Getting In & Around
Getting in and around Kaohsiung is extremely easy. With extremely frequent flights to Taipei from Kaohsiung International Airport, getting a seat will never be a problem. Trains run between Kaohsiung and Taipei very frequently from early morning till midnight and take about five hours from Taipei. The city’s metro rail system, known as the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit (KMRT), was inaugurated in 2008 and has primarily two lines which have 36 stations spread out through Kaohsiung with more stations planned. It is also a very economical way to travel and offers tourists the option of a prepaid card if they intend to use the trains frequently.
Good to Know
When in Taiwan beware of touts who may try to dupe you posing as tour guides or hawkers. Stick to the branded stuff. The Taiwanese currency is the New Taiwan Dollar. Carry the local currency and US Dollars as shop owners usually accept both. A language barrier exists but it is fast diminishing. The KMRT has announcements in English as well as Mandarin for the convenience of foreign tourists. Most embassies are located in the Xinxing District. Kaohsiung is a very safe city compared to certain western cities and Taiwan is generally safe.
One of the best things to do in Kaohsiung is to go shopping! With a local market around every corner, you will never run out of places to go. Being very cheap owing to a large variety of products available, it’s a buyers’ market. Home to the second largest mall in Asia, the Dream Mall, Kaohsiung promises a shopping experience unmatched by any other city in Taiwan. Electronics, clothes, furniture, accessories, jewellery and sports equipment are some of the products which you will get very easily in the many shopping centres in Kaohsiung. With its Amusement Parks and the world-famous Hello Kitty Ferris wheel, kids and adults alike can enjoy the thrill of fun rides and adventure sports.
Sightseeing in Kaohsiung is also a very fruitful experience. Due to its rich heritage, many old buildings still remain and The British Consulate in Dagou – a beautiful redbrick building – was built in 1865 by a trading company. Also worth visiting is the Museum of History located beside the famous Love River. It was a very important building during the Japanese occupation. The Love River itself is a site worth visiting with its lovely parks, trees and outdoor cafes.
Hsitzuwan Beach and Cijn Island Beach are the most popular beaches which are easily accessible using a public bus. Swimming at the beaches is a very popular activity and though the beaches are open all year round, bathing is permitted only from May to October.
The western side of Kaohsiung is home to Yushan and the Central mountain ranges which are visited by many adventure seeking tourists. The nearest is Shoushan Hill which is only an hour from the city. If visiting Shoushan, beware of the monkeys!
As for accommodation, there are hotels in all price ranges located throughout the city. Cheap hostels in the price range of around $15 are to be found while luxury hotels like the Love River Boutique Hotel are available at around $60 a night. It is best to make your bookings in advance.
The weather in Kaohsiung is tropical. As it is located south of the Tropic of Cancer, the average temperature is about 25 degrees Celsius during the day and nights become very pleasant. Rainfall is concentrated mainly in the months of June, July and August. The month which sees the maximum foreign tourists is December – New Year’s celebrations being a major factor. So book your tickets well in advance if you plan to visit Kaohsiung during this time. There is no ‘best’ time to visit as the weather is pleasant all through the year. March and August are other months which see a heavy influx of tourists as it is the holiday season.