Once a city thrived on steel and petrochemical industries, Kaohsiung is now embracing an industry without a chimney – tourism. According to Lonely Planet, it is the top 5 city that is ready for prime time in 2018, and the city that should be on your travel list based on the article on CNN. But the fame of Kaohsiung tour does not come out of nowhere.
Kaohsiung, the second biggest city of Taiwan, is rich in story that it longs to share with the tourists. The British Consulate at Takao may tell you the history of how the city was forced to open its harbor; The Ruifeng Night Market will treat you the best Taiwan food that is the most authentic, and Pier-2 Art Center may show you how deserted warehouses could be turned into a famous tourist attraction. A trip in Kaohsiung will not only complete your Taiwan tour but also leave you a wonderful memory for good.
The best thing to travel in Taiwan is that the convenience of public transportation is beyond compare. As one of the most modern cities in Taiwan, Kaohsiung surely has a well-designed transportation system. So, our Kaohsiung tour will start right after you arrive at Kaohsiung Railway Station. Simply transfer to KRT (Kaohsiung Rapid Transit) and get off at Yangchengpu Station, and you will get to our first stop, Pier-2 Art Center.
MyProGuide One-day Itinerary Recommendation:
- Pier-2 Art Center (MRT Yangchengpu Station )
- Snacking around: Shaved ice of Gushan Ferry Station (Cijin Ice Bowl or Cijin Hai Ji Bin)
- British Consulate, Sizihwan
- Chihou Fort & Chihou Lighthouse
- Snacking around: Qijin Fishcake
- Ruifeng Night Market
Pier-2 Art Center is a modern art park where decorated architectures, sculpture, and statues are seen everywhere on the field. Galleries and museums are scattered around. And the exhibitions of different kinds are held throughout the year. It is also one of the proofs that Kaohsiung is a city of transformation. Used to be abandoned warehouses, creativity and innovative art blossom like flowers in spring in the harbor area after a group of artists decided not to let it be wasted and established Pier-2 Artistic Development Association. The place was thus transformed into the headquarters for artistic development in southern Taiwan and the attraction tourist must go during their Kaohsiung tour.
Take the Kaohsiung Light Rail, and the next stop of our trip in Kaohsiung is Takao Railway Museum at Hamasen Station. Originally the Takao Station, it was the first railway station in Kaohsiung built when Taiwan was still under Japanese rule. After the station was closed in 2008, the city government turned it into the museum to carry on the history of the railway in Kaohsiung.
After your eyes are satisfied with art and your brain are nourished with historical knowledge, it’s time for your stomach to have some goodie. Shaved ice is one of the famous Taiwan food you should try during your Taiwan tour. The size of shaved ice of Gushan Ferry Station (Cijin Ice Bowl or Cijin Hai Ji Bin) is nothing like that of other places. If you put X5 (times 5) on the menu; instead of getting five serves, you simply get a bowl serves five. And the maximum size of the bowl can serve as many as 20 people in total. (MyProGuide’s friendly reminder: please don’t try to swallow the whole thing by yourself if you’re not professionally trained.)
With your stomach full, let’s get on bus and head to Sizihwan. Packed with tourists who love sea sports, the bay is known for the natural coral reef on the coastlines. You can enjoy the breeze at the sandy beach and gaze over the sparkling water. Or wander along the seaside to reach The British Consulate at Takao.
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After losing to Britain, the Qing dynasty was forced to open the port of Takao (old name of Kaohsiung), and the British Government rented the place to be the consulate center. It was changed into an “Ocean Observatory” by the Japanese Government after it claimed the whole island and finally converted to a museum to keep all the historical documents and cultural products by the present government. If you want your trip in Kaohsiung to be more intellectual, the British Consulate at Takao is a must-go for you.
Now, let’s get back to Gushan Ferry Station and board the ship to Cijin, a sand island only a few minutes away from Gushan. Here, touring on foot is fine but touring with a bike is more recommended. Starting from the bottom of the hill, bike along the path and reach an intersection where Chihou Fort will be on your left and Lighthouse on your right.
In order to protect the important harbor, the first fortifications were constructed in 1720. And the modern fort was built after Japan started to sweep over Asia. Chihou Fort is now the Grade Two Historic Site that is protected by the government. The whole fort is mostly covered with red tiles, which makes tourists feel like traveling to the past.
Opposite to ancient Chinese style of the fort, Cihou Lighthouse was more Western-styled. There are two parts of the lighthouse. The square lighthouse was built by a British architect in 1883 to guide the ship at night. And the octagonal tower was built next to it in 1918 with the Baroque base and the black domed top. Located atop of the cliff, it assures the safety of the ships coming into the port and also allows tourists to have the superb view of the whole Kaohsiung harbor and the dazzling ocean.
Keep biking down from the hill, Qijin Beach Park will be there awaiting you. Beach parks are for summer, based on people’s stereotype. But Qijin Beach Park is not confined to the season. Tourists can not only enjoy swimming, surfing, and parasailing, they can also behold the view on the scenic trail and in the natural ecological area. Even off-road terrain area is available here for off-road biking enthusiasts. Or you can take pictures with the two-story high statue on the field.
After watching the breathtaking sunset at the beach, there’s another journey we must embark on – the stuff-your-face-with- Taiwan food journey.
Let us start with some street snacks. And the first one is Qijin Fishcake (Japanese Tempura). Even though it just came out not so long ago, it has already attracted foodie to line up for it. Poached eggs are sliced into pieces, covered with fresh fish slurry, and deep fried in the hot oil. People are falling for the texture of the cakes since they are crispy outside and tender inside. The second one is the Yuegui (Laurel) Barbecued Neritic Squid, which has been there for more than twenty years. After you try it, you will see why this is a must-eat. Since the store is right beside the bay, the squids are all fresh and juicy. After the squids are soaked in the fragrance of wooden fire, they are brushed with the store’s secret sauce and sprinkled with white sesame. Altogether is the snack which the taste will lure you back to Kaohsiung again.
And now we are really getting down to business. Please don’t tell others that you have been to Cijin if you leave without trying the seafood here. Different from most of the seafood restaurants where the price is unclear, Seaside Seafood shows it all. (MyProGuide’s friendly reminder: the price of seafood restaurants vary from time to time according to the contemporary price of the seafood and is usually measured by jin (斤). And one jin equals to 600 grams.) And it is often packed with customers even when it’s not even five o’clock. You can see tanks of sea animals that are still swimming lively in front of the stores, so the freshness is guaranteed. The juicy shrimps, luscious crabs, and delectable fish are all available here. If you are a seafood lover, make sure you come to Seaside Seafood to dig in and leave your Kaohsiung tour with no regret.
Before heading home, let our guide gives the finishing touch to your Taiwan tour. Night markets could be a confusing place to wander alone, yet it will become a paradise for your if there’s some local friend to guide you. Click here to explore Kaohsiung with tour guide
And now, shall we begin?
Ruifeng Night Market, one of the most recommended night market in Kaohsiung. Unlike some of the night markets that are expensive, the price at Ruifeng is reasonable and the kinds of food is abundant. If you really want to enjoy Taiwan food with a good price, Ruifeng Night Market cannot be missed in your Kaohsiung tour.
Lao Jiang Red Tea, a store that has been around for more than sixty years. The rich flavor of tea and the fresh milk from local farm combined together is the best-selling beverage that whoever tries it will remember it.
Okinawa Crispy Fried Squid, which is said to have led the trend of fried squid. Bigger than your face, the squid is deep fried but not greasy at all. And the outside crust is so crunchy that people around you will hear the sound of your bite.
Chung Ji Seafood Congee, a famous store that is from Liuhe Night Market. The soup is flavorful and the seafood is plentiful. Having a bowl of congee here will give you the illusion of diving in the ocean. It really does!
Hate to say goodbye. But knowing that your Taiwan tour is wonderful is our greatest happiness. Hope the beauty and marvel of the trip in Kaohsiung are kept in your mind and MyProGuide will see you soon!