02 April, 2024

[TRAVEL] Top 10 Places to Visit in Kaohsiung, Taiwan #高雄景点

Hello from 高雄 Kaohsiung, Taiwan! 

After several times of visiting Taiwan at the northern and central regions, I have always wanted to visit the southern part which is famous for its beautiful beaches, islands and crystal clear water. So here I am, spending 7D6N in Kaohsiung, immersing myself into the beauty of this little town. 

Overview of Kaohsiung
Kaohsiung is a place for slow mornings, hillside sunsets, and relaxing evenings by the pier. As it is located adjacent to Tainan, Pingtung and Kending, there are a lot to see at the neighbouring towns outside of Kaohsiung. But my main focus of this trip is Kaohsiung, so I have compiled a list of must-visit attractions (with No. 1 being the most preferred location): 

1. Qijin Island (旗津島)
2. British Consulate at Takow (打狗英国领事馆) / Sizihwan Lookout (西子灣觀景臺)
3. Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum (佛光山佛陀紀念館)
4. Pier 2 Art Center (駁二藝術特區) / Great Harbor Bridge (港大港橋) / Kaohsiung Music Center (高雄流行音樂中心)
5. Tianliao Moon World (田寮月世界) / Qishan Old Street (旗山老街)
6. SKM Park Outlets 高雄草衙
7. Ruifeng Night Market (瑞豐夜市)
8. Formosa Boulevard Station Dome of Light (美麗島站光之穹頂) / Liuhe Night Market (六合觀光夜市)
9. WeiWu Mimi Village (衛武迷迷村)
10. San Feng Temple (三鳳宮)

Places not covered during this trip:
• Eye of Gangshan (岡山之眼)
• E-DA Theme Park (義大遊樂世界)
• Meinong Folk Village (美濃民俗村)

Qijin Island (旗津島)
Qijin Shell Museum by the sea

Qijin Island is full of scenic views, be it from the mountain or the beach. Transportation wise, it is easily accessible via the Orange Line MRT (Alight at 01 Sizihwan Station), then a 15 minutes ferry ride from the Gushan Ferry Pier Station (旗津輪渡站) will bring you to the island. 

The ferry starts running as early as 5am and stops past midnight, so it is easy to plan your time around for a day trip in Qijin Island.
My one-day itinerary in Qijin Island includes: 
 Qijin Beach (旗津沙灘)
 Qijin Rainbow Arch (彩虹教堂)
 Qijin Shell Museum (貝殼博物館)
 Qijin Star Tunnel (旗津星空隧道)
 Estrella del Mar (海之星沙灘俱樂部)
 Shoreline Coffee & Roaster (海岸線咖啡)
 Qijin Lighthouse (旗津燈塔)
 Cihou Fort (旗後炮臺)

My favourite spot goes to Qijin Shell Museum (貝殼博物館) 
with a huge shell replica facing the sea. So picturesque!

Estrella del Mar (海之星沙灘俱樂部) - a camping-themed café located by the beach.
Amidst the aesthetically pleasing setting, it feels like dining in the wilderness!

Take a short hike up the hill and you will arrive at the Shoreline Coffee & Roaster (海岸線咖啡), located next to the Qijin Lighthouse (旗津燈塔), a white dazzling lighthouse overlooking the Kaohsiung Port. A proud symbol of Kaohsiung! The view here is amazing especially during sunset hours. 

British Consulate at Takow (打狗英国领事馆) /
Sizihwan Lookout (西子灣觀景臺)
Whenever I travel, I will always look out for amazing architecture which is well-preserved from the yesteryear. And I am glad that I found one in Kaohsiung! Built in 1865, the historical former British consulate is one of the oldest western buildings standing prominently on a hilltop overlooking Sizihwan.

The unique, old British colonial architecture is such a beauty to admire.
Remember to head up to the second floor for a panoramic sunset view through the red-bricked archways.

I am totally blown away by the magnificent view.

Thank you for blessing me with such beautiful sunset. // 

Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum (佛光山佛陀紀念館)
Do you know that Fo Guang Shan (佛光山) is one of the largest Buddhist organizations in Taiwan? The Buddha Museum (f.k.a. the Buddha Memorial Center) is a magnificent 250-acre complex built to enshrine the Buddha' tooth relic. While it is a Mahāyāna Buddhist cultural, religious, and educational museum, I'd say this place is for everyone to visit. 

It is easily accessible via E02 Hafo Express Bus and High Speed Rail (HSR Zuoying Station) from the city, but the journey takes approximately 1.5 hours (one way). 

Look at the Fo Guang Big Buddha, which sits atop the Fo Guang Building!
The enormous, sprawling Fo Guang Shan Temple complex is worth exploring too.

Pier 2 Art Center (駁二藝術特區) / Great Harbour Bridge
(高雄港大港橋) / Kaohsiung Music Center (高雄流行音樂中心)
Hello, Bumblebee!

Pier 2 Art Center (駁二藝術特區) is definitely a must-visit for first timers. It was once an abandoned and forgotten warehouse buried in history, but is now a popular installation art made from repurposed cargo containers. Out of these installations, the most famous one is probably the Bumblebee, which was the actual piece used for Mayday's (五月天) DNA concert.

Located by the pier, it is easy to get here via the circular light rail (環狀輕軌) which runs on the ground. Alight at Penglai Pier-2 LRT Station and start exploring the places! 

There are plenty of interesting finds here, including unique artwork, hand crafts / souvenir shops, cafes etc. The most memorable experience I have is in the SunnyHills (微熱山丘) flagship store where visitors are treated with their signature pineapple cakes, paired with coffee / tea. The best part? It is complimentary and the queue is not long. 

Kaohsiung Music Center (高雄流行音樂中心)

Just a short stroll away from the art enclave, Kaohsiung Music Center is a prominent landmark for pop music performances in Southern Taiwan that nurtures domestic pop music talents. The futuristic esign is inspired by the seabed and sea creatures (whales, dolphins, etc), giving a strong identity to the area given its history and geopolitical situation in Kaohsiung. Don't forget to wait till it lights up at night and enjoy the night scenery here!

Great Harbour Bridge (高雄港大港橋)

Located on the waters of Love River, the Great Harbour Bridge has always been an ideal spot for lovebirds to enjoy the night view of Kaohsiung. But it is pretty boring for a solo traveler like me.

Tianliao Moon World (田寮月世界/
Qishan Old Street (旗山老街)
If you are up for exploring the outskirt of Kaohsiung, then Tianliao Moon World (田寮月世界) is a great place to visit! It may seem to be a tract of barren land but it has a dreary and desolate beauty of desert, mimicking the landscape of the Moon surface.

It takes a 2-hour bus ride to reach here, but I take only 1 hour to explore the entire landscape park. To make it a fruitful day trip, I also drop by the nearby historical town, Qishan Old Street (旗山老街) (30 minutes via bus 8042) for some local delicacies. 

Qishan Old Street (旗山老街)

Qishan is a little vibrant town that welcomes tourists with a wide array of delicacies and souvenirs to bring home. The local flavours are pretty unique and delicious, and I don't mind overeating at all! 

My half-day itinerary in Qishan includes: 

 Qishan traditional market (高雄百年歷史傳統市 - 旗山市場)
 Ah Ma sweet potato dessert (阿嬷𠃍蕃薯圓 - 旗山老街店)
 "Ice cream meatball" (冰淇淋肉圓)
 Red glutinous crisp pork (旗山紅槽肉)
 Wu Ji meatball (吳記肉丸)
 St Joseph Catholic Church (旗山聖若瑟天主堂)

Ah Ma sweet potato dessert (阿嬷𠃍蕃薯圓) is my favourite here!

SKM Park Outlets (高雄草衙)
If you fancy some outlet shopping (particularly the heavily discounted off-seasons items) and enjoy riding go-karts and other games in the amusement park, then SKM Park Outlets is the place to go for.

During Christmas time, the mall transforms into a Christmas town which is really worth a visit for beautiful festive photographs and the snowfall show in the evening. 
Ruifeng Night Market (瑞豐夜市)
Night market is a must-visit in Taiwan, so if you must experience it at least once in Kaohsiung, then Ruifeng Night Market (瑞豐夜市) is the largest night market that the locals usually go for. This market has over 1,000 stalls, very well-organised with different sections for different categories such as food, fashion, games, entertainment etc. 

Access: Only 3 minutes walk from MRT Kaohsiung Arena Station (捷運巨蛋站(裕誠路))

Dome of Light (美麗島站光之穹頂) /
Liuhe Night Market (六合觀光夜市)
A more tourist-centric night market would be the Liuhe Night Market, occupying only a long stretch of street, much smaller in scale but you can have more space to breathe. It is just few minutes walk from the MRT Formosa Boulevard Station where the famous Dome of Light (美麗島站光之穹頂) is located at. 
I remember the Thai chilli lime pork bakkwa is freshly grilled in front of customers and the tangy savoury flavour is amazing. But I am not sure if this is an usual offering or CNY special snack here.

Futagi Coffee Roasters (二木咖啡)

Just a 10-minute walk down the street, I spotted this interesting Japanese-style cafe tucked along the alley. It opens in the afternoon till late night, and I see the crowd starts flocking in after 10pm. But coffee drinking at night is not my thing, so I come back in the following afternoon and enjoy some quiet me time at the corner table sipping on my latte - so relaxing an therapeutic! 

WeiWu Mimi Village (衛武迷迷村)
If you have some extra time to spare in Kaohsiung, perhaps you can add the artsy neighbourhood in Lingya District, WeiWu Mimi Village (衛武迷迷村) into your itineraray. It is quite an unique experience to stroll along a fully functioning residential neighbourhood which is filled with mural arts. 

Each block of residential units is painted with arts of different themes and designs, elevating the vibrant atmosphere of this area. However, apart from photo taking, there is really nothing much to do here. 

San Feng Temple (三鳳宮)
Dubbed as the largest temple dedicated to the Neza in Taiwan, San Feng Temple (三鳳宮) now has over 300 years of history and I am here to check out the elegant architecture and exquisite details in every nook and corner of this religious landmark. And the photos turn out to be really vibrant and full of energy too. 

Sanmin Breakfast Shop - 三民周豆漿攤 (老周)

I feel lucky to have bumped into this popular local breakfast shop (I didn't see any tourists during my visit). And the food smells so good from afar! I order the crowd's favourite egg crepe (蛋饼+咸菜+肉松) which is surprisingly filled with crunchy preserved vegetables and loads of meat floss and sausages. The eggy aroma is so prominent that I am craving for another helping of this! 

The crullers and soft carrot cake are worth trying too. Absolutely lovin' the simple breakfast experience here. Be mindful that it opens as early as 4am in the morning, so come early before they close by noon. 

It's a wrap for the 7D6N Kaohsiung itinerary! Although I did not set high expectations on this trip, I am glad that it turns out to be so colorful and more enriching than I thought. And it is a milestone that I have finally covered the entire Taiwan - looking forward to visiting its neighbouring countries next! 


10.12.2023 - 16.12.2023

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