The Top Things to Do in the Coastal City of Kaohsiung

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The Top Things to Do in the Coastal City of Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung is a vibrant coastal city in southwestern Taiwan. From the city's humble beginnings as a small trading village in the 17th Century, Kaohsiung has grown to become the main economic, transportation, and industrial center of southern Taiwan. The city is well developed with wide streets, an elaborate transport network, and vast parks. It also has a number of pristine beaches in the vicinity and enjoys decent weather most of the year making it the perfect spot for a vacation.

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The Top Things to Do in the Coastal City of Kaohsiung

1. Love River

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The Love River is among the most iconic scenic spots in Kaohsiung. Also known as the Ai River, it originates in Renwu District and flows twelve kilometers through the city and out to the harbor. As its name suggests, the river is a popular romantic destination with beautifully decorated riverbanks and outdoor cafes. The park adjacent to the river is a popular recreation park where you can cycle, run, play, or just stroll about taking in the stunning sights. The best time to go for a river cruise is in the evening when the city’s lights sparkle on the river making it a charming and romantic sight to behold.

2. Lotus Pond

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Lotus Pond is a man-made lake located in Kaohsiung's Zuoying District. The lake is also known by some as a sporting venue when it hosted several watersports during the 2009 World Games. It's a lovely spot to get away from the busy city and is surrounded by plenty of attractions including a number of pagodas and temples.

The most iconic is the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas where visitors are prompted to run through the dragon’s mouth and exit through the tiger’s, an action said to alleviate bad luck. Inside, stunning paintings tell stories of hell and heaven inspiring visitors to do good deeds during their lifetime. Other attractions nearby include the Pei Chi Pavilion where a 72-meter tall water statue of 'God-Emperor of the North Pole' stands and the Spring and Autumn Pavilions.

3. Shoushan Mountain

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For the outdoor lovers, Shoushan Mountain is a beautiful untouched paradise in the city. It is also commonly referred to as Monkey Mountain due to the many monkeys that make the area their home. It's also known for its wonderful views of the city with an observatory aptly called the Love Observatory. The mountain is also close to other attractions you can visit such as the Shoushan Zoo and the former British consulate. For another view of the city, visit the Tuntex 85 Sky Tower with an observatory on the 75th floor and served by one of the world’s fastest elevators whizzing you up and down in record time.

4. Liuhe Night Market

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Kaohsiung’s night markets are popular among locals and tourists alike making them a lovely and vibrant place to shop, dine, or just walk around enjoying the sights and sounds of the city that never seems to sleep. The markets usually open at dusk and close at midnight giving you plenty of time to explore them extensively. The largest of the city’s night markets are Liuhe, Jinzhuan, and Ruifeng drawing large crowds from all over while other small local markets with fewer crowds offer a more intimate shopping experience. The markets sell almost everything from foods, groceries, shoes, clothing to even jewelry and some of them also include games to play.

5. Shoushan Zoo

A perfect attraction for families with kids visiting Kaohsiung, the zoo is located on Shoushan Mountain at the north border of Shoushan Park and is home to over 100 species of native and exotic animals including elephants, camels, lions, kangaroos, tigers, black bears. Founded in 1978, it was moved to its current location in 1986, being regularly updated ever since.

6. Tianlao Moon World

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The Tianlao Moon World is one of the most famous badlands in Taiwan and the only one in the world located in a tropical climate. Its rugged landscape is said to resemble that of the moon hence its name. The unusual terrain is classified as a 'badland' as it is impossible to conduct any agricultural activity on its barren soils. It is, however, a unique geological wonder that continues to attract scores of tourists and scholars making it a popular attraction in the area.

In recognition of this, the government has built several observatory decks along the many hiking paths that traverse through the landscape. From here you can see the beauty of the land and take lovely photographs while you hike with friends and family. Although it is located outside the city limits, it is easily accessible with several transport options.

7. Dream Mall

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Opened in 2007 Dream Mall features a variety of shops, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and even a rooftop amusement park. The mall is the perfect place to shop, dine, and play while in the city with no shortage of activities for you to engage in. The mall was designed by RTKL, an international architectural firm based in the USA and features a glass exterior and a neat well-lit interior. The rooftop amusement park is undeniably the main attraction for most visiting here and features a large Ferris wheel and a small playground for children. The Hello Kitty Ferris Wheel offers amazing views out over Kaohsiung and towards the ocean and is particularly stunning when it's lit up at night.

8. Pier-2 Art District

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The Pier-2 Art District is an attractive harbor side area whose warehouses have been converted into boutiques, art galleries, and entertainment spots. Most of the buildings in the area were built in the early 1970s but had been abandoned, prompting the government to come up with ingenious ways of reviving them. From 2002, a collaboration between the government and local artists converted the once derelict area into a thriving arts center.

Now it features a number of outdoor art sculptures, beautifully-painted buildings, along with a small railway museum. The area has also become a popular venue for various events such as concerts and festivals that take place there throughout the year. You can also grab a bite and refreshments within the area at the many cafes and restaurants located nearby.

9. Formosa Boulevard Station

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Formosa Boulevard Station located in the Xinxing district of Kaohsiung is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world. It features a stained-glass installation known as the ‘Dome of Light' that was designed by Narcissus Quagliata, a renowned Italian artist. It's made up of 4,500 glass panels and covers a total area of 2,180 square meters with a diameter of 30 meters making it one of the largest public art installations in the world. Walking around the dome you'll get to see the various sections which form the story of human life, water, the womb of life, earth, light and fire sections each portraying a different message with the main one being 'love and tolerance.'

10. Cijin Island

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Cijin Island is a narrow island located about ten minutes from Kaohsiung Harbor by ferry. It's a popular destination known for its vast beaches along with the religious and historical buildings, as well as some of the best seafood joints in the city. Electric scooters and motorbikes can be hired from rental shops on the mainland enabling you to explore the island extensively.

There are many attractions on the island such as the Cihou Fort, Tianhou Temple, Cihou Lighthouse, Cijin Wind Turbine Park. After walking around take off your shoes and relax at the beach or hop into a bar or restaurant and enjoy the sights, sound, and tastes of the island. Unlike on the mainland of Kaohsiung, life moves at a steady pace here making it a lovely place to relax and unwind far from the busy and noisy city center.


Kaohsiung is one of those cities that call for you to visit. It sells itself with its authenticity and diversity offering visitors an exhilarating time from the moment they land to their moment of departure. From ancient relics and natural beauty to markets, beaches, and high-end hotels and malls, Kaohsiung seems to have it all making it the perfect place to explore, play, and relax in southern Taiwan.