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Kaohsiung in Taiwan was a pleasant surprise for me! I had never heard of this City until I saw a better flight from Kaohsiung to Japan than Taipei to Japan, I typed into Google ‘things to do in Kaohsiung’ and a few blog posts appeared telling me that this Port City is one of the most underrated cities in Taiwan and is a lovely city to spend a few days. So I booked the flight, booked 3 nights at FlyInn Hostel in Kaohsiung and I’m here to tell you that I agree and that Kaohsiung cannot be missed on your Taiwan Itinerary!
Whether you’re flying in or out of Kaohsiung or just passing by on a loop trip around Taiwan there are enough things to do in Kaohsiung, places to see in Kaohsiung and places to eat to keep you busy for at least 2 full days, maybe even 3 if you like exploring at a slower pace. At the same time, if 1 day in Kaohsiung is all you have, you can fit a lot in as the Metro system is really good!
To SEE my Trip to Kaohsiung, have a watch of my YouTube video:
So here’s what I got up to and things I’d recommend you do too in Kaohsiung, Taiwan:
Start your day right!
Taiwan is famous for its breakfasts and walking the streets of Kaohsiung in the morning you will find lots of little places open with plenty of locals in them eating and in some cases queuing for breakfast.
One place in Kaohsiung that has become particularly popular and probably because it’s mentioned in so many blogs is Xing Long Ju!
It’s open every day from 4:00 am to 11:00 am and the nearest MTR station to Xing Long Ju is City Council Station.
I think no matter what time you visit you’ll have to queue at Xing Long Ju for Breakfast in Kaohsiung as the locals love it just as much as us visitors however the queue goes down pretty quickly as many locals are taking food away and there are plenty of seats inside and upstairs.
I believe they serve a breakfast soup but that had gone when I got there at 9:30 am and instead I had perhaps what is their brunch option, of a flaky sesame seed bread with an omelette inside and I also got one of the fried breadsticks inside as I saw someone else ordering it. Soybean milk is a popular drink with a Taiwanese Breakfast so I got soybean milk with sugar too.
It wasn’t the best food I’ve ever had and was very greasy but I went for the local Taiwanese Breakfast experience and that’s what I got!
They also sell Bao dumplings which look amazing however I wasn’t sure if they had meat in them and was far too full anyway but I would recommend you get one or two Bao at Xing Long Ju when you visit.
85 Sky Tower Observation Deck
If you want to start your trip with a City view, the best view of Kaohsiung it seems is from the 85 Sky Tower building which is the tallest building in Kaohsiung and not hard to miss.
The closest metro station to 85 Sky Tower is Kaohsiung Exhibition Centre and Sanduo Shopping District.
For more details on Kaohsiung 85 Observatory, have a look on their website here!
Pier 2 and Pier 2 Arts Centre in Kaohsiung is a really cool place to visit. Get the Orange MRT line to Yanchengpu and when you leave, head towards the Coast. You’ll soon come upon what once were Port Warehouses, then disused Warehouses, now renovated Warehouses with activities inside and lots of cool Art on the outside!
If you’re looking for things to do with Children in Kaohsiung, this is a great place to visit. Not only are there lots of Art Murals and huge Statues of random animals but there’s a little train to take you around some of the warehouses (when I say little, I mean really little!) and there’s a huge green park which has also been filled with art and is a fun place to play!
From Pier 2 I’d recommend heading to Cijin Island, it’s a good idea to pair these two together because they are so close together. The ferry to Cijin Island leaves from Gushan Ferry Pier regularly, you can take bikes and mopeds over if you wish.
It costs 30NTD each way and you can use Taiwan’s EasyCard to pay for the Ferry (this works on the Kaohsiung metro too as well as on the Taipei Metro and basically all over Taiwan). The boat literally takes 5 minutes to get to Cijin Island and the extent of this Port City is really shown in the views over.
Cinjin Island is actually quite big but I have a feeling that most people stick to the North where the ferry drops you off like I did. In terms of things to do on Cijin Island, a popular way to get around is to hire a bike or an electric bike/golf buggy type thing. Lots of people hire them so the traffic must be used to tourists driving them (quite badly in some cases that I saw), however as I’m not a keen bike rider and I was on my own I just decided to walk and Cijin Island is very walkable too so that was fine. The main places I recommend you visit on Cijin Island are:
It’s worth noting that even if you hire a bike on Cijin Island you still have to walk up the hill to the Fort and Lighthouse but it’s worth it as the views over the City are incredible!
Formosa Boulevard Dome of Light
If you happen to be passing by the Formosa Boulevard MRT station be sure to have a quick look at their Dome of Light near the station entrance, it won’t take long but it’s worth a look when passing through!
Love River in Kaohsiung runs through the City and out into the Port. I had a little walk along it near the Port end of the River and it was really nice. It kind of reminded me of Melbourne’s River which the huge buildings on either side. People were practising sailing it in and it was just a nice peaceful part of the City to see and walk along.
Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum
I didn’t make it here in my 2 days in Kaohsiung as the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum is quite far out of the City Centre but you can get there via public bus and it does look very impressive so I do recommend it to you as a popular thing to do in Kaohsiung if you have time.
Further North and out of the City a bit but still on the MRT line is Lotus Lake which is surrounded by Temples.
To get to Lotus Lake take the Kaohsiung MRT to Zuoying Station and walk to the Lake. It’s possible to make a huge loop around the Lake and there are cafes surrounding it too. I saw a really nice cafe towards the North end where the bridge crosses the narrow part of the Lake which would be a lovely place to have a coffee or drink.
The Dragon and Tiger Pagoda is by far the most famous temple on Lotus Lake however after seeing many photos of it online I was a little disappointed with how small it actually is, however that’s just me.
I did really like the Dragon Temple next to it which I believe is called the Spring and Autumn Pavilions with Wuli Pavilion at the end and further up is Xuan Tian Shang di Shen Xiang (according to my map) which was also very impressive.
In short, I’d recommend this as a place to visit in Kaohsiung but make sure you see more than just the Dragon and Tiger Temple and do give yourself time to walk around Lotus Lake too!
Kaohsiung Night Markets
Taiwan is known for its night markets and I visited 5 whilst I was in Taiwan, 2 of which were Kaohsiung’s Night Markets as it has 2 Night Markets popular for Tourists.
The best Night Market to visit in Kaohsiung, in my opinion, is Ruifeng Night Market. Ruifeng Night Market is quite far out of the centre and is in fact very close to Lotus Lake so I would suggest going to Lotus Lake at about 4:00 pm and then heading over to Ruifeng Night Market by foot as I did.
The nearest MRT stop for Ruifeng Night Market is Kaohsiung Arena Station.
Ruifeng Night Market covers a fairly small area in terms of size but it packs its stalls in offering so much! In terms of food I think this is the best Night Market I went to in Taiwan and definitely the best Night Market for Vegetarians in Taiwan as it had lots of Veggie options.
Related Post: My Vegetarian Guide to Taiwan’s Night Markets.
It also has games like all of Taiwan’s Night Markets and sells other bits too and although many tourists go and it is aimed at tourists too with many English signs, it still feels like a local Taiwanese Night Market.
I really recommend you go to Ruifeng Night Market as one of the best places to go in Kaohsiung but note that it is closed on Monday’s and Wednesday’s!
The second Night Market in Kaohsiung is Liouhe Tourist Night Market, this is in the centre of Kaohsiung and the closest MRT station is Formosa Boulevard (check the Dome of Lights on your way out). Liouhe Night Market is one long road which has been shut off.
There is a huge array of food stalls and it is a really great Taiwan Night Market.
Liouhe Night Market in Kaohsiung is open every day so if you do visit Kaohsiung to go to a Night Market on Monday or Wednesday, you’ll have to go to this one!
I thought I might do a day trip on one of my two days in Kaohsiung, as it turns out I didn’t need to as I really enjoyed Kaohsiung and it kept me busy for two days however if you have longer or do all of the above in one day in Kaohsiung, thanks to Taiwan’s awesome train system you can do a number of day trips by train.
Popular Day Trips from Kaohsiung include:
It’s not recommended to book train tickets online in Taiwan and instead it’s best to get them in the Train Station in advance (Kaohsiung Main Station in this case), however, to get an idea of train times and durations, this is the Taiwan Railways Timetable.
I stayed at FlyInn Hostel which I really liked and is definitely one of the best hostels in Kaohsiung. It’s rated very highly on Hostelworld and for good reason, it’s in a great location next to Sanduo Shopping District MRT, it’s been well designed with good private double and single rooms, and dorm rooms.
I would recommend the best place to stay in Kaohsiung as being near an MRT station whether that’s Sanduo Shopping District or Formosa Boulevard in the centre so you can get everywhere in the City very easily.
Kaohsiung is connected well by train. I got a train from Hualien where I visited Taroko National Park on the East Coast, and then I left via Kaohsiung Airport as as I said it was a cheaper and quicker flight to Japan from Kaohsiung than Taipei.
It’s very easy to reach Kaohsiung Airport from the City Centre in 15 minutes on the Metro (it’s the fastest I’ve never got to an Airport I think!).
There is a High-Speed Train from Taipei (I really loved Taipei) and Taichung which get’s you to Kaohsiung in no time at all, so all of these ways are popular ways to get to and from Kaohsiung, Taiwan!
I hope this has convinced you that Kaohsiung should be in your Taiwan Itinerary, and it gives you lots of ideas of things to do.
For more of my blog posts on Taiwan see:
I stayed at FlyInn Hostel complimentary however I had an enjoyable stay and recommend it to you. This post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you.
I’m Ellie Quinn!
I’m a total travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010 and has visited over 55 Countries. (Yes I’m a Country Counter!)
I love travelling, visiting new places and meeting new people but what I also love is sharing my experiences to help you travel better which is why I pour so much love into this travel blog.
I hope to inspire you to visit new places, make you realise you don’t need to spend that much money to travel and give you helpful tips on how to get to places and what to do there!
In the Summer of 2018, I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time so if this is your dream too, follow along because I post lots of content around how I did it. And it really is amazing!
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