If you are reading this then you must be in Kaohsiung or be planning to visit soon. You have made a good choice as Kaohsiung is one of the best kept secrets in Asia.
What can I do in Kaohsiung? There are so many great things to do in Kaohsiung that just choosing 21 of them merely scratches the surface. There is something here for everyone!
I’m sharing some of my personal favourites with you. Have a look, choose the ones you like and have fun!
A quick overview of Kaohsiung
**Before I start listing things to do I want to give you a quick overview of the city. **
Kaohsiung is located in south west Taiwan. It also has the largest port in Taiwan making it vital to trade and industry. It has a population of almost three million people.
The climate is pretty good all year round with the summers being hot, sticky and sometimes wet, and winters being warm and dry.
Getting to the city is easy, there is an international airport and it is situated at the southern end of the high-speed rail line.
1. Cijin Island
Cijin is one of my all-time favourite places. It is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the big city. I go here at least once a week.
The island is accessed by a 10 minute ferry from Sizihwan or a second 25 minute ferry near Dream mall (best option if you are cycling). I often take this ferry as I like to look at the ships in the harbour. There is also a tunnel but that is for cars and scooters only.
Once you are on the island, you have a few options. If you are walking, the main town has many great restaurants and shops to visit as well as a scenic path that takes you through the mouth of the harbour and around to a tunnel underneath the old fort. This path then takes you back along the coast where you can easily head back into the town.
If you have a bicycle, then your options are much greater. You can follow the cycle path along the beach or you can explore the small lanes and temples that follow the numerous shipyards on the eastern side of the island. I love to ride though these small roads that lead between the houses. You really get to see a different way of life.
2. Dream Mall
Website (Chinese only): Dream Mall
Dream Mall is a large shopping complex south of downtown Kaohsiung. You will easily spot it as it has a large ferris wheel on the top.
It was opened in May 2007 and has a total of 12 floors.
To get there by public transport the easiest way is to take the light rail and get off at C5 Dream Mall.
If you go by MRT you need to get off at Kaisyuan Station and then it’s a 15 minute walk.
You could easily spend a few hours here as it has much to offer. There are a lot of big-brand stores as well as a large choice of restaurants.
3. Computer / Camera Street
Location: Jianguo 2nd Road
Maybe it should be renamed “computer road” instead of computer street. It is quite close to Kaohsiung Main Station and is a great place to browse if you are a fan of technology. There are many store filled to the brim of computer and high-tech goodies.
There are also quite a number of camera shops here. They are ok and can offer some good deals. My favourite camera shop is located near Formosa Boulevard MRT station:
Best Camera Shop
This place is good for Fuji gear and as a reference I bought a 50mm f2 here for 75% of the UK price.
Be sure to have your smartphone with you to check the prices as some things are definitely cheaper in the US or UK. There are some bargains to be found though.
4. Sanduo Shopping District
This shopping district is a must visit if you are in Kaohsiung. It is located near the 85 skyscraper and offers the choice of department stores a cinema complex and many places to eat.
5. Kaohsiung Main Library
Kaohsiung main public library really is an inspirational place. It started service back in 2014 and has a modern, clean design that has won prizes.
I like to go here to relax, read a book or do some writing.
6. Dadong Arts Library
I love this place! I’m a photographer and this place has a really good selection of books to read through. It caters for all aspects of the arts though so it is well worth a visit.
It is much more than just a library, there are also exhibitions held here regularly.
7. Pier 2 Arts Project
This project shows what can be done when you have some passion and drive. The area comprised abandoned warehouses but over the years a group of dedicated artists have totally changed the place.
There is plenty to see and do here as there are always exhibitions on. Incidentally, if you like to fly a kite then you can do that too!
Take the MRT to the western end of the Orange line and you will find Sizihwan. There is a special feeling about this place. Gone is the modern, here is the old! This is a great place to hire a bicycle either for a trip to Cijin or just to explore the local area.
Sizihwan is teeming with little restaurants so there are many options to choose from. Go to the temple that I linked to, go in, buy some incense and offer up thanks to the gods for bringing you to this enchanting place! You will have to make it past the mini night market outside if you go there in the evening. I wouldn’t blame you if you stop to eat something!
9. Fo Guang Shan
• From the bus station in front of Kaohsiung Railway Station, take the direct Kaohsiung Bus 8010 (8010高雄客運) (12 NT) • From Zuoying High Speed Railway Station, take EdaBus 8501 (8501義大客運) (65 NT): Bus Schedule • From Fengshan Train Station, take Dashu Bus (大樹祈福線) (30 NT): Bus Schedule • From Pingtung Bus Station, take Pingtung Bus 8260 (屏東客運) (72 NT): Bus Schedule • From Zuoying High Speed Railway Station, take Harvard Express (哈佛快線) (70 NT). Check timings online:Bus schedule | Route Map
When I visited Kaohsiung for the first time I spent three months studying Chinese at a university. They took us on a trip to Fo Guang Shan and it was a magical experience. I know that the location is not that easy to get to, but to visit Taiwan and not go here would be a terrible shame.
Even if you do not think of yourself as religious, you should still try to visit. The sheer scale of the place combined with the inert tranquility make it a must see.
I have combined two of the more popular night markets here. In fact, there are many night markets dotted throughout the city but they are obviously not on the same scale as the two that I mention below. Most areas have a place where stalls gather together and see food at night. There is one on Cijin that I adore!
10. Rueifong Night Market
The nearest MRT station is Kaohsiung Arena.
Rueifong Night Market is the biggest night market in the city and is very popular. Expect it to be very crowded. Weekends are especially busy. Having said that you should go and try some of the food that makes Taiwan rightly famous.
11. Liuhe Tourist Night Market
The nearest MRT station is Formosa Boulevard (exit #11).
Liuhe Night Market is much smaller than Rueifong and has nowhere near the selection but it is quieter and is more centrally located.
12. Indoor Shrimp Fishing Karaoke
Yes, you did read this correctly, indoor shrimp fishing karaoke! You can go here, drink a beer and fish for shrimps. Your catch gets grilled and you tuck in.
I have a confession make on this one. I’m not the worlds biggest fan of shrimps so I have not personally tried this place out.
13. Hire a Bicycle
The majority of Kaohsiung is flat so it follows that cycling should be main mode of transport here. Is it? Well, no, it’s not. Why? I can only think that most of the population are super lazy and prefer to ride scooters. It’s also hot and humid here for much of the year, maybe that is a factor.
I ride a bicycle every day and find it to be the perfect method of transport. You should consider one too.
A quick Q&A about cycling in Kaohsiung.
Q: Is it safe?
A: The roads here have a separate lane for scooters and bicycles. So cars are not going to be whizzing past you all the time. Many of the sidewalks are also designated cycle paths but they often get obstructed. Overall I think it’s pretty safe.
Q: Is it expensive?
A: Nope! Many hotels offer free bicycles. If you want this, be sure to ask when you book.
Q: Where can I hire a bicycle?
A: There are a lot of bike hire shops in Sizihwan. Giant bike stores also offer bike hire.
14. Visit Cijin Lighthouse
Take the Gushan Ferry to Cijin and it’s a short walk although the path is a little steep it’s not too bad. There is a great view from the top!
15. Martyrs Shrine
Martyrs Shrine was established as the Takao Kotohira shrine during the Japanese rule of Taiwan in 1910. It was demolished in 1972 when Japan switched allegiance to the People’s Republic of China. The shrine was rebuilt shortly after. This time it was built to compare with the National Revolutionary Martyrs Shrine in Taipei.
The shrines location is on the mountain overlooking the city. You can walk or cycle up to here but “UP” is the keyword. Once at the top you can visit the temple and get a great view of the city, harbour and the island of Cijin.
16. Visit the Cultural Center
Take the MRT to the Cultural Centre station and it’s a five minute stroll.
The Cultural Centre is a vibrant place that always seems to have something going on. Alongside two concert halls, there are numerous galleries that hold frequent exhibitions. Walk up the stairs to the large open-plan, covered area and you will find all kinds of dancing taking place.
If you like to people watch then there are few better places.
17. See a Movie
The Kaohsiung Film Archive
Movies buffs will enjoy a visit to these archives. They are conveniently located near the mouth of the Love river.
There are plenty of cinemas in Kaohsiung where you can go to see the latest movies. Western movies are very popular here and are normally shown in English with Chinese subtitles. Just google them.
18. Visit Lotus Pond
Lotus Pond is an artificial lake that was opened back in 1951. It is a very picturesque location even though it’s a tourist magnet. I have been here once during the week and it was pretty quiet. I would probably avoid it on Sundays.
As well as having many temples dotted around it’s circumference the lake itself also gets used for water sports. If you are into that then go for it!
19. Visit the Former British Consulate at Takao
Built in 1865, the former British consulate at Takao is a designated 2nd Class Historic Site. It closed as a consulate in 1910.
It now has a lovely tea house which you will likely need as the location is at the top of a steep flight of stairs.
20. Walk Around a Produce Market
Minzu Morning Local Market. It opens very early and finishes lunchtime.
If you want to see what the people of Taiwan buy and cook then here is the place to go. It’s a labyrinth of stalls selling all kinds of produce. There are lots of fruit and vegetables here that I had never set eyes on before.
21. Visit the Museum of Fine Arts
A great place to visit if you are an art lover or you like a stroll in the park. It used to be free but now there is an entrance charge of around 90 NT$. I went by E-bike on my last visit and they are so kind. They let me put my bike inside their luggage room!
There you have it! 21 awesome things to do in Kaohsiung. They are really just the tip of the iceberg.
Are you thinking of visiting Taiwan soon? Check out my article telling you how to find great deals on flights..
I also have a dedicated page just for Kaohsiung. Click here!
Q: Is Taiwan an expensive place to visit?
A: No, It’s not, come and see for yourself!
Q: Can Taiwanese people speak English?
A: A lot of them can. Language should not be a barrier for you. Check out my article on this topic!