Kaohsiung is in the southern part of Taiwan on the banks of the Love River. Kaohsiung International Airport is well connected with air routes to Hong Kong, Macau, Tokyo, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. A high speed train can transfer attendees from Taipei in 90 minutes.
THINGS TO DO IN KAOHSIUNG
This narrow island juts out into Kaohsiung Harbor. It is a natural harbor breakwater but also a thriving retail and dining strip with dozens of seafood places serving up catches that diners can see being pulled right out of the harbor. Underwater tunnels connect Cijin to the mainland.
Dream Mall is slightly out of the center of town. It is impossible to visit Kaohsiung without making at least one appearance at the Dream since it is so enormous that it can be seen from almost all parts of Kaohsiung and hosts not only hundreds of retails outlets but several extraordinary food courts. Major cultural events happen here too.
Liouho Night Market
There are many night markets in Kaohsiung but the one at Liouho is by far the most esteemed. Locals gather here soon after nightfall and the atmosphere is truly electric. Many budget hotels are located in the Liouho district also.
Sanduo shopping district
There is a major rail interchange here as well as Sanduo being the main focus of retail life in Kaohsiung. Major department stores, some embassies and plenty of five-star hotels surround the Sanduo area, which is in the center of downtown. This is a great place to use as a landmark and meeting point for groups and friends.
Modern Kaohsiung races toward its future with unbridled enthusiasm but it holds onto its great heritage with the districts that make up the Old City. Starting with the harbor strip of Cijin, Gushan, Yancheg and Zuoying make up this precinct, which is a walker’s and a diner’s dream come true.
Several years of beautification and urban renewal have made the banks of the River Ai, which is the main waterway of Kaohsiung, a tourist draw. Plenty of restaurants and hotels now sit very close to the water’s edge, but this is such as large harbor that it is split into several districts itself.
Pier-2 Art District
An attractive area consisting of 25 warehouses from the 1970s that have been turned into galleries, boutiques and entertainment venues. Prices at the outlets are not low but that doesn’t prevent Pier-2 from being a wonderful place in which to spend half a day (or as long as you like).
Cijin Tianhou Temple
One of Kaohsiung’s very few temples that made the national protected relics list is also its oldest mazu temple – constructed in 1673 when Cijin became a commercial centre and restored in the 1920s. There’s a sense of graceful antiquity in its interiors, particularly in the relief sculptures, mosaics and decorative paintings by master of folk art, Chen Yu-feng (1900–64), which time and smoke have made hauntingly beautiful. The temple also has fanciful Fujian-style swallowtail eaves and two exquisite stone lions guarding its door.
Fo Guang Shan
At the north-east point of Dashu Township in Kaohsiung county, South Taiwan, Fo Guang Shan Monastery (literally translated as Buddha’s Light Mountain Monastery) sits on a bamboo hill on the left bank of the Gaoping river. Here you will find the headquarters of a prominent Buddhist order, established by Master Hsing Yun and his disciples. The architecture of the buildings within the monastery complex is characteristic of the traditional Buddhist monastery, but one may be pleasantly surprised with the array of visitor-friendly amenities on offer. The southeastern face of Fo Guang Shan Monastery features the prominent Great Buddha Land, which is home to a standing Buddha image of 48 metres in height, and 480 smaller Buddha images that surround it. English-speaking visitors may find information and maps in English at the Reception.
Dragon and Tiger Pagodas
On the southern edge of Lotus Lake are the red-and-yellow seven-storey Dragon and Lion Pagodas, built in full-blown ’70s flamboyance. They’re connected to a temple by a zigzag bridge. Leading to the twin towers are corridors built in the likeness of the eponymous creatures. Be sure to enter through the dragon’s mouth and exit through the lion’s jaws. To do otherwise would bring terrible luck.