Every city offers something a little different. for Kaohsiung, it seemed like slower, smaller Taipei. I had the opportunity to couch surf with a young gentleman and his family for a few days and my interactions with the people here have been nothing but friendly, generous, and humbling. It seems that the further south I travel, the nicer people become (not that people in Taipei are mean) and striking up conversations was very easy.
There are a few attractions in Kaohsiung that travelers are subjected to, so I won’t go through them all, but just the ones I enjoyed the most, and the ones I’ve saved for another time.
1.) Biking along Love River, 愛河
Kaoishung has a rental bike program similar to Taipei, except the first hour is free (Youbike in Taipei is only 30 minutes). Not only that you are able to return and immediately check out the bike for additional free hour. You essentially can rent a bike the entire day without paying any money if you plan it correctly.
There are a few drawbacks. Getting setup is a little bit more difficult, particularly for a non-Taiwan resident. Luckily I had already had a Kaohsiung Transit (K-MRT) card. Bike rental locations are not as ubiquitous, so if traveling a bit out of the city good luck finding a return station unless there is a big tourist attraction nearby.
2.) British Consulate at Takao, 英國領事館文化園區, $66NT entry fee
When I first heard about this place, I asked, “Why the hell would I want to go a consulate?”. Turns out it’s actually really worth going to. There is a bit of a embedded history and Taiwan’s constant change of foreign rule between the lat 1800’s and early 1900’s. Taiwan was forced to open up its ports to foreign trade. When the Japanese occupied, they assumed control of the consulate when it was closed and then reopened, for which the walls were painted white during WWII to painted U.S. bombing attacks (Wikipedia).
Despite your opinion on whether this historical information is exciting or not, the views from atop the hill offer a scene of Kaohsiung that cannot be seen anywhere else.
The hike down the back of offers a view of Cijin Island.
Being a stone’s throw away from Kaohsiung city, this mountain provides a hilly and highly elevated escaped, and is sometimes coined, the “lungs of Kaohsiung”. There are two main entry points of ShouShan. One from the Siziwan (四子灣) area at Sun Yet San University and the other on the East side near Kushan High school (皷山國中). The Formosan rock macque are commonly seen lounging in the middle of the trails.
The information booth at the Kaohsiung Train Station is very useful and much of the information provided is sourced from their pamphlets. A very easy way to view the main attractions are take the cultural tours. One time bus fee and allows you on/off rights for the entire day. There are three offered each with its own meeting location: 1.) Hamasen (GPS: 22.620028, 120.271850) 2.) Zuoying, and 3.)Fongshan. More details on this web site here.
Places I Need to Visit Next Time
1.) Cijin Island
The Flickr albums can be viewed here.