Wednesday, May 12, 2010

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Kaohsiung, Taiwan's 2nd biggest city

5/12/2010 Taiwan Explorer
Images of Kaohsiung.

Kaohsiung 高雄 is Taiwan's second largest city and the biggest port of Taiwan, stretched along a long portion of the southern Taiwanese coast. It's the cultural and economic center of the southern part of the country with about 2.2 million inhabitants in city proper and nearly 3 million in the Greater Kaohsiung area. One thing is sure: Kaohsiung is huge, maybe even bigger than Taipei City by size, but less populated, which is good. And it's definitely one of the hottest cities on the island. I got sunburned at 10am in the morning. The sun is definitely strong and merciless there.

My girlfriend and I took the night train from Banqiao and it took us about 6h to arrive at the Kaohsiung main station. But I need to say that we took the normal commuter train, which stops at every small station. If you take the high-speed train from Banqiao (or Taipei City), it will take you only about 1.5h to master the distance of 345km.

The famous Lotus lake in the northern part of Kaohsiung.

My impression of Kaohsiung is very good. I always wanted to see this city, because I read a lot about it even before I decided to go to Taiwan. I always liked tall buildings and skyscrapers and I knew that in Kaohsiung there stands one of my favorite towers: the Tuntex Sky Tower. I always wanted to see it and this trip gave me the chance to do so. I was truly amazed by the size and the design of this exceptional building. This was definitely one of the highlights of my Kaohsiung trip.

Kaohsiung map

Kaohsiung is like a huge chessboard and full of long boulevards. What seems to be small distance (for example from the main train station to the Tuntex Sky Tower) is actually a very long distance. But since we arrived very early (at 6am) and the whole city was almost empty, we took our time to walk to Kaohsiung's tallest building. And that proved to be a great idea. Walking around Kaohsiung is exhausting, but if you choose to do so, do it early in the morning. You have to know: Kaohsiung is hot! The sun is bearable before 9 am, but after that it became really hard on us, especially hard on me, because I got sunburned pretty badly. I underestimated the power of the southern Taiwanese sun, because it's usually gloomy or rainy in Taipei during winter and spring and Kaohsiung is a very different world. Well, I learned my lesson and next time I go to the south, I will cover my neck and face all the time. But the heat and the blue sky gave me the perfect opportunity to take amazing photos. The photos we took this time were really one of the best we've made so far during our 2010 Taiwan adventure.

Check my map of Kaohsiung, click to enlarge (Source: Google Maps).

The famous Tuntex Sky Tower.

Our mishap: We walked around Kaohsiung around 6h during the first day and the next day we walked another 2h, just because I wanted to see a skyscraper, the 222m tall Chang-Gu World Trade Center (also known as Grand 50 Tower), which is one of the landmark buildings of the city. I just saw it from many sides of the city and became curious, so I asked my girlfriend to ask about it at the information counter at one of the MRT stations. The woman, who told her, where the building is located, gave us wrong information! And then we walked... Read more about all that here>>

South Taiwan 02

All in all, my first Kaohsiung trip will remain unforgettable. It's yet another awesome spot I had the chance to see in these months and I'm so grateful. Thank you, my amazing girlfriend for all the effort you put in this trip and all the walking you've done with me. It's amazing that you could keep up with my fast pace and do the skyscraper hunt with me without complaining or giving up. You're truly is amazing. Thank you so much, dear.

My KAOHSIUNG Tour - NEXT: Zhongshan Road>>

• Explore all my Kaohsiung posts at once.