Today we were flying to Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Although we have been to Taiwan many times, we have never visited Kaohsiung. When we told our relatives that we'd be staying in Kaohsiung for 6 days, they were surprised because Kaohsiung was not a popular tourist spot. In any case, we'd find out whether that was true or not.


We took the Tigerair Taiwan Airline to fly from Tokyo to Taoyuan. The budget airline had nothing to shout about but we were impressed by the well mannered ground crew in Narita International Airport. They even waved goodbye when our flight took off. We arrived at Taiwan in about 4 hours.

Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR)

Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) (Image by author)

Once we arrived at Taoyuan, we took the Taiwan High Speed Rail to Kaohsiung. Although there were many trains scheduled between Taoyuan and Kaohsiung, at the time of our arrival (about 7pm), most of them were packed. After missing out the first couple of trains, we were finally able to board a train to Kaohsiung (Zuoying HSR station).

Public Transit

The good thing about Kaohsiung is that the HSR station is connected to the metro system. As soon as we arrived at the Zuoying HSR station, we bought the metro prepaid card, EasyCard. In the past, a EasyCard purchased in Kaohsiung could not be used in Taipei. Fortunately, this is no longer true. In fact, the EasyCard can even be used in Chiyai.

As tourists. there was no distinction between adult EasyCard or student EasyCard. You will need a local student card to buy the student EasyCard. Fortunately, the transit fare in Taiwan was reasonable and it wasn't a big concern.

Kaohsiung was served by two subway lines criss-crossing each other at the Formosa Boulvevard station, which was an award winning station with beautifully designed light fixtures. On the map, the two subway lines formed a nice cross. You could get to pretty much all of the tourist attractions by taking the subway.

Walking on the street

Biking in Kaohsiung (Image by author)

Although Kaohsiung was the second largest city in Taiwan, it was a lot less busier than Taipei. There were not too many motorcycles nor cars on the street. For navigation, we used Google Maps without any problem.

We took advantage of the not-so-busy Kaoshiung street and rented a couple of city bikes to cycle around the town. There were many great bike paths in Kaohsiung. Our favorite was the one along the coast. It was a great way to experience the city.

You can find bike rental stations on the Kaohsiung Public Bike website. I could use my foreign card to pay for the deposit and rental fee. However, a credit card can only be used for one bike. If you plan to rent multiple bikes, each one must be rented by a different credit card.


I had difficulties pinpointing what Taiwanese are like. However, I had the following observations in Taiwan that would hopefully tell you how I felt.

When we first arrived at Taiwan, we were impressed by how readily people were to express themselves through arts. Here, you don't have to be an artist to show your drawings. Local shops often use cartoons to attract your attention and to give it a personal touch.

Then, we learned about a famous lifestyle/bookstore called eslite and we fell in love with it. There were more books than we could imagine. Most of them are free to read on the spot and people spent hours inside.

Finally, we noticed there were street music bands of people with down syndrome. These people, who were often hidden from a society, were encouraged to step outside and performed music on the street. Imagine their courage and how the society had accepted them as they are.

From art, to books, to music, to helping the underprivileged, although Taiwan isn't economically the best in Asia, it can be proud of what it already has: a unique culture of openness and acceptance.


Taiwanese food is very unique and we always discover something new every time we go. We liked the food selection in Kaohsiung because it had a mix of Taiwanese food and western food. For breakfast, we could have western bakery at Donutes or steamed dumplings from one of the street food vendors. Both were equally delicious.

This time, our kids also loved steamed sweet potatoes at 7-Eleven and they ate one almost everyday.

Coca-Cola with fiber

I had seen Coca-Cola with zero sugar and zero calories but this one was special. It had added fiber. In a modern city diet, most people do not consume enough fiber and Coca-Cola latches on this fact and adds fiber into their product. What a great marketing idea!


When we booked our hotels for Taiwan, we were surprised by how expensive they were when compared to other places, like South Korea or even Japan. Airbnb is illegal in Taiwan and therefore your choices are limited.

After much deliberation, we decided to stay in R8 Eco Hotel. It was close to the Sanduo Shopping District MRT Station and the price seemed reasonable. The hotel was built around the concept of being eco-friendly and thus its name.

When we arrived, we found that the hotel was on one of the top floors in a building in the middle of a night market. If you are into night market food, this is a perfect spot. However, it also meant that the sanitary condition in the neighborhood was questionable. We saw cockroaches (albeit small ones) inside the building's elevator and our kids were not too thrilled.

Once we entered the hotel, it was a different story. It was clean and the staffs were friendly. The refrigerator in our room was broken and the staff replaced it quickly. Other than the cockroaches in the building elevator, we actually quite like the hotel and its concept.