Kaohsiung offers both city and natural sights. From visiting a modern art museum to exploring mud volcanoes or wetlands, there are plenty of day trips from Kaohsiung you can take to explore this beautiful part of Taiwan.
As the names of the places listed below are translated from Chinese, they can be written with different spellings, hence can be hard to find on google map. Check out the map at the end of this post to see the location of each place. It will also help you plan your itinerary. The places listed below have been ordered from North to South. If you’re having a hard time finding one of the places, comment below, and I’ll help you.
What to do in Kaohsiung – Day trips from Kaohsiung itinerary:
Most of the places listed below are accessible via public transportation, but it might be easier to rent a car or a motorbike so you can visit several sites on the same day. If you prefer to take the bus, three bus lines specialize in scenic and tourist spots:
- The Harvard line: THSR Zuoying Station, Buddha Memorial Center, and Fo Guang Shan;
- Dashu Route B: Fongshan Transfer Station (KMRT Dadong Station), Old Railroad Bridge Wetland (Sanhe Tile Kiln, Gushan Warehouse, Fo Guang Shan Monastery, Buddha Memorial Center;
- Dashu Route A: same as above but with additional stops at the Bamboo Mountain Winery and at Jiuqutang Station.
There are also trains for the most northern part of the county. Check out the routes and timetables here.
Day trips from Kaohsiung – Itinerary 1
You can take a day trip to the northern part of Kaohsiung county, starting with Century Gorge, then Baolai hot springs (can be skipped if you’d rather go to hot springs in the wild), after, visit the Luigi Buddha and the Eighteen Arhats Mountain Scenic Area, then go back to Kaohsiung.
A perfect itinerary would be to spend the night in Maolin National scenic area and spend the next day exploring the area and on the third day visit the rest of the places on your way back to Kaohsiung.
Day trips from Kaohsiung – Itinerary 2
Drive or take the bus to Maolin National Scenic Area and spend the whole day there, trekking, swimming in waterfalls and discovering several scenic spots.
Day trips from Kaohsiung – Itinerary 3
Drive or take the bus to Meinong and visit the Hakka museum and the paper umbrella factory, then ride a bike around its lake. Then, go to Quishan and visit the railway station and the Tianhou Temple. If you have your own transportation and still have time, drop by the Neimen Nanhai Zizhu Temple, then go see the landscape in Neimen 308 Highland or at the Moon World Landscape Park.
Day trips from Kaohsiung – Itinerary 4
Start your day with a visit to the Fo Guang Shan monastery then head to the Mud Volcano park in Yanchao District. After, visit the Moon World Landscape Park, then, drop by the Da Gangshan Scenic Area and the Chaofeng Temple nearby. Then, on your way back to Kaohsiung stop at the Skywalk Park in Gangshan District. You can also skip one or two of the places here and spend half the day in the Agongdian Reservoir.
Day trips from Kaohsiung – Itinerary 5
Visit places near the city such as the Yuanzhonggang Wetland Park, the Lotus Pond Scenic Area, the old city of Fengshan County, the Niaosong Wetlands Park, the Pier 2 Art Center and the Fengshan Tiangong Temple.
Day trips from Kaohsiung – Itinerary 6
Visit Cijin Island, if it’s winter or if you don’t want to spend time at the beach, it will be more of a half-day trip. See below for things to do In Cijin.
What to do in Kaohsiung – 1-day Kaohsiung itinerary
If you just have one day in Kaohsiung, you can spend it visiting the places nearest to the city center, or you can choose to take one of the tourist bus lines listed above.
Kaohsiung 1-day itinerary – Kaohsiung Day Tour:
- Start the day visiting the Lotus Pond, walking around, visiting the pagodas and temples around the lake. Don’t miss the Dragon Tower Tower;
- Next head to the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Memorial Monastery;
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What to do in Kaohsiung County – Places to visit as day trips from Kaohsiung City:
Located in Namasia district, in the Northern part of Kaohsiung, Century Gorge is an impressive sight. Just follow the road 29 (put “Dishisanhao Bridge, Namaxia District” on the GPS). There are several viewpoints you can stop at and take in the view.
Baolai Spring Park
Baolai Spring Park is Kaohsiung’s most famous hot spring destination among locals. The water is around 52° Celsius and is clear and odorless.
The park is 5.4 hectares wide and, apart from the hot springs, is home to more than a thousand flowering trees, making it look like a sea of flowers all year round.
Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. Entrance fee: NT$50
Eighteen Arhats Mountain Scenic Area
Also known as Shiba Luohan, this scenic area offers breathtaking views of over 40 bright mountain ranges. Seen from the road, the peaks look like Arhats (Buddhas) standing on the side. Nature and rivers surround the area. It’s also a great place to see butterflies.
GPS coordinates: 22°56’39.7″N 120°38’04.5″E
Maolin National Scenic Area
This area is full of waterfalls, rivers, ravines, and hot springs. It’s also the home of the Bunun and Rukai tribes. It’s an excellent place for trekking and discovering aboriginal culture. If you were only to take one day trip from Kaohsiung I would recommend this one.
A bit north you can have a look at the Lovers’ Valley suspension bridge and waterfall, then drive following the Zhuokou river and stop at the Dunagao suspension bridge. There are also several treks you can do in the area. You’ll find many guesthouses and campgrounds if you want to spend a few days (which I recommend).
Check out the official website for more information on what to do there.
In Luigui District, you can visit the Xinkai Park where you’ll find a 25 meters high and 167 tons Buddha. You can enter the statue and see the 7 tons emerald stone inside it.
It’s probably not worth going if you’re not in the area and remember it’s inappropriate to take pictures turning your back to a Buddha.
Use the Chinese name to find it in the GPS: 六龟大佛
Meinong Paper Umbrella Culture Village
This is a great place if you like cultural activities. In Meinong Paper Umbrella Culture Village you can learn how paper umbrellas are made and make one on your own. You can also buy souvenirs and all sorts of Hakka handicrafts.
They are a lot of things to do in Meinong, especially regarding Taiwan’s aboriginal culture. It makes a perfect day-trip from Kaohsiung.
Open from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5:30 pm.
Meinong Hakka Museum
While in Meinong, you should pay a visit to the Hakka museum. Hakka is one of the many aboriginal tribes in Taiwan. There, you’ll learn everything about their culture and traditions.
Closed on Mondays – Open from 9 am to 5 pm.
Meinong lake is a great place to relax and enjoy nature. You can either walk or rent a bike to go around the lake. The scenery around is excellent, with a lot of green and the mountains in the background. From October to March, a lot of migratory birds come here.
Neimen Zizhu Temple
Dedicated to Guanyin, the Goddess of mercy, this temple is 300 years old and worth a look if you’re nearby.
Neimen 308 Highland
A great viewpoint from which you can see the nearby badlands and the Jianan plain further away.
Qishan Tianhou Temple
Built in the 18th century in Cishan, this temple is dedicated to Matsu and is an important religious center for people in the area.
Qishan Railway Station
This train station is an interesting sight as it mixes different architectural styles. Combining Japanese, Western, Victorian and Gothic styles. It hasn’t served as a train station for a long time now but has been turned into a visitor center.
Tianliao Moon World
Tianlioa Moon World is an area full of badlands and mud volcanoes. “Badlands is a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water” (thank you Wikipedia). It looks a bit like the moon because some parts don’t have any vegetation. Just drive along the Provincial Highway No. 28, from Tianliao to Cishan, you’ll pass over 20 mud volcanoes. You can also stop at The Mudstone Geography Center (at the Scenic Area’s entrance) and do a small trek. It’s a must-stop if you’re planning a day trip from Kaohsiung.
Built in 1763, Chaofeng Temple is dedicated to Guanyin, the goddess of mercy. Its magnificent gardens have a mountain hiking trail with several religious spots on the way.
Dagangshan Nature Ecology Area
Spreading over 18ha., the Ecology Area has many forest trails. There are a lot of ponds, and it’s also a great place to see birds and aquatic animals. The park has abundant natural resources and scenic spots. You also get a fantastic view of Kaohsiung City, especially at night.
Leidishan Natural Park
The Luodi Mountain Nature Park is a great place for light trekking, sparkled with badlands and canyons, the scenery is beautiful.
Siaogangshan Skywalk Park
This 88 meters skywalk spreads over 1.8 hectares of land. The architect was inspired by music, and the bridge looks like a violin and a harmonica. When it’s clear, you can see as far as Dawu mountain, Taiwan straight ant the Agongdian Reservoir and Forest Park.
Closed on Mondays, open from 9 am to 5 pm. The entrance fee is NT$80.
Agongdian Reservoir Bike Path
For a great day trip from Kaohsiung, visit this scenic location, excellent for biking and trekking. There are several viewpoints, and you can enjoy discovering local birds and plants. The scenery and landscape around are beautiful, making Agongdian Reservoir a pleasant day trip from Kaohsiung.
Wushanding Mud Volcano Nature Reserve
Another place to see mud volcanoes, the Wushanding Nature Reserve has three mud volcanoes, one 3.5 meters high, erupting every few seconds.
Fo Guang Shan – Dashu District
In Fo Guang Shan, you’ll find thousands of holy statues, as well as several halls of the Buddha, extending across the mountain. It’s an important center of faith in Taiwanese Buddhism. The view from there is fantastic, especially at sunset.
Yuanzhonggang Wetland Park
Facing the sea, this wetland benefit from a rich mangrove ecology, plants, and insects, as well as birds. There’s a wooden walkway to stroll around the mangrove freely.
Lianchitan (Lotus Pond) Scenic Area
Lianchitan is one of Kaohsiung’s most traditional scenic areas. There, you’ll find huge statues of gods and the “old city”, surrounded by the city wall and historical buildings. Another great sight is the seven stories Longhu Tower (Dragon Tiger Tower) and the dragon (entrance) and tiger (exit) doors. From up there, the view is great.
The Old City of Fengshan County
Located in Zuoying, the Old Fongshan City is Taiwan’s first city wall. The wall was built with coral stone from Chaishan, and the arches were made with granite from China. You can visit the four city doors and walk along the wall.
The Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts
The Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts is Southern Taiwan’s most important modern art and culture center. They frequently change exhibits, featuring local and international artists. Outside, there’s a public art park scattered with sculptures and installations.
The Niaosong Wetland
This rich ecosystem is an important educational park. Around 90 species of birds live here as well as many plants and insects. During weekends and national holidays, you can benefit from a guided tour that will explain everything about flora and fauna and the way a wetland works.
The Pier-2 Art Center
Located in the Kaohsiung Port (basin No. 3), this pier has been turned into an art space and is an important place in Kaoshiung cultural scene. They frequently organize activities and exhibits.
Open all week from 10 am to 6 pm (8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays).
Cijin is an island that makes a great day trip from Kaohsiung. It’s easy to get there as there’s a bridge and a lot of ferries make the trip. Here are several places you can visit there:
- Cijin Beach
- Cijin Star Tunnel: excavated in the Japanese Colonial Era, it used to be a military tunnel. It has recently been turned into art; you can go through it and discover glow-in-the-dark paintings of constellations. The view when you get out is also worth it.
- Cijin Tianhou Temple: built over 300 years ago, this temple is Kaoshiung’s oldest temple and Taiwan’s first temple dedicated to Matsu (the sea goddess).
- Cijin Round-Island Bike Path: a great way to explore the island, the path goes through all of the island’s major sites. You can easily find bikes for rent.
- Cihou (Qihou) Fort: built during the Kangxi Emperor’s reign (17th to 18th century) using the traditional Chinese style.
Fengshan Tian Gong Temple
Built in 1798, the Temple is a 2-story southern Chinese-style structure with halls. It didn’t use to be as magnificent, but as is its popularity increased, donations came flowing, and is now a luxurious temple.
You can also check out nearby Fongshan Longshan Temple and Kaijhangshengwang Temple, built around the same time, they’re the oldest temples in the area.
What to do in Kaohsiung – Map of places to visit as day trips from Kaohsiung:
Related articles to help you plan your trip to Taiwan:
- Taiwan Travel Guide – everything you need to know to plan your trip
- Best things to do in Taichung
- Hualien – Things to do + Itinerary
- 21 things you didn’t know you could do in Taitung
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