People often don’t realize that Kaohsiung has a lot to offer to tourists. There are many amazing historical and natural sites to see, as well as amazing food, shopping, and an interesting culture. Many of the places down south aren’t represented as well in English as other sites in Taipei, which is why we want to help everyone realize what a great place it is. I lived in Kaohsiung for three years and it was like living in paradise every day (I wish I still lived there).
Below I will list out some of the best places in Kaohsiung that I have visited. I will be sure to update this blog as I visit more places (and take more photos) later.
How to get around in Kaohsiung?
As always, we recommend renting a scooter as the best way to see Taiwan. Getting around in a car is also a convenient option as there is plenty of parking pretty much everywhere in this less crowded county. However, you can also a great deal of Kaohsiung by taking the MRT, light rail, train, inter city bus, local bus, taxi, or bicycle (U-bike rental).
When to go?
Kaohsiung is great year round, but it can get a little hot in the summer, and Typhoon season and heavy rain season lasts from about May to October. If you are afraid of the heat and rain then you can visit during winter when the temperatures are mild and the climate is dryer.
Jingyuan (aka Jing-Yuan Leisure Farm or Air Coffee) is a unique Taiwanese style holiday destination. It claims to have the only open air restaurant in Taiwan that literally borders an airstrip, so you can sip coffee and watch large commercial airplanes take off and land right next to you. Also there is a zoo with hippos, lions, llamas, and other animals. In addition there is a large playground, mini train, campground, and multiple restaurants on the grounds.
Jingyuan originally opened about 20 years ago as a coffee shop next to Kaohsiung International Airport in Xiaogang. Later, more attractions were added to the grounds such as a child's playground, petting zoo, campground, and additional restaurants.
It is not usually a stop for travelers to the airport; it sits on the opposite side of the airstrip from the airport terminal. It is more of a destination for local Taiwanese people.
On weekends the place is usually packed with people, mostly families with small children.
9:30 AM to 11:00 PM
250 NT per adult
150 NT per child
How to get there:
By car/scooter: From central Kaohsiung, take provincial highway 17 south to Caoya MRT station, then turn left on Zhongan Road. You will then need to turn right onto Mingsheng Road Alley 120, and keep going until you reach the parking lot.
By MRT/bus: Take the MRT to Caoya Station, then take bus 69A 10 minutes to Mingsheng Station. The farm is just a short 2 minute walk away.
Please see below.
The Shoushan Zoo (aka Kaohsiung City Shoushan Zoo) is the second largest zoo in Taiwan, and at the same time has an extremely affordable price of only 40 NT per adult. If you have time you should definitely stop by and visit this zoo, if not for anything else but to see popular animals including Formosan black bear,, African elephants, Bengal tigers, Siberian tigers, mini horses, African lions, and orangutans.
The Shoushan Zoo was originally established in 1978 near the Xiziwan, and was known as the Xiziwan Zoo. Due to the construction of Chungshan University in Xiziwan, the Zoo was relocated to Shoushan and opened again in 1986. In 2009, the zoo underwent a major renovation which expanded the park and made it more child friendly. Also two Siberian Tigers were added.
The current zoo includes a Taiwan indigenous animal exhibit, children's petting zoo, American Asian animal exhibits, American animal exhibit, African animal exhibits, primate exhibit, and bird exhibit. Popular animals here include African elephants, Formosan black bear, Bengal tigers, Siberian tigers, mini horses, African lions, and orangutans.
9 AM to 5 PM, tickets are not sold after 4:00 PM.
40 NT per person
Train: 50 NT per person
How to get there:
By MRT/Bus: From MRT Formosa Boulevard Station, take bus 52 to the Shoushan Zoo. The trip takes about 30 minutes.
By Car/Scooter: Drive to Xiziwan and take Xinglong Road up the mountain to the zoo. The parking lot is about 500 meters from the zoo entrance. Parking is 30 NT per day for cars.
Please see below:
Tainan Snake King Zoo (aka World Snake King Educational Farm 台南市世界蛇王教育農場) is a private zoo in Guiren District of Tainan with many rare and exotic reptiles, birds, and big cats, and others. There is also a restaurant inside that specializes in snake and alligator meat. Despite accusations of maltreatment, the zoo is still legally operating and accepting visitors daily. You could say that the Mr. Huang, the Snake King Zoo owner is the “Tiger King" of Taiwan. And yes there is a tiger.
The farm is now for sale, so come and see the Snake King Zoo before it's gone!
The Snake King Zoo is 23 years old.
At the time of its creation, then president Lee Teng-Hui was pushing for alligator farming in Tainan, which is how the farm started. At that time, there was no animal protection laws, and no regulations on how big cages should be. However the zoo has improved conditions for the animals overtime.
Over its history, it has raised over 5000 alligators.
Recently the zoo has been caught up in accusations of maltreatment of its animals, however after inspection from the EPA no illegal activities were found, and the zoo took measures to improve the quality of care for its animals.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, local tourism in Taiwan boomed, but in the summer of 2020 the Snake King Zoo only saw a few visitors per day (compared to hundreds of visitors per day in its prime).
Due to lack of income and pressure from constant debt, the zoo owner Mr. Huang (80 years old) announced in August 2020 that thezoo was for sale at a price of 160 million NT.
The zoo also includes a museum and restaurant that sells snake and alligator meat.
The zoo is still operating as normal but it seems its days are numbered.
8:30 AM to 5:00 PM every day.
100 NT (previously 200 NT) per person
How to get there:
By car/scooter: From Tainan HSR station, drive north on provincial highway 39, then take a left on Dade Road, and another left on Tainan City Highway 177. The Snake Zoo will be on your left, and there is parking available on site.
By bus: From Tainan HSR station, take the R3 shuttle north to Guiren District Office stop, then walk north about 20 minutes (or take a taxi) to the zoo.
Please see below:
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.