Nestled in the southwest corner of Taiwan, Kaohsiung is often described as a graceful lady compared to Taipei's gentlemanly airs. Kaohsiung enjoys a humid, sunny climate swept by tropical monsoons. Lush greenery and fragrant blossoms line its quiet streets as the charming Love River flows through the city center. 

Popular attractions include:

- Cijin Island, renowned as one of southern Taiwan's premier destinations.
- Formosa Boulevard Station, acclaimed as one of the world's most beautiful metro stations and a filming site for Monga.
- 85 Sky Tower, an iconic landmark and Taiwan's second tallest building after Taipei 101.
- Lotus Pond, Kaohsiung's largest lake and site of the annual Lotus Pond Festival each October.
- Shoushan Nature Park, a pristine forest known as the "lungs of Kaohsiung" with unique taro plant varieties.
- Liuhe and Rueifong Night Markets, bustling local hotspots for authentic Kaohsiung street food at wallet-friendly prices.
- British Consulate at Takao, Taiwan's first fully constructed Western-style building, now a relaxing spot for afternoons and evenings.

With a laidback vibe, scenic harborside locale, and fusion of Chinese and Western influences, Kaohsiung offers a uniquely charming experience for visitors.

Kaohsiung Lantern Festival

The Kaohsiung Lantern Festival lights up the Love River waterfront as one of Taiwan’s top three lantern festivals. Held annually from mid-February to early March, it transforms downtown Kaohsiung into a glowing world of imagination. Admire elaborate lantern displays along Zhongzheng Bridge, Glory Pier and the Love Pier area. Snapshot incredible larger-than-life animal lanterns, mythical creatures, pagodas and landscapes. Enjoy creative performances, exhibits and interactive art blending technology and tradition. As evening falls and lanterns reflect their magic across the Love River's waters, appreciate Taiwan’s artistry during this family-friendly event. Kaohsiung’s temperate winter climate makes strolling along the riverside to view these backdropped lanterns a comfortable and pleasant experience for all ages.

Dragon Boat Race during the Dragon Boat Festival

The Love River comes alive each year on Dragon Boat Festival with Kaohsiung's exciting dragon boat races. Held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, teams in long ornamental boats parade down the Love River vying for first place. Cheer on paddlers from a riverside view along one of Kaohsiung's most iconic landmarks. When the sun sets, the festivities continue with a thrilling nighttime race. Lanterns and lights from riverside cafes and bars reflect off the shimmering water, creating a festive glow. The illuminated dragon boats make for stunning photo ops. Arriving early lets you soak in the atmosphere and catch dance and music performances leading up to the main events. Join in the fun of Dragon Boat Festival and appreciate this tradition connecting Kaohsiung's past and present.

Ten Thousand Year Festival

Experience Taiwan's folk culture come alive at the annual Wannian Folklore Festival in Kaohsiung each October. Centered around Lotus Pond in Zuoying, the festivities offer a window into unique southern Taiwanese traditions. Try local delicacies like chess cake and oyster omelets. Join competitive games like mock warfare "Attack the Fort" or top-spinning. Marvel at enthralling performances like fire-lion dances and folk opera. Shop for handicrafts and artifacts reflecting Indigenous and Taiwanese heritage. The Wannian Festival's lively atmosphere and hands-on activities provide an immersive introduction to the region's customs. As incense fills the air and communities gather to celebrate age-old rituals, appreciate the living folk spirit unique to southern Taiwan.

Kaohsiung Film Festival

Cinephiles flock to Kaohsiung each autumn for the city’s premier film event, the Kaohsiung Film Festival. Since starting in 2001 and expanding in 2006, the festival has become a major cultural highlight now spanning two weeks every October/November. Screenings at venues across the city showcase top Taiwanese talents alongside standout international titles. Knowledgeable juries award prizes honoring excellence in categories like Best Taiwanese Film and Best International Short. Special exhibitions provide interactive ways to explore cinema’s artistic process. Talks by acclaimed directors offer insights straight from the source. Gala red-carpet premieres bring Hollywood glamour to Kaohsiung. By celebrating great moviemaking and providing opportunities for emerging filmmakers, the festival both entertains and inspires. Enjoy world-class cinema from Taiwan and beyond during this not-to-be-missed annual event.

The Romantic Sunset in Xiziwan

Along Kaohsiung's Lotus Pond, the iconic crib-wall barriers of Xiziwan create a striking silhouette jutting into the sea. In the gaps between these wave-breakers lies an idyllic seaside promenade, naturally tailor-made for couples. As dusk falls each evening, this spot transforms into the city's most atmospheric place to soak up a romantic sunset. The long crib-walls cast rippled reflections across the water's glassy surface, while the setting sun splashes vibrant hues of orange and pink across the horizon. For an unforgettable evening in Kaohsiung, stroll hand-in-hand along the Xiziwan boardwalk and soak up a sunset that seems made for two.

Take a big bite of ice and take a cool break

To beat the heat like a local, head straight to the birthplace of the giant shaved ice bowl at Hai Zhi Bing in Kaohsiung. This legendary shop sits right by the ferry terminal in Gushan district, and is a must-visit according to travel guides and shows. With mounds of refreshingly flaky ice and a dizzying array of fruity toppings, they have a bowl to suit every palate. Their signature is the fruit ice, piled high with freshly cut seasonal fruits then doused in a sweet and tangy strawberry sauce. It's big on flavor and satisfaction - the perfect treat to fight the sweltering temperatures. Take a load off under the parasols with an icy mouthful, and you'll be cool as a cucumber in no time.

Traveling across the river of love to regain the feeling of first love

After dark, Kaohsiung's Love River glitters with neon lights reflecting off the water's surface. On either bank, the charming ambiance of Cafe Manbo and Golden Love River complement each other with alternating jazz and pop music drifting through the night air. The aroma of coffee beckons visitors to slow down and savor these riverside leisure spots nestled in the port city. Meandering along the walkways, the lively atmosphere evokes nostalgic feelings of young love. Let yourself unwind along the waterfront promenades to fully soak up Kaohsiung's laidback vibes. Strolling the length of Love River as the lights dance on the waves is sure to rekindle that old flame.

Best Travel Time

Kaohsiung is suitable for tourism all year round, and it will be even more lively and interesting during the Dragon Boat Festival and Lantern Festival. However, July to September is a season when typhoons frequently hit the local area. If you plan to travel this season, you must check the weather forecast in advance to avoid delaying your trip.

Dressing Guidelines

Kaohsiung’s tropical climate sees temperatures fluctuate dramatically throughout the year. February is coolest, averaging 18.6°C - pack a t-shirt plus a light jacket or sweater. July is hottest at 28.7°C; light, breathable clothing like shorts and short-sleeved shirts work best.

Remember sun protection like hats, sunglasses and sunscreen for daytime, when Kaohsiung’s strong sunshine can quickly burn skin. Bring an umbrella for sudden downpours too.

For comfort exploring Kaohsiung’s neighborhoods, walking shoes are a must, along with outfits that dry quickly after getting caught in the rain. Locals dress casually, so you won’t stand out in t-shirts, skirts, shorts and flip-flops. At night, bring an extra layer like a cardigan or light jacket. Checking the forecast helps determine optimal outfits, but counting on both hot sun and sudden showers makes sightseeing in Kaohsiung a breeze.

History

Kaohsiung has a long history of development and is one of the oldest places in Taiwan alongside Tainan, Beigang, Chiayi, and Madou. The area was originally inhabited by indigenous Pingpu peoples (the Makatao tribe) who named it "Takau" meaning "bamboo forest" in their language. This was transcribed into Chinese as "Dagou", the earliest known name for Kaohsiung. In 1684 during the Qing Dynasty's Kangxi reign, Taiwan came under Qing rule and Dagou was designated part of Fengshan County, Taiwan Prefecture, Fujian Province. Development expanded into Qianzhen, Dagangpu, Wukuaizu, Lichai, and Lingya districts. By the early Tongzhi reign, Dagou was opened as a treaty port with Shanciou and Qihou growing into important commercial harbors. Kaohsiung gradually developed into a major city and later became Taiwan's largest international seaport.

Religion and Culture

Kaohsiung embraces diverse faiths including Buddhism, Daoism, Christianity, Catholicism, Islam and I-Kuan Tao. Religious groups provide social services through schools, charities and community centers. With over 1,720 temples and churches, Kaohsiung has the most in Taiwan, along with 320,000 worshippers.

Culture reflects Kaohsiung's location as a portal bridging Taiwan and the world. Traditions blend with incoming European, American and Japanese influences. This cosmopolitan mix flavors everything from cuisine to music to folklore.

Recent years saw surging creative industries, especially with events like the Kaohsiung Film Festival, Spring Scream music festival, and Young Designers' Exhibition. Talented creators are drawn to an arts scene expanding Kaohsiung's horizons through cultural exchange. Local pride shines at international events like the World Games opening ceremony showcasing Southern Taiwanese culture. With openness to new ideas, Kaohsiung's heritage thrives.

Supply voltage

Taiwan offers Youth Travel Cards specifically for domestic and foreign travelers aged 15-30. The cards provide discounts on attractions, transportation, hotels, dining, and shopping to encourage youth tourism.

Eligibility:
- Ages 15-30 with valid ID showing proof of age

Getting a card:
- Free of charge
- Bring passport, entry permit, or other identification
- Complete on-site application at select locations

Locations:
- Major transit hubs like Taipei Main Station, airports, metro stations
- Tourism centers in Taipei City
- Taipei Youth Volunteer Center

Use:
- Cards issued in 2006-2008 remain valid until December 31, 2015.

Taiwan warmly welcomes young visitors. Apply for a Youth Travel Card on arrival to unlock savings across the country and fully experience Taiwanese culture, cuisine, and adventure as a youth traveler.

Insurance

Taiwan offers Youth Travel Cards specifically for domestic and foreign travelers aged 15-30. The cards provide discounts on attractions, transportation, hotels, dining, and shopping to encourage youth tourism.

Eligibility:
- Ages 15-30 with valid ID showing proof of age

Getting a card:
- Free of charge
- Bring passport, entry permit, or other identification
- Complete on-site application at select locations

Locations:
- Major transit hubs like Taipei Main Station, airports, metro stations
- Tourism centers in Taipei City
- Taipei Youth Volunteer Center

Use:
- Cards issued in 2006-2008 remain valid until December 31, 2015.

Taiwan warmly welcomes young visitors. Apply for a Youth Travel Card on arrival to unlock savings across the country and fully experience Taiwanese culture, cuisine, and adventure as a youth traveler.

Kaohsiung Surrounding Cities