The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Kaohsiung, Taiwan

The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Kaohsiung, Taiwan

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Ren and I are enamored with Taiwan. We love everything about this country. We love how organized it is, we love how green it is, and we love how kind and respectful its people are. A place like Taiwan gives me hope about what we can achieve as a society with some discipline and more mindfulness of others.

Among all the countries we’ve been to so far, Taiwan is just one of two that we could realistically see ourselves moving to (the other is Turkey). On our most recent trip to Taiwan, we spent two weeks exploring as much of the country as we could. We traveled in a loop around its perimeter, going from city to city, all the while imagining which city we could most see ourselves living in. And as you can probably guess by now, that city turned out to be Kaohsiung, with Taichung a close second.

Taiwan is pleasant and liveable throughout but if we could pick one city we’d be happy to call home, then it would be the Harbor City of Kaohsiung.

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Formosa Boulevard metro station

GUIDE TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Kaohsiung at a Glance
  2. Best Time to Visit
  3. Traveling to Kaohsiung
  4. Where to Exchange Currency
  5. Where to Stay
  6. Things to Do
  7. Day Trips from Kaohsiung
  8. Taiwanese Food Guide
  1. Where to Eat
  2. Points of Interest (Map)
  3. How to Get Around Kaohsiung
  4. How Many Days to Stay / Sample Itinerary
  5. Budget / Summary of Expenses
  6. Travel Tips
  7. Visa Information (for Filipinos)

KAOHSIUNG AT A GLANCE

Kaohsiung (pronounced gow-shung or cow-shung) is the biggest port in Taiwan and one of its largest cities. It’s located in Southwestern Taiwan about an hour south of Tainan. Kaohsiung is often referred to as Taiwan’s Harbor Capital because of its connection to the ocean and its reputation for being one of the world’s largest cargo-container seaports.

One of the things I loved most about Kaohsiung is its vibe. It may be a big cosmopolitan city but it’s more laid back than its counterparts in the north, like Taipei or Taichung. Apart from being the only city in Taiwan other than Taipei to have its own metro rail system, Kaohsiung is also known for being one of the country’s most bicycle-friendly cities, boasting numerous designated bike paths running through the city’s many parks.

If Taipei were New York, then Kaohsiung would be more like the Bay Area. It has all the conveniences of a modern metropolis minus the pace.

BEST TIME TO VISIT KAOHSIUNG

Kaohsiung is located in Southern Taiwan so it doesn’t get as cold there as it does in Taipei. We went in mid-March and it would get a little hot walking around during the day. This was in contrast to Taipei or Taichung which were still relatively cold during that time. Weather in Kaohsiung is mild year-round so there really is no best time to go, but based on weather averages, November till April seems ideal.

NOV-APR: Weather in Kaohsiung is most ideal from around mid-November to the first week of April. Temperatures are cool and it doesn’t rain as often. This is the best time to go if you don’t like hot or humid weather.

MAY-OCT: It’s rainier and warmer during these months so it’s best to avoid them if you don’t like too much heat and humidity. Both the hottest and rainiest months in Kaohsiung are from June till August so that may not be the best time to go.

Climate: Annual Monthly Weather in Kaohsiung

Check out weather-and-climate.com for more on Kaohsiung’s weather. To make it easier to visualize, I’ve created average temperature and annual rainfall graphs below. Suggested months to visit are colored in orange.

Average Temperature
Annual Rainfall in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Annual Rainfall
Annual Rainfall in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

TRAVELING TO KAOHSIUNG

We arrived in Kaohsiung by train from Tainan. Traveling by train between cities is so easy in Taiwan that I wouldn’t think of going any other way. We visited five major cities in two weeks and traveled almost entirely by train.

There are two rail operators in Taiwan – Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) and Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA). They’re two different companies with their own set of tracks and train stations. Enumerated below are the main differences between the two:

  1. TRA trains are much older and slower. Travel times on TRA trains are often twice as long as HSR trains.
  2. TRA trains are much cheaper, about half the price of HSR trains, though discounts to HSR trains are available.
  3. The earliest you can buy TRA tickets is 2 weeks before your intended date of departure. HSR tickets can be bought as early as 4 weeks before.
  4. TRA trains service cities on both the western and eastern halves of Taiwan. HSR trains only service cities in the west at this time.
  5. TRA stations are located closer to the city center so they’re more convenient location-wise. Most HSR stations are a little farther away from downtown areas.

Though trains are the most convenient, you can travel to Kaohsiung by bus as well. I’ve created the comparison chart below to help you visualize the differences in cost and travel times. For the sake of this guide, let’s assume you’ll be traveling to Kaohsiung from Taipei.

From TaipeiFareTravel Time
TRA TRAINNTD 8434 hrs 50 mins
HSR TRAINNTD 1,490 (undiscounted)2 hrs
BUSNTD 4909 hrs

By TRA Train

We traveled only by TRA train to get from city to city in Taiwan. Unless you’re in a rush, then there’s no reason to go by HSR train since TRA trains are perfectly fine and comfortable. You can refer to the TRA booking platform for train timetables and to purchase tickets.

As advised, the earliest you can purchase TRA tickets is 2 weeks before your trip. I suggest booking tickets as early as you can because they’re known to run out, especially during peak seasons. You can consult the TRA website for more information.

By HSR Train

HSR trains are considerably newer and faster than TRA trains, but they’re also more expensive. If you’re in a rush, then this is the best way to get from one city to the next. As advised, HSR tickets go on sale 4 weeks before your departure date so I suggest booking them as early as you can. If you book early enough or travel during off-peak hours, then you may get up to 35% off.

You can refer to the Taiwan High Speed Rail website for a schedule of trains to Kaohsiung from wherever you are. You can then purchase your ticket through their 24 hour booking system.

If you can’t get a discount from the THSR website, then you can try KKday. They offer an HSR Unlimited Pass as well as discounted single-journey HSR tickets to Kaohsiung (Zuoying) from the following cities (click on the links for more information):

If you’ll be moving on to another city from Kaohsiung, then you can purchase a discounted HSR ticket for that leg of your journey as well.

By Bus

Highway buses are cheaper than trains but they take longer. Fares may vary depending on the bus company, so you can check the Taiwan Highway Bus website for information on fares, routes, and traveling times.

WHERE TO EXCHANGE CURRENCY

Taiwan’s unit of currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (NTD). The best place to exchange currency anywhere in Taiwan is at a bank. Currency exchange is regulated by the government so you don’t have to worry about getting a poor rate. The only thing I suggest is changing your money at bigger banks like Bank of Taiwan because smaller banks might charge you a transaction fee.

Another option is to withdraw NTD from an ATM. It’s faster than changing currency at a bank and the rates are comparable. Just be sure to advise your bank that you’ll be using your ATM card abroad so you don’t have any problems. In my experience, my ATM card works in some machines but not in others.

WHERE TO STAY IN KAOHSIUNG

We traveled by TRA train between five major cities in Taiwan, so I made sure to always find accommodations near the train station. That way we wouldn’t have to wake up so early to catch our train in the morning. Of all the rooms we booked, this AirBnB in Kaohsiung was far and away the most convenient location-wise. It was 2 minutes away from the Kaohsiung TRA and MRT stations, and a bus stop was just around the corner. Best of all, there was a 7-Eleven in the building next door.

As you can see below, the room was massive. We didn’t use it but it’s the only room we’ve ever rented that had a washer and dryer inside the room! I’m sure this will be very useful to many travelers. There was also a microwave and a refrigerator in this studio apartment which we rented for just USD 31 a night. Not bad at all!

As described, we booked a room here through AirBnB. If you don’t think this is the right place for you, then you can follow these links to find alternate listings in Kaohsiung: AirBnB | Booking.com | Agoda. If you’re new to AirBnB, then you can get up to USD 43 free travel credit when you sign up via this link.
AirBnB, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Approximate Room Rate: USD 31 per night (as of May 2018)



Booking.com

THINGS TO DO IN KAOHSIUNG

1. Reverse Your Fortune at the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas

Lotus Pond is a picturesque artificial lake located in Zuoying District, not too far from Ruifeng Night Market. It’s a popular tourist destination known for its lotus plants and many temples surrounding its perimeter, none more interesting perhaps than the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. A twin pair of 7-story pagodas with giant dragon and tiger statues, it’s believed that entering from the dragon’s mouth and exiting through the tiger’s jaws reverses your fortune and turns bad luck into good luck. Watch me run through it like an idiot in the video below.

Estimated Time to Spend: 30 mins at the pagodas, 1-2 hrs at the lake / Admission: FREE

2. Take Selfies at Pier-2 Art Center

We visited many creative parks and museums throughout Taiwan, and the biggest murals and sculptures we found were here at Pier-2 Art Center, most notable of which was a giant 20-foot robot. The creative park is spread out over several buildings and warehouses by the wharf, making for a good 1-2 hours of mural hunting and selfie taking. You’ll find a few interesting shops and cafes here as well.
Pier-2 Art Center, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Estimated Time to Spend: 1-2 hrs / Admission: FREE

3. Rent Bikes and Explore Cijin Island

Cijin or Qijin Island is a small, narrow strip of island just a short ferry ride away from Kaohsiung Harbor. It’s a popular day trip destination known for its black sand beach, a few historical and religious structures, and the best seafood in Kaohsiung. If you have enough time, then I suggest renting a bicycle or electric scooter and spending the whole day exploring the island. That’s what we did and it turned out to be my favorite day from our two weeks in Taiwan. Families can even rent electric trolleys that can seat four or more.

Check out my post on Cijin Island for more pictures and information. It’s easy (and perhaps more fun) to explore Cijin Island on your own, but if you’d rather go on a guided tour, then you can book this one through KKday. It includes a stop at Pier-2 Art Center as well.
Cijin Island, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Estimated Time to Spend: At least half a day / Ferry Ticket Cost: At least NTD 25 each way

4. Make a Stop at the Dome of Light

The Dome of Light is a stained glass installation piece located within the Kaohsiung MRT’s busiest stop – Formosa Boulevard Station. Standing an impressive 30 meters (98 feet) in diameter, it’s made up of 4,500 glass panels, making it the largest work of glass art in the world. It was created by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata, a feat which has led many to call Formosa Boulevard Station one of the world’s most beautiful subway stations. If you’ll be traveling at all by MRT in Kaohsiung, then chances are you’ll transit through this station so be sure to make a quick stop here before going on your way.
Dome of Light, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Estimated Time to Spend: 15 mins / Admission: FREE

5. Visit the Fo Guang Shan Monastery

Fo Guang Shan is the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. It covers an area of over 30 hectares and is comprised of university buildings, shrines, a cemetery, and a 36-meter tall statue of Amitabha Buddha. It’s about 40 minutes north of central Kaohsiung so we decided to skip it, but based on what I’ve read, the place is massive with much to see so you can easily spend the whole day here if you have a particular interest in Buddhist monasteries.

You can get to Fo Guang Shan Monastery by public transportation but you can also visit on a private tour as well. KKday offers a Lotus Pond and Fo Guang Shan Monastery private tour starting at NTD 3,937 for up to four people. This might be worth considering if you have enough people in your group.
Fo Guang Shan Monastery, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

By Huicheng1967 [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom
Estimated Time to Spend: 2-3 hrs / Admission: FREE

DAY TRIPS FROM KAOHSIUNG

1. Spend the Day in Tainan, Taiwan’s Oldest City

Tainan is only about 40 minutes away by TRA train (15 minutes by HSR), so it makes for an ideal day trip if you’re spending enough time in Kaohsiung. Recognized as the oldest city in Taiwan, it served as the country’s capital for 200 years. There you’ll find historic Anping District which is home to several attractions like Anping Tree House, Anping Old Street, and Fort Zeelandia. Check out our Tainan travel guide for more information.

As described, you can get to Tainan from Kaohsiung either by TRA or HSR train. You can check the TRA or HSR website for a timetable and ticket prices. If you decide to travel by HSR train, then be sure to select “Zuoying” as the departure station. You can get a discount on the HSR ticket as well if you purchase it through KKday.
Anping Tree House, Tainan, Taiwan

Suggested Length of Visit: Whole Day

2. Explore Kenting National Park

I wanted to do this but we didn’t have enough time. Kenting National Park is Taiwan’s oldest and southernmost national park, covering an area of about 181 square kilometres (70 sq mi) of land and 152 square kilometres (59 sq mi) of sea. It’s famous for its beautiful beaches and stunning ocean views. Located about 2 hours south of Kaohsiung, it’s a little harder to visit on a day trip but it is possible.

The easiest way would be to hire a private charter from Kaohsiung to Kenting and back. KKday offers a roundtrip Kaohsiung-Kenting private transfer starting at NTD 4,200 for up to 4 people. You’ll have the car and driver for 10 hours, giving you about 6 hours in Kenting. That’s probably enough time so this may be a good option if you have enough people in your group.

Otherwise, you can take a shuttle bus to Kenting from Kaohsiung starting at NTD 389 each way (fares vary depending on the station). You can follow that link to book it through KKday as well. If you read the description in the click-through, you’ll see that shuttles run every hour on the hour from 9AM-5PM, giving you a maximum of about 6 hours to explore Kenting. I read that getting around isn’t as easy in Kenting because it involves long stretches of scenic highway, so it’s best explored on a rental scooter.

Though it is possible to visit Kenting on a day trip from Kaohsiung, it looks like such a beautiful place so you may want to spend at least a night there.
Kenting National Park, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

By Bernard Gagnon [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom
Suggested Length of Visit: Whole Day

TAIWANESE FOOD GUIDE

Your Taiwan experience can’t be complete without a visit to one or more night markets. There are so many fun and delicious things to eat in this country! If you’re wondering what to eat in Kaohsiung, then check out our list of 57 things to eat in Taiwan.

WHERE TO EAT IN KAOHSIUNG

1. Ruifeng Night Market

Of all the night markets we visited in Taiwan, Ruifeng Night Market was my favorite. It wasn’t the biggest but for me, it had the best combination of size, layout, and food selection. Pictured below is one of the night market’s most popular stalls – a vendor selling giant takoyaki balls filled with octopus, shrimp, mushroom, and vegetables. Don’t miss this!
Ruifeng Night Market, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Unlike many other night markets, Ruifeng Night Market is completely closed off to traffic, including motorbikes, so it makes for a much more pleasant experience. It’s laid out in an easy-to-navigate grid as well with a good mix of food and shopping stalls.
Ruifeng Night Market, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

2. Liouhe Tourist Night Market

Liouhe is another pleasant night market in Kaohsiung. There are food stalls on either side of a street spanning about two blocks with tables and rubbish bins in the middle. Many night markets don’t have either so we thought that was convenient. One of the best things you can get at Liouhe Tourist Night Market is this cup of papaya milk sold by that stand in the background. You’ll know it from all the pictures (presumably of celebrities) plastered all over its cart. Absolutely delicious!
Liouhe Tourist Night Market, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

The atmosphere at Liouhe Tourist Night Market isn’t as much fun as Ruifeng but it’s a must-visit as well, especially if you’ll be spending more than one night in Kaohsiung.
Liouhe Tourist Night Market, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

3. Gang Yuan Beef Noodles

When I was doing research for must-eat restaurants in Kaohsiung, this place was at the top of nearly every list. Beef noodle soup is the single most beloved dish in Taiwan and Gang Yuan Beef Noodles is described as having some of the best. People who’ve eaten this dish throughout Taiwan, including Taipei, swear that the beef noodle soup at this shop was the best they’ve ever had. We can understand why. Available in wet or dry versions, the noodles here were noticeably chewier and springier in texture than at other places we visited. Definitely a must.
Gang Yuan Beef Noodles, Kaohisung, Taiwan

Gang Yuan Beef Noodles is located amidst a row of similar-looking shops, so be sure to look for the one with all the beef noodle awards proudly displayed in their window. It’s a popular place so be prepared for a wait.
Gang Yuan Beef Noodles, Kaohisung, Taiwan

Expect to Spend: About NTD 220 with drinks

4. Duck (Ya Rou) Zhen

I learned about this local favorite when I chanced upon an article from the Singapore Michelin Guide. In the article, Chef Lanshu Chen of Le Mout lists her favorite places to eat in Kaohsiung and proclaims Ya Rou Zhen as her go-to place for duck. Here she always orders sliced duck with rice and a bowl of duck innards soup. Being the head chef of one of the world’s best restaurants, she clearly knows what she’s talking about so we followed her lead, dish for dish. You may want to do the same because it was awesome.

The sliced duck was tender, juicy, and smokey with a nice layer of fat beneath the skin. But as good as it was, what we enjoyed most was the innards soup which was swimming with duck parts like intestine, liver, and gizzard. It tasted clean and flavorful with that wonderful gummy texture characteristic of offal. Really delicious!
Duck Zhen, Kaohisung, Taiwan

Ya Rou Zhen is easy to spot. Just look for the restaurant with the yellow awning and all the red-orange stools outside.
Duck Zhen, Kaohisung, Taiwan

Expect to Spend: About NTD 200 with drinks

5. Gao Xiong Po Po Shaved Ice

If I were to make a list of dishes that gave me the most pleasure in Taiwan, then this mango baobing from Gao Xiong Po Po Shaved Ice would be close to the top. Made with shaved ice topped with fist-sized hunks of the sweetest fresh mango, condensed milk, and scoops of mango ice cream, it was ravishingly delicious, especially after a day of walking under the hot Kaohsiung sun. Ren and I just shared one but I kinda wish we hadn’t. DO NOT miss this.
Gao Xiong Po Po Shaved Ice, Kaohisung, Taiwan

Gao Xiong Po Po Shaved Ice offers many types of shaved ice desserts but mango baobing is one of their specialties.
Gao Xiong Po Po Shaved Ice, Kaohisung, Taiwan

Expect to Spend: NTD 100 per order of mango shaved ice

6. Wu Pao Chun Bakery

Like Gang Yuan Beef Noodles, this is another place that you’ll find on every “must-eat in Kaohsiung” list. And understandably so, because this bakery is owned by Wu Pao-chun, a Taiwanese baker renowned for his sourdough bread. He’s won several baking competitions in Europe and was awarded the title of Master Baker in the bread category of the 2010 Bakery Masters competition in Paris.

As you can see below, they offer many types of bread but none are more famous than his Taiwan Litchi Rose Champion Bread which was crowned the champion at the Bakery Masters in 2010. It’s made with mullet wine, lychee, walnuts, and rose petals. If that isn’t interesting enough for you, then another renowned loaf is his Taiwan Longan with Red Wine Bread which won second place at the Coupe Louise Lesaffre in 2008. We bought many different kinds before spending the day on Cijin Island and everything we got was delicious. If you like bread, then you have to make a stop at Wu Pao Chun Bakery.
Wu Pao Chun Bakery, Kaohisung, Taiwan

We arrived just before opening so we were the first in line. Wu Pao Chun Bakery presently has two branches in Taiwan – one in Kaohsiung and another in Taipei.
Wu Pao Chun Bakery, Kaohisung, Taiwan

Expect to Spend: Breads start at around NTD 40

POINTS OF INTEREST IN KAOHSIUNG

I created this map to give you a better sense of where everything is. All the places recommended in this guide are pinned on this map.

HOW TO GET AROUND KAOHSIUNG

It’s super easy to get around Kaohsiung using public transportation. Other than Taipei, it’s the only city in Taiwan that has its own metro system. You can get to most of the places recommended in this guide using the Kaohsiung MRT. For everything else, there’s the public bus system which is almost as easy.

I’ve always been apprehensive about using a foreign city’s public bus system for fear of getting lost. But my fears were dispelled on this trip after I started using the Google Maps app (iOS | Android) here in Kaohsiung. To my surprise, I found it incredibly helpful and easy to use. It tells you exactly how to get from one place to the next using any city’s public transportation system. I’ve always been afraid of hopping onto the wrong bus and winding up somewhere in China, but this free app makes it practically idiot-proof. Try it if you plan on getting around Kaohsiung by bus.

There are several transportation cards you can use in Taiwan but the EasyCard has worked well for us so I haven’t looked into anything else. If you plan on taking public transportation a lot in Kaohsiung, then getting an EasyCard is a must. It works on both the MRT and bus systems. Aside from the convenience, using an EasyCard gives you a 15% discount over single-journey tokens on the Kaohsiung MRT. You can purchase it at any Kaohsiung MRT station and it will work throughout Taiwan. Go to the travel tips section of this guide for more information on the EasyCard.

In some instances, you many not want to take public transportation so you’ll be pleased to know that Uber is available in Kaohsiung as well. We took it a couple of times when we were too tired to walk and the most we paid was NTD 166 to go from Kaohsiung TRA Station to Lotus Pond (about 7.2 km).

HOW MANY DAYS TO STAY / SAMPLE ITINERARY

By population, Kaohsiung is the smallest big city in Taiwan so you probably won’t need as much time there as you would in Taipei or Taichung. We spent two nights and we thought that was perfect for a first-time visit. If it’s your first time traveling to Kaohsiung, then here’s a sample two-day itinerary to help you plan your trip.

DAY ONE

• Dome of Light
• Fo Guang Shan Monastery
• Lotus Lake
• Dragon and Tiger Pagodas
• Ruifeng Night Market
DAY TWO

• Pier-2 Art Center
• Cijin Island
• Liouhe Tourist Night Market

BUDGET / SUMMARY OF EXPENSES

Assuming you’ll be traveling with one other person and staying two nights in Kaohsiung, then a budget of around NTD 1,100 per day should be enough. This takes into account a moderately priced hotel, inexpensive meals, transportation, bike rental on Cijin Island, and pocket wifi rental.

ACCOMMODATIONS

This depends on many factors like hotel preference and number of travel companions. We booked an AirBnB rental for about NTD 928 a night. Expect to pay much less if you’re staying in a dorm room.
MEALS

Again, this is subjective, but based on our experience, I’d say around NTD 200-300 for the day per person with drinks. Budget more if you plan on dining at fancier restaurants.
POCKET WIFI RENTAL

If you’re sharing the cost with one other person, then you’ll each be paying NTD 40 per day.
TRANSPORTATION

As advised, it’s a good idea to invest in an EasyCard while in Kaohsiung, especially if you’ll spending time in Taipei as well. The base cost of the EasyCard is NTD 100 plus whatever amount you’ll need in Kaohsiung. If you plan on traveling exclusively by MRT and bus, then a transportation budget of around NTD 100 per day should be enough.
BIKE RENTAL

If you plan on renting bikes to explore Cijin Island, then you’ll be paying NTD 100 to rent a bike for the entire day.
TOTAL

This comes out to about NTD 1,054 per day for each person. Ren and I are middle of the road travelers who enjoy good food and drink, so this is a budget that works for us. Feel free to adjust based on your own travel habits.

TRAVEL TIPS

1. Plan your Trip with Sygic Travel

What’s the hardest part about planning a trip? For me, it was figuring out on which days to do what. It’s easy enough to find a destination’s most interesting attractions, but not knowing where they are in relation to one another makes it difficult to come up with an efficient itinerary. Sygic Travel solves that. Check out my post on the free Sygic Travel app to learn how it works.

DOWNLOAD: iOS / Android

Sygic Travel is what I used to create the location map above. You can view it as a day-to-day itinerary as well. Follow this link to check out our two-night Kaohsiung itinerary on Sygic Travel. You can also download our entire 2-week Taiwan itinerary in editable Word format from our EAT-ineraries page.

2. Rent a Pocket Wifi Device

Besides my passport, the three most important things to bring on a trip for me are money, my smartphone, and a pocket wifi device. Visiting a foreign country without access to the internet scares me. I need it to navigate, do research, and find the best stinky tofu in Kaohsiung. We never go anywhere now without renting a pocket wifi device first.

Personally, we prefer pocket wifi devices but sim cards are just as good. They’re cheaper too. You can rent a 4G pocket wifi device or buy a 4G sim card through KKday and pick them up from various airports in Taiwan.
Pocket wifi rental, Taiwan

3. Store Your Luggage with lalalocker

With the surge in popularity of AirBnB, more and more people are in need of temporary luggage storage. Unlike hotels, you can’t always leave your luggage with your host before check-in. Thankfully for travelers to Taiwan, there’s lalalocker. Lalalocker is a Taiwanese site that helps you find places to temporarily store your luggage. They serve multiple areas in many cities throughout the country, including Kaohsiung.
lalalocker, Taiwan

Bookstore that stores your luggage in Taipei

4. Travel with an EasyCard

If you plan on taking public transportation a lot in Taiwan, then an EasyCard will be very useful to you. Not only does it eliminate the hassle of having to buy single-journey tokens every time, but you’ll get 20% off on the Taipei MRT and 15% off on the Kaohsiung MRT with every ride. It works on public buses too.

You can purchase an EasyCard from any MRT station and top it up in multiples of NTD 100. It’s good for use throughout Taiwan, meaning if you bought one in Kaohsiung like we did, then you can use it on the Taipei MRT and vice versa. At the end of your trip, any unused amount can be refunded minus a service charge of NTD 20.

We never used it for anything but transportation but you can use it for other things as well. Follow the link to see the full scope of use of an EasyCard.
EasyCard, Taiwan

5. Rent Bicycles from the Mainland

If you plan on renting bikes and visiting Cijin Island, then I suggest renting one from the mainland and taking it with you onboard the ferry. The reason for this is that there are two separate lines for ferry passengers – one for pedestrians and another for people on bikes/scooters. In our experience, both going and coming back, the line for pedestrians was significantly longer.

If you’d rather not risk having to wait for the next ferry, then I suggest renting your bicycle from the mainland instead of Cijin Island. The ferry cost is just a little bit more, just NTD 35 for cyclists as opposed to NTD 25 for pedestrians. In my opinion, it’s worth the shorter wait. Plus, you’ll feel more like a bonafide local, even if you aren’t.

6. Check for Discount Passes

There are many e-commerce travel platforms out there but my favorite for Taiwan is KKday. They’re a Taiwan-based tour provider so for me, there’s no better place to find Taiwan travel deals from than KKday. They often have the widest selection so if you’re looking for deals on tours, transfers, pocket wifi rental, etc, then you might want to check out KKday.

7. Get Travel Insurance

Whether or not you should get travel insurance is something to consider before every trip. We don’t always get it. If we’re going to a familiar city to do little more than shop and eat for a few days, then we probably won’t get it. But if we’re planning on doing outdoorsy things like skiing or horseback riding, then we’ll definitely pick up a policy.

We buy insurance from World Nomads or SafetyWing. They’re both leading travel medical insurance providers used by many long-term travelers. Check out my article on why we buy travel insurance for more information. You can follow the links to get a free quote from World Nomads or SafetyWing.

8. Bring the Right Power Adapter

Taiwan has Type A and Type B electrical outlets so be sure to bring the right power adapters for your devices. Electrical voltage is 110V and the standard frequency is 60Hz.

VISA INFORMATION (for Filipinos)

In effect until 31 July 2020, Philippine passport holders may enter Taiwan visa-free for stays of up to fourteen (14) days. Check out my post on TECO’s visa-free program for more information.

Have fun!

By no means am I an expert on Kaohsiung but I do hope you find this post useful. I’m merely sharing some of the things I learned from our trip. If you have any questions, then please feel free to ask in the comment section below. You’re welcome to join our Facebook Travel Group as well.

Thanks for stopping by and have an awesome time in Kaohsiung!

OUR GEAR

These are some of the things we brought with us to Kaohsiung. If you’d like to see our complete list of travel gear, then you can check out our “What’s in Our Backpack?” post. (NOTE: The following links are affiliate links.)

Disclosure

We’re affiliates with KKday and they provided us a pocket wifi device for use during our entire Taiwan trip. As always, all words and opinions expressed in this post are mine and mine alone.

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There are 12 comments for this article
  1. Richard at 12:11 pm

    Hello!

    I’ve been doing A LOT of research on Taiwan, and your site has been the most informative BY FAR! Would you kindly give your opinion on which is a better place to visit for two days, Kaoshsiung or Tainan?

    Thank you in advance for your insight. And thanks again for the amazing resource.

  2. JB & Renée Macatulad at 12:54 pm

    Wow happy to hear that Richard! 😀 For me, definitely Kaohsiung. It’s more fun plus there’s more to see and do there. Tainan is interesting in its own way, but for us, it was probably our least favorite city in Taiwan. Hope that helps and have a great time in Taiwan! 🙂

  3. Thratib Kittipanachol at 3:00 pm

    Just saw your website. It’s really informative and easy to read. Keep travelling guys, you are doing your fellow netizens an excellent service 😉

  4. Jaja at 10:41 am

    Hi, your page is very informative. I would like to know more about prices of pasalubong products in Kaoshiung like ref magnet, keychains and goodies.
    We will be travelling to Kaohsiung this Saturday and I would appreciate if you could help me with this. Thank you!

  5. JB & Renée Macatulad at 12:43 pm

    Hi Jaja, I’m sorry but we didn’t buy any souvenirs so I don’t really know. But Taiwan in general isn’t very expensive, especially outside of Taipei.

  6. Zinc at 10:16 pm

    Hi, do you have any recommendation for day trips from Kao Hsiung, apart from Tainan? I will be starting and ending my week-long trip at Kao Hsiung. Thanks for the help!

  7. JB & Renée Macatulad at 8:45 am

    Hi Zinc, you can rent bikes and spend the day on Cijin Island. We did that and really enjoyed it. If you want to go a little farther, then Kenting is another option.

  8. Doty at 8:53 pm

    Hello. What is the best transpo going to kaohsiung if we are going from taipei? Thank you..

  9. JB & Renée Macatulad at 3:28 pm

    Hi Doty, I prefer trains over planes so the best for me would be by HSR train. It can get you to Kaohsiung (Zuoying) from Taipei in under 2 hrs. You can get a discount on the ticket if you purchase it early enough from the HSR website or through KKday. Hope that helps and enjoy Taiwan! 🙂

  10. Maria at 4:40 pm

    Thank you for sharing info and tips! I’m planning to travel solo this August. It’s not my first time in Taiwan but it’s my first time to go to Kaohsiung. Is it safe for solo travellers? Do they understand English?

  11. JB & Renée Macatulad at 8:58 am

    Hi Maria, Kaohsiung is safe. We never felt threatened anywhere in Taiwan. There’s a language barrier in Taiwan in general, but never to the point of it being a problem. Hope that helps and enjoy Kaohsiung! 🙂

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