Savour delicious street food and discover nature at its doorstep. The harbour city has also made efforts to become an arts hub.

Perched just north of the island's southern tip, Kaohsiung is Taiwan's most modern city, a booming metropolis with a laidback, welcoming atmosphere and a wealth of things to see and do.  In recent years Kaohsiung, a harbour city with strong maritime links, has made ambitious and successful efforts to transform itself into an arts hub. For travellers this means there has never been a better time to explore.

Nestled amongst the modern architecture are some historic gems, hinting at the city’s role as an important 19th-century trading post, as well as an abundance of temples and shrines. For foodies there’s no shortage of delicious street food alongside some higher-end eateries that will satisfy even the most discerning palate. And then there’s the shopping. With a number of large malls and street-level shopping districts, leaving Kaohsiung empty-handed isn’t easy.

Kaohsiung is also blessed geographically with some stunning natural scenery, with beaches, lakes, wetlands and mountains all within easy reach. What better way to round off a day of sightseeing than watching the sunset at Sizihwan?


When to go

Kaohsiung is most pleasant in the winter months between November and March, when the weather is relatively sunny and dry. Summer is the rainy season and can be fiercely hot.

Visa requirements

Singaporeans and Malaysians can visit Taiwan for a period of 30 days without a visa. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months and that you have a return or onward ticket. While citizens of 41 other countries (mainly EU, the US and Canada) are also visa-exempt, citizens of most other ASEAN nations will need to apply for a visa in advance.


New Taiwan Dollar. There are currency exchange booths and ATMs at Kaohsiung International Airport plus plenty of ATMs in the city itself, in every metro station and in all convenience stores, most of which accept international credit and debit cards.


Taxis are abundant in most parts of the city, but by far the easiest and cheapest way to get around is Kaohsiung's excellent metro system which has broad coverage and is cheap to use. The city also runs a public bicycle rental scheme from outside metro stations and other busy spots; you will first need to buy an I Pass at a metro ticket office.

Health and safety tips

Kaohsiung is generally very safe, even late at night, although attention should be paid when crossing roads due to the large number of scooters. There are numerous hospitals and general medical clinics throughout the city and, thanks to Taiwan's national health service, medical fees are generally very cheap.

Emergency details

Singapore has no official consular presence in Kaohsiung itself, but the Singapore Trade Office in Taipei does offer consular services to Singaporean citizens. It is located at the following address: 9th Floor, 85 Ren-Ai Road, Section 4, Taipei 106 (tel: (886) 2 2772 1784).

In an emergency dial 110. Police stations and police officers are a common sight in Kaohsiung. Walk-in inquiries should be directed to Kaohsiung City Police Department (#260, Jhongjheng 4th Road, Cianjin District), next to the City Council metro station.

Basic greetings
English Mandarin
Hello Ni hao
How are you? Ni hao ma?
Fine, thanks Hen hao, xie xie
Goodbye Zai jian
Excuse-me! (to get attention) Qing wen!
Thank you Xie xie
Yes Shi de
No Bu shi
OK Hao de
What's your name? Ni jiao shen me ming zi?
My name is… Wo jiao…
Nice to meet you Jian dao ni hen gao xing
Are you on Facebook/Twitter? Nin zai shi yong Facebook/Twitter ma?
Where’s an internet café? Wang ba zai na li?
Where can I get a taxi? Wo ke yi zai na li zhao dao chu zu che?
Where is the bus/train station? Qi che zhan/huo che zhan zai na li?
A one-way/return ticket to… Yi zhang dao…de dan cheng/shuang cheng piao
Do you have a room for one/two? You yi/liang ren de fang jian ma?
When's check out? Ji dian tui fang?
Can you recommend a good restaurant/bar? Ni neng tui jian yi jia hao can guan/jiu ba ma?
A table for two, please Qing gei wo liang ge ren de zhuo zi
A menu, please Qing gei wo cai dan
The bill, please Qing gei wo zhang dan
Where's the toilet? Xi shou jian zai na li?
Help! Jiu ming!

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Chihou Lighthouse

34 Chi-Xia Lane, Cijin District

Located across the city’s harbour entrance from the Former British Consulate, the Chihou Lighthouse has been the site of a lighthouse since 1883. The area offers superlative views across the city and the Taiwan Strait, while the nearby Chihou Fort makes for another interesting excursion.

Former British Consulate at Takao

20 Lianhai Road, Gushan District

Perched atop a hill overlooking the entrance to the harbour stands the Former British Consulate at Takao. Built in 1865, it is a superb example of colonial architecture and the building contains informative exhibits on the city and its history, as well as commanding views.

Lotus Lake

Ecological District MRT Station Exit 2, public bus (red) 51

Lotus Lake and the surrounding area makes for a pleasant introduction to Kaohsiung’s religious fervour, with around twenty Buddhist, Taoist and folk shrines and temples within easy reach of each other. Look out for the iconic Dragon and Tiger Pagodas built over the lake itself and connected to the shore by a raised walkway.

Love River

Hedong Road, Cianjin District

One of Kaohsiung’s most popular night-time gathering spots, the Love River has been cleaned and the area landscaped, with attractive benches, streetlights and scenic night lighting added. Boardwalks run along both sides, filling up with walkers, joggers and sightseers at night. There are cafés with outdoor seating, plus live music and busker-type fun on weekends.

Pier-2 Art Center

1 Dayong Road, Yancheng District


The driving force behind Kaohsiung’s creative renaissance, Pier-2 Art Center is made up of converted warehouses next to the city’s harbour district. Playing host to exhibitions, festivals, music and theatre performances, this is one place art and culture lovers can’t miss. Exhibitions change regularly and range from the abstract and challenging to more commercial crowd-pleasers.

Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts

80 Meishuguan Road, Gushan District

An impressive, large-scale museum set in beautifully landscaped surroundings, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts symbolises the city government’s support for the arts and has a busy schedule of international and domestic art exhibitions. Major shows from Taipei tend to travel here, but have the added bonus of being far less crowded. Modern display techniques make viewing exhibitions here a pleasant experience.


Jianguo Electronics Street

Jianguo 3rd Road, Sanmin District

The go-to place for anyone looking for tech-related products and, in particular, computer-related products, Jianguo Electronics Street is home to hundreds of small electronics and computer retailers. The competition between them ensures that prices are always reasonable for software, hardware and everything in between.

Budget $$

Liuhe Night Market

MRT Formosa Boulevard Exit 11

Liuhe Night Market is a well-beaten track for most tourists in Kaohsiung due partly to its central location. It offers plentiful opportunities for bargain and souvenir hunters, as well as abundant people-watching possibilities for those less commercially inclined. The market's focus is food. Besides standard Taiwanese snack fare, there are a couple of restaurants specialising in snake meat.

Budget $

Shinkuchan Shopping District

MRT Central Park

Vibrant, brash and bright, the Shinkuchan Shopping District is a hotspot for Kaohsiung’s younger shoppers. With countless street-wear-savvy fashion boutiques and independent retailers, discerning hipsters will feel at home. Grab a drink at one of the area's many bubble tea stalls and soak up the atmosphere. This is also a good place to get a bite to eat, with a number of cool cafés and western pasta restaurants in the neighbourhood.

Budget $

Star Place

57 Wufu 3rd Road, Cianjin District

Kaohsiung’s high-roller hangout, Star Place is as luxurious on the inside as it looks on the outside. Playing host to all the big name European luxury fashion brands, it is also home to a selection of high-end restaurants and an Eslite music and stationery boutique.

Budget $$$

The Eslite Bookstore

MRT Sanduo Shopping District exit 1. Floor 17, Far Eastern Department Store

One of Taiwan’s home-grown success stories, The Eslite Bookstore has a strong Kaohsiung presence, with an incredible book selection covering everything from philosophy and cookery to literary fiction and architecture. The store also contains a number of smaller clothing and accessories brands, as well as cafés and eateries, some with stunning views.

Budget $$

Zhongzheng Wedding Street

MRT Formosa Boulevard

Taiwan is internationally renowned for its grand wedding photography studios, and Zhongzheng Wedding Street is the Kaohsiung hub for this lucrative industry. From stunning and traditional outfits, to the tastefully avant garde or just plain garish, these studios know how to draw in the crowds.

Budget $$$


Deer Grassland Ice Store

188 Suiyuan 2nd Street, Sanmin District

A cheap, cheerful take on the revered Taiwanese shaved ice dessert concept, Deer Grassland Ice Store appeals to a younger crowd drawn to the laidback atmosphere and simple yet creative decor. It’s deservedly well known for its tofu puddings and passion fruit shaved ices.

Budget $

Hana Sei

9th Floor, Star Place Mall, 57 Wufu 3rd Road, Cianjin District

Sitting on the ninth floor of one of Kaohsiung’s most prestigious malls, Hana Sei is one of the city’s best spots for high-class Japanese cuisine. Regular sushi dishes are given artistic twists and the beautiful presentation never fails to impress. Particularly recommended are the Hokkaido sea urchin and lobster dishes.

Budget $$$


Warehouse C3, 1 Dayong Street, Pier-2 Art Center

A big, bright, airy, American family-style restaurant in a renovated warehouse at the Pier-2 Art Center, Pasadena offers familiar fare such as pizza, burgers and grilled dishes. It also has a bakery, and the afternoon tea specials, with sweet or savoury choices, are popular.

Budget $$

Shui An

1st Floor, 265 Meishu East 2nd Road, Gushan District

Shui An offers fusion cuisine in the purest sense, and aims to provide food without borders and even without a menu. With an ever-changing selection of dishes that depends on seasonal produce served in pleasant surroundings, this is one restaurant adventurous foodies are bound to enjoy.

Budget $$$

Under the Banyan Tree

99 Dagang Street, Sanmin District

Partaking of some Hakka food is a must on any Taiwan trip and Under the Banyan Tree is a quaint little place with attentive, friendly service, making it a good place to try old specialties like lamb with ginger and stir-fried pork with squid.

Budget $$

Wan San Seafood

162 Zhongzhou 2nd Road, Cijin District

It seems appropriate that seafood should be eaten within sniffing distance of the ships that brought it in, and Wan San Seafood ticks that box. A large-scale, no-frills establishment that is serious about its food, this place won’t break the bank and is perennially popular with the locals.

Budget $


85 Sky Tower Hotel

37th–85th floors, 1 Ziqiang 3rd Road, Cianjin District

The 85 Sky Tower Hotel is located in the upper reaches of Taiwan’s second-tallest building, overlooking the bustling harbour. Both the rooms and the several good restaurants here offer great views, especially in the evenings. Located near the main business district.

Budget $$$

Backpacker 41 Hostel

39 Lane 261, Siwei 3rd Road, Lingya District

With clean dorm rooms at great prices, Backpacker 41 Hostel is a favourite with budget travellers. The friendly owner makes sure guests feel welcome and wifi is available, as are bikes for rental. What adds to the appeal is the hostel's fantastic location just a stone's throw away from the city's main shopping areas and night markets.

Budget $

Grand Hi-Lai Hotel

266, Chenggong 1st Road, Cianjin District

A large hotel, the Grand Hi-Lai Hotel is considered by many to be the city’s best, with numerous restaurants (stick to those serving regional cuisines), an executive club, and a pleasant shopping complex. For Japanese cartoon fans there are even Hello Kitty-themed rooms.

Budget $$$

Icon Hotel

328 Minsheng 1st Road, Sinsing District

An unusual hotel of great artistic whimsy, artists have used Icon Hotel rooms and common areas as canvases. Sleep at the bottom of the sea or floating above Manhattan, for example. Furnishings are Bauhaus-style minimalist. Located close to the metro system.

Budget $$

Jia's Inn Liuhe

128 Liuhe 2nd Road, Cianjin District

A stone’s throw away from Formosa Boulevard MRT station, Jia’s Inn is a new, modern hotel catering to a younger crowd. With a decent bar, free bicycle rental and good buffet breakfast, this hotel is rapidly becoming a favourite with regular visitors to the city.

Budget $$

Single Inn

267 Linsen 1st Road, Sinsing District

Taking its cue from Japan’s capsule hotels the Single Inn is a good option for lone travellers looking for a clean, no-frills room in a convenient location. The hotel segregates the male and female sections of the hotel but there are some communal snack bar areas. Every room has its own TV and the hotel boasts spa and sauna facilities.

Budget $

Dragon Boat Festival


Kaohsiung’s Dragon Boat Competition is one of the world’s biggest and best, with teams coming from around the world to compete on the Love River.

Kaohsiung Design Festival

First two weeks of May

With a different theme each year, the Design Festival plays host to design professionals and academics from around the world and ties in with a number of special exhibitions and events.

Lantern Festival

Date varies in February

Taking place during the Lunar New Year, the lantern festival lights up the banks of the Love River for some 3km (2 miles), making a remarkable spectacle.Lantern Festival

Lion Dance Festival


Immensely proud of its traditions, the annual Lion Dance Festival is Taiwan’s highest calibre competition. This makes for an amazing show of strength and acrobatics.

Meinong Chrysanthemum Festival

Second half of February

Head out into Kaohsiung’s mountainous Meinong District, a Hakka area renowned for its beautiful scenery and glorious spring-time chrysanthemum blooms.Meinong Chrysanthemum Festival

Milkfish Cultural Festival

1-2 November

One of Taiwan’s iconic foodstuffs, the milkfish has an important place in the island’s culinary culture. Head to the city’s Mituo District, where every winter restaurants create delicious new dishes centred around the fish.


When it comes to shopping Kaohsiung may not have the reputation of its northern neighbour, Taipei, but the city is just as good a shopping destination. Things start late here, so have a leisurely morning and kick off your bargain-hunting mid-afternoon, taking in the sights along Zhongzheng Wedding Street. At the crossroads of Formosa Boulevard MRT station, this street is filled with large-scale wedding outfitters and photography studios. This may be window-shopping for most visitors but the luxurious interiors, garish building facades and wedding dresses make for some spectacular sights.


A ten-minute stroll towards the south of Formosa Boulevard, following Zhongshan 1st Road, will bring you to Central Park. East and south from the Park is the Shinkuchan Shopping District, which attracts hip young shoppers with its independent boutiques and cafes. Many of the shops have a strong focus on street-wear but for those willing to look, there’s something for everyone. Shopping districts in Taiwan are also home to drinks stores selling various pearl teas and fruit concoctions.


From Shinkuchan you could either round off your shopping with a trip to The Eslite Bookstore, a ten-minute walk to the south, or head back past Formosa Boulevard to Liuhe Night Market, which starts at 7pm and runs until after midnight. There’s no better place in Kaohsiung to sample the city’s snacks and local delicacies, as well as shop for souvenirs and cut-price bargains. The crowds mean that this isn’t for the faint-hearted but they make for a very lively atmosphere.



Places to visit:
Zhongzheng Wedding Street, Shinkuchan Shopping District, The Eslite Bookstore, Liuhe Night Market.


Kaohsiung is justifiably very proud of its cultural heritage, and alongside a multitude of historical sights the city now also boasts several modern gallery spaces and museums. Packing in a number of sites in one day will require an early start; the best way to begin is with a morning stroll up to the Former British Consulate at Takao. With commanding views over the city and its harbour, the restored consulate building is a beautiful example of colonial architecture. Exhibits inside tell the story of Kaohsiung’s history and present as Taiwan’s most important port.


Once finished exploring this hilltop haunt, stroll back down the hill bearing east along the harbour towards the city centre.  It’s a 1.5km (0.9 mile) walk to the Pier-2 Art Center which now forms Kaohsiung’s creative heart. Made up of converted warehouses, and with a dynamic and interesting exhibition programme, it gives an insight into the state of both international and Taiwanese art. This is also a good place to grab lunch, with Pasadena a reliable, popular choice of restaurant.


No culture vulture’s trip to southern Taiwan would be complete without a visit to some of Kaohsiung’s temples or shrines, and the area around Lotus Lake, in the city’s northern Zuoying District, is the perfect place to do this. Some twenty or so Buddhist and Taoist shrines of various ages and architectural styles are gathered in a small area. Watching the sun set behind the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas is a magical way to end the day.



Places to visit:
Former British Consulate at Takao, Pier-2 Art Center, Lotus Lake.


Kaohsiung is a serious culinary destination, and has no shortage of great local and overseas dishes. Start the day by finding one of the city’s ubiquitous local soy milk and dumpling stores, which open at 4.30am and serve as breakfast fuelling stations. Try a steamer of pork-filled xiaolongbao dumplings or a bowl of savoury soy milk with deep-fried dough. For another authentic local experience, look out for the roadside stalls selling rice noodles with fresh oysters and (optional) tripe.


As afternoon approaches, head east from Kaohsiung Main Station and into Under the Banyan Tree, a pleasant Hakka eatery set inside a quiet courtyard. There is a large Hakka population in the rural areas around Kaohsiung, and this is reflected in the city’s restaurant scene. Try the Hakka ‘small fry’ – a traditional combination of fried dried squid, strips of lean pork and celery – or the mashed garlic with tender pork.


Home to one of Taiwan’s most important commercial fishing fleets, Kaohsiung is an obvious destination for seafood fans. It doesn’t get much fresher than when sitting within sniffing distance of the fishing boats, and this means a trip to Cijin, the islet that makes up most of Kaohsiung harbour’s western edge. Numerous seafood restaurants like Wan San Seafood line the roads around the ferry port and along Cijin 2nd Road. Tuck in to a feast of Taiwanese favourites like fresh sashimi, deep-fried oysters with basil, clam and ginger soup, and more varieties of fish than can be found in most aquariums.



Places to visit:
Soy milk and dumpling stores, Under the Banyan Tree, Wan San Seafood.