Going all the way from LuoDong on the East coast to Taipei in the North to then take the HSR down the West coast to Zuoying (on the outskirts of Kaohsiung) to Kenting at the very South of Taiwan is a long journey. Rather than ruin a whole day with long-winded travel, we decided to have 1 day/1 night stop-over in Kaohsiung and that was when we unexpectedly realised what an awesome city it is.
Straight off the HSR, we sat down to eat some fro-yo and threw open our Lonely Planet. The Lotus Pond was top of our spontaneous list and proved to be a good choice. It’s the first place in Taiwan that has actually reminded me of China. The huge lake surrounded by the twin Dragon and Tiger Temples, a large stone Confucius and a series of other temples are reminiscent of a lot of tourist sights in Beijing and Nanjing but hold a little more excitement for being a rare scene in Taiwan.
Unable to keep our hiking feet from walking, we headed up a short trail that led to the Former British Consulate. You can, of course, have afternoon tea here for an extortionate price and take your photo next to a red post-box.
We unintentionally stumbled under the Dome of Light when traipsing through Formosa Boulevard MRT.
When we met up with our Couchsurfing host and her family, we were given a welcome coffee and whisked away up the mountain for a night drive to see the city by night.
Get Around: Kaohsiung has an excellent MRT, just like Taipei, which is cheap and efficient. It goes nearly everywhere you want to go in the city and Kaohsiung is also relatively pedestrian-friendly.
Eat: at the Vegetarian buffet just out of Formosa Boulevard MRT. Freshly made spring-onion pancakes and hot radish cakes are cooked on a grill outside, whilst inside light dumplings, tofu-skin sushi, green bean wraps, circular omelettes and veggies wait on the buffet.
Sleep: Couchsurfing is a really great option in Kaohsiung because there are so many hosts in the city. We were really lucky to be the first guests of our host family who went out of their way to take us out for late night almond milk, drive us up a mountain and grab us a dongbin for breakfast in the morning. Staying with a local is definitely the way to go.
There’s a giant yellow duck around at the moment too.