Kaohsiung is Taiwan’s second most important city and very popular for its port activities. Known as Taiwan’s Harbor Capital, the port of Kaohsiung receives millions of industrial shipments every year, making it the sixth largest cargo-container seaport in the world. Because the island of Taiwan is not connected to any country, the ocean plays an important role to its industries and tourism. Getting to the city of Kaohsiung, travelers both for business and pleasure may take a direct flight by plane, the train or bus from the capital city of Taipei.
Exactly where is Kaohsiung? This bustling harbor city is found in southwestern Taiwan, facing Taiwan Strait to its west. Its coordinates are 22°38’N 120°16’E. Its official Romanized name is Kaohsiung City, pronounced as Gaoxióng and spelled with the “h” before “s”; a typical misspelling is “Kaoshiung”. Its old names are Takao, Takow, and Takau.
Taiwan has two international airports, one in Taipei and the other in Kaohsiung. Getting to Kaohsiung by air involves a number of incoming flights from international air routes from Japan, Singapore, Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Ho Chi Minh and Hong Kong, as well as connecting international flights from Taipei’s Chiang Kai-shek International Airport (CKS). The country has 16 domestic airports. Tourists from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia fly in through CKS.
Another airport, the Taichung Airport receives flights from Hong Kong and charter flights from Japan, Korea, Phuket (Thailand), Ho Chi Minh and Palau. The country’s fourth largest airport, the 449-acre Taipei Songshan Airport, services domestic destinations only. It has daily flights to Kaohsiung.
Getting to Kaohsiung by land is made convenient on board Taiwan’s efficient subway system. Taiwan has three main train lines: West Line, East Line and South Circle Line, which branch out to several smaller lines. It is the West Line trains that go to Kaohsiung, its final destination, from Keelung through Taipei, Hsinchu, Chiayi and Tainan.
In 2008, Taiwan built its new high-tech, high-speed railway line called Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit, and one of these lines connects its two main cities. Traveling from Taipei to Kaohsiung now only takes 90 minutes. This line is very comfortable but it is much more expensive. It runs from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight and is stationed in Zuoying, at the northern part of Kaohsiung City.
Another way to travel by land is on a bus. The Dragon Bus company runs from Taipei and Taichung to Kaohsiung, specifically at 180, Fuxing Nanlu Yiduan, Taipei and 27-3, Shuangshi Lu Yiduan, Taichung. Another bus company going through the same route is Taichung Bus. Taipei to Kaohsiung costs NT$ 200 (NT$ 260 on holidays), and from Taichung is about NT$ 200 (NT$ 250 on holidays). If one wishes to go in style and more comfortably, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau has come up with the Tour Bus System that services all major cities and attractions in this tiny island nation. It is, for good reasons, more expensive than the regular bus, but the Tourism Bureau guarantees convenience and time efficiency.
Finally, getting to Kaohsiung by sea makes a lot of sense since this is a harbor city. The Kaohsiung port is one of the busiest ports in the world, servicing millions of cargo shipments every year. There are a number of ferries docking in from Hong Kong, Macau, and Okinawa in Japan. This could be the most romantic way of getting to Kaohsiung.