Kaohsiung 85 Observation Deck
Probably the best view of the city of Kaohsiung is from the 74th floor observation deck of the Kaohsiung 85 Tower (Tuntex Skyscraper). For an inexpensive NT 100 (compared to NT 350 for Taipei 101), you can take a modestly fast elevator for about 1 minute up 75 floors, where you come out at a bar/lounge. Descend the staircase to the observation area, which offers views west, north, and east; the view to the south is blocked off. The observation deck is rarely visited (at least when I was there. But that was an overcast day); I stayed there for an hour and at times I had the entire floor to myself. The amenities here are not as expanded as Taipei 101; there is no gift shop, no mass damper to see. There are also no labels/plaques of the view.
Some notable features visible from the tower are the Kaohsiung Harbor, Love River, and Chengcing Lake.
Dream Mall Ferris Wheel
The top floor of Kaohsiung's immense Dream Mall has a small amusement park, including a Hello Kitty-based Ferris Wheel that offers a spectacular view over the city of Kaohsiung. The 15-minute ride costs NT 150. I happened to catch the sunset during my ride on the Ferris Wheel, making it a very notable experience. Views extend in all directions, including the Kaohsiung 85 Tower and many other of Kaohsiung's high rises and nearby mountains. You can also see Kaohsiung's Harbor, the busiest in Taiwan.
- Theme Park Trips
The most likely way you will get to this island is by taking the metro to Sizihwan Station on the orange line, exiting exit one and walking to Gushan Ferry Terminal where you can catch one of the very frequent ferries to Cijin. We did not do this because we discovered that a ferry went to Cijin Island directly from Love Pier on Love River. This ferry only runs at weekends and public holidays and runs every 40 minutes.
Going from Love Pier gives you quite a good view of Kaohsiung Harbour on the way. going from Gushan is fun because when the ferry unloads it is an unbelievable mess of motorbikes, bikes and people all exiting simultaneously from the same exit.
Cijin is a popular day trip for a number of reasons. It has a beautiful Tin Hau Temple - temple to the goddess of the sea. It has a street with lots of fish restaurants. It has a black sand beach. It is also possible to visit the remains of Cijin Fort and to visit Cijin Lighthouse (this closes at 4 and was closed by the time we got there). You can climb up to the fort then follow the path from the fort to the lighthouse.
We spent a lot of time walking from Cijin's main town to the windpower park. It took around 30 minutes and we got rather sunstruck on route. The park has seven wind powered mills and various models of sea creatures. These were not that interesting. More interesting, in my opinion was the sea which was really shooting up massive waves next to this site on the day of our visit, the myriads of kites being flown next to the site and the very colourful kite/windmill shops at the entrance to the site.
Just before you reach the windpower park you will come to the Cijin Peace Park which remembers Taiwanese soldiers killed overseas and overseas soldiers killed in Taiwan. There was a monument commemorating the American sailors killed on Japanese hellships during World War Two. These ships held prisoners of war in appalling conditions. The walk to the Wind Power Park is long and hot. It is probably better to cycle here or go when it is a bit cooler in the morning or evening. Part of the walk goes through the Cijin forested coastal walk. Pleasant shady areas with seats. A good spot for a picnic.
Cijin also had an indoor market selling lots of fish among other things, several beautiful temples and a good atmosphere on a Sunday when crowds flock there from Kaohsiung. On the Sunday we visited we heard live music and watched kids play in the dancing fountains and generally enjoyed the liveliness of the area.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
True Love Pier
True Love Pier (Jin-ai Matou) (真愛碼頭) is at the southern end of Love River. This is a rather interesting place; you can board the short boat rides on the river here (though not if its raining). There's also a pedestrian bridge here that crosses the Love River. From the bridge, you get views of the pier, the Tuntex Skyscraper, and much of the rest of the Kaohsiung skyline; you can even see the port of Kaohsiung.
We stayed in the Ambassador Hotel which is located on Love River, so we saw a lot of this river. At one time Love River was very polluted but in recent years it has been cleaned up and has become a beautiful area for the population of Kaohsiung to enjoy.
We did not have breakfast included in our hotel deal and bought breakfast each morning from one of Kaohsiung's many convenience stores; we then sat on the banks of Love River to eat - a very pleasant and relaxing start to the day.
The river is lined with walkways and cycle tracks. There are many conveniently located seats. Several cafes and restaurants are situated on the river banks. There are several interesting temples overlooking the river. The Film Archives Museum and History Museum are by the river. The Holy Rosary Cathedral is not on but close to the river.
At night the river is lit up in many different colours. There are riverboat trips up and down the river. These last for about 20 minutes. Some of the cafes and restaurants by the river have music. Well worth visiting.
Lotus Lake is a manmade lake in the north of Kaohsiung which has several interesting temples.
We got to this lake by taking the metro to Zuoying Station. When you arrive at the station, go to exit 2; walk straight ahead until you come to a fairly large road. At this road go right. You will arrive at a park. Cross the park and cross one more road, you will be at the lake at the Confucius Temple end.
(Although we did not do this, I believe if you get off at Ecological District Station you can walk to the dragon/tiger temple end of the lake).
The Confucius Temple is a fairly simple but pretty temple. It dates from 1977.
Continue walking round the lake and you will come to the temple of the emperor of the dark heaven. There is a walkway lined with statues which leads to an enormous statue of the emperor of the dark heaven.
Walk further round the lake and and you will reach the Spring Autumn Pavillion. These are two towers dating from 1953. Between them is a huge dragon and on its back stands Kuan Yin - goddess of mercy. You can enter the dragon's mouth, walk through its body and exit its tail. Inside the dragon is lined with various paintings. Behind the Spring Autumn Pavillion a walkway leads to a pavillion in the lake.
Walk further on and you will reach the Dragon Tiger Pavillion. This was built in 1965. Go in through the dragon's mouth and leave through the tiger's mouth. This is supposed to turn bad luck into good luck. There are good views over the lake from the dragon and tiger towers.
Each pavillion in the lake is opposite an ornate temple on the shore. We walked all the way round the lake and back to Zuoying Station. The other side of the lake has a temple with a huge statue on its roof. Other than that it is a fairly pleasant walk past fishermen and the occasional patch of waterlilies from which the lake takes its name.
- Arts and Culture
Gushan Harbour and the British Consulate
To get to Gushan Harbour take the metro to Sizihwan Station and exit through exit one. Gushan Harbour is a pretty harbour in its own right and it has several good restaurants. It is also the place to catch the ferry to Cijin Island.
From Gushan Harbour you can walk to the former British Consulate Building. Exit Sizihwan metro exit one and walk to Gushan Harbour. Go to the far side of the water and walk towards the sea. You will see a signpost for a landscaped walkway to the consulate building. It is an uphill walk - fairly steep. The consulate was not really what I expected. For a start it was full of tour groups. The building was attractive red brick with lots of archways. It had a fairly non-descript exhibition about the Beatles inside. The consulate building is now a restaurant. We had a pleasant meal there with lovely views over the harbour.
- Historical Travel
Liu-Ho Night Market
While I was in Kaohsiung, I was visiting several local friends. They all recommended Lui-Ho night market above all others in the city.
The places is completely vacant during the day, except for a few stalls under plastic and locked tight. But during the night, they come alive!
There are ample choices of local foods, and cheap too!
There are discount clothes, souvenirs, jewelry, etc. There are even arcade areas for the kids.
It is a island that worthwhile to expense a half day there, it get some busy street, but also you can walk away from the crowd and see the Lighthouse.
Chichin is a long, narrow island that forms a natural breakwater protecting Kaohsiung Harbor. This small but scenic island features a 300-year-old Tienhou Temple, devoted to Matsu, Goddess of the Sea, which is designated as a third-grade national historic site. Chichin is also the only place in Taiwan where you can still ride a three-wheel Pedicab powered by man in traditional Chinese costume. Yet another favorite attraction here is fresh, delicious and reasonably price seafood.
In fact, I take nap under tree there and feel complete refresh for another walk :-)
The light house is designed by John Reginald Harding, and it was built at 1883
Height - 15.2 m, and light distance is 25.2 mile!
Not a bad place to take an evening stroll in Kaohsuing, especially when they've got it all decorated up for the Lantern Festival Holiday...
Seems Kaohsiung has made some effort to clean this area up a bit over the past few years...
Fo Gwang Shan Temple (chinese: ¦ò¥ú¤s)
Fogwangshan Temple, is a famous scenic spot of Buddhism all over the world. Fogwangshan is devoted to publicize and exalt Buddhism, and to further education and charity work. It becomes a scenic spot combining the religion and touring; which achieves the effectiveness of purifying human heart by the leisure. The buildings of Fogwangshan with vast territory are imposing; the most magnificent one is Dasyung Baudyan (precious palace). Tourists often make pilgrimage to this place and for a sightseeing on holidays.
- Family Travel
The Dream Mall Shopping Centre
To get here take the metro to Kaisyuan Station; then take the free shuttle to the shopping centre.
You can see this shopping centre all over Kaohsiung due to the huge ferris wheel on its roof. The Dream Mall comprises two buildings. One of them is shaped like a giant fish. The other has the ferris wheel. The building with the ferris wheel has a large Japanese department store inside as well as an amusement arcade and a cinema. We had a lovely barbeque meal on Japanese food street. There were many other restaurants, too. We visited on a Tuesday and were surprised at how quiet the shopping mall was - guess I've been in Hong Kong too long where every shopping mall is mobbed all the time.
The Martyr's Shrine
This shrine is in the Shoushan area. We got to it by taking the metro to Sizihwan Station, exiting via exit one, walking straight towards the harbour, but then turning right when we saw a sign for the Wude Martial Arts Centre. We walked along the road then climbed some steep steps up to a main road. The Wude Martial Arts Centre was across the road. Facing the Wude martial Arts Centre you will see more steep stairs on the right hand side climb these. You will reach a pavillion beyond which is a road, cross the road walk through the tori, temple gateway and you will come to the Martyr's Shrine. There are lovely views over the harbour from here.
The shrine was build by the Japanese when they occupied Taiwan during the war. It is in typical Japanese temple style. After the war the shrine became a peace shrine to remember those lost in the conflict. There are photos commemorating historical events from China's past around the walls. The shrine was very quiet and peaceful during our visit.
- Historical Travel
Kenting National Park
The national park is Taiwan's first and from the looks of it this is where many Kaohsiung residents head off during the weekend for hiking, cycling, dive or frolic in the beaches. The main attraction is the drive itself, with the sea on your right and the mountains on your left. You can stop at the main town of Kenting to sample the fresh catch of the day and buy some of the locally produced foodstuff (commercially packed and sealed) to take home. The few sights to come across are the lighthouse and southernmost marker at Eluanbi.
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
- Road Trip
Liouhe Night Market
To get to this night market take the metro to Formosa Boulevard Station and follow the exits for the night market. Don't forget to have a look at the Dome of Light on your way out of the metro.
The night market has lots of stalls and several places to buy foods. Several tour groups passed through on our visit. There is a second night market nearby plus a street specializing in wedding cakes and another specializing in wedding dresses nearby. Quite an interesting area. Worth a look.
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