My Travel Diary: Kaohsiung

When you think of Taiwan, Kaohsiung is usually not the first city that comes to mind, unless you’re actually from there. Vacationers plan trips to Taipei first, then maybe on their second or third trip, they will venture out and explore the rest of Taiwan. To be honest, I have not heard about Kaohsiung prior to our trip and if it weren’t included in the itinerary of our cruise I don’t think I would see it at this time. Of course, you already know that we went on a cruise (I might have overshared on Instagram)–we went on a six-day-five-night voyage onboard the Superstar Virgo that reached Laoag, Kaohsiung, and Hong Kong. You can read about the first leg of our trip, which was Vigan, HERE.

So, what is there to do in Kaohsiung? A lot if you are only spending the day here (the cruise ship only docks about 12 hours per destination). Main landmarks of Kaohsiung city includes the Tuntex Sky Tower, the ferris wheel of the Kaohsiung Dream Mall, the Kaohsiung Arena and the Kaohsiung Harbor. The city is newly developed (it used to be an industrial city) but it has a large number of shopping streets, organized night markets and newly developed leisure parks such as the Pier-2 Art CenterE-DA Theme Park or Taroko Park.

Natural attractions of the city includes Shoushan (Monkey mountain), the Love RiverQijin, the bay of Xiziwan, the Dapingding Tropical Botanical Garden and the Yushan National Park at the northeastern tip of the city. The city also features various historical attractions such as the Old City of Zuoying, a historical town built during the early 17th century, the Former British Consulate at Takao built during the late 19th century or various sugar and crop factories built during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan.

Because we were there for a very limited amount of time (about seven hours), we were only able to visit the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum and the Pier-2 Art Center. Initially, we were set to spend time at the Love River, but it was raining, so our tour guide took us to the art center instead. I have to say, my family loved our time in Kaohsiung, which was great because I had no idea what to expect from this trip. The weather was cool and pleasant (except for the rain showers when we were at the Love River) and we were able to take plenty or gorgeous family photos.

The Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum, previously known as the Buddha Memorial Center, is a Mahayana Buddhist cultural, religious and educational museum located in the Dash District of Kaohsiung. Construction of the museum began in 2008, and the museum was opened to the public in December 2011. Since its opening, the Buddha Museum has frequently been featured as one of the top 10 landmarks of Taiwan.

Okay, at first I thought, this might be a little boring, especially for Tristan who doesn’t understand a thing about buddhism or religion. But that long walk up to the museum was just his idea of fun, and loved every moment of it. It was like a big playground for him, which isn’t what it is, I know. But I was just so happy he loved the place that I was happy too! As a result, we were able to take lots of happy family photos. <3

So instead of spending the last few hours we had left at the Love River, our tour guide decided to take us to the Pier-2 Art Center instead. What a great idea. We all loved hanging out at this cool arts center! It was originally an abandoned warehouse site, but due to Kaohsiung’s shift from being an industrial city to a service city, well this was created. The warehouses were built in 1973 and due to the persistence of local artists, the area was finally released and remade to be an arts center. In 2006, the Bureau of Cultural Affairs of the city of Kaohsiung, under management of the Kaohsiung Pier-2 Art Development Association and Shu-Te University‘s art development workshop took over the center, starting a series of exhibitions.

There were little stores when we visited, as well as plenty of amazing outdoor art exhibitions. This made for an amazing backdrop for more family photos! Hehe. As long as my husband and I are able to take gorgeous photos, I am happy. It was a great day, indeed!

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