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Kaohsiung (Photo:Wayne0216/Shutterstock)
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Cruise Critic Staff

Port of Kaohsiung

Known as Taiwan's main export center and largest port, Kaohsiung is located on Taiwan's southwest coast. Once largely industrial, the country's second biggest city (after Taipei) has come a long way in terms of urban renovation and cleaning up one of its star attractions: the Love River. Solar-powered yachts now carry tourists and hometown romantics alike on leisurely rides to marvel at the shore's towering skyscrapers, parks and film-shooting locations.

The Pier-2 Art Center, housed in a repurposed warehouse on the wharf, is characteristic of the harbor's creative boom. Art galleries and trendy music venues vie for attention along with bikeways meandering along the bustling waterfront. The paths are dotted with graffiti-style murals and eye-catching, larger-than-life sculptures adorned in a multitude of colors. Even subway stops sport works of contemporary art, particularly Formosa Boulevard Station with its brilliantly colored glass "Dome of Light."

Fortunately for culture buffs, the city shifts easily between pop culture and old school Asian traditions. Spend the morning enjoying the rooftop amusement park of Taiwan's largest shopping complex, Dream Mall, built in the shape of a whale. To the delight of youngsters, the roof's playground comes complete with a Hello Kitty Ferris wheel, said to be the whale's spout. In the afternoon, check out the equally delightful Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. Here, brightly painted animals and pavilions perch on pilings above Lotus Pond, site of 20 temples of varying sizes.

About Kaohsiung


Pro

Kaohsiung is a trendy city, with its art galleries and music venues -- there's even a Hello Kitty Ferris wheel

Con

English is not widely spoken, so if you don't know a bit of Mandarin you might want to have Google Translate handy

Bottom Line

There's a lot of culture to soak up in Kaohsiung, both modern and historic


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Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The official currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (NTD or NT$). Check www.oanda.com or www.xe.com for current conversion rates. You can get money from ATMs in banks and the 7-Eleven shops located on every other block, or so. You'll need small bills or coins for the Liouhe Night Market to barter for handicrafts and snacks.

Language

Mandarin Chinese is the primary language. Some shopkeepers and restaurant workers speak English. For your best chance of finding an English speaker, look for teens or young adults.