Sunday, August 4, 2019

Attractions in Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung is the second largest city in Taiwan, with population reaching 2.7 million. The city was founded in 17th century and developed into an important port, business and administration center. We spent 3 days visiting several interesting places and attractions in Kaohsiung, including Bo Er (Pier 2) Art District, Cijin Island, and the night markets. We took the opportunity to tour around the city with it's environmental friendly light rail train as well.

We would like to share our experience in Kaohsiung. Let us start with Bo Er Art District.

BoEr Art District (驳二艺术特区)
BoEr (驳二) or Pier 2 is a special district designated for art and exhibition. It is located at the western side of the city, which can be easily accessed by MRT (Sizihwan Station or Yanchengpu Station) and Light Rail (Hamasen Station or Penglai Peer-2 Station). It is a big area with several exhibition halls. Artworks are available around the open area as well. Entrance fee is required for the exhibitions in halls.  

It is a good place to walk around while exploring the creativity of the locals transforming the previous warehouses into art centers. However, for us, it is not a site that worth us to travel thousand miles to pay it a visit. It would be great if we can arrange our visit to Pier 2 on our way back from Cijin Island.

We visited Pier 2 in mid May. The hot weather in the afternoon deterred us to stay long in that area. 

One of the huge catchy outdoor artworks beside the exhibition hall- showing that we are in the right area (upper left). Figures showing the MRT stations around Kaohsiung City as acupuncture points (upper right), mushrooms sitting on the exhibition hall, and a cat on no entry sign are some of the examples of exhibits that we can see on the street, free of charge. 

Group photo at  Pier-2 Art Center.

Metal work.

Bumble Bee has been stationed for a long time. The colour is fading away.

Cijin Island (旗津)
Cijin Island is a district in Kaohsiung City. The fastest way to reach the island is by taking ferry. Gushan Ferry Pier is just 10 minutes away by foot from Sizihwan MRT Station. There are many places of interest in Cijin- Cihou Fort, the star tunnel below Cihou Fort, Rainbow Church, and the old town are a few of them.

Our recommendation, visit Cijin Island together with Peer 2. We share more about Cijin Island in another post. 

Skyline of Cijin Island. The ferry pier on the left and Cihou Mountain on the right. We can see the fort and the lighthouse on the top of the hill.

Night Markets
We visited two night markets in Kaohsiung- Liuhe Night Market and Ruifeng Night Market. To us, night markets are the biggest attractions in Kaohsiung. 

Liuhe Night Market is well organized and more tourist friendly. It is located nearby Formosa Boulevard MRT Station, and about 50 meters away from our hotel. Ruifeng Night Market is dominated by locals, with more stalls, more variety of food, and of course, more crowds and noise and smokes from the cooking stoves. Ruifeng Night Market is around 200 meters from Kaohsiung Arena MRT Station.

We share more experience in night markets in another post.

Love River (爱河)
Many sources state that Love River is a must visit place in Kaohsiung. We found the fact was, we couldn't see much on the ground.

We walked along the riverside nearby Aozihdi MRT Station (on our way to Ruifeng Night Market), and found the place was not as pleasant as we had imagined. Of course, we had to give credit to Kaohsiung authority for cleaning the river, which was once heavily polluted. When we put the motivating story of cleaning aside, the place is not more than a jogging and cycling park on the side of a canal. 

 The side of the river is well illuminated. We can see people jogging and cycling around the area.

 Another part of the river.

MRT Stations
There are a few nicely designed MRT stations in Kaohsiung. We visited Kaohsiung Central Station on our way to Tainan, and Formosa Boulevard Station, which was nearby our hotel. Formosa Boulevard Station is really worth a visit. We couldn't stop ourselves gazing on the glass artwork every time we walked through the main hall of the station.

The dome of the main hall at Formosa Boulevard MRT Station is covered by the largest glass artwork in the world, with the diameter spans around 30 meters. Designed by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata, the artwork was named Dome of Light. 

Kaohsiung Station with nice ceiling.

Kaohsiung Light Rail 
This new light rail system was fully operational in 2017. The light train system is unique in the way the train is charged at the station, and running on battery on the rail. Thus we can't see cable along the railway. 

The railway is built mostly on ground level, so it is a good way to go around Kaohsiung City. For the city tour, we hopped on Cianjhen Star Station and hopped off Hamasen Station. 

Light Rail Train ticket can be bought from the vending machine at the station. The vending machine accept COINS ONLY.

The railway with grass. There is no cable on the top of the rail, as the train is running on battery.

Unlike MRT which runs below the ground, we can see the scenery on a light rail train.

Some of the nice scenery along the rail.

Kaohsiung and Tainan is worth a visit, especially if you like Taiwanese food. For Kaohsiung, we like the night markets the most, of course, the light rail, Cijin, and Peer 2 are worth a visit. If you wish to know more about the place we stayed and the transportation, please read our post on Getting around Kaohsiung.

More about our experience in Kaohsiung and Tainan:

More about our experience in Taipei: 

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