Where to Stay in Kaohsiung (For Every Budget!)

Kaohsiung is (in my opinion) the most beautiful city in Taiwan. It shouldn’t be missed when you’re visiting the country, and I’m going to help you figure out where to stay in Kaohsiung and help you find the perfect hotel for your budget!

There are two main areas of Kaohsiung that are perfect for tourists to stay: near Formosa Boulevard Station or near the harbour. These two areas are the best places to stay in Kaohsiung because you are near public transportation and can easily get to every major tourist attraction quickly. You can also walk to a number of Kaohsiung attractions from Formosa Boulevard Station and the harbour.

My preference of where to stay in Kaohsiung is definitely near Formosa Boulevard Station.

It is the only metro station where both metro lines intersection, so it is the best area in Kaohsiung to stay in if you plan on using the metro system a lot.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Kaohsiung for amazing views of the city, there is no better place than near the harbour.

The scenery in the harbour area is unbeatable. You have a view of the water, Cijin Island, and Kaohsiung city.

Both the areas near Formosa Boulevard Station and the harbour are great, and you have to decide where to stay in Kaohsiung based on your travel style and preferences.

This post will help you figure that out!

Fo Guang Shan Big Buddha

Other Kaohsiung Articles You May Find Helpful

I love Kaohsiung and have written a number of articles to help you plan the perfect trip to Kaohsiung.

Here are some of my other posts you may want to check out to help you plan your trip:

Taiwan Night Market

Formosa Boulevard Station

Formosa Boulevard Station is where I always stay when I visit Kaohsiung.

It is centrally located, near Liuhe Night Market, and has the best transportation options.

Formosa Boulevard Station is the only metro station in Kaohsiung where the Orange and Red metro lines intersect. You’ll most likely be using both metro lines when in Kaohsiung, so staying in this area makes getting around the city a breeze!

If you’re wondering where to stay in Kaohsiung that allows you to get to tourist attractions quickly and easily, there is no better place than the area around Formosa Boulevard Station.

In addition to being the best place to stay in Kaohsiung in terms of transportation, you can also walk to a number of tourist sights.

You can walk to:

  • Liuhe Night Market
  • Kaohsiung History Museum
  • Love River
  • Central Park
  • Zhongxiao Night Market
  • Kaohsiung Library (it is a beautiful building you may want to walk through)
  • Formosa Boulevard Station (which is a tourist attraction in and of itself)
  • Xinjuejang Night Market (my favourite night market in Kaohsiung)

Clearly, there is a lot to do near Formosa Boulevard Station! You’ll have no trouble keeping yourself busy in the area!

The Formosa Boulevard Station area is also where to stay in Kaohsiung if you’re looking for affordable hotels!

The neighbourhood doesn’t have great views like the harbour area, so the hotels tend to be less expensive.

The hotels are good quality, but you can often find a similar hotel to the hotels near the harbour for less money.

Who doesn’t want that?!

All in all, I love staying near Formosa Boulevard Station. I think it is the best place to stay in Kaohsiung.

The convenience of having access to both metro lines at one station makes all the difference!

Formosa Boulevard Station Kaohsiung Taiwan

Pros of Staying Near Formosa Boulevard Station

  • Access to both metro lines
  • Super affordable (but still has nice hotels)

Cons to Staying Near Formosa Boulevard Station

  • Isn’t a particularly beautiful part of Kaohsiung
  • Can’t walk to the biggest tourist attractions like Lotus Pond and Pier 2 Art Centre
  • Lots of traffic (but I’ve never had an issue with the sound of traffic disturbing me in my hotel)

Best Budget Hotels Near Formosa Boulevard Station (Under $50USD/Night)

Kindness Hotel

This is where I stayed last time I was in Kaohsiung.

I was on a pretty tight budget and didn’t need anything fancy, and Kindness Hotel exceeded my expectations.

The hotel is just a few blocks from Formosa Boulevard Station, so it is in the perfect location. It is so easy to get everywhere you need to go!

The rooms are pretty basic, but they are still quite nice. The bed is super comfortable, the room is spacious, and (most importantly) the bathroom is clean!

My favourite part of Kindness Hotel is the complimentary all day dessert, ice cream, and tea!

I came back to the hotel a number of afternoons to beat the heat, get some work done, and have a snack.

They have a grape flavoured ice cream that is amazing!

It sounds odd, but give it a try. It is so much better than you imagine. I ended up having it almost every evening before I went to my room for the evening.

On top of the comfortable room and complimentary snacks, the service at Kindness Hotel is amazing. You often don’t get great service at budget hotels, but that isn’t the case here.

The staff are super friendly and attentive.

I highly recommend this hotel to everybody visiting Kaohsiung.

It isn’t anything fancy, but it gets the job done!

Skyone Hotel

Skyone Hotel was built in 2017, so it is still super fresh and new.

The hotel has a London theme, which is kinda cool. There are a lot of communal areas as well. It is almost like a mix between a hostel and budget hotel. You get your own room, but there is still a social aspect.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Kaohsiung for a great time mingling with other travellers, this may be the perfect choice for you!

There is a children’s play room, a billiards table, and a seating area.

I love the approach that Skyone Hotel has taken where they combine privacy and socializing.

Gone are the days where you have to choose between having your own room and privacy on one hand and socializing and meeting new people on the other.

Jia’s Inn Liouhe

This hotel has a unique decoration style.

The hotel bar kind of looks like a speak easy, but the rooms are pretty cookie cutter with white walls. There are a few accent stickers on the wall that make it more fun, but the rooms are not what I expected based on the hotel bar.

That being said, Jia’s Inn Liouhe is a wonderful hotel.

The showers in the bathroom are amazing. They have a rainfall shower head, and it is so relaxing to jump in a hot shower after a long day of exploring Kaohsiung.

The location of Jia’s Inn Liouhe is unbeatable.

It isn’t along the main road so many other hotels in this area. It feels more private and removed from the hustle and bustle of Kaohsiung.

Even though it is a bit removed from the main road, you can still easily walk to the night market and Formosa Boulevard Station in less than 5 and 10 minutes, respectively.

Most rooms come with a view of the city, which is another huge plus. I love opening the curtains in the morning and seeing the city rather than a parking lot or something like that.

A lot of the rooms also have a couch in them. This is such a nice feature that I wish more hotels had!

It is so nice to have a place to stretch out and sit other than the bed. It is nice to have a little bit of separation between your sleeping area and where you watch tv or work.

Best Mid-Range Hotels Near Formosa Boulevard Station ($50USD to $150USD/Night)

Hotel Indigo

If you’re wondering where to stay in Kaohsiung for stunning views of the skyline and is near Formosa Boulevard Station, look no further than Hotel Indigo.

There is a rooftop bar and seating area that has unbeatable views of Kaohsiung’s skyline.

Seriously, even if you don’t stay at Hotel Indigo, you need to stop by for a drink at the rooftop bar!

The building itself is unlike anything else I’ve seen before. It is really funky.

I’m not quite sure how to find the words to describe it, but you should definitely view a photo of the property, so you can appreciate the architectural design!

Outside of its structural beauty and rooftop bar, the rooms at Hotel Indigo are quite nice. They are modern, clean, and fairly spacious. You may even be lucky enough to get a room with a bathroom that faces the skyline.

They have gigantic windows, and you can relax in the bath with a glass of wine and take in the view.

It is luxurious!

I’m honestly surprised that it is so affordable!

Brio Hotel

I love the design of this hotel.

It is sleek, modern, clean, and uses a lot of greys, which is my favourite aesthetic.

The rooms at Brio Hotel are generously spacious and much larger than other hotel rooms you’ll find in the area. It is a great option if you like to spread out or have a lot of luggage.

The hotel towers over the other buildings in the area, so you get stunning views of Central Park and Kaohsiung city.

A lot of the times you get complimentary breakfast for two when you book your stay through Hotels.com.

I highly recommend you take advantage of that complimentary breakfast. Not only are you getting a delicious meal included in your stay (seriously, the food is amazing), but you’re also getting an unbeatable view.

The restaurant is located at the top of the hotel and even has outdoor seating. It is the best way to start off your day.

Or end your day if you stop by for a cocktail before bed.

Brio Hotel is a little bit further away from Formosa Boulevard Station than the other hotels on the list, but it is so lovely that I had to include it.

It is located close to Central Park, which is about a 15 minute walk from Formosa Boulevard Station. There is a metro station right at Central Park, so if you don’t feel like walking, you can ride the metro one stop and be at Formosa Boulevard Station.

Walking still may be faster when you factor in having to wait for the next train to arrive.

This hotel is absolutely stunning. They could 100% charge a lot more per night than they do.

Hotel Dua

Hotel Dua is the perfect alternative to Brio Hotel.

It has a very similar vibe to Brio Hotel, but it is way closer to Formosa Boulevard Station. The metro station is just a 5-minute walk away!

I think the decor at Hotel Dua is a little bland compared to Brio Hotel, but it is still quite nice. It isn’t shabby or run down at all!

Just a little generic whereas the decor at Brio Hotel was a little more modern.

No matter what your decor preferences (because does it really matter if you’re only there a few nights?), Hotel Dua is a wonderful stay.

The staff is super friendly, the rooms are huge, and they have a rooftop restaurant and bar area as well.

Complimentary breakfast for two is also included in most bookings made through Hotels.com!

You can’t beat that. I love a good complimentary breakfast, and the breakfast at Hotel Dua is way better than your average hotel breakfast!

Best Luxury Hotels Near Formosa Boulevard Station (Over $150USD/Night)

All things considered, there aren’t many quality luxury hotels near Formosa Boulevard Station.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Kaohsiung for a luxury experience, this neighbourhood is not the one for you.

I think the mid-range hotels are a much better option than the luxury hotels in the area. They are more affordable, are stylish, and are of the same quality (sometimes higher) as the higher-end hotels in the area.

I’m only going to recommend one higher-end hotel near Formosa Boulevard Station. The recommendation is more for the location than the fact that it is a “luxury” hotel.

I would personally characterize this hotel as a mid-range hotel, but it is priced a bit higher than the mid-range hotels on this list.

Joho Hotel

Joho Hotel is a really cute hotel located a few blocks away from Formosa Boulevard Station.

The hotel is in a fairly unique location because you can easily walk to both Formosa Boulevard Station and Kaohsiung Station. These are the two major metro stations in Kaohsiung, so it is lovely to be able to walk to both of them!

Joho Hotel is nicely decorated with lots of greys and modern decor. The rooms are spacious, and there is a rooftop bar and workout room.

I really like the location of this hotel, and that is the main reason I recommend it.

In terms of value, I think some of the mid-range hotels are a better option. Joho Hotel feels like a mid-range hotel, but it is priced slightly higher than one.

It is by far the least expensive “luxury” hotel on this list.

It may be a good option if you’re looking for something a little more expensive than the mid-range hotels, but I would personally opt for one of the mid-range hotels over Joho Hotel.

Joho Hotel is still an excellent hotel, and you won’t be disappointed if you stay there.

I mean it made this list, so it has to be good! I only recommend the best to you!

PS- you receive a complimentary mini bar if your room if you book through Hotels.com!!

The Harbour

The harbour area is one of the most beautiful areas in Kaohsiung. There are beautiful views of the city, Cijin Island, the water, and so much more.

It is definitely one of the most laid back areas of the city as well. The vibe is unbeatable!

My main argument for staying near Formosa Boulevard Station is the amazing transportation options, but you won’t be stuck if you stay near the harbour.

You have access to the Orange metro line, the light rail system, and buses. You can still easily get around Kaohsiung, but it may take a little longer if you have to transfer to the Red metro line.

The ferry to Cijin Island is also just steps away, so you can beat the crowds to the island or easily pop over whenever you feel like it!

Just like Formosa Boulevard Station, you can walk to a number of tourist attractions from the harbour area:

  • Kaohsiung’s Martyr’s Shrine
  • Pier II Art District
  • Railroad Museum

You can’t walk to as many tourist attractions compared to Formosa Boulevard Station, but you can walk to some of the most popular tourist attractions.

The harbour is definitely where to stay in Kaohsiung if you’re looking for a great view and a chill vibe.

The area kind of has its own vibe and culture outside of the city’s overall vibe.

Kaohsiung Martyrs' Shrine

Pros of Staying Near the Harbour

  • Great views and vibe
  • Access to Orange metro line, ferry, light rail, and buses
  • Can walk to a number of popular tourist attractions

Cons of Staying Near the Harbour

  • Have to take public transportation to most tourist attractions
  • No direct access to the Red metro line

Best Budget Hotels Near the Harbour (Under $50USD/Night)

Citysuites Kaohsiung Pier2

I’m never not surprised by how good of a hotel you can get in Kaohsiung on a small budget.

I cannot believe how inexpensive Citysuites Kaohsiung Pier2 is and how nice it is. You would without a doubt be paying quadruple the price if you were in North America or Europe.

The rooms are decorated with faux exposed brick and all the accents are copper. It is so sleek, modern, and attractive.

Many of the rooms have a view of the water, and it is the perfect sight to see first thing in the morning and get your excited for the day.

One thing to note is that most of the cheapest rooms in the hotel don’t have a window.

I think it is well worth the couple extra dollars per night to upgrade to a room with a window. A window makes all the difference, and that is doubly true when you have a view of the water!

Citysuites Kaohsiung Pier2 is in a great location. It is really close to the water and harbour, but it is a little bit removed from the busiest area.

This gives you a little more of a relaxing vibe, and you feel like you’re removed from the city.

Urban Pier2

Urban Pier2 is a bit of a unique one, and that is because the beds are futon style.

The mattress is placed directly on the floor rather than having a bed frame under it. This is a pretty common practice in many East Asian countries, and it is cool to get to participate in the tradition!

The rooms at Urban Pier2 are also unique. Each room has a difference theme or coloured decor, so you never know what you’ll see when you open your door for the first time.

Makes it kind of fun and exciting!

The hotel has an unbeatable location. You’re so close to the water, and you’re basically guaranteed a great view from your room!

The metro station is just outside the hotel and is less than a 5 minute walk away. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Urban Pier2 is probably my least favourite of the budget hotels on this list, but it is still a great option!

OX Suites

This hotel is so simplistic and modern. I absolutely love it.

You will no doubt feel calm and relaxed at OX Suites.

The rooms are huge, the staff is nice, and the location is perfect. It is hard to beat OX Suites when it comes to budget hotels near the Kaohsiung harbour.

The best part is without a doubt the bathrooms. They are huge. Like bigger than the bathroom in my house.

It is so relaxing to come back to the hotel after a long day of walking around Kaohsiung and be able to jump in a hot shower to relax and get cleaned up.

OX Suites is in the same neighbourhood as the other budget hotels on this list, so you know it is in a great location! You can walk to all the nearby tourist sights and jump on the metro within minutes.

Not bad at all for less than $50USD per night!

Best Mid-Range Hotels Near the Harbour ($50USD to $150USD/Night)

Chateau de Chine

Ah. Another Kaohsiung hotel that is modern and uses a fair amount of grey in their decor. I am digging the overall vibe and style of all the Kaohsiung hotels on this list!

The rooms at Chateau de Chine aren’t only nicely decorated, but they are way larger than the average hotel room. All the rooms include chairs, a workspace, and plenty of space to store your luggage.

The bathrooms at Chateau de Chine are stunning and the perfect cherry on top of the entire room.

They are quite large, and many of them feature a grand tub where you can relax and unwind at the end of the day.

There is a Japanese restaurant in the lobby of the hotel that is known for its amazing food. If you’re staying at Chateau de Chine, you must eat there. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, you may want to stop in for dinner.

This hotel is a little further away from the harbour and water than the other hotels on this list, but it is still in a great location.

It is in the heart of the art district, so you’ll get to experience the young, hip atmosphere.

If you’re a young person wondering where to stay in Kaohsiung, this may be the perfect hotel for you!

Harbour 10 Hotel

This hotel is an absolute beauty!

It is modern, sleek, and (again) has a huge bathroom. If you’re lucky, your bathroom will be facing the water, and you can enjoy the view when you’re getting ready in the morning!

Harbour 10 Hotel reminds me of a Hilton property. It has a similar vibe, design, and standard of service.

You know you’re going to have a good stay and great customer service when you stay at Harbour 10 Hotel!

The hotel has a few additional perks as well!

It has:

  • A children’s play room (a really cool and large one!)
  • A workout room
  • Complimentary breakfast for two when you book through Hotels.com

Those are some pretty nice extras to come with a hotel room that has such a fair price!

One of my favourite parts of the hotel is the dining area. There are plants hanging from the ceiling, and it is such a relaxing way to start your morning!

Harbour 10 Hotel is located a little bit further away from the ferry terminal, but it is still near the water. Many rooms have a water view, but you’ll have to walk about 10 minutes to catch the ferry to the island.

Best Luxury Hotels Near the HarbourStation (Over $150USD/Night)

In all honesty, there aren’t any luxury or high-end hotels near that harbour I want to recommend to you.

Kaohsiung isn’t really the place to go if you’re looking to stay in a luxurious hotel.

You’re much better off staying in a really nice mid-range hotel than splurging and staying in a high-end hotel in Kaohsiung.

The value simply isn’t there in the luxury hotels in Kaohsiung.

How to Choose Where to Stay in Kaohsiung

Deciding where to stay in Kaohsiung boils down to figuring out what works best for you and your travel style.

You need to consider:

  • Whether being near public transportation is most important
  • If you’re okay staying in an area that is a concrete jungle or if you prefer to stay someone near the water
  • Are you like me and try to walk as much as possible? If so, you’ll want to pick a hotel nearby the attractions you’re most interested in
  • What your budget is

All of these factors play a role in deciding where to stay in Kaohsiung.

My personal opinion is that if you’re okay staying in a hotel that probably doesn’t have the prettiest view, Formosa Boulevard Station is the best place in Kaohsiung to stay.

The transportation and walkability of the area far exceeds the harbour, and that is why it has my vote.

The hotels are also slightly less expensive near Formosa Boulevard Station, and I think the hotels tend to be a bit nicer.

Plus those rooftop bars are hard to beat!

But you may have a different opinion.

It is worthwhile to take the time to weigh the pros and cons of staying in both neighbourhoods and then decide where to stay in Kaohsiung.

You don’t want to get to your hotel and immediately regret your decision!

Lotus Pond Scenic Area Kaohsiung Taiwan

Why I Love Hotels.com and Recommend Them to You

I love Hotels.com and have been using them to book 90% to 95% of my travel since 2015!

Yeah. You could say I’m really happy with them to stick around for so long.

I love Hotels.com because they’re really easy to use. It is incredibly simple to search for and find hotels in any city, and you can put a bunch of filters on your search to make sure you find exactly what you’re looking for.

That’s not even the best part!

The best part of Hotels.com and the reason I’m obsessed with using their platform is their rewards program.

They run a program where you get a free night’s stay voucher after you’ve stayed 10 nights at (nearly) any property you booked through Hotels.com.

You don’t have to stay all 10 nights in one booking. You could collect the 10 nights through 10 single night bookings.

It doesn’t matter as long as you’ve stayed 10 nights.

Your free night certificate shows up in your customer profile a few days after you complete you 10th night’s stay, and you’re free to use it on any booking going forward.

The value of your free night certificate depends on how much the 10 nights you stayed to earn the certificate cost.

If you stayed 10 nights at inexpensive hotels, your voucher won’t be worth that much. If, however, you stayed 10 nights at a luxury hotel, your voucher will be worth a fair amount of money.

You simply “apply” your free night at check out when you want to use it, and you’re good to go! If your free night certificate doesn’t cover the entire cost of the night you’re booking or you’re booking for more than one night, you simply have to pay the difference.

It is that easy!

The downside to their program is that you have to use your free night certificate all at once, and it can’t be applied to multiple bookings or multiple nights on one booking.

If your free night is worth $150, you have to book a night that is $150 or more.

You can’t use it for 3 $50 nights.

But even that isn’t too big of an inconvenience.

Just use it for a night at an overpriced airport hotel. That’s what I normally do!

A Quick Note on Internet Safety

Internet safety is no joke!

You’re putting yourself at serious risk of having your data stolen/sold if you’re using public wifi.

THIS INCLUDES USING PASSWORD PROTECTED WIFI AT HOTELS!

You need to protect yourself and your online data anytime you’re not using your own personal at-home wifi.

You never know who is trying to get into your digital devices and access your private information.

I know people who have had their banking information stolen from their devices while travelling.

That is a headache you don’t want to deal with!

The best (and really only) way to fully protect your online data and information is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

A VPN puts up an invisible forcefield around your online activity so nobody else can see what your’e doing or access your information.

It is basically like using your own personal at-home wifi but out in public or in different countries.

Complete safety and anonymity.

Plus you can change where you’re browsing from and access content from Netflix or Disney+ that isn’t available in your country!

My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a number of difference VPNs during my travels.

I didn’t really like any of them until I started using NordVPN.

It is the first VPN that I actually enjoyed using and the only VPN that I’ve ever renewed my subscription with!

What sets NordVPN apart from its competitors is how quick it is. VPNs have a reputation of slowing down your devices to snail speed and make browsing the internet a bit frustrating.

That isn’t the case with NordVPN.

I don’t notice any slowdown on my devices when I’m using my VPN.

Not even when I’m in China!

The internet in China is notoriously slow, but it is even slower when you’re using other VPNs. The first time I was in China I gave up on browsing social media or watching YouTube because the internet was so slow with the VPN I was using at the time.

I didn’t have that issue when I was using my NordVPN in China. The internet speed was the normal speed of Chinese internet, and it was a much more enjoyable experience.

No matter where you plan on using your VPN, it is essential to have one whenever you’re using non-secure or public wifi.

Taiwan is notorious for having amazing public wifi, so you’ll probably be using that frequently when you’re visiting the country.

You’ll want to make sure you have a VPN on your devices before you start using the iTaiwan public wifi system!

NordVPN often runs sales where you get up to 70% off your VPN, so there is no reason not to get a VPN and start protecting your online data!

Conclusion

It is quite easy to decide where to stay in Kaohsiung.

The hardest part is deciding what neighbourhood you want to stay in. From there, you just have to choose whatever hotel suits your budget and needs the best.

Kaohsiung is a pretty compact city, so you’ll be in a good location no matter whether you choose to stay near Formosa Boulevard Station or near the harbour.

You can’t go wrong with choosing any of the hotels on this list. They are all top notch and known for their good service.

Every hotel (no matter where it is in the world) has pros and cons, so you have to weigh them to decide what is best for you.

If it were me choosing, I would stay in a mid-range hotel near Formosa Boulevard Station.

I stayed in a budget hotel near the metro station last time I was in Kaohsiung, but I think it is worth the extra money to upgrade to a mid-range hotel.

The benefits you get far outweigh the additional cost per night!

How to Travel from Kaohsiung to Kenting National Park

Let’s talk about how to travel from Kaohsiung to Kenting National Park. It is easier than you might think, so there is no excuse not to visit Kenting National Park!

Kenting National Park is one of the most popular day trips from Kaohsiung (although you could easily spend two to three days in Kenting). It is one of the most beautiful places in Taiwan and shouldn’t be missed!

One of the most frustrating parts of planning a day trip (at least for me) is figuring how to travel from one city to another. And that’s where this post comes in!

You’ll learn the easiest way to travel from Kaohsiung to Kenting National Park.

Your day trip to Kenting National Park will be stress free after reading this post, and you can enjoy the beauty of Kenting without stressing about how to get there.

There are three ways to travel from Kaohsiung to Kenting National Park. They all require taking the bus, and it is just a matter of whether you catch the bus at Kaohsiung Station or Zuoying Station (the high-speed rail station), or the airport. The express bus leaves from Xin Zuoying Station and is the most popular way to travel from Kaohsiung to Kenting National Park.

PS: If you’re looking to take multiple day trips from Kaohsiung, you might want to check out my posts about Fo Guang Shan Monastery (one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been) and Cijin Island (a must for anybody visiting Kaohsiung).

Before We Get Started

I hate figuring out how to travel from one place to another, but I love writing transportation guides for you!

I would love to have an all-in-one resource that goes over how to travel from one place to another, and that’s why I write them. Hopefully they make your travel experience better.

If you’re traveling throughout Taiwan, here are the transportation guides I’ve written to date to help you navigate Taiwan public transportation:

Fo Guang Shan Big Buddha

Option One: Taking the Bus from Zuoying HSR Station

This is the best and most popular way to get from Kaohsiung to Kenting National Park.

You can take the express bus, which is spacious and comfortable, and that is the reason it is such a popular choice for tourists and locals.

The bus ride from Zuoying Station to Kenting National Park takes approximately 2.5 to 3 hours depending on traffic. It will take longer during rush hour and on weekends than it will during off-peak times on a weekday.

It isn’t uncommon for the buses to be delayed by 20-30 minutes so keep that in mind and budget your time accordingly.

How Much Does the Bus from Zuoying Station to Kenting Cost?

A one-way ticket costs on average 371 NT (or approximately $12.50 USD).

Compared to other bus tickets in Taiwan, it is pretty expensive to take the express bus from Kaohsiung to Kenting National Park, but it is so worth it! I’m guessing the bus is a little more expensive because it is taking you to a national park and one of the most beautiful places in all of Taiwan.

You can save a little bit of money by purchasing a return ticket. A return ticket costs 650 NT (or approximately $22 USD).

Where to Purchase a Bus Ticket

You purchase your ticket at Zuoying HSR Station at a ticket booth.

Take Exit 2 towards the bus stop, and you’ll walk right into the ticket booth.

The bus from Kaohsiung to Kenting National Park is one of the rare instances where you’re not able to use your transportation card and have to purchase an actual ticket from a ticket booth.

Your EasyCard will not work on this bus!

You have to purchase your ticket before you get on the bus, so you’ll want to leave enough time in your schedule to wait in line, buy a ticket, and get on the bus.

I suggest allotting 15 minutes to purchase a ticket. You probably won’t need that much time, but it is better to have extra time than be rushed and stressed about not catching the bus you want.

How Often Does the Express Bus to Kenting National Park Leave?

The express bus to Kenting National Park runs every 15 to 30 minutes from 8:30am to 7pm.

This means you can basically show up to the bus station whenever you want and not have to wait too long to catch a bus!

It is the perfect bus schedule for people who are laid back and want to go with the flow rather than plan exactly when they need to get on the bus because it only leaves every 90 minutes.

I recommend you try to get on an early morning bus. You’ll have more luck at avoiding traffic congestion, and you’ll have more time to spend at Kenting National Park if you’re only doing a day trip.

What About Getting Back to Kaohsiung from Kenting?

The express bus leaves Kenting National Park for Kaohsiung every 15 to 30 minutes from 8am to 7pm.

You do need to pre-buy your ticket before you get on the bus, which is the main reason you should purchase a return ticket rather than a one-way ticket.

Kaohsiung Night Market

Option Two: Taking the Bus from Kaohsiung Station

This is the second most popular way to travel from Kaohsiung to Kenting National Park.

The journey takes approximately 2.5 hours, so there is no difference between the time it takes to get from Kaohsiung to Kenting whether you depart from Zuoying HSR Station or Kaohsiung Station.

You need to get on either bus 9117 or 9188. Both take you to Kenting National Park. The difference is in where they drop you off. 9188 drops you further south, so if you want to explore the southern part of Kenting, this is the bus for you!

How Much Does the Bus from Kaohsiung Station to Kenting Cost?

The bus from Kaohsiung Station to Kenting National Park costs:

  • 352 NT (approximately $12 USD) if you take bus 9117
  • 362 NT (approximately $12 USD) if you take bus 9188

Unlike the express bus, you are not able to purchase a return ticket. You can only purchase a one-way ticket from Kaohsiung Station to Kenting.

It isn’t that much of an inconvenience, but it is something to keep in mind when you’re planning your trip and budgeting.

Where to Purchase a Bus Ticket

You can either purchase your ticket in cash on the bus or purchase it at the bus station before you get on the bus.

Both payment methods work well, and it comes down to your personal preference more than anything else.

If you only have larger bills and need to get change made, I suggest purchasing your ticket at the station rather than on the bus, so your bus driver doesn’t have to make a lot of change.

A Note About Where to Catch the Bus:

Both the 9177 and 9188 depart from Zhongshan Bus Station at Kaohsiung Station.

The bus station is located one block south of Kaohsiung Station on Jiangguo 2nd Road.

You won’t have any trouble finding the bus station. There are signs in Kaohsiung Station to point you in the right direction, and there will be a crowd of people heading towards the bus station.

Plus it is only one block away from Kaohsiung Station, so you should be able to see the buses as soon as you start walking towards the bus station.

If you’ve walked more than a block, you know you’ve gone the wrong way! But you shouldn’t have any issue finding the bus station.

How Often Does the Bus to Kenting National Park Leave?

The buses departing from Kaohsiung Station are less frequent than the express bus that departs from the HSR station.

There are currently 35 buses a day to Kenting National Park that depart from Kaohsiung Station.

The up side to the buses departing from Kaohsiung Station is that their hours of operation are much longer than the express bus.

The first bus departs at 4:15 am (yes, you read that right!), and the last bus departs at 10:30 pm.

This is perfect for the extra early birds (like me) who want to have as much time as possible at Kenting National Park and have no problem getting out of bed long before the sun is up.

A Note About Bus Time:

You can try to find an English version of the bus timetable online, but my recommendation is to use Google Maps.

Google Maps works really well in Taiwan, and you can easily and accurately find when the next bus departs and even plan your trip days in advance by changing your departure time in the app.

I rely heavily on Google Maps when I’m in Taiwan, and I love it. It makes traveling through Taiwan so easy, and it is nice to not to have to do any Googling to try to find bus timetables (that may or may not be up-to-date and accurate).

Kaohsiung Martyrs' Shrine

Option Three: Taking the Bus from Kaohsiung Airport

The final bus option (and the least popular) is to take a bus from Kaohsiung Airport to Kenting National Park.

It takes two hours to travel from the airport to Kenting, so all three buses take about the same amount of travel time.

I don’t know whether or not there is a place to store your luggage on the bus, but if there isn’t, you can rent a locker at the airport if you’re coming back to Kaohsiung that evening.

How Much Does the Bus from Kaohsiung Airport Cost?

This bus is unique because the price you pay depends on how you pay.

  • Cash: 367 NT (approximately $12 USD)
  • Credit Card: 418 NT (approximately $14 USD)

It is nice to have the option to pay by credit card- especially if you’re running out of NTD cash. It is a little bit more money, but it is still cheaper than paying an ATM transaction fee to get some cash.

You can’t purchase a return ticket on this bus either, so a one-way ticket is the only option for you.

Where to Purchase a Bus Ticket

You have to purchase your ticket before you get on the bus to Kenting.

The ticket counter to purchase a ticket is located near the arrivals lobby near Exit 5.

The ticket counter is inside the terminal so don’t go outside looking for it!

The ticket counter is really easy to find, and you should be able to spot it at Exit 5. If you’re having trouble finding the ticket booth, you can always ask one of the airport employees roaming around or at the help desk.

But you shouldn’t need to because the ticket booth is so easy to find!

How Often Does the Bus to Kenting National Park Leave?

There are only eight buses a day from the Kaohsiung Airport to Kenting National Park.

They depart at:

  • 10:10 am
  • 11:10 am
  • 12:50 pm
  • 1:50 pm
  • 4:10 pm
  • 5:10 pm
  • 6:50 pm
  • 7:50 pm

If one of those time slots doesn’t match your schedule, you’ll have to head into Kaohsiung and catch a bus from either the HSR station or Kaohsiung Station.

Lotus Pond Scenic Area Kaohsiung Taiwan

Other Ways to Travel from Kaohsiung to Kenting National Park

There are, of course, a few other ways you can travel from Kaohsiung to Kenting National Park.

I’m not going to go to talk about them in this post because they aren’t all that common and/or cost a lot more money than I think they are worth.

They are:

  • Renting a car/scooter and driving yourself
  • Renting a taxi to drive you
  • Going on a private tour

Conclusion

I hope this post illustrates how easy it is to travel from Kaohsiung to Kenting National Park!

You now have no excuse not to visit Kenting and take in all its beauty!

I personally recommend taking the express bus from Zuoying HSR Station. I think it is the most convenient because it leaves on a regular schedule, is very comfortable, and you’re able to purchase a return ticket.

No matter what bus you choose to take, your trip from Kaohsiung to Kenting National Park will be stress free. You just need to get on the bus and get off once you get to Kenting National Park.

It doesn’t get any easier than that!

One final tip before I leave you to your Taiwan adventure:

The buses will be cold!

Taiwanese people enjoy having very cold and air conditioned buses and trains. I’m always freezing whenever I’m on a Taiwan public transportation even though it is hot and humid outside.

You might want to bring a scarf or something light to put over your arms to keep you a bit warmer. Otherwise your bus ride from Kaohsiung to Kenting might not be as enjoyable as it could be.

12 Essential Tips for Visiting Kaohsiung Night Markets

Night markets are an essential experience to have while visiting Taiwan! They’re the best place to try local street food and experience a taste of local life.

There are a number of Kaohsiung night markets you can visit while exploring the city, but there are a number of things you should know before you visit any Kaohsiung night market.

And that is where this post comes in!

It gives you all the information you need to navigate the Kaohsiung night markets like a local and have the best experience possible!

The only place I’ve ever eaten dinner in Kaohsiung is at a night market. There is no better place to indulge in Taiwanese food without breaking the budget.

Before we get started, if you’re heading to Kaohsiung, be sure to read my 3 day Kaohsiung itinerary. It is the only itinerary you need to plan the perfect trip to Kaohsiung.

1. Don’t Haggle

Haggling is a common practice in many Asian countries, but you shouldn’t haggle at the night markets in Kaohsiung (or anywhere in Taiwan for that matter).

It is considered very rude to haggle in Taiwan, and you could seriously offend the person selling you their food.

The prices at Kaohsiung night markets are already set at a fair price, so there is no need to try to negotiate a lower price.

Haggling, in general, isn’t common in Taiwan, so you shouldn’t expect to haggle no matter where you are.

The exception to this is you can sometimes haggle with a street vendor selling goods (not food) if there isn’t a price tag on the item. And even in that scenario is isn’t common practice.

Be prepared to pay the listed price at the Kaohsiung night markets.

You’re getting a fair price and don’t have to deal with the stress of haggling. It is a win-win situation!

Taiwan Night Market

2. Be Prepared to Eat at Communal Tables

All of the night markets in Kaohsiung have communal tables in the middle of the street where you can sit to enjoy your food.

They’re plastic tables and plastic chairs that are pulled out of storage and set up every evening for the night markets.

You share the table with whoever else happens to be walking past and wants to sit down to enjoy their food.

It is kind of fun but can be a bit awkward if you’re sitting along eating like I was, but the Taiwanese are really nice.

You never know what type of fun conversation you’ll end up having!

The communal table approach to sitting is common at nearly every night market across Taiwan. The only night market I’ve been to that had a different arrangement was the Hualien night market.

At that market, there were tables behind the food stalls, so it was a more private and relaxing place to eat.

3. Bring Your Own Napkins

Napkins aren’t usually provided at the food stalls when purchasing food at a Kaohsiung night market, so you’ll need to bring your own.

There are a number of street food dishes that are served in sauce and are messy to eat. It is likely that you’ll need a napkin at some point while visiting a Kaohsiung night market, so you better be prepared.

I personally bring a reusable cloth napkin with me because it is better for the environment.

But any type of napkin or Kleenex will work!

You just don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you have to use your shirt sleeve to wipe your face.

4. Take Food Risks

You’ll notice a distinct smell when you visit any Kaohsiung night market. It wafts through the air and, frankly, doesn’t have the most pleasant smell.

That, my friend, is stinky tofu, and you need to try it.

The smell of stinky tofu can turn you off, but once you get past the smell, it tastes incredible.

There are a number of other Taiwan street food dishes you may be hesitant to try because they are unfamiliar to you, but you should take the risk and try them.

What’s the worst that can happen?!

You take a bite, don’t like it, put it in the trash, and then try something else.

But at least you were brave enough to try something new. You never know when you’ll find your new favourite food!

A few other dishes that may seem unfamiliar but are worth a try are:

  • Oyster omelette
  • Deep fried milk
  • Taro balls
  • Aiyu jelly

It should be your goal to try at least one new dish when you’re visiting the Kaohsiung night markets.

You might be surprised which one you like the best, and you’ll be so glad you gave it a try!

It would be a shame to go home and regret not trying more traditional food while you were in Taiwan.

Taiwan Street Food

5. Use the Washroom Before You Visit a Kaohsiung Night Market

This is a very important tip that not many people are talking about.

There aren’t any washrooms at the night markets in Kaohsiung, so you’ll want to be sure you use a washroom before you head out to a night market.

You don’t want to have to leave early just because you have to use the washroom!

If you do need to use a washroom while visiting a night market, you should look for the nearest metro station. They all have public washrooms you can use, so you don’t have to go back to your hotel.

6. Brings Your Cash

Kaohsiung night markets operate mostly in cash.

You’ll be hard pressed to find a vendor who will accept your debit or credit card (I’ve never personally seen one), so you’ll want to bring cash with you to the market.

It is best practice to bring cash in smaller denominations, so it is easy for vendors to make change, but most vendors will be able to make change in a pinch.

7. Look for Long Lines

Long lines are an excellent indicator that the vendor is selling something delicious.

If you’re not quite sure where to start or what your want to eat, keep an eye out for a food stall that has long lines. Then jump in the line if the food looks like something you’re interested in trying.

It is hard to go wrong with your choice if the locals like it enough to queue up for it!

You’ll often see the longest lines at black pepper bun stalls. They’re an incredibly popular street food found at all the Kaohsiung night markets.

It is essentially a bun filled with black pepper and either beef or pork that is cooked in a clay oven right in front of you.

Black pepper buns are on every list of foods you need to try in Taiwan and for good reason!

There is a vegetarian version of black pepper buns made with potato as the filling, but it isn’t that great. You can find much better vegetarian and vegan options at night markets, so I don’t recommend you give the vegetarian black pepper bun a try.

Other dishes that often have a long line are:

  • Fried chicken
  • Braised beef cubes

You should, of course, give less popular dishes a try as well.

Just because a vendor doesn’t have a long line, doesn’t mean the food isn’t worth trying.

One of my favourite night market foods is corn on the cob. It sounds basic, but the spice they put on the corn is incredible. The corn on the cob stalls never have a long line, but they are still delicious. And the same goes for many other street food.

In general, searching for food vendors that have a long line is a great place to start if this is your first time visiting a Kaohsiung night market.

You’ll be able to get a sense of what you like and don’t like, and you can choose less popular stalls with the information you learn by trying the most popular food.

Kaohsiung Night Market

8. Take Time to Play a Few Games

Games are available to play at all Kaohsiung night markets. They’re similar to the typical carnival games you’ll find at a county fair, but they’re a little more DIY.

They’re still really fun though!

The most common game you’ll find at Kaohsiung night markets is trying to throw a ball into small baskets behind a counter.

It is fairly difficult to win but is a lot of fun.

Another popular game is the balloon popping game where you’re given darts and have to try to pop the balloons behind the counter.

It is also quite difficult to win but is a great way to kill some time while you’re digesting your food before you head in for another round of eats.

The games are inexpensive, but it can still add up if you play a lot. Be cautious of how much you spend on them, so you don’t blow your budget. Plus the prizes aren’t that great, so they’re more for fun rather than winning something of value.

I suggest playing a game with your travel companion(s) (if you’re not a solo traveler), and the loser has to buy the winner their favourite Taiwan street food!

9. Bring Your Own Tea

What is a day in Taiwan without a nice refreshing glass of bubble tea or iced tea?!

Tea is an essential Taiwan experience, and I guarantee you’ll be sipping more tea than yo ever imagined!

Tea is so refreshing on a hot, humid Taiwan day, and it is absolutely delicious.

The fact that it is incredibly inexpensive doesn’t hurt either!

But, interestingly, it isn’t so easy to find tea at the Kaohsiung night markets!

You’ll need to bring your own tea to the night market if you want to sip on it while wandering through the vendors and trying food.

There are normally tea stalls within a block or so of all the Kaohsiung night markets, so it isn’t difficult to find a place near the market to grab a tea before heading into the market itself.

You’re more likely to find fruit juice vendors than tea vendors at all the Kaohsiung night markets.

The juice is super fresh and squeezed in front of you, so it is a great alternative to tea.

I suggest trying the freshly squeezed juice at least once while you’re at a Kaohsiung night market, but I personally find that the flavour of tea goes better with the street food than the fruit juice.

I personally enjoy grabbing a fruit juice as I’m leaving the night market and enjoying it as I walk back to my hotel. It is the perfect way to cap off an evening of food!

10. Don’t Arrive at the Night Market Too Early

Kaohsiung night markets normally open around 6 pm or 7 pm, but you don’t want to get there right when they open!

The markets are officially open at that time, but they aren’t fully set up and ready to go.

Some of the vendors will be open and ready to sell you food, but the majority won’t be. You want to arrive at the night market about an hour after it opens.

That way nearly all of the stalls will be open, and you can have any food your heart desires.

If you arrive at a Kaohsiung night market right when it opens and it is pretty dead, you can wander up and down the stalls to see what you might want to eat once the market gets going.

Exploring the area around the night market is another great way to kill a little time before the night market is fully operational. I love wandering around side streets and alleys while traveling. It is one of the most fun ways to get to know a more local (and less touristy) side of the country.

Taiwan Street Food

11. Bring Your Own Bag

You’ll be offered a plastic bag on a regular basis at Kaohsiung night markets. Nearly every time you purchase something, you’ll be offered a plastic bag.

It is terrible for the environment.

But, lucky for you, there is a simple way to combat this excessive plastic use and that is by bringing your own reusable bag!

It is a small thing you can do, but it makes a big difference in the long run.

I like to bring a water resistant bag to the market just in case anything spills out of a container while I’m walking.

12. Kaohsiung Night Markets Aren’t a Tourist Trap

It isn’t uncommon to hear stories of a traveler who has gone to a market and gotten scammed. It is an unfortunate thing, but it can happen if you’re not careful and aware of your surroundings.

But that isn’t the case with night markets in Kaohsiung.

Kaohsiung night markets (and all night markets in Taiwan) are legitimate, safe, and fairly priced.

Locals frequent Kaohsiung night markets, so you know they are legit. The night markets in Taiwan are not designed as a way to lure unsuspecting tourists in and scam them out of a bunch of money.

Of course, there is the risk of being pick pocketed. It is a risk you take wherever you go- even while walking in your home town. But petty crime rates are very low in Taiwan, and you’ll be safe by exercising a basic level of awareness of your surroundings.

So you can rest assured that the Kaohsiung night markets are not a tourists trap. You can explore them and enjoy everything they have to offer without a worry!

They’re one of my favourite things to do in Taiwan, and it would be a shame if you missed out on them because you had the misconception that they are a tourist trap!

Conclusion

There you have it! 12 essential tips you need to know before visiting a Kaohsiung night market.

Every tip on this list is purposeful, and if you follow all of them, you’ll have an amazing experience at the Kaohsiung night markets.

What might seem obvious while reading this post isn’t always as obvious when you’re on the road exploring a new country.

You’ll thank me for these tips when you don’t have to run to find a washroom in the middle of a night market!

I hope you enjoyed these tips! If you have any other expert Kaohsiung night market tips, drop them in the comments. I’d love to read them!

Now stop reading (unless you’re going to read another one of my blog post *wink wink*) and get out there and eat some delicious Taiwanese street food!

How to Plan a Day Trip to Cijin Island from Kaohsiung

Cijin Island is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and you don’t want to miss visiting it!

Seriously, no trip to Kaohsiung is complete without experiencing Cijin Island!

Cijin Island is the perfect way to spend a day in Kaohsiung. It is right next to the city, easy to get to by public transportation, and has breathtaking sights.

This post is the ultimate guide to Cijin Island. It has all the information you need to plan the perfect day and tips to get the most out of your day on the island.

How to Get to Cijin Island from Kaohsiung City

It is incredibly easy to get to Cijin Island from Kaohsiung! It involves taking the MRT, Light Rail, or bus then a ferry.

Taking the MRT

Taking the MRT is the easiest way to get to the ferry that takes you to Cijin Island.

You take the metro all the way to the end of the Orange line and get off at O1 (Sizihwan).

If your hotel is along the Red line, you’ll have to transfer

Once you get off the metro, follow the signs in the station for Exit 1. Exit 1 is the closest exit to Gushan Ferry where you will depart for Cijin Island.

There are signs at Exit 1 with instructions on how to get to Gushan Ferry, and they are very easy to follow. The instructions are written in both English and Mandarin, so you won’t have any trouble reading them!

The ferry is about a five minute walk from the metro station. It is impossible to get lost on the walk. Don’t worry about that!

Cijin Island Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Taking the Light Rail

The Light Rail system is a new addition to the Kaohsiung transportation game. It modern, new, and quite enjoyable. I would highly recommend you use it at least once while you’re in Kaohsiung.

You ride the Light Rail to stop C14 (Hamasen).

From there, you need to walk to the ferry station.

The easiest way to do that is to walk to Exit 1 of the MRT station and follow the written instructions at the station to walk to the ferry station.

The Light Rail station is connected to the MRT station via an underground walkway. Using the underground walkway is the easiest way to get from the Light Rail station to the MRT station without getting lost.

You can also walk above ground. You simply leave the Light Rail station, cross the main street, turn right, and follow it until you get to the MRT station.

Easy as that!

Taking the Bus

The bus would be my last option to get to Gushan Ferry. It isn’t as fast as the MRT and Light Rail systems, and the quickness of the journey depends on the traffic.

The bus system in Kaohsiung is good and well developed, so it isn’t an issue if you are staying in an area that is better served with buses than with the MRT or Light Rail systems.

I would just try to use one of the other two options before taking a bus.

There are tons of different buses that have stops at or near Gushan Ferry. I don’t want to give any specific advise on what bus to take because that is highly dependant on what part of Kaohsiung you’re staying in.

I do recommend that you put Gushan Ferry into your Google Maps and follow the app’s instructions on what bus to get on, when the next bus will arrive, and when to get off.

Google Maps is incredibly accurate in Taiwan, so you can trust that it is telling you to get on the correct bus going in the right direction.

Just be sure you’re putting Gushan Ferry as your destination not Cijin Island. The app isn’t the best at figuring out how to get to Cijin Island and often makes it more complicated than it needs to be.

Taking the Ferry

Now that you’re at the ferry station, it is time to take the ferry to Cijin Island!

The ferry ride is only five minutes long, and you can see the island from the pier. Don’t worry if you’re prone to seasickness. The ferry ride isn’t nearly long enough for you to start feeling sick!

The ferry departs every 10 to 15 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about showing up at a specific time to catch the ferry.

Simply show up whenever you want to explore Cijin Island, and there will be a ferry there shortly!

The one-way fare is $25 NTD, which is less than $1 USD! You can pay your fare by tapping your transportation card (highly recommended) or with cash.

There are two queues to board the ferry. One is for passengers without scooters and one is for passengers with scooters.

Make sure you’re in the right line!

Once you’re on the ferry, I recommend you go up to the second floor. There are a lot of seats to choose from if you want to sit and viewing areas if you want to take photos while on the ferry.

The ferry only makes one stop, so you just need to get off when the ferry stops, and you’re on your way to explore Cijin Island.

A note of caution: if you paid with your transportation card, be sure to tap it when you get off as well!

Cijin Lighthouse Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Looking for transportation guides between cities in Taiwan? Check these out!

Getting Around Cijin Island

Cijin Island isn’t huge, so it is quite easy to see the entire island in a single day.

There are two main ways to get around Cijin Island:

  • Bike
  • Walking

Bike

You can rent a bike on the main road as soon as you get off the ferry. The bikes are fairly inexpensive and a good investment if you don’t want to walk around the island for hours.

The bikes are motorized, so you don’t have to worry about pedalling yourself around Cijin Island! You just hop on your bike and motor around the island.

There are a few attractions on Cijin Island that you can’t get to on your bike, so you’ll still have to walk a little bit. You can’t take your bike up to the lighthouse or the fort.

But you’ll be able to use your bike to get to most of the sights. A bike will certainly save you a lot of time walking and get you places quickly.

Pro tip: the bike rentals at the start of the street right after you get off the ferry are most expensive. If you’re looking to save a few dollars, walk halfway down the street and rent your bike from on of those vendors.

Walking

It is very doable to walk around the island. I personally walked around Cijin Island, so I know it can be done!

I will admit that it got a bit daunting to walk around the island at points. Taiwan is extremely humid and hot, so the heat really takes it out of you.

Well at least it does for me as a Canadian who is used to spending eight months of the year bundled up in jacket and scarves trying to avoid frostbite.

But if you’re used to walking around for hours in Taiwan, walking around Cijin Island won’t be any different than any other day wandering around Taiwan.

The Top Attractions on Cijin Island

There are tons of things to see and do on Cijin Island. Luckily you’re able to see everything the island has to offer in a single day- especially if you rent a bike!

These are the top attractions on Cijin Island that you don’t want to miss!

Cijin Island Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Kaohsiung Fort

Kaohsiung Fort is my favourite attraction on Cijin Island! I could spend hours there taking in the sights and sounds.

The fort is one of those pesky sights that you need to walk up a hill to get to even if you have a bike, but it is well worth it!

The fort was built in 1883 by the British. It was built with red brick in a traditional Chinese style, but it is mostly just ruins now.

You walk on the ruins of the fort along the walls and get the most spectacular views of Kaohsiung, Cijin Island, and the harbour.

It is absolutely incredible! One of the highlights of the island for sure.

The Lighthouse

The lighthouse is just a short walk up the hill from Kaohsiung Fort. You walk along a small pathway with flowers lining the way.

The lighthouse was also built in 1883 by the British and was used extensively but the Japanese during their occupation of Taiwan. It is an important piece of Taiwan and Kaohsiung history.

The lighthouse is another place to get incredible views of Kaohsiung and Cijin Island.

I highly recommend you taking the effort to walk up to the lighthouse. The views are well worth the effort!

Rainbow Church

Rainbow Church is one of the most popular sights on Cijin Island.

It isn’t a religious church but, rather, a colourful piece of artwork that people visit to get an amazing Instagram photo. It is extremely popular, and there is always a queue you have to wait in to get a picture.

Rainbow Church is quite pretty, but I personally didn’t think it was worth my time to wait in the long queue to get a photo there. Plus I was traveling alone, so I wouldn’t have been able to get a very nice picture.

But it does make a really nice backdrop and a great place to get the perfect Instagram photo to mark your time on Cijin Island.

Rainbow Church Kaohsiung, Taiwan

The Beach

Cijin Island is an island, so it obviously has a beach!

The beach is at the end of the main road, so it is impossible not to stumble on it. You can rent surf boards and enjoy the water or just relax in the sand and soak up the sun.

The portion of the beach at the end of the main road is the start of the main section of the beach and is a great spot to choose to hang out.

It isn’t too crowded there most of the time and close enough to the main road that you can pop over and get a snack or drink whenever you feel like it.

Cijin Tunnel

Cijin Tunnel is my second favourite place on the island.

You walk through the tunnel that opens onto a viewing point of the water. This is the closest you can get to the wild water surrounding the island.

The waves crash on the rocks, and you get to appreciate the natural beauty of the water and island. You can also walk through a forested area to get a better appreciation for the nature of Cijin Island.

I highly recommend taking the time to explore what’s on the other side of Cijin Tunnel.

A note of caution: it can be a bit difficult to find the entrance to Cijin Tunnel. It is a little bit off the beaten track and not in clear view. Be sure to follow the signs carefully, and you’ll have no problem finding the entrance.

Chi Jin Mazu Temple

I hadn’t heard about Chi Jin Mazu Temple when I visited Cijin Island, but I’m so happy I stumbled on it! The temple is one of the most famous attractions on the island, so I’m not sure how I didn’t know about it before I went to Cijin Island (face palm).

The temple opened in 1673 and is dedicated to the Chinese goddess of the sea Mazu. It was built by the first settlers who washed up on the island and was used to house the Mazu idol they brought with them.

It is said that Chi Jin Mazu Temple was the first building built on Cijin Island, and the community grew from there.

It is a beautiful temple located just off the main street. It isn’t always open, so you might not be able to go inside the temple. But it is well worth viewing the outside of the temple at a minimum.

Indulge in Shaved Ice

Shaved ice is a traditional Taiwanese dessert. It can be found throughout the county, but I think the best shaved ice can be found on Cijin Island.

I don’t know why it tastes even more delicious on Cijin Island, but it does. So delicious!

There are many different shaved ice stores on the main road, so it is easy to stop in for a quick treat before you get on the ferry to return to Kaohsiung. All the shaved ice restaurants on the main road are great, and you can’t go wrong choosing any of them.

I highly recommend you opt for the traditional mango shaved ice. You can’t beat it!

Shaved Ice Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Conclusion

Cijin Island is unmissable for anybody visiting Kaohsiung!

It has a number of different sights for you to visit, and you can find the perfect attraction for you no matter what your interests are. Whether you’re searching for the perfect Instagram photo, want to explore historical sights, or want to connect with nature, Cijin Island has something for you!

The best part about Cijin Island is that all the sights are free to visit! The only thing you’ll spend money on during your day trip to Cijin Island is the ferry ride, renting a bike, and food!

You can’t ask for more than that when looking for an inexpensive activity in Kaohsiung.

I suggest dedicating at least 3/4 of a day to Cijin Island, but if you’re in a rush, you can visit the major sights in half a day.

No matter how long you choose to spend on Cijin Island, be sure to bring your camera because you’ll want to capture the beauty of the island for yourself.

A Complete Guide to Fo Guang Shan Monastery

Fo Guang Shan Monastery is an essential part of any visit to Kaohsiung. It is the a Fo Guang Shan- a Chinese Buddhist religion. The monastery is the largest Buddhist temple in Taiwan and is home to the largest bronze sitting Buddha statue in Southeast Asia.

Fu Guang Shan was founded by Master Hsingyun. Master Hsingyun practiced and preached for a modern, humanistic form of Buddhism, and Fu Guang Shan eventually became the most popular form of Buddhism in Taiwan.

Shortly after the construction of Fo Guang Shan monastery was complete, it was opened to the public. It was an extremely popular destination for practicing monks and disciples to visit, and it was closed to the public 1997 to lessen the disturbance the monks faced.

The monastery reopened to the public in 2001 and has been open ever since.

Fo Guang Shan monastery is breathtaking and is a sight like no other. The detail and time that went into building the monastery really shows in the final product. Even if you’ve been to Buddhist monasteries before, you need to visit Fo Guang Shan monastery when you’re in Kaohsiung.

Getting from Kaohsiung to Fo Guang Shan Monastery

It is quite easy to get from Kaohsiung to Fo Guang Shan Monastery!

The first step is to take the metro or bus to Zuoying Station. Zuoying Station is located along the Red metro line and is stop R16. Many buses also stop at Zuoying Station, and you can use Google Maps to find the best route depending on where you’re staying.

Once you’re at Zuoying Station, you need to take a bus to Fo Guang Shan monastery. You can take with bus 8501 or the Hafo Express. They both cost basically the same amount of money and take approximately 45 minutes to reach the monastery.

The bus station is located outside between the high speed rail station and the metro station. There are signs inside the metro station directing you to the bus station, so you just need to follow them.

There are a number of different buses that stop of Zuoying Station, so you need to read the signs to make sure you’re standing at the correct bus stop. Just look for the sign that read “Fo Guang Shan Monastery”. It is written in both English and Mandarin and is easy to find.

There are 25 buses per day to the monastery between the two companies. The first bus leaves at 8am and the last one departs at 5:40pm. You can find a bus schedule here.

If you’re travelling from Taipei to Kaohsiung, be sure to check out this post. It is an in-depth guide on how to travel from Taipei to Kaohsiung and covers all your different transportation options in one convenient place.

Fo Guang Shan Big Buddha

When to get off the Bus

The bus from Kaohsiung stops twice. This first stop is the Buddhist Museum and the second is the monastery. Both stops are part of the Fo Guang Shan complex, so you can’t go wrong with getting off at either stop.

The museum is the part of the complex that has the giant sitting Buddha and is what you’ve probably seen pictures of. The monastery is a the part of the complex where the monks train and practice, and there are plenty of sights you can view there as well.

My personal recommendation is to get off at the monastery (the second stop) rather than the museum. I recommend this becasue:

  • It is less busy, so you’ll avoid the crowds. Most people get off at the museum, so it is crowded right after a bus arrives and less busy between bus arrivals. Once you’ve explored the monastery, the museum should be less busy.
  • It saves you walking up a large hill. There is a bit of a steep hill between the museum and monastery. If you go from the monastery to the museum, you walk down the hill. If you go from the museum to the monastery, you walk up the hill. The hill isn’t too steep, but it does make you extra sweaty in the Taiwan humidity.

Entrance Fee

Entrance to Fo Guang Shan Monastery and Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum is free. There are a number of donation boxes throughout the monastery and museum where you’re able to donate money.

You will never be asked or pressured to donate money, but it is a good idea to put donate even a small amount of money. These donations help keep the monastery up and running and free for tourists to enter.

How Long do You Need at Fo Guang Shan?

I suggest spending at least half a day at Fo Guang Shan but three quarters of a day would be even better!

There is a lot to see and do at Fo Guang Shan, so you don’t want to rush your visit. Dedicating at least half a day will allow you to see both the monastery and museum without feeling too rushed.

Spending three quarters of a day at Fo Guang Shan will allow you to spend time getting the perfect pictures, visit all the museum exhibits without rushing through them, have lunch, and do a little souvenir shopping.

Things to See at Fo Guang Shan Monastery

Great Buddha Standing Statue

The Great Buddha Standing Statue is the highlight of Fo Guang Shan Monastery, or at least it was for me. I hadn’t heard of this statue before and was completely blown away when I saw it.

It is located up a short hill once you enter the monastery. The statue is the most popular sight at the monastery, so if you’re following a group of people, you’re probably heading in the right direction!

The Great Buddha Standing Statue is a huge statue of a standing Buddha that is surrounded by countless other small Buddha statues.

It is the tallest standing Buddha statue in Southeast Asia, and the 480 small Buddhas surrounding the statue symbolizing the life of Buddha.

Giant Buddha Fo Guang Shan Monastery Kaohsiung Taiwan

The Main Shrine and the Way to Buddhahood Path

The Main Shrine was constructed in 1975 and is the main shrine at Fo Guang Shan. It is home to three sitting Buddha statues.

Surrounding the shrine is 14,800 statues of the Sakyamuni Buddha. It is an incredible sight to see.

Part of the base of the Main Shrine was constructed using stones from the Diamond Throne in India. This stone is considered sacred in Buddhism as the Diamond Throne is where Budhha taught Dharma and became enlightened.

The use of the stone in the Main Shrine is meant to symbolize the continuation of Buddha’s teachings and enlightenment.

The Main Shrine is typically reserved for prayer, but you’re more than welcome to admire the outside of it if you don’t want to pray.

Light Jewel Pagodas

There are two pagodas located just outside the Main Shrine. They are called the Light Jewel Pagodas, and they symbolize the light of Buddha encompassing all people.

The pagodas are quite spectacular and feature lots of intricate carving work. The Light Jewel Pagodas were one of my favourite parts of Fo Guang Shan. I spent a long time admiring the buildings and taking photos.

Jewel Pagodas Fo Guang Shan Monastery Kaohsiung Taiwan

Things to See at Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum

Font Hall

The Front Hall is the entrance to Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum. It is the start to your adventure and time at the museum.

The Front Hall has a few shopping kiosks that sell trinkets and other small gifts like scarves or pineapple cakes. It also has a number of restaurants and is where most people eat during their visit to Fo Guang Shan.

8 Pagodas

The 8 Pagodas line the walkway to the Buddha Museum and giant Buddha. They are spectacular and well worth taking the time to explore each of them as well as take tons of pictures.

You can enter most of the pagodas, and they have a small exhibit about different aspects of the Fo Guang Shan religion and humanistic Buddhism. They don’t take too long to explore, so you should definitely consider making sure you have enough time in your schedule to visit them.

Each of the pagodas has their own meaning ranging from goodness to giving to harmonies.

Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum

At the end of the walkway with the 8 Pagodas, there is a building. Inside that building is the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum.

The museum is two levels with artwork and other cultural items on the second floor and informational exhibits on the first floor. There is also a temporary exhibit on the first floor.

Exhibits include The Life of Buddha, Museum of Underground Palaces, Museum of Buddhist Festivals, and more.

A number of the exhibits are interactive, so you’re able to participate in the activities if you want. Volunteers are also in each exhibit and are happy to explain things to you and answer all of your questions.

Main Hall

The Main Hall is located right on top of the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum. It is built in an Indian-style of architecture. The base of the main hall is made from sandstone and the body of the dome-shaped building is made of rock.

You’re able to walk around the outside of the Main Hall, and there are four shrines you can visit. One is the Jade Buddha Shrine and is well worth a visit!

Fo Guang Shan Big Buddha

The Big Buddha is the star of the show and main reason most people visit Fo Guang Shan. It is breathtaking. I honestly can’t describe how amazing it is to see the Big Buddha in person.

The Big Buddha depicts Sakyamuni Buddha. It is a staggering 108 meters tall including the base. The statue itself is 40 meters tall, and the chair the Big Buddha sits on is 10 meters tall by itself.

The statue took more than a year to make and was completed in 2011. Since then, it has become an extremely popular tourist attraction for both Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.

Fo Guang Shan Monastery

Where to Eat

You will probably get hungry during your trip to Fo Gunag Shan, and you’re in luck because there are quite a few different places to eat.

There are restaurants in the following parts of Fo Guang Shan:

  • Front Hall
  • Main Hall
  • Fo Guang Shan Monastery
  • Outside the entrance near the bus stop

The type of food you can buy varies, but it is all Chinese food. Some restaurants serve dumplings and dim some and some serve quick snacks. You can find any style and price range in Fo Guang Shan.

My personal recommendation is the vegetarian buffet on the second floor of the Front Hall. The food in incredible, and it is extremely affordable. It was probably the least expensive meal I had in Taiwan!

Guest Etiquette

Fo Guang Shan is a working monastery and place of religious importance, so it is important you conduct yourself respectfully. Here are a few tips to make sure you don’t offend anybody while visiting Fo Guang Shan:

  • Wear appropriate clothing: Fo Guang Shan is ultimately a place of worship, so you should wear respectful attire. Cover your knees and shoulders, wear a higher neckline if you’re a woman, and avoid clothing with profanity or images that might be controversial.
  • Bow to monks: It is respectful to bow to any monks that you see walking around the monastery. You won’t get in trouble if you don’t bow, but it is customary and respectful to bow.
  • Be Quiet: There are temples and areas of prayer in Fo Guang Shan. If you happen to be viewing or walking through an area of prayer, try to be as quiet as you can.
  • Listen to volunteers: There are certain places that are just for worship and not tourist viewing. If you stumble into one of those areas and are asked to leave, listen to whoever told you and leave as soon as possible. This advice is the same if you’re asked to be quiet, not walk on the grass (please don’t walk on the grass!), or anything else you’re asked to do.
Fo Guang Shan Big Buddha

Photography

You’re allowed to take photos while visiting Fo Guang Shan!

There are, however, a few restrictions. You’re not allowed to take photos of certain temples or areas of prayer. There will be signs alerting you to the fact that you can’t take photographs.

Conclusion

There are a number of day trips you can take form Kaohsiung, so it can be difficult to choose what is worth visiting and what isn’t. I highly recommend anyone visiting Kaohsiung to take the time to visit Fo Guang Shan.

It is a special part of Taiwanese and Buddhist history and culture. You won’t see anything like it anywhere else in the world. It is the birthplace of humanistic Buddhism after all!

Another advantage of visiting Fo Guang Shan is that is it affordable, so it is the perfect option for budget travellers. There isn’t an entrance fee, and you can find extremely affordable food! There is upscale dining as well, but you can easily avoid it if you take the time to find the right restaurants.

Even if you don’t practice Buddhism, it is worth visiting both the monastery and museum at Fo Guang Shan. You learn so much about the religion and it’s history that you leave with a deeper understanding of a different culture and set of beliefs.

Fo Guang Shan was one of the highlights of my entire Taiwan trip. Trust me when I say it is well worth the trip!

Kaohsiung Itinerary: 3 Days in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

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

Kindness Hotel

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!

La Inn

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.

Lotus Pond Scenic Area Kaohsiung Taiwan

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 Metro

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!

The Bus

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!

NordVPN

Day One

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.

Dragon and Tiger Pagodas Kaohsiung Taiwan
Cihji Palace

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.

Pei Chi Pavilion Lotus Pong Kaohsiung Taiwan

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

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.

scenic lake

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

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.

Night Market Corn on the Cob Taiwan

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

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.

Kaohsiung Martyrs' Shrine

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

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

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.

rainbow church

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 Island Rainbow Church
cijin tunnel

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.

Pier-2 Art Centre Kaohsiung Taiwan

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.

Dream Mall

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.

amusement park

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.

Wontons in Taiwan

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.

Day Three

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!

Fo Guang Shan Big Buddha

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.

souvenir shopping

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.

Fo Guang Shan Monastery

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.

Love River

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!

Love River Kaohsiung Taiwan

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.

Formosa Boulevard Station Kaohsiung Taiwan

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.

Conclusion

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!

How to Get from Taipei to Kaohsiung

Taipei and Kaohsiung are two of the most popular cities in Taiwan for tourists, but they are quite a distance apart. 358km apart to be exact. Luckily it is very easy to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung!

There are three ways you can get from Taipei to Kaohsiung: high speed rail, train, and bus.

You can also fly between the two cities, but that isn’t the most practical option, so I’m not going to discuss it.

This post will go over all the different ways you can get from Taipei to Kaohsiung and help you pick what transportation method is best for you and your style of travel!

Option One: High Speed Rail from Taipei to Kaohsiung

The quickest and most expensive option is the Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR). It is also the most popular way to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung, so it is also the busiest.

The trip takes between 1.5 to 2 hours on the HSR, so it is a great option for people who need to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung quickly.

Where to Purchase Tickets

You can purchase tickets on the Taiwan High Speed Rail website or at the ticket counter at the train station. You can pay by credit card online or by cash or card in person.

If you don’t have access to a printer, you’re able to pickup tickets you ordered online at the train station. This is an ideal option for people who book their HSR ticket while in Taiwan rather than before they leave.

How Much do Tickets Cost?

The price of tickets varies a little bit depending on what time of day you leave and the time of year, but, on average, tickets cost approximately NT1,500.

This converts to approximately $50USD, so it is not an inexpensive ticket. The cost of tickets can really add up if you’re travelling with a larger group or family.

Do I Need to Book My Ticket in Advance?

This depends on the time of year, week, and day you’re travelling. There are some instances in the off-season during the week where you could purchase your ticket a few minutes before the train departs, but that isn’t the norm.

Trains from Taipei to Kaohsiung can sell out. Especially during the summer and on the weekends. They certainly don’t sell out as quickly as the trains from Taipei to Hualien, but they still do sell out.

I recommend purchasing your ticket at least two or three days in advance to ensure you get a seat.

Where do Trains Depart from in Taipei?

Trains from Taipei to Kaohsiung depart from Taipei Main Station.

Taipei Main Station is serviced by buses, the red and blue metro lines, and the Taoyuan Airport MRT, so no matter where you’re coming from, it is easy to get to Taipei Main Station from anywhere in Taipei.

To get to the HSR station, simply follow the over-head signs for that say “HSR”. The HSR station is near the Taiwan Railway platforms. If you reach the metro lines, you’ve gone too far.

Taipei Main Station is huge, but it is easy to navigate by using the signs and maps all around the station. You can always ask an employee for help if you get really lost.

Where do Trains Arrive at in Kaohsiung?

HSR trains arrive at Zuoying Station in Kaohsiung. Zuoying Station is a little bit outside of downtown Kaohsiung, so you’ll probably have to take the metro or a bus to get to your accommodation.

Just like Taipei Main Station, Zuoying Station is serviced by buses and the metro. It is located at R16. There are only two metro lines in Kaohsiung: the R and O. If you need to transfer to the O line, you need to take the R line to Formosa Boulevard and transfer there. It is the only transfer station along the metro lines.

Kaohsing, Taiwan Tiger Dragon Pagoda

Advantages of Taking the HSR from Taipei to Kaohsiung:

  • It is by far the quickest way to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung
  • There is dedicated luggage storage in each train car
  • You have an assigned seat

Disadvantages of Taking the HSR from Taipei to Kaohsiung

  • It is the most expensive way to get between the two cities
  • The train arrives as Zuoying Station, so you probably won’t be able to walk to your accommodation and will need to take public transit

Option Two: Take the Train from Taipei to Kaohsiung

The second option is taking the train from Taipei to Kaohsiung. This is a slow train operated by Taiwan Railways and is much slower than the high speed rail.

The train journey takes 4.5-6 hours depending on train traffic, so it isn’t great for people who don’t have much time to explore Taiwan and need to travel between cities quickly.

Where to Purchase Tickets

You can purchase your train tickets on the Taiwan Railways Administration website, through their app, or in person at the station.

The best part of purchasing tickets online or through the app is that you can download an electronic copy to your phone, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of a paper ticket.

How Much do Tickets Cost?

Tickets cost between NT800 and NT900. This coverts to $27-$30USD, so it isn’t that much cheaper than the HSR but takes significantly longer.

You’ll need to factor in what your time is worth when deciding whether you want to take the HSR or train. Is saving $20USD-$30USD worth the extra two and a half to four hours?

Only you can decide that. If you have a long time in Taiwan, it just might be, but if you only have a week, it probably isn’t.

Do I Need to Book My Ticket in Advance?

It is easier to purchase last-minute tickets for the slow train than it is for the HSR simply because it is less popular. You can probably show up at the train station and get on the next train pretty much any time of year.

That being said, I recommend purchasing your ticket at least the night before your departure. This way you know exactly what train you’ll be on and be able to download the ticket to your phone.

Where do Trains Depart from in Taipei?

Trains from Taipei to Kaohsiung depart from Taipei Main Station just like the HSR. You simply follow the signs for Taiwan Railway, and you’ll easily be able to find your platform.

The train from Taipei to Kaohsiung departs at the same location as the local trains used to get places in Taipei the metro doesn’t cover, so if you’ve used one of those trains, you’ll know exactly where to go!

Where do Trains Arrive at in Kaohsiung?

Trains arrive right in central Kaohsiung at Kaohsiung Main Station. This is R11 on the metro line and is only one metro stop away from the transfer station Formosa Boulevard.

This makes it quite convenient to get from Kaohsiung Main Station to anywhere in central Kaohsiung you need to go.

Kaohsiung Main Station is also well connected by bus if you prefer that over taking the metro.

Taipei, Taiwan

Advantages of Taking the Train from Taipei to Kaohsiung

  • The train arrives in central Kaohsiung, so it is easy to get anywhere quickly
  • You can easily purchase last-minute tickets without the train being sold out

Disadvantages of Taking the Train from Taipei to Kaohsiung

  • It takes significantly longer than the HSR and isn’t much cheaper
  • There isn’t dedicated luggage storage in each car, and you have to lift your bag overhead to store it

Option Three: Taking a Bus from Taipei to Kaohsiung

The final option is to take a bus from Taipei to Kaohsiung. This is the least popular way to travel between the two cities and should probably be your last resort if you can’t manage to get on a train.

The bus ride takes between 5 and 6 hours, but it can be significantly delayed because of traffic. This means your trip could take a whole lot longer than you planned on!

Where to Purchase Tickets

Tickets can be purchased at the bus station before you get on the bus and at convenience stores around Taipei.

You need to purchase your ticket before you get on the bus. Your EasyCard will not work on this bus, so you cannot tap when you get on and off for money to be automatically deducted from your account.

How Much do Tickets Cost?

Bus tickets between Taipei and Kaohsiung cost between NT400 and NT 700. That converts to $13USD to $23USD.

If you’re able to get a less expensive ticket, then it is considerably less expensive to take the bus than the train; however, the most expensive tickets are pretty close in price to train tickets.

It is probably worth the few extra dollars to take the train, so you don’t risk getting stuck in a traffic jam.

Do I Need to Book My Ticket in Advance?

The bus is a fairly popular method of transportation amongst Taiwan locals, so it isn’t uncommon for buses to be full to capacity.

You’ll be getting on the bus at the first stop, so it is likely that there will be room for you, but I recommend purchasing your ticket a day in advance or at a minimum a few hours in advance.

This way you’ll have a guaranteed seat and won’t be delayed if the bus you want to get on is full.

Where do Buses Depart from in Taipei?

Buses depart from the Taipei Bus Station. It is adjacent to Taipei Main Station near Q Square.

There are maps all around Taipei Main Station that show where the bus station is, so it is really easy to find. Taipei Main Station has free WiFi, so you can always put “Taipei Bus Station” into Google Maps and follow the directions if you’re worried about getting lost.

Where do Buses Arrive at in Kaohsiung?

Buses arrive at Kaohsiung Main Station, which is the same place the slow trains arrive at. It is in central Kaohsiung, so it is easy to get to where ever you need to go from the bus station.

Everything in central Kaohsiung is just a few minutes away on the metro, so it is quite convenient.

Kaohsing, Taiwan Tiger Dragon Pagoda

Advantages of Taking the Bus from Taipei to Kaohsiung

  • Your luggage is store under the bus, so you don’t need to worry about storing it yourself or lifting it overhead
  • It is the least expensive way to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung

Disadvantages of Taking the Bus from Taipei to Kaohsiung

  • It takes the longest time and can be delayed due to traffic
  • You can’t get up and walk around to stretch your legs on the long journey like you can on the train or HSR

My Recommendation

I personally think the HSR and slow train are the best ways to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung. Which one you choose between the two of them has a lot to do with personal preference.

The HSR is great for people who aren’t in Taiwan long and want to get between the two cities quickly. It is how I always travel between Taipei and Kaohsiung, I like that it is quick and efficient.

The train, on the other hand, is great for people who have a long time to explore Taiwan or are on a tight budget. It does take quite a bit longer than the HSR, but it gives you more of an opportunity to enjoy the scenery outside your window.

You really can’t go wrong with either option. No matter what train you choose, you’ll have a pleasant experience and trip.

National Concert Hall Taipei, Taiwan

Conclusion

There is so much to do in both Taipei and Kaohsiung that it would be a shame to miss either city on your trip to Taiwan. Luckily Taiwan has a great public transportation system, and it is easy to get between the two cities!

Just a reminder that it is considered rude in Taiwan to be loud or chatty on public transportation and to always clean up after yourself if you have a snack on the train or bus! The Taiwan locals and train and bus employees will appreciate it!

How to Get from Kaohsiung to Hualien

Kaohsiung and Hualien are two of the most popular destinations outside of Taipei for tourists visiting Taiwan. It is a little less convenient to get from Kaohsiung to Hualien than it is to get from Taipei to Hualien or Taipei to Kaohsiung, but it is still pretty simple.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a high speed train from Kaohsiung to Hualien. This is the reason it is slightly less convenient to travel between Kaohsiung and Hualien.

There are a number of other direct options though. You can take the train, fly, or drive. You can also take a bus, but there aren’t any direct buses.

I don’t recommend taking the bus because it takes a lot longer than the other options and requires at least one transfer. I won’t discuss taking the bus in this post because it really isn’t all that practical.

Option 1: Taking the Train from Kaohsiung to Hualien

This is how I travelled between the two cities. I liked that it was direct and inexpensive even though it was time consuming.

The train takes anywhere between 4.5 and 5.5 hours to travel from Kaohsiung to Hualien. It would be nice if there were a high speed train between the two cities and maybe there will be in the future, but, for now, this is the only train option.

You’ll want to take the Tze-Chiang Limited Express. It runs multiples times in the morning and once or twice in the evening. Tickets cost $NT648 or approximately $22USD.

Where do Train Depart Kaohsiung From?

Trains for Hualien leave from Kaohsiung Main Station right in the heart of Kaohsiung, so it is very convenient.

To get to Kaohsiung Main Station, you simply take the red Kaohsiung metro line to R11 (Kaohsiung Main Station). Kaohsiung Main Station is one stop away from Formosa Boulevard (R10/O5), which is the station where the two Kaohsiung metro lines intersect.

You’ll need to follow the signs to proper platform, but it is very easy to navigate! If you happen to get turned around in the station, there are maps on the walls for you to reference or you can ask an employee for assistance.

Where do Trains Arrive at in Hualien?

There is only one train station in Hualien, and every train going in or out of the city uses the station. This makes it really easy to make sure you’re getting off at the proper stop!

Hualien Station isn’t in the heart of the city, so if you’re accommodation isn’t within walking distance of the train station, be sure to know how you’re going to get from the train station to your accommodation.

You can either use the public bus system or take a taxi. The buses from Hualien Station to the heart of the city don’t run very frequently outside of peak times, so a taxi may be your best option.

Taxis are cheap and quick. There is a taxi stand right outside of Hualien Station, and there are always drivers waiting to drive you to your destination.

I, however, recommend staying near Hualien Station because that is where buses to and from Taroko National Park depart from.

I personally stayed at Meci Hotel and really enjoyed it!

Hualien, Taiwan

Where to Purchase Train Tickets

It is quite easy to purchase a train ticket from Kaohsiung to Hualien! You can either purchase it online, through the app, or in person.

Purchasing Tickets Online

Train tickets can be purchased through the Taiwan Railways Administration website. The website is very user-friendly and has an English language options!

You simply put in your departure station, arrival station, and date of departure, and it pulls up all your train options. Once you select the train you want, you can select whether you prefer a window or isle seat.

To book your ticket, you need to pay by credit card and insert your passport number.

You can print your ticket, pick it up at a 7-11 (you’ll need your passport), at Kaohsiung Main Station, or use your phone as your ticket with the Taiwan Railways app.

Purchasing Tickets Through the App

You can easily purchase your train tickets through the Taiwan Railways app. You simply download the app (just search Taiwan Railways in your app store) and go through the same steps as purchasing online.

The best part of using the app is that your ticket is right on you phone, and you don’t need to worry about logging in or adding your booking reference to pull up your ticket.

This is how I personally book all my train tickets with Taiwan Rail. I love the convenience of it!

Purchasing Tickets in Person at Kaohsiung Main Station

The final way you can purchase a ticket from Kaohsiung to Hualien is by purchasing your ticket in person at Kaohsiung Main Station.

You can either purchase your ticket at a ticket booth manned by a person or at a ticket machine. This is the least convenient option because you have to physically attend at the station to get your ticket.

While it is slightly inconvenient, it is the best option for people who want to pay with cash rather than credit card.

Do You Need to Purchase Tickets in Advance?

The train from Kaohsiung to Hualien doesn’t normally sell out, so you don’t need to purchase your ticket too far in advance.

I suggest purchasing your ticket at least one day in advance. This ensures you get a ticket and gives you a good chance of getting your preferred seat (window or isle).

Advantages of Taking the Train from Kaohsiung to Hualien

  • It is the most affordable option
  • The train is direct, so you don’t have to worry about transferring
  • You don’t have to purchase tickets too far in advance
  • The trains are clean and comfortable

Disadvantages of Taking the Train from Kaohsiung to Hualien

  • It is a long train ride
  • There aren’t dedicated luggage racks, so you need to lift your bag overhead to store it on the overhead racks

Options 2: Flying from Kaohsiung to Hualien

The next option is to fly from Kaohsiung to Hualien. Mandarin Airlines has a direct flight between the two cities and is the best option when it comes to flying. There are other airlines that fly from Kaohsiung to Hualien, but they have long layovers.

The average cost of a one-way ticket from Kaohsiung to Hualien is about $100USD, so it isn’t cheap.

The flight is only an hour. But when you factor in getting to Kaohsiung Airport, going through security, waiting for your flight, flight time, and getting from Hualien Airport to Hualien, it really isn’t any faster than the train.

How to Get to Kaohsiung Airport

It is quite easy to get from Kaohsiung Airport from anywhere in Kaohsiung.

You simply take the red metro line to R3 and get off right at the airport. It really doesn’t get any easier than that!

How to Get to Hualien from Hualien Airport

It is a little bit more work getting to Hualien from the airport, but it is still fairly easy. It simply takes a bit more time and planning.

Bus

There is a public bus that runs from Hualien Airport into the city. It runs every 30 to 40 minutes from 8:40am to 6:10pm. This is a bit problematic for people who are arriving outside those hours.

The bus drops you off at Hualien Station, and you have to find your way to your accommodation from there.

Taxi

You can also take a taxi from the airport to where you’re staying. I would recommend this rather than taking the bus.

Taxis are readily available at the airport, and you just need to follow the signs to the taxi stand. A taxi into Hualien will cost you between $10USD and $15USD, so it is pretty affordable- especially if you’re with a group of people.

Do You Need to Purchase Tickets in Advance?

I would recommend purchasing plane tickets from Kaohsiung to Hualien a few days in advance to ensure you get a seat on the flight you want.

Flights between the cities don’t normally sell out, and you can often purchase a last-minute ticket with no issue. I wouldn’t personally risk it just in case tickets are sold out during peak season.

Kaohsing, Taiwan Tiger Dragon Pagoda

Advantages of Flying from Kaohsiung to Hualien

  • It is relatively easy to get to and from the airports
  • You get a checked bag included in your ticket price, so you don’t have to worry about lifting a heavy bag overhead
  • There is less sitting time, which may be beneficial for people who have mobility issues or can’t sit for long periods of time

Disadvantages of Flying from Kaohsiung to Hualien

  • It is expensive
  • When you factor in everything involved in flying, it isn’t any quicker than the train
  • You have to fly with one specific company to get direct flight, so you can’t shop around for the best price

Option 3: Driving from Kaohsiung to Hualien

The final option is to drive from Kaohsiung to Hualien. I’ve never personally done this because I travel alone and hate driving.

Driving is a great option for people who are comfortable driving. It gives you the ability to set your own schedule, and you get to see a lot more than on the train or plane.

You can stop anywhere along the way that seems interesting and really personalize the journey.

Kaohsiung and Hualien are about 350km apart, and the drive takes approximately 5 hours depending on traffic.

Practical Information if You Decide to Drive

Advantages of Driving from Kaohsiung to Hualien

  • You can personalize the trip
  • You can travel from Kaohsiung to Hualien on your schedule rather than a train or plane schedule
  • It allows you to see more of Taiwan
  • It may be the cheapest option if you have a large group of people

Disadvantages of Driving from Kaohsiung to Hualien

  • The travel time is highly dependant on traffic
  • You have the most opportunity to get lost while driving compared to the train or flying
  • It is potentially the most expensive option if you’re travelling alone or as a couple

My Recommendation

I personally think the train is the best way to get from Kaohsiung to Hualien. It is the most convenient because it leaves from the centre of Kaohsiung and is the least expensive.

It takes about the same amount of time to get to Hualien from Kaohsiung no matter what transportation method you take, so I think taking the least expensive option is the way to go. Plus I love trains!

Hualien, Taiwan

Conclusion

Kaohsiung and Hualien are two cities I would highly recommend visiting while in Taiwan. It makes sense to go from one city to the next rather than back to Taipei because they are both in southern Taiwan.

It is unfortunate that there isn’t a high speed train between the two cities, but that shouldn’t stop you from making the trip from Kaohsiung to Hualien.

The local, slow train is a great option to get between the two cities. While it might not be a super quick way to travel, the scenery outside your window is beautiful, the seat are comfortable, and you can walk around and stretch.

Flying is probably a last resort and not high on most people’s list of travel methods between Kaohsiung and Hualien. It is expensive and basically consumes the same amount of time as the train.

Driving from Kaohsiung to Hualien is a great option for people who want to go off the beaten path and see some of the less visited places in Taiwan. Driving, of course, comes with its own limitations and challenges. But it is a great option for people who want to road trip through Taiwan.

In the end, all three transportation methods have their pros and cons, and it really comes down to your personal travel style. You can’t go wrong with any transportation method you choose, and you’ll make it from Kaohsiung to Hualien no matter what.