The city of Kaohsiung lies by the waters of the Taiwan Strait, in southwestern Taiwan. Over the last three centuries, Kaohsiung has grown from a humble trading village, into aiwan’s busiest harbor.
As a shipping and industrial powerhouse, Kaohsiung has had a gritty past. But today, a fresh wind is blowing, creating a modern, creative, and highly liveable city that still honors its hardworking beginnings.
Just a short ferry ride from the city’s downtown is the narrow island of Cijin, the place where the city meets the sea. This district serves as the harbor’s natural breakwater, and has been home to Kaohsiung’s fishing families for generations. Time slows down here, and the best way to experience the island’s rhythms is by foot, or bicycle.
Visit Tianhou Temple, dedicated to the goddess Matzu, the protector of sailors and fishermen. Follow dramatic coastal paths, then make the short climb to the lighthouse and fort for commanding views over the city.
When it’s time to swap sea air for mountain air, head back to the mainland to Monkey Mountain. Meet the forest’s furry residents, and pause for tea, as you climb ever upward for more great views.
Wherever you go in Kaohsiung, you’ll be reminded that this is a city with water in its veins. The Love River runs right though the heart of the city.Once little more than a neglected drain, the river’s transformation reflects a city awakening to its natural beauty.
But if the Love River is the city’s mirror, Lotus Lake is the city’s soul. From the remains of the Old Wall of Fengshan, explore the lake in a clockwise direction.At the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, entering through the dragon’s mouth and exiting from the tiger’s, is said to transform bad luck into good fortune. At the Spring and Autumn Pavilions, pay your respects to the Goddess of Mercy and the God of War.
While further around the lake, a towering statue of The Mysterious Warrior, Xuan Wu, rises from the waters. Lotus Lake is surrounded by more traditional temples too, such as Taiwan’s largest Confucian Temple and the extraordinary Tianfu Palace.
The area is filled with food stalls, so enjoy a snack as the sun sets, and the lake lights up in all its heavenly glory. After a busy day with the gods, follow your nose to the Liuhe Night Market, one of Asia’s largest.
Drift along with the human tide, through a canyon of neon-lit stalls serving up all the fruits of the sea. It’s in moments like this we realise cities are like oceans too, each has its own currents, it’s own moods. So what are you waiting for? come, and dive into Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s best kept secret by the sea.