The Best Guided Tours Around Kaohsiung

Lotus Lake Pagodas
Lotus Lake Pagodas | © Benjiho / WikiCommons
Ciaran McEneaney

Kaohsiung was once thought of as an industrial port city with very little going for it in the way of tourism. But heavy investment from the local government and a desire by locals to bring more tourism to the region has seen a huge increase in visitors to this coastal city. There are many attractions to visit in the city, but with tourism only taking a firm hold in recent years, guided tours are few and far between. Nonetheless, there are some available – here are some of the most interesting.

Whistlestop day tour of the city’s attractions

As Taiwan’s second largest city with a busy port, Kaohsiung is what you might call a sprawling metropolis full of life and vibrancy. However, if tourists are pushed for time, then taking in all the sights in a day can be somewhat challenging.

The Kaohsiung City One-Day Tour is the solution. It’s a quick tour of the best and most interesting locations the city has to offer. Pick-up is at a tourist’s hotel, and the trip takes in the Takao British consulate residence, Wude Hall, Rose Mary Catholic Church, the Art District, and Formosa Boulevard MRT Station. Yes, that’s right, a visit to a metro station, but it really is worth it.

Incredible stained glass at Formosa Boulevard MRT

The Essence of Kaohsiung Harbor

The Essence of Kaohsiung Harbor is a one-day tour that, despite its name, offers a lot more than a quick boat-ride around the harbor. It’s an eight-hour tour that usually starts after lunch at about 2pm and takes you to Qijin Island, with a stop off at a restaurant for dinner followed by a trip to Liuhe Night Market.

But the highlight of the trip for many is the cruise along Love River once the sun goes down. The city lights and the illuminated bridges and walkways make for some wonderful holiday snaps.

View of the illuminated walkways at Love River

Farmer’s Market and Taiwanese cooking class

Although these two are not part of the same package, they are run by the same group and complement each other wonderfully.

The tour takes in a local farmer’s market where the tour guide explains the various local produce available at each stall and how to go about purchasing the right items for particular dishes. What many tourists enjoy about this tour is that it’s not a typical tourist night market. Tourists get a look into the daily life of locals all while learning about local culture and cuisine.

The cooking class that follows is a perfect way for tourists to bring something more than a simple souvenir home with them. Learning how to cook several local dishes is a great experience and an unforgettable memory.

Spiritual Fo Guang Shan Tour

As the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan, it’s little wonder that Fo Guang Shan gets a lot of tourists. The museum is an interesting place to visit, and the pagodas that line the avenue leading to the country’s largest Buddha are a sight to behold.

The Spiritual Fo Guang Shan Tour takes in the monastery and museum before lunch at a local restaurant. And in keeping with the tour’s theme, vegetarian options are on the menu. The afternoon takes tourists to Lotus Pond where they can visit the famous Dragon and Tiger Pagodas.

Bird’s eye view

Maolin Day Trip

Just outside Kaohsiung City, there’s a valley with an incredible claim to fame. It’s one of only two winter migratory gorges in the world where butterflies come to shelter for the colder months of the year.

Maolin Day Trip takes visitors to Maolin National Scenic Area where they can learn about butterflies at the 3D Animated Butterfly Pavilion. They’ll also visit the Dona Tribal Village, where they can learn about the importance of local aboriginal culture.

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