Explore the wonders of Kaohsiung
The second largest city in Taiwan, Kaohsiung is thriving metropolis. Growing from its humble beginnings as a small village in the seventeenth century, it first started gaining momentum when the Dutch built a fort here. The city's name was changed many times under Chinese and Japanese rule and was upgraded to a municipality in 1979. Since then the city has gone from strength to strength and today you can enjoy all the amenities and services available in most modern cities.
The inhabitants of Kaohsiung are largely supported by the massive industrial environment in the city. Kaohsiung processes and exports aluminum, wood, paper, fertilizers, metals, machinery and cement. It is also the center of the shipbuilding industry in Taiwan. Besides being home to a large ROC Naval base, the city also has an extensive subway system which will help you to make your way around between attractions. The Kaohsiung International Airport is the second largest in Taiwan. Plans to develop a light rail rapid transit system are being discussed.
As there is a significant harbor, there are a lot of attractions which are situated on the waterfront. You can hire a Cijin ferry and take a tour of the harbor or do as the locals do and use it to cross the vast harbor quicker than it would take to skirt around it on land. Or you could head for the Ai River (love river) which is popular amongst young couples. Also water related but not quite so close to the sea is Zuoying's Lotus Lake which is perfect for a lake shore picnic or a quite boat ride amongst other things. The Sizihwan Scenic Area is also a great place to go if you are looking for some quiet time.
On the other hand, you might prefer to spend an evening at the Liouho Night Market spending some of that hard earned cash on whatever bargains you can find. There are is always a wide variety of goods for sale - from animals to knives and seafood to clothing and handmade goods. If you are interested, the Tuntex Sky Tower is architecturally interesting with its unusual three-prong design and 85 floors.
Historically interesting is the Fengshan Old City, the Old Kaohsiung Railway Station and the Fo Guang Shan monastery. Now closed to the general public, this monastery houses followers of the very popular Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order who practice the principle of Humanistic Buddhism. Fo Guang Shan is also one of the largest charity organizations in the country.
Kaohsiung is currently home to the World Pool Championships and plans have been made for the 2009 World Games to be hosted here. Clearly Kaohsiung is more than just a commercial and industrial city - it is a place that is alive with possibility.