10 Things to Do and See in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Kaohsiung is filled with night markets and things to do. It is often overlooked and underrated as Taipei is the more popular tourist destination. However, it is the best place to go for those who want to enjoy Taiwan’s quirks and avoid the crowds in Taipei.

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1. Reverse Your Fortune at the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas by the Lotus Pond

The Lotus Pond is a manmade pond located in the Zuoying District. It is a popular destination  amongst tourists to see the lotus-filled pond. In addition to the flowers, the pond is surrounded by temples and most notably the two 7-storey pagodas donned with giant dragon and tiger statues. For those who are superstitious, it is believed that entering through the dragon’s mouth and exiting through the tiger’s mouth reverses one’s fortune from bad to good.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:00
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Address: Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 813.
Dragon and Tiger Pagodas
Lotus Pond

2. Be Zen in Taiwan’s Largest Temple

The Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Centre is the largest temple in Taiwan. The 100 hectare palace overlooks the Gaoping River Basin and is the perfect place for people seeking spiritual healing. During the auspicious months, it is also used for festivities. 

Inside the temple, you will find a 36 metre tall golden Buddha statue, 8 pagodas and traditional sculptures.

In the memorial centre, there are elements of technology to engage young children with religious education that makes it more interesting for them. The touch-screens allow you to write your prayers and send it to Buddha directly.

Here in the Buddha Memorial Centre, tradition embraces technology in an interactive way that is not only novel, but makes religious education more interesting for the young ones.

Of course the temple also has a wishing tree for visitors to pen down their prayers and hang them. When the papers flow in the breeze, it is truly a calming sight that will make you never want to leave.

  • Opening Hours: Weekdays, 09:00 – 19:00; Weekends and Public Holidays, 09:00 – 20:00; Special Festivals, 09:00 – 22:00.
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Address: No. 153, Xingtian Road, Dashu  District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 840.
36 metre Buddha

3. Be Captivated by the Dome of Light

In Formosa Boulevard MRT Station, you will stumble across the largest glass installation in the world! The Dome of Light is a ceiling made out of stained glass. The  4,500 panels were designed by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata and are divided into four colours that represent the four elements: water, fire, light and earth.

  • Opening Hours: Everyday, 06:00 – 00:00
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Address: Formosa Boulevard Interchange Station, 115 Zhongshan 1st Road, Xinxing District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
Dome of Light

4. Take a Day Trip to Cijin Island

One perk of visiting a port city is the charming little islands nearby. Cijin (or Qijin) Island runs along the coastline of the harbour and is a popular day trip island for locals. There is a ferry that runs from the harbour to the island where you can spend the day soaking up the sun on the beach or rent a bike and bike around the island. Before you leave, be sure to visit Cijin Tianhou Temple. This temple is one of the national protected relics as it is the oldest Mazu temple. There are many places to get small eats (xiao chi, 小吃) on the island.

  • Address: Gushan Ferry Station, Binhai 2nd Road, Gushan District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
Lighthouse on the coast of the island
Art displays throughout Cijin

5. Make Your Dreams come true at Dream Mall

Dream Mall is unlike any other mall in the world. On the roof of the largest shopping mall in East  Asia sits an amusement park that boasts a 160 ft tall ferris wheel. On the ferris wheel, you get a great view of Kaohsiung. In addition, there are also free rides for those who don’t want to go on the  ferris wheel.

  • Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11:00 – 22:00; Friday, 11:00 – 22:30; Sunday and Public Holidays, 10:30 – 22:30.
  • Entrance Fee: Free (Ferris Wheel ticket is NT150)
  • Address: No, 789, Zhonghua 5th Road, Qianzhen District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 806.
Fireworks on the roof of Dream Mall

6. Feast in the Night Markets

Similar to Taiwan’s capital, Kaohsiung is no exception when it comes to night markets. Whether you choose to go to Ruifeng or Liuhe, both are overflowing with stalls selling souvenirs, clothes and food. Whilst you’re in Taiwan, don’t forget to try the famous Taiwanese crispy chicken! (Do note that Liuhe may be more expensive as it is more common for tourists to go to Liuhe.)

Ruifeng Market

  • Opening Hours: Tuesday, 18:00 – 00:00; Thursday-Sunday, 18:00 – 00:00; Closed on Mondays and Wednesdays
  • Entrance Fee: Free 
  • Address: 804, Yucheng Road, Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
Games throughout the market
Street food

Liuhe Market

  • Opening Hours: Everyday, 18:00 – Late
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Address: Liuhe 2nd Road, ShinShing District
Street food

7. Get a Panoramic View from the Sky Tower

Before Taipei 101 was built, Tuntex Sky Tower was the tallest building in Taiwan. The sky tower has a 360 degree viewing deck with a cafe 75 floors above the ground and it is a great spot for viewing the city during the day and night. Also, The Tuntex Tower is home to the world’s 3rd fastest elevator that will take you up at a speed of 10m/s. 

  • Opening Hours: Everyday, 09:00 – 22:00
  • Entrance Fee: NT150
  • Address: No. 1, Tzu-Chiang 3rd Road, Kaohsiung City 802, Taiwan
Sky Tower
View from the observation deck

8. Sail down the Love River

The Kaohsiung Harbour is known as the love pier. Called Love River (Ai He), it is the perfect spot for a date. Similar to its European counterparts, there are romantic boat cruises available for you and your date to sail down the river and soak up the sights along the riverside. If you don’t fancy cruising down the river (why wouldn’t you?) there are plenty of cafés and bars on the riverside with outdoor seating where you can enjoy food and drinks as you watch people cruise by.

  • Opening Hours: Weekdays, 18:00 – 23:00; Weekends, 16:00 – 23:00; Public Holidays, 14:00 – 23:00
  • Admission: NT200
  • Address: Kaohsiung City, 803, Taiwan
Love River boat
Aerial view of the river and bridges

9. Grab some one-of-a-kind treasures at Nei Wei Afternoon Market

Neiwei flea market is one of the biggest second-hand flea markets in Kaohsiung. In Neiwei, you’ll find all sorts of hidden treasures like calligraphy, old records, vases and statues of various Gods. It’s a great place to explore some vintage items that you won’t find in other markets and all the shop owners are friendly. 

  • Opening Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 08:00 – 17:00
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Address: 1488 Jiuru 4th Street, Gushan District, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Shop owners
Collection of vintage books
Artwork done by locals

10. Admire the art at Pier-2 Art Centre

This quirky art centre used to be an abandoned warehouse along the Kaohsiung harbour. These old warehouses have been transformed into colourful art exhibitions with children’s rides, shops and cafés for visitors to enjoy. These installations are perfect places to capture instagrammable pictures as each art piece is so unique. Although there is an entrance fee to the art centre, there is plenty to do in the area for free. 

  • Opening Hours: Everyday, 10:00 – 20:00
  • Entrance Fee: NT99
  • Address: No. 1 Dayond Road, Yancheng District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 803

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