constructed in 1976, now on the northwest corner of Lotus Pond. The new design was based on Song dynasty architecture, as well as the design of the Temple of Confucius, Qufu.
Explore TianLiao Moon World Landscape Park
This is among the famous badlands and mud volcano sites in Taiwan. It is called Moon World because of its unique landscape that resembles the surface of the moon and it is a badland as it is almost impossible for crops to grow around the site. As the tourist site becomes popular, the government constructed many observatory decks along the hiking paths. This is one of the best places to visit in Kaohsiung as it offers many hiking trails and opportunities for wildlife photography.
Go sightseeing at the Museum of History
If you don’t really love history, then this is not a place for you. The building exterior looks stunning but the interior will not catch your fancy as the exhibitions are not presented very well and there are not much to see here. Although, as a history lover, you will enjoy the section which explains the 2-28 incident and also the sepia pictures on the second floor.
Go sightseeing at Ciaotou Flower Farm
This farm should definitely be on your itinerary if you visit Kaohsiung during mid-November. You will surely love the scenic view of the Ciaotou Flower Farm. You can also try out traditional Taiwanese cuisines like the Stinky Tofu at the food stands while you enjoy the view of the colorful flowers.
Have fun at Pier 2 Art Center
This is a favorite hotspot of the locals in Kaohsiung and this is a place where friends, families, and couples come to have fun. The art center is located in the Yancheng District and it was formerly used as a warehouse site when it was built in 1973. You can watch most of the art at Pier 2 Art Center for free but there are some seasonal exhibitions which reward an entrance ticket.
It is the second connecting pier of Kaohsiung in the past, has turned Kaohsiung City into a new capital of culture and creativity. Abandoned spaces have been revitalized through transforming into an opening art space with new uses.
How to get there: The center is accessible within walking distance South West from Yanchengpu Station of Kaohsiung MRT. Since 2017, Dayi Pier-2 Station and Penglai Pier-2 Station of Kaohsiung LRT pass through the Pier-2 Art Center.
Experience Hamasen Pier 2 line railway ride
One of the most exciting activities in Pier 2 is their railway ride using miniature steam locomotive. The railway ride is running between the Hamasen Railroad Historical Park and Penglai Warehouses, which possess historical and cultural significance. From a “micro perspective”, this train takes riders on a journey through the City’s history, in which, the Kaohsiung harbor line once provided momentum for the City’s industrial development. Kaohsiung Harbor station used to be the hub for Taiwan’s rail freight transport.
Wei Wu Ying Center for the Arts
Wei Wu Ying Center for the Arts is designed by Dutch architectural firm Mecanoo. The center was built in a 9.9 hectares of land covering 3.3 hectares of floor area. The design of the center was inspired by the banyan trees around the area. The center has four indoor venues, which are the Lyric Theater, Concert Hall, Playhouse and Recital Hall. The pipe organ in the concert hall is manufactured by Johannes Klais Orgelbau. It is now the largest art avenue in the world.
How to get there: The art center is accessible from Weiwuying Station of Kaohsiung MRT.
Visit Fongyi Academy
The building was built by Jhang Ting-cing in 1814 during Jiaqing Emperor rule. It was the venue for candidates to take the imperial examination. On 13 November 1985, the building was designated as level 3 historical monument. In 2007, the Kaohsiung City Government acquired the land title of the academy and restoration to the building commenced with a total budget of NT$ 100 million.
The building was built using traditional Chinese style with wooden carving and tablets inscribed with phrases describing good manners. It consists of 37 rooms with the center altar dedicated to Wenchang Buddha, Kuichang Buddha, and Changsheng Buddha. There are stone drums on both sides of the screen wall. The garden consists of many animated statues.
How to get there: The building is accessible within walking distance east from Fongshan Station of Kaohsiung MRT.
Explore Zizhu Village
The Zizhu was built in the 1940s to the late 1950s to provide accommodation for national soldiers and their family but the villages were poorly managed and they were demolished and replaced with other buildings. Many students and artists come together to decorate the houses so that the buildings in the Zizhu village were demolished and you will love the colorful buildings in this village. You can take relax, take pictures, and also appreciate all the art that was made in the village for free. (Zhizhu Village, unfortunately, has been closed permanently by the local government.)
Have fun in Cijin Island
This is a small island and it is considered among the districts in Kaohsiung and you will take a ferry from Gushan to get here. There are many sites that you can visit here like the Cihou Fort, Tianhou Temple, Cihou Lighthouse, Cijin Wind Turbine Park, and so on. You can also go to Cijin Beach to soak your feet and relax.
Walk around Kaohsiung City
Although Kaohsiung City does not have many attractions for tourists. You can walk around the city and you will surely love the city, the vibe and the people in the city. There are many hidden beautiful gems that you will enjoy while exploring the city. Although Kaohsiung is still developing into a premier tourist destination, there’s no shortage of attractions that you can visit and enjoy in this city.
E-Da Theme Park
E-Da Theme Park is the largest indoor recreation center in Taiwan. An integration of a Greek-style environment consisting of world-class hotels, shopping malls accommodating over 150 international luxury brands, National entertainment theater, and the tallest Ferris wheel in Southern Taiwan. The combination of fashion, lifestyle, entertainment, gourmet, and relaxation make the outlet mall a paradise for all those who love shopping.
Discover Kaohsiung like no other via i-Ride
Located in Kaohsiung Software Park, The “i-Ride Experience Center” is a state-of-art attraction where you can see a bird’s view of Kaohsiung’s best tourist destination. With a combination of a simulator, surround audio-video system and immersive 5D effect, it makes riders feel like flying in the sky. i-Ride is more than an attraction, it’s a cultural, and educational experience.
Get a chance to experience an incredible adventure. When flying through the Liuhe Night Market, the fragrance of salty chicken floats in the air. You can fly through the wind and experience the fun of flying between the clouds. When leaping across the ocean, you may even touch the splashing waves and feel full on the spot. What are you waiting for?
Drive like a pro at Suzuka Circuit Park
Opened in 2016, Suzuka Circuit Park is the first driving Theme Park in Taiwan. It is located inside a sports-themed amusement park and a huge shopping mall. The full-scale kart course replicates the layout of the famous Suzuka Circuit in Japan. The park features loads of fun turns, which both rookies and experienced drivers will enjoy. In addition to the kart circuit, the park features two major themes, a carousel, and a trolley ride — so you definitely won’t be short of things to do. Choose between two pass options: a day pass valid for weekdays and weekends or a weekday night pass allowing you to visit the park after 5pm. With all the needed facilities available on-site, a day at Suzuka Circuit Park is a day full of fun for the whole family.
Kaohsiung Travel and Tour Packages
Zuoying Lotus Pond
Zuoying District has a lot to offer its many visitors, with one of the most sought-after sites being the Lotus Pond.
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Do you have other recommended fun and interesting things to do in Kaohsiung? Please feel free to share by posting a comment below.
Disclosure: This was an updated version of our recommended Things to do Kaohsiung Blog post. We added new attractions and activities from our recent familiarization trip which was made possible by AirAsia and Kaohsiung Tourism Bureau. We hope that this will help you create your Kaohsiung Itinerary for your next visit.
Find Best Hotels in Kaohsiung according to your budget via Agoda.
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