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 Taiwan'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 hard-working beginnings.
Just a short ferry ride from the city's downtown is the narrow island of Qijin, 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 Mazu, 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 through 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 Pavillions, 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 realize cities are like oceans too—each has its own currents, its own moods. So what are you waiting for? Come, and dive into Kaohsiung, Taiwan's best kept secret by the sea.
- 「回某處」- Head Back
When it's time to swap sea air for mountain air, head back to the mainland to Monkey Mountain.
- 「端上、提供」- Serve Up
Drift along with the human tide through a canyon of neon-lit stalls serving up all the fruits of the sea.
- 「等待、等候」- Wait For
So what are you waiting for?