Ranked as Taiwan’s third most populous city since 2017, the cosmopolitan yet culturally-rich Kaohsiung offers a variety of landmarks, temples, markets, scenic views, and fun activities for local and foreign tourists marching to their own beats. No wonder it’s so flocked to!
So, why visit this laid-back yet massive large port city? Because ultimately, there’s something extraordinary to be discovered for everyone at Kaohsiung. Check out our 7 coolest reasons to visit Kaohsiung below!
Begin Your Journey to the Port City
We recommend taking Taiwan High Speed Rail or HSR, a two-hour journey starting from Taipei, instead of a 5 – 6 hour public bus ride or 4 – 5 hours on the metro. If you’re coming directly from Kaohsiung International Airport (KHH) to the city, enjoy the comfortable start to your adventure with a private transfer!
Where To Stay: Holiday Garden Hotel
Huayuan Hotel (formerly Golden) Holiday Garden Hotel is a convenient accommodation for first-timers who delight in modern and funky-themed rooms. Kids will love the cute yellow lion at the entrance, the designated playground area, and brightly-colored interior with doodles of quirky aliens or musical notes.
Meanwhile, adults can savor tasty dim sum by the in-house Cantonese restaurant and catch movies with a flat-screen TV and Wi-Fi in chic bedrooms! Facilities include an outdoor pool, gyms, and a coin-operated laundry service. Bonus: it’s a short walk to Liuhe Night Market and Love River, and the hotel is surrounded by beauty, seafood, and health shops too.
- Cost: Around NT$1711.71 per night for 2 adults. Book it here
1. You can find the biggest night market in Taiwan here
With over 30,000 square meters and 300 stalls, it’s easy for a shopper to get lost in the captivating hustle and bustle of the legendary Kaisyuan Night Market, dubbed as the largest night market in Taiwan AND Southeast Asia. It’s so big that it takes at least an hour just to walk through the whole thing!
Shopaholics, expect authentic Taiwanese delicacies, unique finds, hand-crafted artifacts, and a whole lot of people at every corner you turn. It’s a shopping experience you won’t want to miss!
2. The world’s largest public glass installation resides here
If you’re a fan of color, life, and art, you must check out the Dome of Light, found in Formosa Boulevard Station. Not only is it the world’s largest work of glass art, it’s also ranked second most beautiful underground station in the world last 2012! Behold the awe-inspiring ceiling made from stained-glass windows that cover as many as 4,500 panels.
The display was designed by an Italian artist who had an elemental theme in mind: earth, fire, light, and water. There’s even a captivating 5-minute lights show that occurs at certain time slots! The beautiful display feels like you just stepped into a grand cathedral at Rome, making a traveler’s busy commutes a bit more bearable.
3. The food is great
What better place to get your authentic fix of Taiwanese street fare than from a night food market? Ruifeng Night Market is known to be a foodie’s haven for everything and anything they might crave for.
The huge 20-year-old night market serves up only the gastronomical best of Taiwan – from giant takoyaki balls filled with octopus, shrimp, and veggies, to steak teppanyaki, crispy fried chicken, pearl tea, even to the famous stinky tofu. It’s close to the MRT station, so expect to see people of all ages flock to Ruifeng from 5PM to past midnight!
Other Kaohsiung food options to try:
Kaohsiung’s Lotus Pond is a famous tourist destination, and for good reason. This man-made lake opened in 1951 is known for the beautiful lotus plants floating atop it, plus the many exquisite temples surrounding the pond. It also holds the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, another favorite tourist spot where guests enter and exit through a giant tiger’s mouth.
It’s a scenic, calm place to spend slow afternoons, and a historical location to go temple sightseeing— check out the 1684 Confucius Temple and the Spring and Autumn Pavilions!
The Pier 2 Art Center is a favorite among families and friends looking for a leisurely stroll through different art installations, sculptures, and exhibitions. Originally just an abandoned warehouse, the structure was refurbished to be an art center in 2006. Music, cultural performances, architecture, and even fireworks await local and foreign tourists here!
- Experience it here: Kaohsiung Private Day Tour: Cijin Island and Pier Art 2 Center
Cijin Island is a small, humble island just 15 minutes away from the city’s harbor. Flocked to by travelers looking for a fun yet leisurely respite from the hectic city, Cijin Island offers activities set for almost anyone.
For history geeks, you can climb up the iconic Cijin Lighthouse, reconstructed during the Japanese colonization. The Cijin Fort is also a historical landmark built in 1720, which offers a stunning 360-degree view of the island. The oldest temple of Kaohsiung, the Tianhou Temple, is adorned by many ornaments, making it a splendid sight to see.
Cijin Island is also ideal for an outdoor day trip, as tourists can rent a bike for the day and see the island for themselves. You can even hike up a mountain or eat your way through it all.
- Click here for a Private Day Tour of Cijin Island
7. They love their flowers
The Ciaotou Flower Farm is oh-so-pretty that it’s become a popular IG #OOTD destination for tourists! Best visited in December, this vast land of the prettiest flowers bloom just in time to end the year with thousands of colors and shades.
You can walk through the scenic sea of blooms and also enjoy Taiwanese street food along the way— try the notorious stinky tofu!
Now, you know why this vastly underrated city is your next best culture trip waiting to happen! From its peaceful pace, huge night markets, and incredible art to the most pretty metro station you’ll ever see, Kaohsiung definitely showcases a different feel of Taiwan.
Check out our very own wonderful KKday adventure in Kaohsiung:
Other fun activities in Kaohsiung:
- Racing at Suzuka Circuit Park
- Visit Kaohsiung E-DA Theme Park
- Discover Hakka Culture at Meinong Folk Village and Taiwan Aboriginal Cultural Park
Need more non-Taipei travel ideas for Taiwan? Enjoy our other guides below: