Kaohsiung Travel – Why You Can’t Miss This Vibrant City In Taiwan

by Viola
2 weeks taiwan itinerary

The second last stop on my Two Weeks Taiwan Itinerary was Kaohsiung. Known as `Habour City’ in Taiwan, Kaohsiung has the biggest port on the island. With year-round fine weather, cheap costs, convenient public transport, and gorgeous beaches, it’s no wonder this city is well loved by many people. In this post, I will share some of my favorite experiences from my Kaohsiung travel!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means, at no extra cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase. 


How to get in Kaohsiung

We traveled to Kaohsiung from Alishan National Park. There is no direct transfers. You must get to the high speed rail (HSR) station in Chiayi county, from where you can take the 2 hours HSR to Kaohsiung. The ticket cost $245 NTD per person. To get to Chiayi station from Alishan, you can either take a bus from the transport center outside the Alishan National Park entrance, or hire a driver like we did. I would highly recommend hiring a driver. It’s not that much more expensive and it will save you so much time. The ride is less than two hours by car, but more than four whooping hours by bus.

If you are going to Kaohsiung from Tainan, the trip is easy by HSR. The ride is only about 30 minutes and cost $106NTD.



What to do in Kaohsiung

Dragon & Tiger Pagodas

There are so many things to check out in Kaohsiung. One of the must visits is the unique Dragon & Tiger Pagodas located at the Lotus Pond in Zuoying District. In Chinese culture, dragon represents power and strength, while tiger represents righteousness and harmony. It’s believed that if you enter the pagodas from the mouth of the dragon and come out the mouth of the tiger, you can get rid of your bad luck and get more good luck! You can also climb up the pagodas for an awesome view of the surrounding lake and cityscape. Look at the gorgeous details on the roof! Summer is perhaps the best time because that’s when the lotus flowers are in bloom. We visited during winter so we didn’t see the flowers, but it was really cool anyways. Nearby are also many other attractions such as the Spring Autumn Pavilions and Confucious Temple.

Oh! Did I mention? Entering the pagodas is free, making it a very friendly place for budget travelers. *insert heart-shaped eyes. However, you can find a donation box near the door if you are feeling generous.


Love River

As the name suggest, the Love River is a romantic place for a stroll with a lovey dovey. Of course, it’s just as nice to walk along with friends, family, or solo. The best time is perhaps at night when all the city lights are lit, forming a gorgeous colorful reflection on the water. You can also board a cruise on the river, or chill in the riverside outdoor bar, watch a live singing performance while you sip beer.

kaohsiung travel


Pier 2 Art District

Whether you are an artsy pants or not, Pier 2 is worth checking out. This area has an interesting history as it was originally just some abandoned warehouses in the 70s. But local artists saw a chance to create something cool and voila! Today, Pier 2 is an attractive area with galleries, boutiques, trendy cafes and entertainment venues. Shop for some local lifestyle products, browse inside the stationery and book stores. You can enter the contemporary art gallery for $149 NTD. But if you are a cheapo like me, taking some photos outside with the free art displays is plenty satisfying. 😛

kaohsiung travel



Cijin Island

Kaohsiung-ners, oh how I envy you for living so close to a delightful island! Cijin Island is only a 5 minutes ferry ride away from Kaohsiung Harbour. I was totally caught off guard upon arriving because to be honest, I didn’t expect it to be that nice. Well I was wrong. Cijin Island’s beach is beautiful and clean. The sand is so soft. The water was warm even when we visited in January!

kaohsiung travel

Enjoy swimming, sun bathing, biking, and/sunset watching. You can easily spend a whole day here. There are several points of interest on the island, including the Cijin Fort, Cijin Lighthouse, Windpower Park, Cijin Market and Tianhou Temple. My favourite? Check it out:

How cute is this? This art piece is called Rainbow Church, and it’s right on the beach! You’d definitely wanna get a photo for the ‘gram! Psst there are actually two of these Rainbow masterpieces. Check out the other pyramid rainbow on my Instagram.

Cijin Island is also reputed to have the freshest seafood in Kaohsiung, which I’m not surprised. We didn’t get a chance to eat here but let me know if you ever get to try!



Liu He Night Market

How can we read a Viola post without hearing something about food? We liked the Liu He Market so much that we visited two times in a three day span. The food here is de.li.cious…*ooh I sound like a Fergie song. Head to the food section below to check out what to eat in Liu He.

kaohsiung liuhe night market


Formosa Dome of Light

Right by the Liu He Night Market is Kaohsiung’s Formosa Station. At first, it may seem like any old station in the world, but there is a secret beautiful gem waiting to be discovered. The station concourse is home to the “Dome of Light”, an impressive glass work display that is the largest in the world! Designed by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata, the colorful glasses tell the story of four elements: Water, Earth, Light, and Fire. Join the rest of the selfie tribe here!

kaohsiung formosa dome of light



Kaohsiung Central park

This cute park was right across the street from where we lived. It’s a  wonderful place to get a dose of nature in the middle of the city. You can see tons of people exercising here. Do not attempt to come here at night though. My boyfriend and I went for a stroll after dark and became dinner for mosquitoes. 

kaohsiung travel


Sizihwan Bay

If you don’t want to leave to the island, you can still enjoy beautiful sunset view from Sizihwan Bay. Surrounded by mountains, the bay is wonderful with its glistering blue water and natural coral reefs. Who wants to go for a dip? *Raise hand

kaohsiung travel


Things we missed

Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple

This epic temple is about an hour away from the city. Fo Guang Shan is said to be one of Taiwan’s largest buddhist organizations, where many people go to find peace and learn about Buddhism. Unfortunately, we did not get to visit during our Kaohsiung travel last time. Will save it for another trip!


Ruifeng Night Market

We attempted two times to visit to this Night Market but unfortunately it was closed both times. Just our luck! Ruifeng is not open Mondays AND Wednesdays and that’s when we chose to go. Remember kids, do your research!


What to Eat in Kaohsiung

Liu He Night Market

As already mentioned, Liu He is where it’s at if you are hunting for food. It’s a feast for the eyes before the food even gets to the mouths. There are so many choices. Some of our favorites at the market included: huge grilled prawns, fried calamari, oyster omelettes, salt and pepper potato stuffed bread, and these Danzai noodles that I couldn’t even handle. Sooo good!kaohsiung travelkaohsiung travel


樂卡咪長麵專賣店(Le Ka Mi Noodles)

Speaking of noodles, near Pier 2 Art district is a delicious noodle shop that I must also recommend. We were taken here by a good friend who is local to Kaohsiung. We visited for breakfast after a previous night of drinking. Our friend suggested this place as a perfect “hangover food” spot. The restaurant is quite old. The front is the kitchen where you can see the staff chopping all kinds of meat and vegetables. Inside the restaurant, people slurps noodles enthusiastically. This was my first sign that the food must be good. We tried a couple of noodles on the menu and got some appetizers. As expected, the noodles were amazing. But what was unexpected was the secret ingredient. Guess what it is…pig fat! I know. It sounded disgusting to me too. But actually, it made the noodles so buttery and yummy!

kaohsiung travel

*Note: Click on the restaurant name for a link to its address as you will not be able to search for it in English. That’s how you know a place is local and authentic!


東京酒場 (Literally means “Tokyo Sake Factory”)

This restaurant beside the Love River was suggested to us by our taxi driver. We went for dinner and really enjoyed their tasty and affordable dishes. We went a little overboard ordering way too much food. Our favorite dishes were the fried tofu, fish hot pot, and peppered steak. Our waiter was a friendly young guy who chatted with us quite a bit. We left the restaurant full and happy.

kaohsiung food

*Note: To my shocking surprise, I went online trying to leave a good review for the restaurant, and found a slew of negative comments by customers….hmm so different from our experience. Guess you never know until you try it yourself.


Where to Stay in Kaohsiung

Well for the first time, I actually cannot recommend a place from experience. Comparing to our other accomodations in Taiwan, the Airbnb we lived in in Kaohsiung was hmm…BAD. Although very conveniently located right outside Central Park station, the shared apartment had terrible air circulation. It was clear that our host tried desperately to clean before we arrived as the stench of bleach was overpowering. Anyways, that’s enough of our story…

I wish instead we had stayed in one of these cool hotels that I’ve researched:


Traveler Kitchen

This hostel looks super comfortable and quirky. They have basic, economy, business and family deluxe rooms with private bathrooms. I’m definitely booking here next time!

kaohsiung traveler kitchen

Photo credit: Trip101.com


See Ya B&B

This hostel’s minimalist lobby and room decors are Instagram worthy. Apparently they have bikes for rent and is located beside my beloved Liu He Night Market. I’m sold!

kaohsiung See Ya B&B

Photo credit: Booking.com


Kiwi Express

Love the name of this hotel and this room? Whoa fancy! Reading the hotel description: en suite bathroom, fitness facilities, delicious breakfast, starts at 50 USD per night…That’s it.

kiwi_express kaohsiung

Photo credit: Trip101.com


Have you been to Harbour City before? Let me know what your favorite memories were from your Kaohsiung travel!


Plan your trip to Taiwan in 4 easy steps

Book A Flight: Find the cheapest flights on Skyscanner, my go-to search engine. 
Find A Hotel: Score affordable accommodation on Booking.comReceive $16 off your first booking with my link here
Buy insurance: You never know what may happen on the road. Protect your trip & gear with World Nomad, the best travel insurance company ever. Get a quote here.

Read up on the best advice: Love a good old fashion guide book. Suggested reading: Lonely Planet: Taiwan Travel Guide


Bon voyage!




Travel for cheap or free resources

Read these Taiwan posts next!

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Taipei Taiwan Travel Guide

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Taichung: The Most Underrated City in Taiwan

Sun Moon Lake: A Serene Escape in Taiwan

Alishan: Best Sunrise and Hiking Spot in Taiwan

What to do in Tainan: A Quick Travel Guide


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Kaohsiung Travel Guide

Kaohsiung Travel Guide- An Vibrant City in Taiwan You Can't Miss

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Alyse January 27, 2018 - 3:26 am

What an interesting place to visit in Taiwan – very colourful and the food looks incredible! I love underrated destinations like this, thanks for sharing 🙂

Viola January 27, 2018 - 11:43 am

Hi Alyse! Yes Kaohsiung gets overlooked by tourist a lot but it’s actually so cool! Thanks for reading <3

Cory Varga January 27, 2018 - 10:00 am

I so want to visit Taiwan. It has been on our list for so long. We would love to rent bikes and literally go around the island like this <3 Super useful post, thank you

Viola January 27, 2018 - 11:42 am

Yes biking is such a good way to go around Taiwan! Thanks for reading Cory <3

Sapna January 27, 2018 - 11:15 am

Photographs are awesome. Very detailed post. Food pictures are making me feel hungry.
Thanks for sharing.

Viola January 27, 2018 - 11:39 am

Thank you Sapna! Yes the food is delicious!

Christina January 27, 2018 - 11:20 am

I’ve been seeing so much stuff from Taiwan lately – it makes me want to go so badly! Especially for the food. Taiwanese noodles are the absolute best MMMGHH. It’s like the #1 thing I miss from living in Vancouver – easy access to good Asian food. definitely saving this guide for later!

Viola January 27, 2018 - 11:38 am

Hi Christina! Yes Taiwan is getting more popular by the second. The food is definitely to blame 😛 OMG the noodles are my favourite. Get there before any more people find out girl!

Ainsley Duyvestyn January 27, 2018 - 11:25 am

This looks great! Taiwan wasn’t high up on my list before but I think that’s starting to change. The food looks delicious!

Viola January 27, 2018 - 11:37 am

Hi Ainsley, yes the food is amazing!!

NieNie January 27, 2018 - 2:29 pm

The food looks amazing! And I love that rainbow church photo!!

Melissa January 27, 2018 - 5:21 pm

I want to go just for the food! Everything you ate looks incredible. Taiwan wasn’t really on my radar, but it looks like a great place to visit.

Aarti Kamath January 27, 2018 - 5:40 pm

We are just back from Japan and Taiwan was initially in the plan for us.. I am so sad that we didn’t get enough time for it. Thanks for this post – It has some real good tips for me for my upcoming visit.. Do you have any info on vegan food in Taiwan for me?…

Viola January 28, 2018 - 1:36 am

Hi Aarti! This website has a great list of vegan restaurants in Taiwan organized by city! I think it’s pretty helpful 🙂 https://www.happycow.net/asia/taiwan/

Melissa January 27, 2018 - 6:04 pm

This looks like a great city! I’ve been to Asia a couple of times but haven’t made it to Taiwan yet. Time to change that!

Carmelatte January 28, 2018 - 12:11 pm Reply
Fc August 21, 2018 - 12:26 pm

Hi. Thanks for sharing. Did you hire a driver to travel while in Kaoshiung? Do you have the contact details of the driver?

Viola August 22, 2018 - 1:37 am

Hi there, we did not hire a specific driver in Kaohsiung. We just hailed taxis whenever we needed. 🙂

Dr Tan HP October 23, 2018 - 5:30 am

Just spend a week in Kaohsiung and enjoyed it greatly. My travel video is available here. https://www.facebook.com/hongpew.tan/videos/10217232532953693/?t=0


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