Accommodation & Food in Kaohsiung
As befits a metropolis that has come on in leaps and bounds as a tourist destination, Kaohsiung has an international mindset and a broad range of lodging and eating options. Some travellers base themselves here for an entire week and make daytrips to Tainan, Meinong, and Sandimen.
Part of a chain which has 14 properties around Taiwan, Fullon offers international-standard comfort and service plus a location within walking distance of Love River and Pier-2 Art Centre, on the same side of the city as the Former British Consular Residence. For those unable to book an upper-floor room with harbour views, happy-hour drinks in the 26th-floor bar are a jolly good consolation. Keep-fit facilities include a sauna, gym and outdoor swimming pool. The hotel is less than 500m from stations on Kaohsiung Metro’s Orange Line and the overground Light Rail.
Grand Hi-Lai Hotel
The city’s biggest as well as its swankiest hotel, the 540-room Hi-Lai meets the exacting standards of international business visitors while providing well-heeled tourists with a plush base from which to explore the city. Those staying on the southern or western sides of the building on floors 35 or above enjoy stunning views of Kaohsiung’s waterfront. Large windows mean an abundance of natural light, while those trying to keep fit will enjoy the outdoor pool, gym squash court and sauna. Some rooms come with their own exercise equipment.
Beyond the city, it makes sense to stay in a rural B&B. Lin’s House is a traditional single-storey courtyard homestead (sanheyuan in Chinese) that accepts guests from around the world who wish to explore Meinong and the Hakka villages which surround it. The hospitality in this and other homestays is entirely heartfelt; guests arrive as strangers but leave as firm friends.
Kaohsiung Wine & Dine
As might be expected of Taiwan’s second city, Kaohsiung has a dining scene of considerable variety. The city grew out of a fishermen’s settlement, so there’s seafood everywhere, especially on Cijin Island. The legacy of the Japanese colonial era includes Japanese staples available throughout the city. Good Western restaurants can be found in smarter parts of the city’s core, such as near Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts. In far-flung districts, indigenous and Hakka cuisine are popular choices. The principal nightlife district is near the mouth of Love River, on and around Wufu 4th Road. What used to be a row of rough-and-tumble sailors’ bars has become a diverse collection of arty establishments, pubs with live jazz, and bars which serve good steaks and burgers.
In 2023, Michelin — publishers of the renowned restaurant guides — included Taiwan’s south for the first time when researching the latest edition of their world-famous gourmet’s guide. Kaohsiung accounts for 39 of the 321 eating establishments deemed worthy of mentioning in the foodie bible. Among them is Beef Chief, a hotpot restaurant that prides itself on serving ultra-fresh locally-raised meat; if you’re a party of three or fewer people, you’ll find plenty of excellent non-hotpot options such as stir-fried brisket and tendon. Michelin Bib Gourmad-rated delights suitable for solo travellers can be found at Beigang Tsai Rice Tube in the historic Yancheng District and at Hung Chi Rice Shop. Despite its name, the latter doesn’t sell sacks of rice but rather a fabulous version of a simple yet highly satisfying Taiwanese staple: Steamed white rice topped with a delicious rice gravy.