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[Harbors and beyond] Kaohsiung Harbor

Date:2019-06-25 Number of Visitors:1781

Scenery, History, and Gorgeous Sunsets


Fourteen cruise liners are scheduled for stops at Kaohsiung Harbor in 2019, including the MS Europa 2, one of the highest-rated cruise ships in the world. Following is a quick look at what the passengers on these vessels (and travelers arriving by other means of transport) can take in on a quick visit to southern Taiwan’s big harbor city.

There are two entrances for ships coming in to Kaohsiung Harbor, one at the north end of narrow Qijin Island, the natural barrier that sits between the Taiwan Strait and the mainland, with the harbor in the narrow waters in between, and the other at the south end of the island. Most cruise ships dock at Pier 9, near the north end on the mainland side. From there, passengers headed ashore have convenient and immediate access to many of the tourist attractions, for which the city is well known. Among these are various sites in Gushan District’s Hamasen area, including the Banana Pier and The Pier-2 Art Center. Those who want to use Kaohsiung’s light rail/subway system to explore the city further afield can reach the LRT Penglai Pier-2 stop from their cruise ship on foot in less than 15 minutes.

  • Banana Pier, Warehouse No. 2, The Pier-2 Art Center

    Banana Pier, Warehouse No. 2, The Pier-2 Art Center

  • Qijin Island

    Qijin Island

Banana Pier, Warehouse No. 2, The Pier-2 Art Center

From the cruise-ship pier (No. 9), it’s just a short walk along the harborfront to the Banana Pier (Pier No. 2), a location where you can find good examples of how Kaohsiung has been gradually transitioning in recent times from an industrial city with a predominantly blue-collar character to a colorful modern metropolis that nurtures cultural and recreational pursuits. One of the former warehouses on the pier, easy to recognize because of its bright banana-yellow color, is home to the cruise-ship terminal and shops selling Kaohsiung-themed souvenirs. Kaohsiung Port Warehouse No. 2 next door, which opened last year, attracts local and international visitors with a food court and a market area where vendors sell a wide variety of cultural-creative items and snacks. From Banana Pier it’s just a short walk to The Pier-2 Art Center, a well-established cultural hotspot known especially for installation art, murals, and fashionable eateries.

Qijin Island

To get to Qijin Island, most commuters and tourists take the ferry from the Gushan Ferry Pier (takes about five minutes and costs NT$40 one way). To get there from the Banana Pier, walk for about a kilometer west along the harbor following Jiexing 1st Street and then Binhai 1st Road (connected to each other by a narrow alley). On weekends, however, you can also take a ferry directly from the Banana Pier (departures every half hour; NT$40 one way; info about Kaohsiung ferry services: kcs.kcg.gov.tw). After arriving at Qijin Island, make sure to do the following: walk up to the Qihou Lighthouse and the Qihou Battery; check out the Tianhou Temple and Qijin Old Street; rent a bicycle or electric quadricycle and explore the island’s sea-facing side (part of which is Qijin Seaside Park). If time allows, take in one of the gorgeous sunsets Qijin is famous for while relaxing on the island’s dark-sand beach.

  • British Consulate, LOVE Sign

    British Consulate, LOVE Sign

  • Riding the Light Rail and Subway

    Riding the Light Rail and Subway

British Consulate, LOVE Sign

From Qijin Island, take the Gushan ferry back to the mainland and from the ferry pier head north. Cross the pedestrian bridge across narrow Gushan Fishing Harbor and then turn left and follow Shaochuan Street until you come to the entrance to The British Consulate at Takow (britishconsulate.khcc.gov.tw). This is a fine historic site with a history-exhibit hall, café/restaurant, and excellent views of Kaohsiung Harbor and Qijin Island. Another popular location for enjoying views of the city from an elevated point and taking photos is the Shoushan Lover’s Observatory. The LOVE sign there (a large sculpture in the shape of the word “LOVE”) is especially pretty when illuminated in the evening. The observatory is located on low-elevation Shoushan (“Longevity Mountain”) close to the Kaohsiung Martyrs’ Shrine; the easiest way to get there is to take a taxi.

Riding the Light Rail and Subway

If you want to explore attractions of the city further away from the harbor area, consider taking the Kaohsiung light rail (LRT) and subway (KMRT) lines. The best-known sights in Kaohsiung are the Love River (boat trips available during the day and evening), the 85 Sky Tower (the city’s easy-to-spot architectural landmark), the Dream Mall (www.dream-mall.com.tw; a large shopping mall with a giant Ferris wheel), Taroko Park (www.tarokopark.com.tw; a shopping and amusement complex with a large go-cart race track), Lotus Pond (known for its colorful Dragon and Tiger Pagodas), and Liuhe Night Market (the city’s best-known place for snack-food indulgence). Taking the above- and below-ground lines is convenient and cheap. You can buy single tickets for each journey or purchase a stored-value card (iPASS, EasyCard). For more information, visit www.krtco.com.tw.

English and Chinese

85 Sky Tower 高雄85大樓
Banana Pier 香蕉碼頭
Dream Mall 統一夢時代購物中心
Hamasen 濱線
Kaohsiung Martyrs’ Shrine 高雄市忠烈祠
Kaohsiung Port Warehouse No. 2 棧貳庫
Liuhe Night Market 六合夜市
Lotus Pond 蓮池潭
Love River 愛河
Qihou Lighthouse 旗後燈塔
Qihou Battery 旗后砲台
Qijin Island 旗津島
Qijin Old Street 旗津老街
Shoushan Lover’s Observatory 壽山情人觀景
Taroko Park 大魯閣草衙道
The British Consulate at Takow 打狗英國領事館
The Pier-2 Art Center 駁二特區
Tianhou Temple 天后宮

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    Last update time: 2019-06-25
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