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.
Qijin Island was first settled by a Chinese fisherman named Hsu Ah-hua (徐阿華) in the 1600's, discovered after he took shelter there during a typhoon. He brought many families with him from Fujian to settle there. They created the first Mazu temple there, Chi Jin Mazu Temple in 1673.
The lighthouse dates from 1883 and was built in the English style.
The fort on the hill to the north of the Island was completed in 1875 during the Qing dynasty.
After WWII, Qijin was made a district of Kaohsiung City. In 1979, Taiping Island and Dongsha Island were added under the district's administration.
Qijin Island used to be a sandbar peninsula, but was separated from mainland Taiwan at its southern tip to make a second entrance into Kaohsiung Harbor in 1967.
There were plans for a cross harbor gondola but they were scrapped due to the height needed to cover the harbor.
How to get there:
By Passenger Ferry: Ferry's leave from Gushan near Xiziwan MRT station about every 10 minutes 24/7 (every half hour at after midnight).
Or there is also another passenger ferry in Qianzhen that connects with Zhong Zhou Ferry Terminal.
By Car/Scooter: Take the underwater tunnel on the south side of the island. Scooters can cross, but not bicycles.
Passenger ferry crossing: 40 NT
Bicycle ferry crossing: 50 NT
Motorcycle ferry crossing: 80 NT
Map: Please see below for the places we will cover in this blog:
In this guide to Qijin we will visit the following places:
I have been to Qijin Island over 30 times, and I still wish I could go back every day. There was a time when my Visa free 90 days were winding down and I did go to Qijijn Beach every day. Those were good times.
Ferry Ride 旗津渡輪
If you plan on visiting the island via public transportation, you'll need to take the ferry. That means taking the yellow line MRT to Xiziwan station and walking over to the ferry dock (about 3 minutes from the station). Now, you can aslo take off from Qianzhen Ferry Terminal. There are places to rent bicycles at Xiziwan station and on the island itself. If you want to take a bycicle on the ferry it's an extra 40 NT each way. I'll just say the prices have really gone up in the past few years.
View of Kaohsiung from the Ferry.
Once you get off the ferry, you have arrived at Qijin Old Street. From there you can rent bikes and ride around the island.
If you have multiple people, you can consider a tandem bike or four-person Flinstone bike, or a rickshaw!
Qijin Old Street 旗津老街
Qijin old street has some delicious food and souvenirs, focusing on seafood and beachwear. Notice one of the Flinstone carts to the right.
Some fresh seafood being sold on Qijin Old Street.
Fried Seafood snacks for the taking.
More seafood than you could ever want.
And of course some ice cream to cool down on a hot day.
Qijin Main Swimming Area 旗津海水浴場
At the end of the old street you will run into a fountain that sits in front of the beach. This is a popular spot for toddlers to play.
A sea full of swimmers and surfers. The water here is kind of murky, but the beach is clean.
Typical Taiwanese beach-goers getting their feet wet and avoiding getting a tan. There are multiple shower areas next to the beach. There is a shower area behind that white building in the background, and further down the beach there are two other wooden showering structures which are free to the public. This includes enclosed shower areas and foot washes.
Qijin Star Tunnel 旗津星空隧道
At the end of the northern beach there is a tunnel that connects the southern part of the island through the mountain to the northern tip. The tunnel was originally made by the Japanese for military purposes but was rebuilt in 2005 as a tourist destination.
The tunnel features lights, benches, and a boardwalk suitable for riding bicycles through.
After you make it through the tunnel, the boardwalk extends around the north part of the island.
There are great views of Xiziwan, Zhongshan University, and Kaohsiung Harbor along the way.
Qijin Lighthouse 旗津燈塔
Another sight is the Qijin lighthouse whihc was completed in 1916 during the Japanese occupation, styled after English architecture. You can't go up to the top (like most lighthouses in Tawain), but there are some nice views of Kaohsiung Harbor.
Admission is free, but remember that it is closed on Mondays.
People relaxing next to the lighthouse with Qijin Beach in the background.
Another view of Kaohsiung and Qijin from near the lighthouse.
Between the lighthouse and Cihou fort are some abandoned military structures, probably also built by the Japanese.
An abandoned tunnel that I did not explore.
Cihou Fort 旗後炮臺
Cihou fort was built in 1875 by the Qing Dynasty as part of growing tensions with the West and Japan. It was built using western style architecture. In 1894 the Japanese attacked the fort with canons from nearby ships, damaging the name plate of the fort. Later that day the Japanese invaded the island, taking the fort. Later they removed the canon on the fort and left the fort abandoned. The fort was later renovated by the Kaohsiung Government as a tourist destination in 1995.
View to the west.
The main entrance to the fort.
I assume you can read the above text. It gives some more information about the history of the fort.
The main courtyard.
The main gate of the fort. The sign above was originally destroyed by Japanese canon fire, but two characters were restored by the Kaohsiung Government: 天南. The other two characters are long gone; no one knows exactly what was written before. Also there is the character 雙喜 which means good luck, happiness and fertility. During the dynasty this was also a place for marriages.
Explanation of 天南, and why there are two missing characters.
Another view of the fort.
View of the main swimming area from the fort. Those concrete blocks are long gone now.
The steep walk down to Qijin.
Sand Sculptures 沙雕
From about June to August, there are sand sculpting competitions and exhibitions on the beach.
Dragon wrapped around the 85.
Egg yolk man playing guitar.
A woman's face.
Traditional sand castle.
You tell me what this is.
The beach is usually calm and good for swimming, with decent sized waves, but on a stormy day of course it is not safe to swim.
Above are the waves on a stormy day.
Qijin Shell Museum 貝殼博物館
Past Qijin Beach there is a shell museum with over 3000 different species of shellfish on display. The admission is 30 NT per person.
There are two levels in this museum as well as bathrooms. I remember the A/C was pumped at full blast and it was freezing so we didn't stay long.
Southern Qijin Beach 旗津沙灘南邊
The southern part of Qijin Beach is in my opinion the nicest. On a weekday this part of the beach is practically empty. It features palm trees and pavilions every 200 meters or so to rest and stay out of the sun. If you have a bike, you should definitely ride along here.
View from the pavilion.
People playing on the beach near the Shell Museum.
A very handsome person just getting back from body boarding.
This is the sand on Qijin: dark and hot. Be sure to wear sandals in the summer or your feet will burn off.
Sunset on the beach.
Another view of the sunset.
Ships just off the Qijin coast.
Fire in the sky over the Taiwan Strait.
Qijin Windmill Park 旗津風車公園
Windmill park is a large grassy area and seaside park in the central part of the island.
Check out our drone footage of Windmill Park above!
A view further down of the park.
View of Kaohsiung Harbor and Qijin Household Registration Office.
Another view of the western coast of Qijin.
Kuangchi Palace Beach 中洲廣濟宮沙灘
The last and most secretive place on this island that I will share in this blog is the beach behind Kuangchi Palace, pictured above. There are about 10 private bays formed by concrete barriers along the south side of the island behind the temple. Usually there is no one there.
There are free showers behind the temple, as well as the best oyster omelette stand in Taiwan. It is the best because all of their omelettes are super crispy.
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.
See above for more photos of the oyster omellet location. This oyster omellet 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.
View of the concrete barriers and bays behind the temple and oyster omellet shop.
Sunset at one of the bays.
Another view of the sunset.
Thanks for reading! Now you know a little bit more about what there is to do in Qjin. But this Island has a lot more to discover if you just go exploring there yourself!
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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.