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Kaohsiung is one of the most popular cities for tourists to visit in Taiwan. It has a number of beautiful sights to see and is only a short train ride from Taipei. This Kaohsiung itinerary will help you plan the perfect 3 days in the city!
Kaohsiung is the second largest city in Taiwan (Taipei is larger) and is one of the largest port cities in the world. The first archaeological signs of Chinese influence in Kaohsiung dates back to the 12th Century. In 1624 the Dutch arrived in Kaohsiung and colonized the city.
In 1895 Taiwan was given over to the Japanese in the Treaty of Shimonoseki and as part of the end of China and Japan’s war over Korea. Kaohsiung was returned to China’s control at the end of WWII.
As you can tell, Kaohsiung has an interesting and turbulent past. You’ll be able to learn about the city’s past and experiences by following this 3 day Kaohsiung itinerary.
3 Day Kaohsiung Itinerary Overview
Day One: Lotus Pond- Dragon and Tiger Pagodas- Cihji Palace Temple- Spring and Autumn Pavilions- Five Mile Pavilion- Yuandi Temple Beiji Pavilion- Central Park- Jhongsiao Night Market/Singjhong Night Market
Day Two: Kaohsiung Martyrs’ Shrine- Cijin Island- Takao Railway Museum- Pier-2 Art Centre- Dream Mall- Ruifeng Night Market
Day Three: Fo Guang Shan- Kaohsiung Museum of History- Love River- Liuhe Night Market
How to Get from Taipei to Kaohsiung
It is quite common for tourists to travel from Taipei to Kaohsiung.
There is a high speed train that runs between the two cities, and you can get from Taipei to Kaohsiung in under 2 hours! The high speed train is super fast considering the distance from Taipei to Kaohsiung is over 350km!
You can purchase tickets online through the Taiwan High Speed Rail website or in person at Taipei Main Station. I recommend purchasing your tickets online a couple of days in advance to ensure you get a ticket.
You can also take the local (slow) train, bus, or fly from Taipei to Kaohsiung; however, I recommend taking the high speed train.
For more detailed information on how to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung, check out this post. It is dedicated solely to how to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung and goes in depth into each transportation option.
Best Time to Visit Kaohsiung
There is hardly a bad time of year to visit Taiwan!
The country has a tropical climate, so it doesn’t get cool very often. January and February may be the only months you want a light jacket.
It rains quite a bit in May and June, but it rarely rains for an entire day. You shouldn’t be deterred from visiting Taiwan during the rainy season. You can often avoid the rain by popping into a store of cafe for an hour or so.
My personal favourite time to visit Kaohsiung is in the Fall.
The weather is a bit cooler, so you don’t feel too uncomfortable walking outside during the midday heat.
Where to Stay in Kaohsiung
I recommend staying in the Xinxing District and pick an accommodation that is walking distance from Formosa Boulevard Station. Formosa Boulevard Station is the only metro station in Kaohsiung that connects both the red and orange metro lines.
You’ll have to use both the red and orange metro lines while following this Kaohsiung itinerary, so staying near Formosa Boulevard Station makes transportation incredibly convenient.
Not only is the Xinxing District well situated in terms of transportation options, but it is also a fun area to stay in. It is within walking distance of multiple markets, has lots of local restaurants nearby, and is a safe area.
My Hotel Recommendations
This is where I stayed last time I visited Kaohsiung.
I loved my stay at Kindness Hotel and would highly recommend it to everybody. It is super affordable but still high quality.
The rooms are huge! There is ample room for luggage, and it doesn’t feel cramped in the least.
There is also complimentary tea, coffee, ice cream, and desserts all day.
If that doesn’t sell you on Kindness Hotel, I don’t know what will!
This hotel is absolutely gorgeous! La Inn is super modern and leans into the grey and black colour palette, which is 100% my aesthetic.
It is more expensive that Kindness Hotel, but it doesn’t break the bank.
And you get what you pay for! La Inn feels and looks higher quality than Kindness Hotel, so it makes sense it is a bit more expensive.
Bamboo Business Hotel
The last hotel on my recommended list is Bamboo Business Hotel.
It is a nice hotel that is between Kindness Hotel and La Inn in terms of quality.
The hotel is nice, comfortable, and clean, but it is pretty run of the mill. Bamboo Business Hotel feels pretty generic and familiar.
But that means it is the perfect choice for people who want something that feels like “home”. It feels like a step up from a Best Western.
Getting Around Kaohsiung
Kaohsiung is a fairly large city with 3 million residents, and, unfortunately, a lot of the tourist sights are spread out around the city. This means you’ll be using public transportation a lot while following this Kaohsiung itinerary.
I personally prefer walking to taking public transport, but sometimes it just isn’t a viable option. When you only have three days in a city, it is pretty difficult to justify walking three hours from one sight to another (not that that has ever stopped me).
Plus you’re contending with the Taiwan heat and humidity in Kaohsiung, and if you’re anything like me, you’re a sweaty mess of a human by just thinking about humidity.
What I’m trying to say is that you’ll be taking the metro and a few buses while in Kaohsiung.
The Kaohsiung Metro consists of the Red line and the Orange line. They intersect at Formosa Boulevard Station, which is why I recommend staying in that area.
In addition to the underground metro lines, there is also a new(ish) light rail system. It isn’t fully built yet, but it is in operation at the stations that are built.
You can catch it at the end of the Orange line at O1, and it intersects with the Red line a R6.
The light rail is a great option for areas that aren’t serviced by the Kaohsiung Metro, but it has its limitations. It doesn’t run all that frequently and is slow compared to the underground metro. But it still gets the job done!
Kaohsiung has an extensive bus system. I used buses in Kaohsiung far more often than I anticipated because the metro doesn’t service everywhere I needed to go. You’ll most likely be catching a few buses while following this Kaohsiung itinerary.
The good news is that the buses are clean and run pretty close to on time depending on traffic of course.
Some buses have stop announcements in English but many don’t. You’ll want to have the Chinese characters of the station you want to get off at, so you don’t miss your stop. Alternatively, GoogleMaps does a good job of tracking the bus even when you’re offline, so you can use that as a guide as well.
Tips for Using Public Transportation in Kaohsiung
- Get an Easy Card (or other transit card): You can get transit cards at any convenience store or at a metro station. You load the card up with money and simply tap it when you get on and off the metro/bus. The card automatically deducts the fare, so you don’t have to worry about paying the driver with cash!
- Be careful what seat you sit in: There are dark blue seats on the metro and bus seats with coverings on buses. These seats are reserved for older individuals, people living with disabilities, and pregnant women. It is taboo to sit in these areas even when the train/bus isn’t crowded and there aren’t people in those demographics that need the seats.
- Stay Quiet: It is frowned upon to have a loud conversation with a friend or talk on the phone while on public transportation.
- No food or drink allowed: You’re not meant to eat or drink while riding public transportation in Taiwan. This is a pretty standard rule in cities throughout the world.
Wifi and Internet Access
Taiwan is known for having an excellent public wifi system called iTaiwan.
iTaiwan covers basically the entirety of Taiwan (including Kaohsiung), and you’re entitled to use it as a tourist!
You have to make an account (including entering your passport information), and you can hook into the iTaiwan wifi network wherever it is available.
It is a great system, and it is nice to have access to wifi basically everywhere in the city.
But there are risks associated with using public wifi.
Connecting to public wifi (even if it is password protected in a hotel or cafe) puts you at risk of having your personal data accessed, stolen, and sold by your not-so-friendly neighbourhood hacker.
That is where a virtual private network (VPN) comes into play! A VPN protects all of your data by putting up an invisible forcefield around your electronic devices that makes it impossible for prying eyes to see your online activity!
Having a VPN is an essential for every traveller who wants to keep their data safe!
I’ve used a lot of different VPNs throughout the years, but the only one I’ve been completely happy with is NordVPN.
It is the most reliable and quickest VPN I’ve ever used.
You can connect up to 6 devices on one account, so you can protect all of your devices at once!
Plus NordVPN often runs ridiculous sales where you can save up to 70%! So there is no excuse not to protect yourself and your data!
Day one is my favourite day in this Kaohsiung itinerary. It hits most of my favourite tourist attractions. Most of the sights are centralized in one area, so you won’t have to use public transportation much on day one!
Visit the Lotus Pond Scenic Area
The Lotus Pond is the most popular tourist attraction in Kaohsiung, so of course it is the first stop on the Kaohsiung itinerary!
There are a number of sights surrounding the Lotus Pond, and you see a lot of attractions by just walking around the pond.
The Lotus Pond and the surrounding attractions is what made me want to visit Kaohsiung. It was just as beautiful as I anticipated, and I know you’ll love it too!
How to Get to the Lotus Pond Scenic Area
The closest metro station to the Lotus Pond is Zouying High Speed Rail Station. This is stop R16.
Once you get off the metro, you can either catch a bus or walk/bike to the Lotus Pond. You can rent a bike outside Zouying Station if you want. There are rental bikes throughout Kaohsiung, so you don’t need to drop it back at the same location you rented it from.
It takes less than 10 minutes to walk from the station to the Lotus Pond, so this is my preferred way to get there. You simply cross the road once you exit the station and head north on Shengli Road. You will be able to see the pond once you have walked about two blocks.
What to See at the Lotus Pond Scenic Area
Dragon and Tiger Pagodas
If you’ve ever Googled Kaohsiung, the first image that comes up is always the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. They are an iconic landmark in Kaohsiung and shouldn’t be missed.
The Dragon and Tiger Pagodas are said to reverse your luck. You enter through the Dragon and exit through the Tiger. Once you’ve gone through the pagodas, your luck will be reversed, and you’ll be lucky!
You can only enter the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas through the Dragon, so you don’t have to worry about not reversing your luck. There is a long walkway to the entrance of the pagodas, and the path leads you right to the Dragon’s mouth.
There is no entrance fee; however, there is a donation box at the entrance for voluntary donations. I suggest throwing a few New Taiwanese Dollars into the donation bin to help with the upkeep of the pagodas.
Each pagoda is seven stories tall, and you’re able to walk to the top of them. You get a magnificent view from the top, and I recommend going up at least three or four stories.
The view from above four stories isn’t vastly different from the view at four stories, so you don’t necessarily climb all the way to the top.
Cihji Palace is directly across from the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. In fact, you’re able to see the temple from inside the pagodas (remember that great view I told you about).
Cihji Palace is dedicated to the Chinese god of medicine.
You’ll want to remember to respect the temple rules (whether written or unwritten). This includes dressing respectfully. If you’re not sure what the rules are, just follow what the locals are doing. You can’t go wrong that way!
Spring and autumn pavilions
Next up on your trip around the Lotus Pond are the Spring and Autumn Pavilions.
These are two pavilions that have a giant dragon at the front. You’re able to walk through each temple and through the dragon.
I highly recommend walking through the dragon. It is longer than it looks but so worth it! The walls inside the dragon have artwork on them, and it is fun to spend some time looking at everything.
I really enjoy the Spring and Autumn Pavilions and would highly recommend visiting them. If you’re going to skip something on the Kaohsiung itinerary, I don’t recommend it be this!
Five Mile pavilion
The Five Mile Pavilion is the most relaxing pavilion along the Lotus Pond. It is directly behind the Spring and Autumn Pavilions at the end of a long bridge.
It isn’t the most beautiful or spectacular pavilion, but it is beautiful and has great views. You can sit on the benches inside the temple to relax or spend some time taking pictures of the rest of the pavilions from the bridge.
pei chi pavilion
This is my favourite pavilion at Lotus Pond. I was expecting to like the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas most, but this was the winner for me!
This pavilion honours that Taoist God Emperor of the North Pole. It is a staggering 72 meters tall and is the largest statue on water in all of Southeast Asia. Pretty impressive right!
The Pei Chi Pavilion is absolutely breathtaking. It is colourful and detailed, and it is a must-visit attraction on the Kaohsiung itinerary!
You access the pavilion by walking down a long bridge that has stone warriors down both sides. As you get closer and closer you get an appreciation for just how large the pavilion is.
It is quite the experience, and you’re able to get some amazing photographs. Assuming you can avoid the crowds of other tourists that is.
There are a number of areas for prayer at the Pei Chi Pavilion, and tourists and locals alike light incense and pray to the gods. There are also a few places to sit and relax, but they are normally quite busy and not as relaxing as the Five Mile Pavilion.
How Long Should You Spend at the Lotus Pond Scenic Area?
I suggest spending at least half a day at the Lotus Pond.
This allows you to take your time visiting each pavilion and temple (I didn’t even list them all by the way!). You also won’t be rushed if you allot yourself half a day at the Lotus Pond.
You can go back to your favourite pavilions, walk the entire perimeter of the pond, grab some tea or a snack, and enjoy your time.
Lotus Pond and its attractions is often what draws tourists to Kaohsiung, so you mays well take the time to enjoy everything it has to offer and not rush yourself. This Kaohsiung itinerary gives you ample time at each location, so you can enjoy yourself.
Wander Through Central Park
Next on the Kaohsiung itinerary is Central Park.
Central Park is located in the Cianjin district and is the perfect place to get away from the concrete jungle and crowds.
Central Park is a huge green space in the heart of Kaohsiung. Locals use Central Park as a place to gather and spend time with friends, do tai chi, and countless other things. It can get crowded during weekends and holidays and is often the sight of outdoor festivals in Kaohsiung.
How to get to Central Park from the Lotus Pond Scenic Area
It is super easy to get from the Lotus Pond to Central Park!
You simply head back to Zouying (R16) and get on the train heading in the direction Siaogang. You ride the metro until the Central Park stop (R9) and get off. It doesn’t even require a transfer, which is always a nice bonus!
When exiting Central Park station, take exit 1. This will lead you right to Central Park where you can enjoy some fresh air and relaxation.
Things to do in Central Park
Kaohsiung literary library
The Kaohsiung Literary Library is a newer addition to Central Park. It is a huge library that you’re able to walk around and explore. It is a neat place to explore if you’re a literary nerd like I am.
Speech Square is where you’ll find a lot of older people playing chess and sipping tea. It isn’t the most exciting part of Central Park, but it is worth strolling past.
You’re able to stroll around Scenic Lake and take in the beauty of Central Park. Scenic Lake has a lot of beautiful greenery and feels very relaxing. It is the perfect place to sit down, relax, and read a book.
Water Square is the coolest part of Central Park. If you’re there are the right time, you’re able to watch the water dance. It is quite beautiful and well worth waiting for if you have the time!
The water dance show last about 20 minutes.
The water dances at the following times:
Monday-Friday: 12:30, 15:30, 18:30, 19:30, 20:30, and 21:30
Saturday-Sunday: 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 13:30, 15:30, 16:30, 17:30, 18:30, 19:30, 20:30, and 21:30
How Long Should You Spend at Central Park?
I recommend spending at least two hours at Central Park. This gives you time to take in all the different sights, watch the water show, and relax a little bit.
If you don’t want to spend that much time in Central Park, the area surrounding it has a number of different stores and restaurants you can explore.
Zhongxiao (Jhongsiao) Night Market
Zhongxiao (Jhongsaio) Night Market is the next stop on the Kaohsiung itinerary! It is walking distance from Central Park and is the perfect way to start your first evening in Kaohsiung!
How to get to Zhongxiao (Jhongsiao) Night Market from Central Park
It is quite simple to get to the Zhongziao Night Market from Central Park. You simply cross the street and follow the signs.
The easiest way to cross the street is to go through the Central Park metro station and take exit 2. You’ll avoid waiting for the long traffic light to change to walk across the street!
You turn left on Qingnian 1st Road and walk up the road until you reach the night market.
The Zhongxiao Night Market is on the smaller side, but you should have no problem finding it. You’ll know you’re getting close when the pedestrian traffic starts to get busier and you smell the delicious food.
Things to do at Zhongxiao (Jhongsiao) Night Market
Zhongxiao Night Market is a food market, and you’ll find all different types of cuisine being sold. The market is only about 200 meters long, but there are a lot of different booths in the small area.
You can find all the traditional Taiwanese street foods at the market including stinky tofu, egg rolls, pepper buns and more! You can also find a variety of less traditional foods if you’re an adventurous eater. Foods like goat, oyster omelettes, and braised pork blood.
How Long Should You Spend at Zhongxiao (Jhongsiao) Night Market?
I suggest spending 30-45 minutes at Zhongxiao Night Market depending on how much you want to eat and how much time you spend walking past the stalls and seeing what food they have to offer.
Xinjuejiang Night Market
Xinjuejiang is my favourite night market in Kaohsiung! It has more of a focus on shopping and fashion than it does on food. There are still plenty of food options to enjoy, but the star of the show is the shopping!
How to get from Zhongxiao Night Market to Xinjuejiang Night Market
The two markets are walking distance from one another, so that is a huge bonus! You have to walk less than ten minutes from one to the other!
To get from Zhongxiao Night Market to Xinjuejiang Night Market, you simply walk down Qingnian 1st Road back towards the way you came and turn right at the street right before the main street that Central Park Station is on.
From there you walk straight until you reach the market! You’ll know you’re nearing the market when the pedestrian traffic rapidly picks up! Xinjuejiang Night Market is a popular shopping location for young locals, and it is busy every night.
Things to do at Xinjuejiang Night Market
Xinjuejiang Night Market is the place to go if your’e looking to buy some new clothes, skincare, or makeup. It is full of trendy stores including local stores and international brick-and-motar stores like Nike.
There are tons of different alleys for you to walk up and down just off the main shopping street. This is where you’ll find the local boutiques. They are often more affordable than the international stores, and they have tons of cute items!
A lot of the smaller boutiques carry similar items, so if you find an item you love but is a bit out of your price range, there is a good chance you’ll be able to find the same item in a different store at a lower price.
I found many of the stores at Xinjuejiang Night Market to be more size inclusive than I’m used to in Asia. I’m a size 8 in American sizing and found many different items that fit me and were flattering.
This was exciting since I normally go into boutiques in Asia knowing I won’t fit into any of the clothing.
How Long Should You Spend at Xinjuejiang Night Market?
It is easy to spend hours at Xinjuejiang Night Market wandering through the stores, sampling cosmetics, and snacking.
I recommend spending at least 90 minutes at Xinjuejiang Night Market.
This gives you ample time to get all your shopping done and not feel rushed. But since this is the last thing on the Kaohsiung itinerary for the day, you can spend as much or as little time at the market as you want!
Day two of the Kaohsiung itinerary is the busiest and requires you to use public transportation the most out of all three days. Even though day two is busy, it doesn’t feel rushed, and you’re able to enjoy your time at each of the sights!
Kaohsiung Martyrs’ Shrine
Kaohsiung Martyrs’ Shrine is a shrine located on Shoushan mountainside. It honours fallen soldiers and has a stunning view of Kaohsiung and the harbour.
How to get to Kaohsiung Martyrs’ Shrine
Getting to Kaohsiung Martyrs’ Shrine from Formosa Boulevard Station is relatively easy. You take the Orange metro line to the end and get off at Sizihwan Station (O1).
Once you exit the station, walk towards Gupo Street. At Gupo Street, turn right. Walk straight until you get to Qiangguang Road then turn left and follow the road up the mountain.
Once you’re on Qiangguang Road, you just follow it until you get to the shrine. The walk up the mountain isn’t terribly strenuous and most people who don’t have physical limitations should be able to walk to the shrine with no issue.
Things to do at Kaohsiung Martyrs’ Shrine
View the Kaohsiung martyrs’ shrine
Visiting the Kaohsiung Martyrs’ Shrine is the main attraction in the area. You can wander around the shrine and take photographs of it. It is a beautiful shrine and well worth spending some time wandering through it and taking in its beauty.
take pictures at the love sign
The love sign is a new addition to Kaohsiung Martyrs’ Shrine, but it has quickly become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Many newly engaged couples get their photo taken at the love sign.
take in the view
The view is the real showstopper at the Kaohsiung Martyrs’ Shrine. You get an amazing view of the harbour and part of Kaohsiung.
It is my favourite viewpoint in Kaohsiung, and it is well worth taking the time to visit the shrine just to take in the view. It is particularly beautiful at sunrise and sunset.
How Long do You Need to Spend at Kaohsiung Martyrs’ Shrine?
Allotting 30 minutes to wander through the shrine and take photographs of the love sign and scenery should be enough time. If you’re an avid photographer and want to take tons of photos, then you might want to allot 45 minutes at the shrine.
Cijin Island is another tourist attraction that comes up in every Kaohsiung itinerary and with good reason! It is located a short five minute ferry ride away from Kaohsiung and has a number of popular tourist destinations.
You can rent a bike on Cijin Island and pedal your way around the island. I didn’t rent a bike when I visited and regretted it. You can rent your bike either before you get on the ferry or once you’re on Cijin Island. But be sure to rent a bike. You’ll be regretful like me if you don’t!
How to get from Kaohsiung Martyrs’ Shrine to Cijin Island
The first step in getting from the shrine to Cijin Island is walking back to Sizihwan Station. Once you’re back at the station, follow the directions in posted at the station to the ferry terminal. The walk takes less than 10 minutes and is very simple.
You then wait for the next ferry to arrive, get on it, and then get off on Cijin Island. The ferry ride only takes a few minutes, so you’ll be there in no time!
When you get off the ferry, turn right, and then follow the crowds down the main street in Cijin. This main street is where you can rent a bike if you want.
Things to do on Cijin Island
visit the lighthouse
The lighthouse is the most popular tourist attraction on Cijin Island. It was built in 1883 by the British. It was used extensively during Japanese occupation and is now open to the public.
Unfortunately is was closed for renovations when I was in Kaohsiung, so I don’t have any first-hand experience of it. But it looks amazing, and I would love to go back to see it!
Kaohsiung Fort is located near the lighthouse and was also built by the British in 1883. It is mostly in ruins now but is a great place to get stunning photographs of the island and Kaohsiung.
You can easily spend 20-30 minutes wandering around the fort ruins and taking photographs. You can walk along the pieces of the walls that are still standing to get the best photographs. It is a lot of fun.
The Rainbow Church is probably the most Instagramable place in all of Kaohsiung. Visitors flock to Cijin Island just to get a photograph of the Rainbow Church.
It isn’t actually a church but, rather, a colourful art piece in front of the ocean. It is quite beautiful.
There are long queues to get a photo at the Rainbow Church no matter what time of day or time of year you visit Cijin Island. If you’re looking for the perfect Instagram photo, it may be worth waiting your turn, but if you’re not, it is probably enough to walk past and see it rather than waiting in the queue.
Cijin Tunnel is my favourite attraction on Cijin Island. It is a small tunnel you walk through and at the end you’re right by the water. It is incredible! The view is amazing.
You’re really close to the water, so you’re able to see the waves crashing, hear the seagulls, and smell the water.
It was be a bit trick to find the tunnel so be sure to follow the signs for the tunnel closely otherwise you could miss it. The tunnel is near the base of the hill that has the lighthouse and fort on it, so if your’e closer to the Rainbow Church then the lighthouse, you’re not in the right area.
How Long Should You Spend on Cijin Island?
You’ll need three to four hours on Cijin Island to see all the major sights. This allows you to spend time exploring each of the sights, bike from place to place, and enjoy some food.
The shaved ice is particularly good on Cijin Island, and I would recommend stopping for some shaved ice to cool down and relax before getting back on the ferry to Kaohsiung.
Takao Railways Museum
The next stop on the Kaohsiung itinerary for day two is a quick stop at the Takao Railway Museum. This is an old railway station that ceased operating in 2008, and the Kaohsiung government turned it into a museum.
How to get from Cijin Island to Takao Railway Museum
The first step in getting from Cijin Island to Takao Railway Museum is taking the ferry back to Kaohsiung. You catch the ferry back to Kaohsiung at the same place you got off the ferry when you arrived on Cijin Island.
Once you’re off the ferry in Kaohsiung, walk back to Sizihwan Station. From there, you’ll walk a few blocks to the light rail station.
The railway museum is right next to Hamasen Station (C14). There are signs directing you to the light rail station, and you’ll be able to see it on your left-hand side as you begin walking.
The light rail station is also connected to the metro station if you choose to walk through the station rather than above ground. Walking through the station is the best option for people who are concerned that they will get lost (even though it is quite difficult to do).
Things to do at Takao Railway Museum
There honestly isn’t too much to do at the Takao Railway Museum. There is a small museum and a few train engines and cars you can view.
The most popular reason people go is to take photos with the statues/artwork that the government has placed in the field adjacent to the railway museum. You can take your photo with giant suitcases and other such pieces of artwork.
This area is popular amongst young people and is another great place to get the perfect Instagram photo to commemorate your time in Kaohsiung.
How Long Should You Spend at Takao Railway Museum?
15-30 minutes is enough time to take pictures and visit the museum if you want to.
Pier-2 Art Centre
Pier-2 Art Centre is a really cool part of Kaohsiung where there is a bunch of art, statues, and murals that you can admire and take your picture with. There are also a number of independent art stores you can shop at if you want to take a piece of art home to remember your time in Kaohsiung.
How to get from Takao Railway Museum to Pier-2 Art Centre
You can walk from Takao Railway Museum to Pier-2 Art Centre in a matter of minutes, so it is quick and easy to get from one location to the next.
You simply walk across the field next to the museum and then cross the street. You’re able to see Pier-2 Art Centre as you’re walking across the field, so it is nearly impossible to get lost.
If you’re worried about getting lost, just follow the light rail tracks. The light rail stops at Pier-2 Art Centre, so if you follow the tracks, it is impossible to get lost.
Things to do at Pier-2 Art Centre
Pier-2 Art Centre is very popular amongst locals and tourists, and it can get quite busy and crowded if you go on a weekend afternoon. That being said, is is still worth checking out!
The area is filled with different public art you can look at. It includes murals, statues, life-size transformers, and more. There is a lot of unique art at Pier-2 Art Centre.
The area has a really cool hipster-esque vibe that doesn’t feel pretentious.
There are also a number of shops and cafes that you can stop at to do some shopping or pick grab a snack.
How Long Should You Spend at Pier-2 Art Centre?
This is a difficult thing to estimate because the amount of time you’ll want to spend at Pier-2 Art Centre directly corresponds with how much you enjoy art and how much of the are you want to explore.
You’ll need at least an hour at Pier-2 Art Centre, but it is really easy to spend much longer there exploring.
The next stop on the Kaohsiung itinerary is a stop at Dream Mall. Dream Mall is the largest mall in Taiwan and is one of the largest malls in all of East Asia.
Dream Mall is often overlooked on Kaohsiung itineraries, but I think it is worth checking out!
How to get from Pier-2 Art Centre to Dream Mall
This is the only time in the Kaohsiung itinerary that you’ll be using the light rail system so soak in the moment if you’re a transportation nerd and love riding different forms of transit!
To get from Pier-2 Art Centre to Dream Mall, you simple get on the light rail system at either Penglai Pier-2 (C13) or Dayia Pier-2 (C12). Both stations are near the Pier-2 Art Centre, so you just have to choose whatever station is closest to where you are.
After you’re on the light rail system, you ride it until you get to the Dream Mall Station (C5). The light rail isn’t nearly as quick as the metro, so it takes a little longer to get from Pier-2 Art Centre to Dream Mall than it would if the metro ran between the two locations.
At Dream Mall Station, you just have to walk across the street, and you’re at the mall.
Things to do at Dream Mall
Shop ’til you drop
Shopping is the most obvious thing to do at Dream Mall. The mall is huge, and there are seven stories of stores you can explore.
Each story is dedicated to a certain shopping theme, so it is really easy to find what you’re looking for. For example, all the women’s clothing is on one floor and all the children’s clothing is on a separate floor.
The majority of the stores in Dream Mall are international stores, and you won’t mind many unique stores. Most of the stores you could find in any mall around the world.
eat, eat, and eat some more
The entire bottom level of Dream Mall is dedicated solely to food! There are tons of different bakeries, sweet shops, cafes, and restaurants. You’re guaranteed to find something that suits your fancy.
This is the perfect place to grab lunch or have a coffee and relax a bit after a busy day.
There is an amusement park on the roof of Dream Mall! It is a very small amusement park, but it is an amusement park nonetheless.
The highlight of the amusement park is the ferris wheel that sits on the roof. It gives you spectacular views of Kaohsiung if you’re brave enough to ride it.
The rides are a bit expensive, but it is pretty neat to check out and wander around for a while.
How Long Should You Spend at Dream Mall?
This depends on how much shopping you’re going to do. You’ll need at least 60 to 90 minutes to explore all of Dream Mall, grab a bite to eat, and check out the amusement park.
You’ll need much longer than that if you’re planning on doing some serious shopping. But since the stores are basically chain stores, there are better places in Kaohsiung you could go shopping and find more unique items that cost less.
Ruifeng Night Market
Ruifeng Night Market is quickly becoming the most popular night market in Kaohsiung, so I had to include it in my Kaohsiung itinerary. It opens at 4pm every day, so it is perfect timing for you to head straight to the night market after visiting Dream Mall.
How to get to Ruifeng Night Market from Dream Mall
The easiest way to get from Dream Mall to Ruifeng Night Market is to walk to Kaisyuan Station (R6) and ride it to Kaohsiung Arena Station (R14).
To get to Kaisyuan Station, you’ll need to walk approximately 750 meters from the mall to the station. You simply exit the mall from the same doors you entered in and walk across the street with your back facing the door you exited from.
You follow that road all the way until you get to Kaisyuan Station. It is a straight shot once you’re walking down the proper road.
If you don’t want to walk to the station, you can also take the bus. The bus departs across the street from Dream Mall, so it requires a lot less walking than taking the metro.
You take bus 168 East for 29 stops and get off at Kaohsiung Arena. The bus takes twice as long as the metro, so that is something to consider when deciding what transportation method to take.
Things to do at Ruifeng Night Market
Ruifeng Night Market is the largest food night market in Kaohsiung and covers a staggering 3,000 square meters and has been open for 20 years. The vendors are well organized, and the market is in the shape of an L.
You can find all the classic night market foods including stinky tofu, pepper buns, fried chicken, and corn on the cob (my personal favourite). The papaya milk is also worth trying out.
There are also some fun little carnival games you can play for a small fee. These are quite fun if you have a friend to play against!
How Long Should You Spend at the Ruifeng Night Market?
This is the largest night market in Kaohsiung, and you’ll want to spend a decent amount of time wandering through it sampling the different food options. I suggest spending a minimum of 90 minutes at Ruifeng Night Market and more if you want to.
Ruifeng Night Market is the last stop for day two of the Kaohsiung itinerary, so you can spend hours at the market if you want to and not be rushed to make it to your next destination.
The third and final day of the Kaohsiung itinerary is much more relaxed than day two. It involves a lot less travelling from one sight to another and more time at one major sight followed by a couple of minor sights that are walking distance from one another.
Fo Guang Shan Monastery
Fo Guang Shan Monastery is the main attraction on the final day of the Kaohsiung itinerary. It is a jaw dropping and well worth visiting.
Fo Guang Shan monastery is the headquarters of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist religion. It is the largest Buddhist complex in Taiwan and is home to the largest bronze sitting Buddha statue in the world!
How to get to Fo Guang Shan Monastery
Getting to Fo Guang Shan Monastery is a two-step process.
The first step is taking the metro to Zouying Station (R16). This is the same station you took to get to the Lotus Pond Scenic Area, so it should be easy for you to navigate how to get there.
Once you’re at Zouying Station, walk to the bus station. Walk to the bus stand for bus 8501 and wait for the next bus to arrive. The first bus departs at 8:15am and the second at 8:45am. I recommend taking on of those two buses to make the most out of your time at the monastery.
The bus stops at two locations at Fo Guang Shan. The first stop is at the Buddhist museum and the second is at the monastery.
Most people get off at the first stop, but I recommend getting off at the second stop. This will allow some of the crowds to be gone from the museum by the time you get there, and it means you walk down the hill to the museum rather than up the hill to the monastery.
This makes a huge difference in the Kaohsiung humidity!
Things to do at Fo Guang Shan Monastery
visit the monastery
The majority of people who visit Fo Guang Shan visit the museum and skip visiting the monastery. This is a mistake. The museum is where the giant Buddha is, but the monastery has a lot to offer as well!
The monastery is on the top of a hill, so you’ll have to walk up a short path to get there. This path is much shorter than the path you would have to walk up if you visited the museum first and then the monastery.
The monastery has a number of statues and temples you can visit. They are all gorgeous and give you some history about Fo Guang Shan Buddhism before you visit the museum.
There are a number of places in the monastery you’re not allowed to visit. These places are reserved solely for the monks and visitors staying at the monastery.
There are signs marking areas you aren’t allowed to enter as a visitor. Please respect these signs and don’t go anywhere you’re not allowed.
the buddha museum
The Buddha Museum is the star of the show at Fo Guang Shan and one of my favourite things on this Kaohsiung itinerary. It is far more impressive and moving than I anticipated it being before I visited.
The Buddha Museum is huge and consists of multiple temples, museum exhibits, and the giant bronze Buddha. It is quite easy to miss something there is so much to see!
Be sure to take the time to explore the museum exhibits before you go to the bronze Buddha. They’ll give you the background information you need to better understand the religion and significance of the Buddha.
There are many helpful volunteers and employees throughout the museum that can help answer any of your questions or help guide you through the exhibit.
There is no entrance fee to visit the museum, but there are donation boxes throughout the property where you can put a donation if you want to.
Fo Guang Shan is one of the few places in Kaohsiung that sells souvenirs, so it is a great place to pick up a souvenir of your time in Kaohsiung. They sell all the standard souvenirs at the entrance to the museum as well as near the bus station.
Enjoy a delicious meal
There are a number of different restaurants at the entrance of the museum. They range in prices, but they all serve traditional Chinese food.
I highly recommend the vegetarian buffet on the second floor. The food is delicious, and it is the least expensive buffet I’ve ever been to in my life. I have no idea how they make money on it!
It is popular amongst the locals, so it is often busy. It is common seating, so you’ll probably be sharing your table with a bunch of people, but that is the best way to meet new, interesting people!
How Long Should You Spend at Fo Guang Shan Monastery?
I recommend spending at least six hours at Fo Guang Shan. This includes the bus ride to and from the monastery. You can easily spend upwards of seven or eight hours (even days) at the monastery depending on how much time you spend exploring all it has to offer.
Six hours is enough time for you to see the monastery, visit the majority of the museum exhibits, spend some time viewing the Buddha, and have lunch.
Kaohsiung Museum of History
I’ve never seen the Kaohsiung Museum of History included on a Kaohsiung itinerary, and I only found it because I was searching for a museum to visit in Kaohsiung. I really enjoyed the museum, and it shares a lot of really important history about the city and Taiwan’s history.
I knew once I visited the museum I needed to include it on my Kaohsiung itinerary and encourage more people to visit it!
How to get from Fo Guang Shan to the Kaohsiung Museum of History
Getting from Fo Guang Shan to the museum requires two transfers, but it is easier than it sounds!
You take the bus from the Buddha Museum to Zouying Station then take the red metro line to Formosa Boulevard Station (R10/O5). At Formosa Boulevard Station, you transfer to the orange metro line and ride it for one stop at get off at City Counsel (Former Site) Station.
From there you’ll walk for approximately 5 minutes towards the Love River (follow the signs in the station to make sure you’re going the right direction). The museum is on your right-hand side just after you cross the river.
The museum is in an old government building, and it is easy to miss if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. It is a pale green and brown building and has a parking lot at the front.
There isn’t any signage on the museum that is visible from the street, but there is no need to be shy about walking to the door. You’re in the right place and not trespassing. I will admit that they need better signage.
Things to do at the Kaohsiung Museum of History
The Kaohsiung Museum of History is small and only consists of a few rooms. There is a rotating exhibit that hosts different exhibits pertaining to the history of Kaohsiung and a permanent exhibit dedicated to the February 28 Massacre.
Learning about the February 28 Massacre is very important, and I would encourage everybody to take the time to visit the Kaohsiung Museum of History.
Entrance to the museum is free, so there is no excuse not to visit!
How Long Should You Spend at the Kaohsiung Museum of History?
I recommend spending about 30 minutes at the museum. This will allow you to visit the exhibits and watch the multi-media show they have at the end of the February 28 Massacre exhibit.
The museum is quite small, so you won’t need much more time than that even if you intend to read everything in the museum.
30 minutes out of your 3 day Kaohsiung itinerary isn’t too much time to spend learning about local history and a very important event in Taiwan’s history.
Next up on the Kaohsiung itinerary is a visit to Love River. This is the main river that runs through Kaohsiung, and it is the perfect place to take a stroll or read on a bench.
How to get from the Kaohsiung Museum of History to Love River
It literally couldn’t be easier to get from the Kaohsiung Museum of History to the Love River. You simply exit the museum, turn left, and you’re there! You can see the river from the museum. By far the easiest part of this Kaohsiung itinerary!
Things to do at Love River
Love River is the perfect place for you to go for a leisurely stroll and take in the beauty of Kaohsiung away from the concrete jungle. I love finding a bench a reading for as long as I can handle the humidity.
There are also river cruises you can go on. They’re a great way to see more of the river without having to spend the time walking the length of it all.
How Long Should You Spend at Love River?
I suggest spending 30-45 minutes at Love River at a minimum and longer if you want to go for a river cruise. It is easy to lose track of time walking along the river, so it is best to plan to spend a decent amount of time there.
Formosa Boulevard Station
Formosa Boulevard Station is another classic sight that ends up on every Kaohsiung itinerary and for good reason! It is the main metro station in Kaohsiung and is one of the most beautiful metro stations I’ve ever seen.
If you stayed in the Xinxing District , you would have seen this station everyday when getting to and from all the other attractions on the itinerary. But for people who didn’t stay in the area, visiting Formosa Boulevard Station is a must!
How to get from Love River to Formosa Boulevard Station
The easiest way to get from the river to Formosa Boulevard Station is walking. Once you’re done exploring the river, head back to the Kaohsiung Museum of History.
With your back towards the Kaohsiung Museum of History, walk across the bridge and follow the main road all the way to Formosa Boulevard Station.
The walk takes approximately twenty minutes, and you don’t need to make any turns. Simply follow the road, and you’ll find yourself at the station.
Things to do at Formosa Boulevard Station
Formosa Boulevard Station is best known for the dome of lights. The station is home to the largest piece of glass art in the world, and it is over 2,000 square meters and contains 4,500 panes of glass.
It is breathtaking and an essential activity for anybody visiting Kaohsiung.
The dome of lights is on the main level of the station before the turnstiles, so you don’t need to pay to see the display!
How Long Should You Spend at Formosa Boulevard Station?
I think ten minutes is enough time to see the dome of lights and take a bunch of photos. There isn’t really anything else noteworthy in the station, so you’re just going to view the dome of lights.
Liuhe Night Market
Liuhe Night Market is the most famous night market is Kaohsiung and is on every Kaohsiung itinerary. It may be the most famous night market, but I don’t think it is the best in the city.
But it is still worth a visit, which is why I have included it on my Kaohsiung itinerary.
How to get from Formosa Boulevard Station to the Liuhe Night Market
Getting from the station to the night market is just as easy as getting from the museum to the river.
You simply follow the signs in the station for the Liuhe Tourist Night Market exit, walk up the stairs, and you’re at the entrance to the market. It doesn’t get easier than that!
Things to do at the Liuhe Night Market
The Liuhe Night Market is strictly a food market, so you’re not going to find any vendors selling souvenirs. There are a number of stores that the vendors set up in front of, so if you need a convenience store or something along those lines, you’ll be able to find one.
The market has all the traditional Taiwanese street food items that are in the other night markets around Kaohsiung. My personal favourite is the corn on the cob. There is something about the spice mix they put on it at this specific market that is incredible.
The market spans quite a few blocks, so there are a lot of different foods to try out. The food is also inexpensive (as it is at all the night markets), so it is a great place to eat a lot of food without spending too much money.
How Long Should You Spend at the Liuhe Night Market?
I think 60-75 minutes is sufficient. You’ve already been to a number of night markets by following this Kaohsiung itinerary, so you’ll have already seen most of the different types of food.
By this point, you’ll probably know what types of food you like, so you can easily find the stalls you want to eat at without walking the length of the market once or twice deciding.
You can, of course, spend as much time at the market as you want. It is the last thing on the Kaohsiung itinerary after all! There are a number of local stores in the area, so it is worth it to take some extra time and wander around the surrounding area to see if there is anything else you’re interested in buying.
As you can tell, there is a lot to do and see in Kaohsiung! You can easily spend 4 or 5 days in Kaohsiung exploring everything the city has to offer, but I think 3 days is the perfect amount of time in Kaohsiung for the average traveller.
This Kaohsiung itinerary hits all the most popular tourist sights in Kaohsiung but also includes a number of less popular attractions. This allows you to get a better feeling for the city and understand it a little bit more.
I think it is important to visit museums and learn about the places you travel to, which is why I included the history museum in the itinerary. It is one of the most underrated attractions in Kaohsiung, and I would encourage everybody to visit it.
There are a lot of other attractions in Kaohsiung you could visit, and you could easily customize your trip to Kaohsiung to suit your personal preferences.
Use this Kaohsiung itinerary as a guide to your time in Kaohsiung and insert any sights that intrigue you or that you stumble on along the way.
Kaohsiung is a really cool city, and I hope this itinerary helps you plan your perfect trip to Kaohsiung!
PS- Don’t forget to sign up for NordVPN and protect your online data when you’re in Kaohsiung. You don’t want your holiday ruined because your online data was stolen!