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.
You can see a map of all the places that we will visit in this blog above.
In this blog, we will visit the following places:
See a montage of our drone footage above for an overview of the area.
Let's get started!
Maolin District of Kaohsiung City is an amazing outdoor paradise and my favorite place in Taiwan. In this mountainous district of Kaohsiung, you can find waterfalls, streams, hot springs, butterflies, aboriginal culture, and great views, all by the roadside! Popular activities include swimming, hot spring bathing, river tracing, camping, and hiking. For our full guide to Maolin, click here.
Please note I have also finished blogs about Maolin Village, Wanshan Village, Duona Suspension Bridge, and Duona Village (click the links to see each individual blog).
Qijin Island 旗津
Qijin Island (aka Cijin Island or Chijin Island) has one of the most accessible sandy beaches to any urban area in Taiwan. Besides the nearly 10 Km stretch of sandy shores, the island also has an old street with tasty snacks, a seafood market, a lighthouse, an ancient fort, a star tunnel, a shell museum, and much more. It is one of the most popular destinations in Kaohsiung and definitely worth a trip...(read more)
Cheng Ching Lake 澄清湖
Cheng Ching Lake (aka Cheng Cing Lake or Ching Qing Lake) in Kaohsiung is one of the most beautiful parks in Taiwan. Much of the lake is full of traditional Chinese gardens and architecture. Because of its size, it cannot be properly appreciated by only going there for one afternoon; there are simply too many things to see and do there. In this blog, we will provide you a detailed virtual tour of the entire lake...(read more)
Lotus Pond 蓮池潭
The Lotus Pond in Zuoying District of Kaohsiung is one of the most beautiful scenic areas in Taiwan. Much of the lake is full of traditional Chinese temples, gardens, and architecture. Because of its size, it cannot be properly appreciated by only going there for one afternoon; there are simply too many things to see and do there. In this blog, we will provide you a detailed virtual tour of the entire lake...(read more)
Tianliao Moon World 田寮月世界
Out in the foothills of former Kaohsiung County are tropical badlands, hills of easily eroding material that makes the landscape look so unique that you must think that it's on the moon. In the summer of 2014 the Foreigners in Taiwan team took a journey to this park in Tianliao which showcases these hills with trails and beautiful scenic views, and 4 years later here is the blog. It's definitely a strange landscape especially for Taiwan, and is worth a visit especially if you want to get some unique photos. You can also see some nearby mud hot springs...(read more)
Ruifeng Night Market 瑞豐夜市
Ruifeng Night Market (aka Rueifong Night Market) is currently the largest and most crowded night market in Kaohsiung, and in my view the best. It is located right next to the Kaohsiung Arena MRT station, making it a convenient place for tourists to visit. Here you can find every kind of traditional Taiwan night market food you could ask for, such as fried squid, fried octopus balls, papaya milk, milk tea, and chicken and beef steak, as well as games, clothes, and other shopping...(read more)
Qishan Old Street 旗山老街
Qishan Old Street is a large a popular historical street in Qishan District of Kaohsiung City. Originally a major industrial hub for sugar cane during the Japanese era, now it is a quite agricultural town in rural Kaohsiung. It is one of the best old streets in Taiwan for its many agricultural products and snacks, as well as the many well preserved historical buildings in the area...(read more)
Liuhe Night Market 六合夜市
Liuhe Night Market (aka Liuhe Tourist Night Market) is the oldest and perhaps most popular night market in Kaohsiung. It is located right next to the Formosa Boulevard MRT station, making it a convenient place for tourists to visit. Here you can find every kind of traditional Taiwan night market food you could ask for, especially fried chicken, squid, shrimp, and crab, as well as dried pork. Also Liuhe is very pedestrian friendly and you do not have to fight crowds here...(read more)
Xingda Harbor Seafood Market 興達港觀光漁市
The Xingda Seafood Market (aka Xingda Tourist Fish Market, Hsinta Harbor Fish Market or Qieding Fish Market) is a large seafood market in Qieding District of Kaohsiung. You can find just about any kind of fresh seafood here, including sashimi, whole fish, shellfish, squid, etc., along with other traditional Taiwanese snacks. Also, the market is known for high quality knives. It is definitely worth a trip if you are in the area...(read more)
Renwu Roast Duck 仁武烤鴨
Renwu Roast Duck is a delicious roast duck place in Renwu District, Kaohsiung. It opens every day except Tuesday from 2:00 pm to 8:00pm. You can choose to either sit in the restaurant or get takeout. The wait for the restaurant is usually long, and so is the takeout line. There are tons of people waiting in line for this place every day...(read more)
Dengyuan Chicken Leg Rice 鄧園雞腿飯
There are many amazing rice box (biandang or bento) shops in Kaohsiung. but my favorite is Dengyuan. This is because it is unlimited Winter Gourd tea and soup, the portion sizes are large, and the meat and vegetable choices are amazing. I can truly say this is the place that converted me to Taiwanese food. It was the first time I actually enjoyed eating a biandang.
Sanma Stinky Hot Pot 三媽臭臭鍋
Sanma is a "small hot pot" restaurant chain that has locations all over Taiwan. But the best Sanma locations are in Kaohsiung, where pretty much every location has free rice, soda, and ice cream. The price is only about 120 NT per pot.
Axia Oyster Omelette 阿霞蚵仔煎
Axia Oyster Omelette is the best Oyster omelette I have ever tasted in Taiwan. It sits right behind Kuangchi Palace Temple on Qijin Island. This oyster omelet is the best because it is so crispy. The dough is fried super crispy and dry, like you are eating the hard shelled taco of oyster omelets.
Monkey Mountain (Shoushan) 壽山
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...(read more)
The Love River 愛河
Kaohsiung's Love River is a riverside park, following the most important river through the city. It is a great place for cycling or taking a stroll. I have also been to the Love River Dragon Boat Races, which are held between Kaohsiung Bridge and Zhongzheng Bridge in downtown Kaohsiung. These races were cool because at night the boats lit up with LEDs. It was pretty fun to watch. There were also a ton of people and a ton of stalls selling food and random stuff all around.
Wushanding Mud Volcanoes 烏山頂泥火山
Ever want to see an active volcano up close? You can at the mud Volcanos in Wushanding Nature Preserve, Yanchao District of Kaohsiung. These spew out mud all day, which piles up and then gets washed away by rain. It is a unique and beautiful geological oddity worth visiting. These are the largest and most concentrated mud volcanoes in Taiwan. ...(read more)
Fo Guang Shan (Buddha's Light Mountain) 佛光山
Fo Guang Shan (aka Buddah Light Mountain, Buddah's Light Mountain, or Buddha Memorial Center) is a Buddhist sect based in Dashu District of Kaohsiung. The headquarters in Dashu feature the largest Buddhist monastery in the country along with a 8 pagodas, a large pyramid, huge sitting buddha statue, and Buddha museum. The massive complex can fill a tourists itinerary for more than a day, and is TripAdvisor's top ten tourist landmarks in Taiwan...(read more)
Kaohsiung 85 Sky Tower 高雄八五大樓
The Kaohsiung 85 Sky Tower is the tallest and most recognizable building in southern Taiwan. The tower is shaped like the character "高" (as in 高雄 aka Kaoh siung or gao xiong), to represent the city of Kaohsiung and show Chinese symbolism through architecture. The observatory level open to visitors provides excellent views of the city. The tower can also been seen most anywhere in Kaohsiung, making it truly the symbol of the city...(read more)
Weiwuying, also known as the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, is a performance arts center in Fengshan District of Kaohsiung City. It is the largest arts venue under one single roof in the entire world. It has the largest pipe organ in Asia. It was also named as one of the top 100 places in the world by Time Magazine. The arts center also sits next to Weiwuying Metropolitan Park. It is a must see spot for any foreign tourist visiting Taiwan...(read more)
Taiwan Sugar Museum 橋頭糖廠
The Taiwan Sugar Museum (aka Qiaotou Sugar Factory/Refinery) is a historical sugar refining Factory in Qiaotou District of Kaohsiung City. It was the first sugar factory in Taiwan and lasted nearly a hundred years. Now it has been converted into a museum and cultural center, and is one of the most popular attractions in the area...(read more)
Shoushan Zoo 壽山動物園
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...(read more)
Formosa Boulevard Station Dome of Light 美麗島站光之穹頂
Formosa Boulevard Station has been named the second most beautiful MRT station in the world. It includes the largest glass piece of artwork in the world, which covers the roof and pillars in the central part of the station. Did I mention it's an MRT station? Yeah. Some people like to take selfies here...(read more)
Zuoying Old City of Fengshan 左營鳳山舊城
The Old City of Fengshan in Zuoying is the oldest walled city on the island of Taiwan. It has survived rebellions, raids, and changes of power, and now stands as a well preserved monument to the past, from when the Qing Dynasty ruled western Taiwan. It is definitley worth a visit on your trip to Kaohsiung...(read more)
Historic Fengshan New City 鳳山縣新城
Fengshan County New City in Fengshan District of Kaohsiung is not new, but it was the new rebuilt city after the old city of Fengshan in Zuoying was destroyed in a rebellion. It now stands as a monument to the past with only one surviving city gate and three batteries, from when the Qing Dynasty ruled western Taiwan. The old city sits in a pedestrian shopping area and is a nice place for a stroll. It is definitely worth a visit on your trip to Kaohsiung...(read more)
Former British Consulate at Takao 打狗英國領事館
The former British Consulate at Takou in Kaohsiung is over 150 years old, spanning a long and complex history in Taiwan. Originally built by the British, it was taken by Japan, then used as a weather observatory by the ROC, and in 2003 it was converted into a museum. Now it is a popular tourist destination, with great views of Kaohsiung Harbor and Xiziwan....(read more)
Zuoying Confucious Temple 高雄左營孔子廟
The Zuoying Confucius Temple (aka Kaohsiung Zuoying Confucius Temple) is a large Confucius Temple in Taiwan. It sits near the beautiful Lotus Pond, and is surrounded by countless other temples in the area. Today it is an important place for Confucian learning and a popular tourist attraction in Kaohsiung City. ..(read more)
Kaohsiung Qishan Confucius Temple 高雄旗山孔子廟
The Kaohsiung Confucius Temple (aka Qishan Confucius Temple) is the largest Confucius Temple in Taiwan. It was built over the former Qishan Shinto Shrine. Today it is an important place for Confucian learning and a popular tourist attraction in former Kaohsiung County. ...(read more)
Old Fengshan City Confucius Temple Chongsheng Shrine 鳳山舊城孔子廟崇聖
The Old Fengshan City Confucius Temple Chongsheng Shrine in Zuoying, Kaohisung dates back to the 17th centruy and is the second oldest Confucious Temple in Taiwan. The temple has survived typhoons, revolts, and allied air raids. Now only a part of it sits in the middle of an elementary school yard....(read more)
Gaoping Old Iron Bridge 高屏舊鐵橋
The Gaoping Old Iron Bridge (aka Lower Tamsui River Iron Bridge 下淡水溪鐵橋) is a disused railway bridge across the Gaoping River, formerly connecting Kaohsiung to Pingtung. The bridge was retired in 1987 in favor of a new electrified bridge, and the center section of the bridge was washed away during Typhoon Haitang in 2005. At the time of construction, it was the longest bridge in Asia and the first overland pathway created between Kaohsiung and Pintung. Originally planned to be torn down, it was saved by concerned residents on both sides of the river and now stands as a monument to the past...(read more)
Jingyuan - Airport Café and Recreational Farm 淨園農場及機場咖啡廳
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. ...(read more)
Dream Mall 夢時代
Kaohsiung's Dream Mall in Qianzhen District of Kaohsiung is the largest shopping mall in Taiwan. In addition to the most space of any mall in Taiwan, it also has a theme park on its roof, with a ferris wheel. It is accessible from Kaisyuan MRT station.
Eda World 義大世界
Eda World was the first outlet mall created in Taiwan. It also features an amusement park with roller coasters, a ferris wheel, cinemas, an ice rink. and a golf course. It is a fun day trip and there are a few resort hotels nearby.
Qiaotou Old Street (aka Xiaodianzai Street 小店仔街) is a historical street in Qiaotou District of Kaohsiung City. Originally a major industrial hub for sugar cane, now it is a quiet agricultural town in rural Kaohsiung in the shadow of the nearby Qiaotou Sugar Factory. It is not a super touristy old street, but has some well preserved historical buildings nearby...(read more)
Fengshan Reservior 鳳山水庫
Fengshan Reservoir in Kaohsiung lies on the top of Fengshan Mountain in Xiaogang District of Kaohsiung, and is a nice area to relax and enjoy views of the surrounding area...(read more)
Gangshan Skywalk 岡山之眼
Gangshan's Skywalk Bridge (aka Xiaogangshan Skywalk Park) is a tourist attraction in Gangshan District of Kaohsiung, which features great views of Agongdian Reservoir and norther Kaohsiung City. The bridge is in the shape of a violin, and there is constant music playing here. If you visit Kaohsiung, this place should definitely be on your list...(read more)
Kaohsiung Metropolitan Park 高雄都會公園
Kaohsiung Metropolitan Park in Nanzi District is my favorite city park in Taiwan. It features long green grass hills, lots of sidewalks and places to rest, and because it sits on a hill it has great views of the surrounding area, and of the sunrise and sunset. It's a great place to exercise and relax if you are in the area...(read more).
Best View of Kaohsiung: Dongzhaoshan 高雄最好的風景：東照山
Where is the best view of the third biggest city in Taiwan? Some may say it is the 85, or Shoushan, but actually I think that the best view can be found at Dongzhaoshan Coffee in Dashu District...(read more)
Places we missed:
Thanks for reading and be sure to visit Kaohsiung soon. Also please like and follow so you won't miss out on future guides to Taiwan to come.
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.