Monkey Mountain (officially Shoushan, aka Chaishan 柴山 and other names) in Gushan District of Kaohsiung City, is one of the most easily accessible trails in Kaohsiung with perhaps also the best views of the city. You are sure to see wild monkeys here. It should be on the top of your list of places to visit in Kaohsiung.
Monkey Mountain get's its name because of the large population of Formosan Macauqes that live in the Shoushan Nature preserve on the mountain. In Chinese the name literally means "Long Life Hill," named agter the Japanese crown prince Hirohito. Other names include Wanshoushan 萬壽山 Takaoshan 打狗山 Dagushan 打鼓山 or Kaohsiung Mountain 高雄山.
Shoushan formed millions of years ago from coral reefs that were pushed up thanks to the collision of the Eurasian and Philippine plates.
Monkey Mountain lies at 365 meters above sea level, and is about 5 km long and 2.5 km wide.
The mountain is home to some of the earliest archaeological remains in Kaohsiung, dating back 5000 years. The area also served as a military installation during the Qing Dynasty, Japanese Era, and for the KMT.
There is free tea along the trail for hikers.
Also there are quite a few caves on the mountain to explore.
Currently Monkey Mountain and is one of the most popular trail networks in Koahsiung or all of Southern Taiwan. With quick access to the MRT and TRA, hundreds of people hike these trails daily.
Chaishan Trail 柴山步道: 2-3 hours, 5 KM
Total of about 200 meters in elevation gain
Easy, although there are many steep steps along the way.
How to get there:
By TRA: Take the TRA to Museum of Fine Arts Station, then walk about 200 meters west toward to the mountain. Use Google Maps, there is a trailhead near Qianguang Temple 千光宮.
By Scooter/Car: There are multiple ways to get up to Shoushan, and there are multiple parking lots around. You can also start from the trailhead near Qianguang Temple 千光宮.
Please see below:
Long before I ever set foot on Elephant Mountain in Taipei (that by the way does not have Elephants), I visited Monkey Mountain, which has a very abundant monkey population. When I lived in Kaohsiung, I visited the mountain about six times. Below is a compilation of those six times. I didn't live close by so its not like I could visit every day, but it was definitely a nice day trip while I lived there.
If you come here, I guarantee you will see monkeys. This is something every foreigner from a western country with no wild primate population should be interested in.
You should also note it gets really hot in the summer, so if you go then bring lots of water and be prepared to sweat a lot, because it is a steep hike.
When I was still there in 2011 the Kaohsiung TRA line was still undergoing underground tunnel construction.
Above you can see a map of the basic layout of Monkey Mountain. There are basically two main paths: from Xiziwan MRT station and from Gushan TRA station. I usually hiked up from near Gushan TRA station. There are multiple trails and trailheads that lead to the top of the mountain, and I am not an expert in the trail maze. I just know if you keep going up you will get to the top.
DO NOT FEED THE MONKEYS!
Part of the reason you will see so many monkeys on the trail is the too many people have been feeding them, so they expect food from humans. I have a friend that was attacked by a monkey here and was cut on his hand by monkey claw, from a monkey that stole his bag of bananas. Do not bring bananas on the trail unless you want to be fined and mauled by monkeys. For your own safety, do not feed the monkeys.
Monkey Statues near Wanshoushan Longquan Shrine Temple. This is where I usually hike up from.
A small pavilion on the trail.
First monkey sighting in a tree.
View of Zuoying from the trail.
A mother and her baby.
Monkey on the boardwalk.
Monkey on a bench.
Monkeys on a roof.
Monkey on steps. The monkeys are mostly nice if you don't bring food and don't get near their young.
"Taiwan Macaque is derived from the Indian Rhesus, migrating from the Mainland China in glacial epoch ten of thousands of years ago, settling down in Taiwan, and gradually evolving into the endemic species of Taiwan. Taiwan macaque has an intelligence equivalent to a three year old child, knowing how to simulate and learn. In recent years, the conflict between monkeys and humans has become more and more serious because human feeing behavior changers their habits. When you see someone feeding or teasing monkeys, please remember to say, no feeing, no interference, no contact. Do not expose drinks, plastic bags, and other times."
See above for more explanations of plants and wildlife along the trail.
Bees nest along the trail.
Monkey climbing on the railing.
Boardwalk through the forest.
More monkeys blocking the trail.
Monkey on bamboo.
View from the top of the mountain, here you can see the Taiwan strait.
View of the ocean.
Monkey climbing on a railing.
Ships leaving Kaohsiung Harbor.
A monkey in deep contemplation.
A monkey going through the garbage looking for a meal.
Another mother and her young.
Rules of the trail.
King of the mountain on his throne.
Another view looking down at Zuoying.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more of our blogs on Kaohsiung to come!
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