Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s third-largest city, is a bustling metropolis known for its modern architecture, lush parks, and bustling night markets. For those considering things to do in Kaohsiung, exploring the Lotus Pond with its iconic Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, and taking a stroll along the Love River, a scenic waterway lined with cafes and parks, are top activities.
The city’s Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum, a sprawling complex dedicated to Buddhist education and art, offers a peaceful retreat and insight into Taiwan’s religious practices. Nearby, the Pier-2 Art Center, set in a converted warehouse district, serves as a hub for artists and creatives, showcasing a variety of contemporary art installations and performances.
Beyond its urban attractions, Kaohsiung also serves as a gateway to the beautiful Kenting National Park, known for its stunning beaches and lush mountains. For those seeking the best places to visit in Taiwan, Kaohsiung’s blend of cultural richness, modern amenities, and natural beauty makes it a compelling destination.
Table of Contents
Attractions & Things to Do in Kaohsiung, Taiwan
1. Lotus Pond
Lotus Pond is a scenic, man-made lake in Zuoying District, known for its calm waters lined with temples and pagodas, including the famous Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. Visitors can enter the dragon’s mouth and exit through the tiger’s, which is said to turn bad luck into good fortune.
Travel Tip: Visit at sunrise or sunset when the lighting is spectacular and the temperature is more comfortable for walking around.
2. Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum
This sprawling complex is not just a museum but also a cultural, religious, and educational center. The Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum features a huge Buddha statue and offers insight into Buddhist philosophy and art.
Travel Tip: Be prepared to walk a lot; wearing comfortable shoes is a must, and consider visiting during a festival for special events and decorations.
3. The Pier-2 Art Center
Once an abandoned warehouse site, The Pier-2 Art Center has been transformed into a vibrant creative space filled with galleries, installations, and performance venues. The area is also famous for its street art and lively atmosphere.
Travel Tip: Check the schedule in advance to catch any live performances or exhibitions that might be taking place during your visit.
4. Cijin Island
Just a short ferry ride from Kaohsiung, Cijin Island is known for its beautiful beaches, fresh seafood, and the Cijin Lighthouse. Visitors enjoy biking along the coast and exploring the local market.
Travel Tip: Rent an electric bike to explore the island fully, as the attractions are spread out along the coast.
5. Tuntex Sky Tower
As the second tallest building in Taiwan, Tuntex Sky Tower dominates the skyline of Kaohsiung. Visitors can go to the observation deck for sweeping views of the city and harbor.
Travel Tip: The view is best on a clear day, so check the weather forecast before planning your visit to the tower.
6. Liuhe Night Market
Liuhe Night Market comes alive at night when locals and tourists alike flock to the stalls to sample a variety of traditional Taiwanese street food, including the famous Kaohsiung night market staples.
Travel Tip: Go with an empty stomach and be adventurous with your food choices—this is the perfect place to try delicacies like stinky tofu or oyster omelets.
7. Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts
The Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts is the third-largest fine arts museum in Taiwan, offering an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art primarily from Taiwanese and Asian artists.
Travel Tip: The museum is surrounded by a beautiful sculpture park, so allocate time to enjoy both the indoor and outdoor exhibits.
8. Chengcing Lake
Chengcing Lake is an idyllic spot that serves as an escape from the urban rush. It features serene waters, the beautiful Eighteen Arhats Mountain, and several pavilions and bridges.
Travel Tip: Visit the lake early in the morning when it’s less crowded, and the weather is cooler for a peaceful walk or jog.
9. Kaohsiung Main Public Library
This eco-friendly building is an architectural marvel and a symbol of Kaohsiung’s commitment to modernity and sustainability. The library offers a quiet place for reading and learning, with a rooftop garden that provides a unique urban oasis.
Travel Tip: Head to the top floor for a quiet space to relax, and enjoy the view of the city from the outdoor garden.
FAQ About Things to Do in Kaohsiung, Taiwan
What are the must-visit places in Kaohsiung?
Kaohsiung is renowned for its harbor, the Liuhe Night Market, the impressive Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum, and the lush Maolin National Scenic Area.
Can visitors explore the Lotus Pond area?
Yes, Lotus Pond is famous for its tranquil waters lined with temples and pagodas, such as the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, and is perfect for a scenic walk.
Is there an art district to visit in Kaohsiung?
Absolutely! The Pier-2 Art Center is a vibrant cultural hub set in converted warehouses featuring art installations, exhibits, and performances.
What outdoor activities can be done in Kaohsiung?
Outdoor enthusiasts can hike in Shoushan (Monkey Mountain), enjoy water activities at Xiziwan Bay, or bike along the Love River.
How can visitors experience Kaohsiung’s nightlife?
The city’s nightlife thrives with options like the bustling Liuhe Night Market for street food and the bars and clubs in the Yancheng District.
Are there any museums worth visiting?
Kaohsiung offers several museums, including the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts and the National Science and Technology Museum, which are both informative and entertaining.
Where can I enjoy the best views of Kaohsiung?
For panoramic city views, head to the observation deck at the Tuntex Sky Tower or take a ferry ride in the harbor during the evening.
Does Kaohsiung have any unique cultural experiences?
Engage with local culture by visiting the Fo Guang Shan monastery, participating in the Dragon Boat Festival, or attending a traditional Chinese opera at the Chichin Seashore Park.