11 Reasons why Kaohsiung Should be the Next Place You Visit
Famous Night Markets
Taiwan is famous the world over for its night markets, and within Taiwan the most famous night markets are in Kaohsiung.
Kaohsiung has a number of night markets. They are famous for their atmosphere, their combination of sights, smells and sounds, and most of all their amazing street food. Local specialities include barbecued seafood, dessert and Taiwanese snacks. Ruifeng and Liouhe are two of the most famous night markets in Kaohsiung but actually the city has a lot of night markets and it may be that you prefer to check out some of the small ones with a very local feel as well as the big ones famous for their food.
The Best Food in the World
Food is delicious wherever you are in Taiwan. In fact, that is one of the leading reasons people first visit this incredible island and keep coming back. Taiwanese love food and that produces a culture where delicious food of many types is widely available, at a good price. But if you think that Taipei has good food, wait till you get to Kaohsiung! Southern Taiwan offers more local food, prepared in traditional ways, and often at a lower price than you would find for the equivalent dishes in the northern part of the island. Kaohsiung is a food lover’s dream, with a huge array of some of the best food in the world on offer at prices that will not break the bank.
Amazing Coffee Shops
As Taiwan’s second city, Kaohsiung has a more laid-back feeling than Taipei. Maybe it is because of its coastal location, or proximity to the countryside, but Kaohsiung feels chilled. As with many chilled cities, locals enjoy that relaxation in a wide range of coffee shops.
Throughout the city you will find coffee shops from trendy designed ones, to retro cafes and simple holes in the wall where you are often the only customer but the coffee is still of high quality.
Rent and labour tend to be cheaper in Kaohsiung, so it can sustain a wide number of individual coffee shops without them feeling crowded with people. It’s the perfect place to raise a cup and relax.
Being close to water can have a calming effect. Kaohsiung was built on a port which remains busy, so there is a lot of activity on the nearby coast. But that does not mean that it is noisy or overly industrial. In fact, the city has some of it most relaxing vistas by the waterfront. Thanks to an extensive network of pathways along the seaside, it is easy to enjoy the views, sea breeze and sense of peace away from the crowds.
In some areas, the city has built specifically to make the waterfront atmosphere more pronounced and enjoyable. For example, the bridge over the Love River is famous and there are other, less famous but equally atmospheric bridges and promenades spread throughout the city.
Where Old Meets New
Kaohsiung is a modern city but has done a good job of preserving its old atmosphere. Combining traditional Hakka culture, buildings from the Japanese occupation era and classic twentieth century Asian shophouses, a host of historical buildings nestle in everyday neighbourhoods. Some like the free railway museum use an old railway station, while the revitalised Pier 2 has turned old brick dock warehouses into a lively area with charming boutiques, local shops and crafts exhibitions at weekends.
The Art of Light
Kaohsiung is perfect for social media lovers as its use of light makes it picture perfect. From its dramatically lit bridges, to the famous “Dome of Light” installation at one of the main interchanges on the city metro network, there is beautiful, colourful light spread across Kaohsiung.
Traditional Taiwanese Culture
The south of Taiwan is the heartland of traditional Taiwanese culture, and Kaohsiung is a perfect springboard to experience that. You can see some of it in the city itself, from Hakka restaurants and the Hakka Cultural Museum to weekend sales of art made by indigenous people. Alternatively you can go on a number of excursions close to the city to experience traditional culture, like the Hakka village at Meinong.
Easy to Travel
Kaohsiung is a transportation hub, with its own international airport and popular cruise port making it very connected to the outside world. Once you are there it’s easy to get around. The extensive subway system takes you directly from the airport to the city centre in just a few stops. There are local buses, cheap cabs and the ability to rent bicycles at low or no cost to get around the city. This city is easy to navigate and travel around.
Taiwanese culture has a long history and it involves European as well as Asian influences. As well as the local Asian influence, Kaohsiung offers a good opportunity to see the other parts of Taiwan’s cultural heritage. For example, the old British consulate is a preserved brick museum now housing a museum charting maritime history in the area, and offering pretty gardens with a great hilltop view.
Green and Beautiful
A lot of people do not know that Taiwan boasts many mountains over three thousand metres in height. In fact, despite its size, Taiwan contains a mass of beautiful, untouched countryside. From a simple hike in nature and farm visit to serious outdoor sports, Taiwan offers a beautiful, green getaway. Kaohsiung is nestled on the coast closest to much of this natural beauty and offers and easy way in and out.
A Perfect Base
The southern part of Taiwan is unique and different to the north, from the wonderful food of Tainan to the beautiful views and annual music festival of Kenting. Kaohsiung is the main city in the south of Taiwan and the centre of all its transportation networks. That makes it the perfect base from which to explore the whole of the southern part of the island of Taiwan.