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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kaohsiung, Taiwan Trip 2011

My husband and I have a strong liking for this place, Kaohsiung, probably because of the hotel's location which is just less than 5 minutes walk from the railway and MRT stations.  The bus stations are also around the area and food outlets are plenty.  The hotel is also within walking distance to Nanhua Night Market [hotel is on Nanhua Street] and Liouhe Tourists Night Market.  The hotel we stayed is also the best hotel during this holiday trip because of its location and friendly hotel service.  The rates are also very affordable.  We extended our stay to four nights and made a day trip to Tainan instead of staying at Tainan.
If I do visit Taiwan, Kaohsiung will be my first stop if I can get a direct flight there.  It's so convenient place with MRT routes covering all the spots you would like to visit as a tourist.
One of the many bridges over Love River
Kaohsiung Railway Station
The city and most tourist spots are also well linked with the MRT Orange and Red Line service and it is easy to explore most areas by foot.
Communication wise, we had no problem as the local Taiwanese dialect [Minnan dialect] and Mandarin are widely used.  There is a sense of closeness when we speak the same dialect.  
Weather wise is considered good with occasional rain but sky is hazy all day for days when we were at Kaohsiung.
Places we visited are:
Cijin Island - Take MRT Orange line to Sizihwan Station, leave the station at Exit 1 and walk a short distance [8 minutes] to the Gushan Ferry Pier.  Take the ferry to the island [about TWD 15 one way] just opposite, journey is about 10 minutes.
Gushan Ferry Station - All sorts of shaved ice and snacks are served around the area.  Visitors can sample all of the street foods and cool off from the heat.
Cihou Tianhou [Matsu] Temple - about 5 minutes walk from Cijin ferry terminal along Miaocian Road, Cijin Island.  This temple has its history way back to 1673, is the oldest and most historic temple in Kaohsiung city.  Designated as a National Grade 3 historic heritage site.  The engravings, clay sculptures, porcelain works of the temple are classic and refined.
Cijin Island waterfront
Ferry at Gushan Ferry Pier at Binhai Road, Sizihwan
Trishaws on the island providing leisure rides
 around the vicinity
Cihou Tianhou [Matsu] Temple, Cijin Island
Beautiful temples around Cijin Island
Beautiful joss paper burning furnace at Cijin Island
Coastal area of Cijin Island, beach areas are not well kept
Kaohsiung Harbour - After the deregulation of the Kaohsiung Port area, a landscape development project soon followed.  The area has been transformed completely.  The former west side harbour railway has been changed to the most romantic bike pathin Taiwan.  While riding against the wind on a bicycle, riders are enchanted by the scenic port views.
Former Banana Warehouse - This colossal warehouse by the loading dock was built by the Kaohsiung Harbour Administration in the early days for banana storing and loading as an effort to support Taiwan's banana exports.  Now various items are displayed at the warehouse.

Holiday cruise just arrived at the harbour bringing tourist to the Banana Warehouse
Ample items on display at Banana Warehouse

Daitiengong temple at Sizihwan district with foodstalls lining both sides of temple
Museum of Labour - Take the Kaohsiung MRT Orange line to Yanchengpu Station, leave the station from Exit 1, and turn right at Dayong Road.  The museum is just by the Pier 2 Art Center.
Most of the items on display are transformed from recycled items.  The Kaohsiung Museum of Labour is located at Taiwan Sugar Corporation's C4 warehouse, just next to the Pier 2 Art Center.  It is the first museum in Taiwan to feature Taiwanese labourers and has devoted itself to the preservation of the cultural value of Taiwan's labourers.  The museum manages to maintain Kaohsiung's image as an industrial city from the perspective of labour culture and aims to share their achievements with visitors, especially labourers.
Museum of Labour - must see place
Art Piece at the side Pier 2 Art Center
Rose Cathedral - Take MRT to Central Park Station then a Shuttle Bus R 20 to the cathedral.  The cathedral is also quite nearby to Love River at Jianguo 4th Road.  This Catholic church is the only church that practices services in a foreign language in the entire Kaohsiung area.
Built during the period of Emperor Sian Fong of the Cing Dynasty, Kaohsiung Holy Rosary Cathedral Minor Basilica is the first and largest cathedral in Taiwan and one of the three major basilicas in Asia.  It is an aesthetically pleasing building that integrates Roman and Gothic architecture styles.
Elegant and classic designs in the church interior
Unconditional Love River - Day and Night - Take MRT to City Council station, leave at Exit 2, turn left and walk a short distance [about 10 minutes] to Love River. 
Love River stretches for about 17 kilometers.  Love River flows through Kaohsiung city and is a signature tourist attraction.  Its romantic atmosphere attracts people on dates, taking a stroll, sipping coffee, listening to music and enjoying the cool evening breeze.

    Enjoy the cool breeze at Love River by Night
    Fresh catch - 'Saba' fish
    Fishing at Love River in the morning
    Lotus Pond - Take the Kaohsiung MRT Red Line to Ecological District Station, leave the station from Exit 2 and transfer to shuttle bus R51.  
    MRT Station - Ecological District Station Exit
      Visitors who come to Lotus Pond to appreciate the beautiful view and enjoy the 'Lotus Fragrance from the Water' listed as one of old Fongshan County's Eight Wonders, can quickly find a large number of temples around the pond.  In fact, the old community of Zouying has one of the highest temple densities in Taiwan.  There are more than 20 temples in the neigbourhood, so 'temples everywhere' maybe the best description for this area.

      • Dragon and Tiger Tower - Dragon and Tiger Tower is one of the most well known temples around Lotus Pond.  The dragon's mouth in the entrance, while the tiger's mouth is the exit.  Entering the dragon's mouth and coming out from the tiger's mouth symbolizes turning bad luck to good fortune.  Inside the tower are traditional Chinese educational stories and paintings of deities.
      Enter  through the dragon out from the tiger 
      Paintings that are painted on the walls of the dragon and tiger
      •  Spring and Autumn Pagodas - The Spring and Autumn Pagodas were designed in the Chinese palace style and constructed in 1953.  These 2 pagodas linked by a 'nine turns bridge', are examples of traditional Chinese octagonal architecture.
        • The Temple of Emperor Yuan - Commonly known as Big Temple 'Da Miao' was erected during the reign of Yong-li in the Ming Dynasty.  This temple is dedicated to mainly to Beijixuatian but also houses other deities such as Zhongtan [Taiziyei], Heavenly Holy Mother [Matsu] and Land Deity.  The temple was renovated in 1973 and three ancient tablets and a couplet passed down from the Qing Dynasty are preserved in the temple.
          Temple of Emperor Yuan
          Another beautiful temple next to the temple of
           Emperor Yuan

          Local Taiwanese Food we had at Kaohsiung - Here are the pictures of  the food we tried while in Kaohsiung for breakfast, lunch, dinner and many local small eats.

          Bento Rice Set - TWD 65/set
          Above breakfast - TWD 20 per item
          Taiwanese rice dumpling - TWD 35
          Cijin Island - Noodles, seafood porridge, drinks for 2 - TWD 230 [expensive].  Poor service
          This dinner for 2, fish soup, blanched vege, boiled meat, rice and noodles - TWD 175
          Blanched noodles with braised meat sauce - TWD 35
          Ai Yuh - TWD 15/bowl
          Blanched Vegetables with Braised Meat Sauce - TWD 35
          A sumptous dinner for two at Lin Sen Road - TWD 220
          comes with noodles, rice, vegetables, soup and braised soya ingredients.  Taste and very authentic Taiwanese cuisine
          Beef porridge

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