After our brief visit to Taichung, we continued our journey along the west coast of Taiwan to the port city of Kaohsiung, which is located in the south of island. Our journey to Kaohsiung took considerably longer than expected, with a mixup at the ticket counter leading to us taking the local train. Although considerably cheaper, the train stopped seemingly every five minutes, and almost doubled our journey time to over four hours.
After eventually arriving, we took a short ride on the city’s metro to the impressive Formosa Boulevard Station, which was just a short walk from our hotel. Located in the centre of the station’s concourse is the beautiful Dome of Light art instillation. This is made up of 4,500 glass panels, making it the largest glass work in the world.
We had a fairly relaxing time during our one full day in Kaohsiung, starting with a visit to the Pier-2 Art Centre. The disused warehouses have been converted into a large exhibition centre for local artists to display their work. We were greeted by a huge and colourful mural depicting the city’s transport system.
There was lots of interesting instillations to be found as we wandered through the complex of buildings including a giant transformer style robot sculpture.
Our route took us to the edge of the harbour where we found the Banana Pier. This is home to another former warehouse that was originally used to store bananas, prior to them being exported to Japan. Although the fruit is no longer a significant export, the buildings have been retained and converted into a shopping mall which includes various cafes and restaurants.
Our walk along the waterfront continued to the Gushan Ferry Pier, where we took a ferry across to Cijin island. The short journey only lasted around 10 minutes but this was still enough time to enjoy the great views from the top deck. The city’s skyline is dominated by the impressive 85 Sky Tower, which is the second tallest building in Taiwan after Taipei 101.
Cijin Island is a narrow strip of land to the southwest of the city and is home to a long stretch of sandy beaches. As we stepped of the ferry it immediately felt more relaxed than the rest of Kaohsiung.
We wandered along the palm tree lined beachfront, before stopping for some drinks at the Cijin Sunset Bar. After finding a table overlooking the beach, we ordered some cold drinks and watched as the sun slowly dipped below the horizon. It was great to spend some time by the beach, after several weeks spent almost entirely in busy cities.
After finding some dinner at a nearby Japanese restaurant, we returned to Kaohsiung on the ferry to complete a very enjoyable day.
The following day we were both craving a western style breakfast. Fortunately we managed to find exactly what we were looking for at Magic Spoon, a small cafe owned by a friendly Canadian expat. Fully refuelled, we made our way back to the station ready for our return train to Taipei, and this time determined to buy the correct tickets!