Exploring the city of Kaohsiung

Fishing boat on the Love River in Kaohsiung

I recently spent a few days in Kaohsiung (高雄). I have only passed through the city briefly before, so I wanted to take some time to look around the city and explore a little. I also wanted to see Kaohsiung's new MRT system which I will write about in another post.

On the first day I visited the Kaohsiung Museum of History which provides a good introduction to the city. The museum is located in the old city hall building which was built in the 1930s. It starts telling the history of Kaohsiung from the time its original inhabitants, the Makatao people. The name Takao came from the Makatau language and probably means bamboo forest. This was later represented by the Chinese characters 打狗 (dǎgǒu) which mean "hit the dog". The Japanese later changed the characters to 高雄 (gāoxióng) which have a much more elegant meaning and that how is the city became known as Kaohsiung.

Sailing boats on the Love River in Kaohsiung

The city is built around the harbour and there are many places to experience the waterside feel of the city. The Love River has a wonderful promenade alongside it. The Museum of History and also the Kaohsiung Municipal Film Archive are both located by the river. I saw a group of school children out sailing on the river too.

Tianhou Temple on Kaohsiung\'s Qijin Island

Qijin Island is reached via a short ferry ride. This is the place where you can see some of Kaohsiung's history preserved be it in the Mazu Temple established in 1673 or the hilltop Qihou Battery and Lighthouse. It is also a place for recreation with bikes for hire and a beach. I even saw some surfers out catching some waves.

View of Kaohsiung City and harbour from the top of Shou Shan

Shou Shan (壽山) is the large mountain to the north of the harbor. It is quite a steep hike to the top, but the views are magnificent taking in all of the city and the harbor.

Dream Mall in Kaohsiung City

The Dream Mall is an enormous shopping mall in the south of the city topped by a ferris wheel. It contains a vast array of shops and department stores. I am not a fan of shopping malls but for those who are then the mall is probably a must visit.

Zhongshan Road in Kaohsiung City with the 85 Tower in the distance

The 347 metre tall 85 Tower dominates Kaohsiung's skyline. It was Taiwan's tallest building until Taipei 101 was completed. Overall Kaohsiung seemed a very pleasant city and a nice change of pace from Taipei. With the orange line of the MRT set to open soon the city will be even easier to get around and well worth a visit.

*more photos in the Kaohsiung set at flickr. 

6 thoughts on “Exploring the city of Kaohsiung

  1. You can see the foot of the mountains way off in the distance in your Shou Shan photo.
    Most times of the year that is not visible.

    Glad you enjoyed your trip South.

  2. Hi David,

    Interesting article on Kaohsiung, I was recently there for a wedding, but I didn’t really get time to explore the city.

    By the way, great picture of the harbor and the fishing boat, superb composition.


  3. I have spent most of my time in Taiwan in Kaohsiung and I have grown fond of this city so much, I can’t wait to be there again next month and see how it changed over the past year.

    Thanks a lot for the appetizer!

  4. I used to dislike that Kaoshinug 85, till someone explained to me that it’s suppose to look like the character “gao1”. Since then, I think it’s cool 🙂

    It is a nice city, and it’s getting better. The Kaohsiung 2009 World Games are a positive change. Next time, stop in ZuoYing and take a look at the Lotus Pond…. 🙂

  5. I really enjoyed the city during my first and only visit. I would love to visit again now that the KMRT is running.

  6. Pingback: Riding the Kaohsiung MRT - David on Formosa

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