Tuesday, December 14, 2010

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Another side of Kaohsiung

12/14/2010 Taiwan Explorer

Kaohsiung is a huge city. A metropolis of around 2.2 million people and spread out over a huge area. It feels like a maze sometimes. And when you visit it for the first time, you feel a little lost (well, if you're someone from a small country like me). You have the central Zhongshan road, that cuts the city in half and the landmark skyscraper Tuntex Sky Tower, that's seen from virtually every corner of Kaohsiung. They can help you get a good orientation. But if you decide to walk away from these two famous parts, you can easily get lost. That's what happened to us. We wanted to see as much as possible in the two days that we had available for this interesting city. The first day we started at the railway station, walked along the Zhongshan road and arrived at the famous Tuntex Sky Tower. But then we went to Tsoying to see the famous Lotus Lake and the temples. After we've seen all that, we headed to Kenting, where we had a great time exploring the most southern tip of Taiwan. When we returned back to Kaohsiung the following day, we actually planned to spend the afternoon in Tainan and visit some famous historic sites. But then, the skyscraper fan I am, I wanted to see one of the tallest buildings of Kaohsiung, a building I have constantly seen from afar, when we drove to Kenting. You can see it here:

I didn't even know the name, but I was fascinated by the design and height.

So I asked my girlfriend to ask about the building's name and location at the information counter inside the Kaohsiung High Speed Railway Station. I only knew the building is not close to the Tuntex Sky Tower, because I remembered the image of Kaohsiung's skyline from afar: Those two tallest structures were really apart from each other. But the woman advised us to take the MRT train and go to the Sanduo Shopping district MRT station. I checked the map and realized that the station is close to the Tuntex Sky Tower, so I figured that it can't be near the other skyscraper (see bottom of the map):

Click on the map of our Kaohsiung trip to enlarge it (Source: Google Maps)

Kaohsiung mapBut I was tired and didn't have a good map, so I thought maybe the girl is right and I'm wrong, after all she's living in Kaohsiung and I'm not. So my girlfriend and I decided to check the skyscraper, take few photos and then move on to Tainan. We thought it will only take half an hour. Boy were we wrong!

We came out of the MRT station and realized we're near the Tuntex Sky Tower, but the other huge building is nowhere to be seen. So my girlfriend asked someone and they told her it's very close, we just have to walk along a road and turn right and then we'll see it. That's what we did.

We started to walk here...

We walked and walked, looked to the left, but nothing. No skyscraper.

At one point I told my girlfriend we better return to the station and head back, but she was fearless and said since I want to see the building, we will go and see it. And so we walked...

And we walked 30min and the roads seem all the same, long, endless... outside was hot, we were tired from the time in Kenting, our mood turned bad and we started to curse the woman. We were so lost. And every time my girlfriend asked about that building, people said it's just near by. Guess for the Kaohsiongies 1km is like 100 meters. And then she saw a famous shop and we took a break, she wanted to try their famous dessert:

The famous shop 綠豆湯 (meaning Green bean soup).

And that's what she has tried: the Red bean soup 紅豆湯 or hong dou tang.

Our break was short and we continued walking.

We saw endless roads...

A temple where cars were sold...

High-rise buildings, which weren't the one we were trying to find.

And the after over an hour of walking, we felt we were closer...

Oh yeah! There it is! We saw the tip of the building. We were released!

And the we saw it! It's the 222m tall Chang-Gu World Trade Center!

When we finally saw the building, we realized that we're so close to the Kaohsiung Main railway station, we could just take the MRT and be there in less than 10 min. But we walked like 2 morons for 1h and a half. All our plans went bad that day, because we arrived at Tainan in the evening and couldn't sightsee nor go far. We were lucky to catch the train back to Banqiao and reach home safely. I remember how angry we were that day, but now when I look back, I feel it's one of the most precious memories. We really walked around the whole central Kaohsiung. That was surely many hours of walk and we can proudly say that we now really have a good idea of the city. It's huge! It's like a maze! But it's awesome! We surely gonna return there many times, but next time we head south, we'll visit Tainan. And I think we better stay only there for a whole weekend. Tainan is very rich with history, I hope to see all the famous sights.

My KAOHSIUNG Tour - NEXT: Chang-Gu World Trade Center>>

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