Kaohsiung is a charming southern seaside metropolis known lovingly as the Harbor Capital of Taiwan. Knowing what to do before you arrive in Kaohsiung is one of the secrets to experiencing a stress-free trip to this southern city. These top five attractions in Kaohsiung are great ways to experience the region’s vast culture, harbor attractions, beaches, hot springs, natural wonders and nightlife. Tourists can count on taking cruises down Love River, admiring modern skyscrapers alongside historic landmarks and trekking through nature during a visit to Kaohsiung.
1. Lotus Pond
An artificial lake surrounded by colorful temples and ornate statues, Lotus Pond is a fun way to get to know Taiwanese culture and nature a little better. The pond has been in the Zuoying District since 1951 and draws numerous tourists and locals into the grounds to view the beautiful overgrowth of lotus plants on the lake as well as the many landmarks standing around it. One popular stop at Lotus Pond is the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, where visitors enter and exit ornate twin pagodas through the mouths of a dragon and tiger. Other attractions include the Spring and Autumn Pavilions, Zuoying Yuandi Temple and Kaohsiung Confucius Temple.
Hours: Lotus Pond and its surrounding attractions are open 24 hours a day
2. Love River
Love River runs through the heart of Kaohsiung and is one of the city’s best attractions. Plus, it is a scenic way to get to other activities and things to do in Kaohsiung. The river stretches more than 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) and empties into Kaohsiung Harbor, a great area for entertainment and nightlife. Travelers wanting to explore the river by boat can hop on about anywhere along the river route, which is paved with lighted walkways. Gondola drivers are happy to take passengers around for a fee, and tours often include folk singing and details of sights along the way. A good place to jump on a Love River cruise is at Love River Waterfront Park, which features a night market and fountain shows. Visitors who just want to stroll or ride a bike down the riverfront will find many scenic parks, local boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants.
Can’t-miss attractions along Love River
- Kaohsiung 228 Peace Memorial Park
- Holy Rosary Cathedral Minor Basilica
- Kaohsiung Film Archive
- Kaohsiung Bridge
- Kaohsiung Museum of History
- Zhongdu Tangrong Brick Kiln Factory
- Zhongdu Wetlands Park
- Kaohsiung New Hakka Cultural Park & Kaohsiung Hakka Cultural Museum
- Heart of Love River Park
3. Pier 2 Art Center
This cool art park in the Kaohsiung Harbor used to function as a line of port warehouses but now serves as an artsy retreat for tourists and locals. Daytime is a great time to visit Pier 2 Art Center, where guests can relax by the water, enjoy a picnic or watch locals fly kites. Visitors can catch live performances and concerts on weekends and enjoy nearby attractions like Rainbow Church, Cijin Beach, Kaohsiung Lighthouse and The British Consulate at Takow.
Admission fees: the area is free to enter, and most exhibits on display are free to admire. Some rotating and special exhibits, however, do require additional entrance fees.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday to Sunday
4. 85 Sky-Tower
Visitors to Kaohsiung are welcome to stay in the 5-star hotel at its base or just drop by to buzz up to the 85th floor for a stunning view of the city. 85 Sky-Tower used to be the tallest building in Taiwan (it also used to be called Tuntex Sky Tower) until Taipei 101 was completed in 2004. Still, the skyscraper is still impressing passersby, and visitors can get a bird’s-eye view of Kaohsiung, Love River and Kaohsiung Harbor with a ride to the top.
5. The British Consulate at Takow
Situated in the Xiziwan Bay area and overlooking the sea, The British Consulate at Takow is one of the city’s most cherished landmarks. The 1865 consulate is the oldest building denoting Western architectural influence in Taiwan, and visitors can learn more about its history through a walking tour that includes wax figure exhibits and historical facts about the area. Besides The British Consulate at Takow, the hillside also includes the North Gate of Xiong Town, plus Sizihwan Scenic Area and Gushan District, which both offer beautiful sunset views of the harbor.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily (closed every third Monday of the month)
Attractions across the harbor from The British Consulate at Takow
Where to Stay in Kaohsiung
Kaohsiung’s attractions are spread throughout the city, but luckily, for travelers, the city is easy to navigate, and popular areas are connected by the city’s convenient metro system. After you decide what to do in Kaohsiung, take a look at where your must-see attractions are located, and book a hotel according to these popular areas in the city.
- Xinxing District – this close-knit district in downtown Kaohsiung puts travelers near Shinkuchan Shopping District and other upscale shopping spots and Liuhe Night Market. Nearby metro stations are Formosa Boulevard Station and Sinyi Elementary School Station.
- Sanmin District – a quieter district, Sanmin is a great place for travelers who love culture and hanging out with locals. Travelers who stay in Sanmin have easy access to Jilin Night Market, Minzu Morning Local Market and San-Min Park. Metro options include Houyi and Kaohsiung stations.
- Zuoying District – this northern district is about 20 minutes north of Kaohsiung city center, but it also is where Lotus Pond is located. Visitors who choose this area will love the peaceful neighborhoods and proximity to Rueifong Night Market. Central metro stations are Xin Zuoying and Ecological District.
- Lingya District – this buzzing central district is busy, yes, but it’s also home to 85 Sky-Tower, Kaohsiung Cultural Center, several parks and Guanghua Night Market. Plus, the National Science and Technology Museum is just next door.