It was almost lunch when our ship entered Kaohsiung Port, and I was totally unprepared. Boats zig and zag across the harbor, a small white lighthouse towering over its waters. Along the city’s skyline, a hexagonal building geometrically stood out, greeting us visitors a warm welcome. And me, I was scrambling all over the ship, trying to get to the Resorts World One top deck from my room in time for a better view of Kaohsiung City.
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THE RESORTS WORLD ONE CRUISE SHIP DOCKED IN KAOHSIUNG HARBOR
Before anything else, I recommend booking your Resorts World One cruise via Andrea Manzano, Resorts World Cruises’ Senior Sales Manager, at email@example.com. She can direct you to promos and advise regarding your cruise dates.
DOCKING AT KAOHSIUNG PORT
From Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, it took an overnight sailing across the South China Sea to Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Harbor. We departed Hong Kong just before five in the afternoon and arrived at Taiwan a few minutes past ten in the morning the next day.
►SEE: THE STREETS OF HONG KONG RESORTS WORLD ONE CRUISE SHIP
The first thing that got my attention was the small lighthouse atop a hill at the harbor mouth, little did I know that we’d be climbing that later that afternoon.
RESORTS WORLD ONE SHORE EXCURSION
SOME OF RESORTS WORLD ONE’S SHORE EXCURSION TO KAOHSIUNG
There are actually more than one Kaohsiung shore excursion itineraries being offered on Resorts World One, depending on the day of arrival and schedule. These are reserved on a first-come-first-served basis, so book early—preferably right after boarding the ship. Also, be sure to acquire a stamped copy of your passport from the crew the night before you go, you’ll be needing this to go past the immigration.
Kaohsiung Discovery Tour With Night Market – HKD 450.00
Scenic Chijin Island Kaohsiung Tour – HKD 430.00
Kaohsiung Highlights – HKD 480.00
The Best of Tainan – HKD 500.00
Be My Guest @ My Pineapple Farm – HKD 680.00
Kaohsiung Shopping & Gourmet Tour – HKD 620.00
We took the Scenic Chijin Island Kaohsiung Tour, an eight-hour guided tour with lunch included. Totally not bad for HKD 430.00 per person.
A tip when doing the Kaohsiung shore excursion, be sure to bring an umbrella (if you have), a hat, arm warmers, extra shirt, and lots of water. Since the tour falls on noontime, expect it to be really hot. Well, we all expected it to be hot, but none of us thought of bringing any of those things. I’m telling you in advance.
KAOHSIUNG SHORE EXCURSION ITINERARY
For those who want to save on shore excursion fees, you can actually disembark from the ship and explore the destination DIY. Just be sure to be back at the ship before the departure time. One of the things you can do is actually book tours via online travel agencies like Klook, and redeem it as you disembark.
In case you’re curious, and I confirmed this with Resorts World Cruises, late passengers will really be left behind, and their documents endorsed to the port agent for handling. So, there. Be. Back. On. Time.
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LUNCH AT BANANA PIER
OUR TOY TRAIN RIDE IN KAOHSIUNG
The first order of business upon disembarking at the port was lunch. And to get there, we rode a toy train.
Lunch was at the nearby Banana Pier, a sixties-era port warehouse converted into a restaurant complex. Our guide explained the name, relating to us that the area used to import nothing but bananas to Japan. But our lunch wasn’t gonna be bananas. No sir, we’ll have seafood, thank you very much.
LUNCH AT KAOHSIUNG’S BANANA PIER
We took to a banquet hall at the second floor with round tables complete with a lazy susans typical of Chinese restaurants. And soon it was filled by plates of fish roes, seaweeds, strips of Hainanese chicken, shrimp noodles, mushroom chicken soup, veggies, breaded pork cutlets, and the best one for me, spicy Szechuan shrimp. All these were paired with Taiwanese sticky rice mixed with dried shrimp, lotus roots, and seeds. Delicious.
THIS ROUND’S WINNER IS THE SZECHUAN SHRIMP
Each dish is set on a large plate which is shared to everyone on the table. Since we’re traveling as one big group, there’s no problem in sharing the food within ourselves. If you’re traveling as a couple or as a family, you can actually request to be seated separately and you’ll be served the same dishes proportionate to your group size.
►EAT: RESORTS WORLD ONE RESTAURANTS
CUTE SNOOPY FERRY TO CIJIN ISLAND
A Snoopy-themed ferry carried us to our first destination, Cijin Island. The ride took about one song long, and we were soon disembarking on a sleepy town. It somehow reminded me of the Korean series, Hometown Cha Cha Cha. It just has that slow and chill vibe that almost everyone was telling everyone how they would like to stay overnight and experience Cijin for an extended period of time.
CIJIN ISLAND’S CUTE CATBUS BIKE FOR TOURIST | CIJIN ISLAND FENCE THE BEAUTIFUL CIJIN FERRY PORT
HIKING UP TO CIHOU MOUNTAIN
And soon, we were all heading towards the hill where the l saw the lighthouse earlier aboard Resorts World One. It turns out, it is not a hill, but a full-fledged mountain, Cihou Mountain to be exact. And built around it are ramped pathways that make climbing it a breeze.
THE KAOHSIUNG LIGHTHOUSE OR CIHOU LIGHTHOUSE
The Cihou Lighthouse or Kaohsiung Lighthouse stands at the mountain’s peak. And being located on such, the tower itself is not that high, being only about 15.2 meters tall. It was built by the Chinese in 1883 and was renovated by the Japanese in 1916 when Taiwan was under the dependency of Japan, adding the octagonal tower it now stands on.
A CAFE ON TOP OF CIHOU MOUNTAIN OVERLOOKING THE CITY
The structure beneath the tower has now been converted into a museum and a café—Shoreline Coffee & Roasters, which has al fresco seats that overlooks Cijin Island.
THE CIHOU LIGTHOUSE IS ONE OF KAOHSIUNG’S ICON
From the area around the lighthouse one can see the whole of Kaohsiung Harbor and the jumble of houses along Cijin Island. Northwards, we spotted locals spending their afternoon at the nearby Cijin Beach.
REMNANTS OF CIHOU FORT ON TOP OF CIHOU MOUNTAIN
On the south side of Cihou Mountain lies the ruins of Cihou Fort. This used to be the entrance to the mountain, which was first fortified in 1720 by the Qing Empire, and modernized in 1874 as coastal defense against the Japanese.
CIHOU FORT IS ALSO KNOWN AS CIHOU BATTERY A VIEW OF CIJIN FROM CIHOU FORT
There’s not much to see now, except for hollowed-out halls and the main gate, but the view from the top of the ruins of the surrounding area is breathtaking.
CIJIN BLACK SAND BEACH
And right at the foot of Cihou Mountain, our path crossed with Cijin Islands’ black sand beach. The beach’s grayish black sand is more reminiscent of those in Batangas than say, true black sand beaches like at the Vigan Mindoro Beach.
CIJIN MARKER ALONG THE BEACH
We saw a lot of locals along the shore and the shallower parts of the water. Swimming, it seems, isn’t really recommended on these parts due to strong waves and rip tides. This beach is perfect for surfing though.
FATE/GRAND ORDER SAND SCULTURE AT CIJIN BLACK SAND TOY FESTIVAL
While walking, we chanced upon larger than life Fate/Grand Order anime sand sculptures along its very broad shore. We’re in luck, our trip coincided with the bi-annual Cijin Black Sand Toy Festival, where gigantic sand sculptures are displayed on the beach.
TENTACLES OF THE HEART BY IYO KACAW
There were also permanent art installations along Cijin Beach, like the Tentacles Of The Heart by Taiwanese artist Iyo Kacaw.
CIJIN OLD STREET
THE CIJIN OLD STREET
In tangent to the beach is Cijin Old Street. It connects the beach straight through to Cijin Port, and through all four hundred meters of this are street food stalls and restaurants. The best foods to try are, of course, seafood. A big helping of bao bing or shaved ice dessert is also refreshing, especially after hiking up Cihou Mountain.
STREET FOOD AT CIJIN OLD STREET
It seems all cities in Taiwan has old streets, some of those we visited in years past, like Shifen Old Street and Jiufen Old Street, indeed looks old, but Cijin’s seems to have no antiquated structures along its roadway.
THE TIANHOU TEMPLE ALONG THE OLD STREET
What is has though are old worship houses. The street is home to Cijin Tianhou Temple, which was established in 1634, the oldest Matsu—the Goddess of Fishermen—temple in Kaohsiung. Then there’s also the Kî-āu Presbyterian Church, which our guide said was the first Presbyterian Church in Kaohsiung.
PIER-2 ART CENTER
OLD WAREHOUSES IN KAOHSIUNG CONVERTED TO SHOPPING HALLS
Back on mainland Kaohsiung, we started to explore the numerous abandoned warehouses along the port that has been beautifully transformed into shopping halls, restaurants, hostels, and even modern art museums.
ART MUSEUMS AT KAOHSIUNG PIER-2
It’s inspiring how they were able to transform something as boring and drab as a port warehouse into such interesting spaces, preserving the town’s identity and culture, and revitalizing it at the same time.
FUNNY MOSAIC OF A PEEING BOY | WAREHOUSE NO.2 SHOPPING CENTER
And along these area, numerous art installations can also be found, like a giant Snoopy figure—it seems Kaohsiung has special fondness for Charles M. Schulz’s beloved dog—robots, sculptures, mosaics, and murals.
GREAT HARBOR BRIDGE
THE GREAT HARBOR BRIDGE
En route to our bus, we passed another of Kaohsiung’s architectural marvel, the Great Harbor Bridge. It spans 110 meters in immaculate white color. The pedestrian cable-stayed bridge has a very dynamic look, perhaps reflecting the fluidity and mercurial property of water.
A LOOK AT THE BRIDGE’S CENTRAL STRUCTURE
But besides its aesthetic, what really makes it unique is its function—it rotates horizontally, pivoting on its central tower, to let ships pass through the water. It’s the only one of its kind in Taiwan.
VIGOR KOBO TAIWANESE CAKES
VIGOR KOBO TAIWANSES CAKE STORE IN KAOHSIUNG
By request to our very helpful guide, Jose, we dropped by a store selling Taiwanese pineapple cakes to bring back home as pasalubong—but not cakes as birthday cakes cake, but small bite-sized goodies that’s popular in Taiwan. And he brought us to Vigor Kobo, one of the most popular pineapple cake makers in the country.
PRICEY, BUT REALLY DELICIOUS
They offer free taste for guests, and oh my goodness, everything was extremely delicious—from the traditional pineapple cakes, mung and red bean cakes, to the super delectable taro cakes. If I didn’t get to taste it, I wouldn’t have bought some, as they are quite pricey. It’s very much worth every New Taiwan Dollar spent though.
LIUHE NIGHT MARKET
BUSY NIGHT AT THE LIUHE NIGHT MARKET
And finally, as evening descended, we dropped by the Liuhe Night Market, one of the more popular night markets in Taiwan that dates back to the fifties. It stretches for about 300 meters long.
STREETFOOD SKEWERS GALORE
It isn’t as crowded and busy as the night markets in Taipei, but the food being hawked here were no less interesting. There were lots of skewered stuff, noodles, and seafood on display, but what got my attention was their Taiwanese Hot Dog. It’s actually a combination of Chinese Minan sausage sandwiched by a sticky rice sausage—kinda like, a sausage wrapped by another sausage. It’s a handy and delicious snack, perfect for eating as I explored more food stalls.
UNIQUE TAIWANESE HOT DOG
And indeed, a trip to a Taiwanese city wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a night market, a fitting end tour our eight-hour shore excursion to Kaohsiung City.
~ THIS TRIP WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY RESORTS WORLD CRUISES. VIEWS & OPINIONS, ALL MINE.