The island-nation of Taiwan is not popular as a beach-paradise destination. It doesn’t have a Phuket (Thailand), Bali (Indonesia), or Boracay (Philippines) to boast of. However, the two lovely beaches in Kaohsiung can hold their own. Although tourism in this southwestern Taiwanese city is focused more on culture and traditions, modern structures, bustling industries and natural wonders (other than beaches), swimming in Kaohsiung is quiet pleasant and memorable. When going to Kaohsiung, definitely don’t forget to pack your bathing suit.
The city of Kaohsiung (Coordinates: 22°38′N 120°16′E) has only two beaches: Cijin Beach and the swimming beach in Sizih Bay. Cijin Beach is located in the Cijin District, a slender island located just a little off of Kaohsiung, serving therefore as a natural breakwater. Cijin boasts of an alluring coastal park, a parkway, bicycle trail, an amphitheater by the coast, and beach area flanked with palm trees. The blue water, fine sand and warm tropical weather make swimming or at least a quick dip irresistible.
After drying off, there are three interesting attractions in Cijin that tourists would not regret taking time to check out. They are the TianHou Temple on Miao-Chen Road, ChiHou Fort on Chi-Xia Lane, and ChiHou Lighthouse also on Chi-Xia Lane. Viewing the century-old fort and lighthouse truly transports sightseers to bygone years. The old lighthouse has stood there, guiding passing ships to safety, since 1883, while the fort has served as a military base since the Qing Dynasty. TianHou Temple, on the other hand, is the oldest temple in Kaohsiung. This 300-year-old temple was constructed by local fishermen to honor Matsu, the sea goddess and patron saint of fishermen.
The city of Kaohsiung used to be a sleepy fisherman’s village. The sea provided livelihood and led to the growth and success of this harbor city. Today, the Kaohsiung port and harbor is generating millions in revenue and is known as one of the busiest and most progressive ports in the world. Kaohsiung, as well as the rest of Taiwan, has steady economy that shows healthy signs of continuous growth. Products that are branded “Made in Taiwan” used to be a laughingstock by many but times are quickly changing.
Meanwhile, the other Kaohsiung beach is found in Sizihwan Bay or simply Sizih Bay. The swimming beach here is smaller, calmer and much more preferred by tourists than Cijin Beach. It is a fine sandy beach with clear blue waters, lovely mountain backdrop, and a sunset view to die for. People slump on the beach for hours waiting for the sun to set in the horizon, creating a picture-perfect view of the red, golden rays that light up the darkening waters and sky. After sunset, the beach even gets lovelier as tiny fishing boats light up the dark waters like glittering diamonds in the sea. Sizih Beach provides a romantic getaway for everyone.
Just like in Cijin, there are also local attractions very near the beach. These attractions include the Sun Yat-sen University, Coastal Garden, Chiang’s Memorial Hall, and the century-old British Consulate building that has been transformed into a museum. These nearby cultural sites prove both in Sizih and Cijin that swimming in Kaohsiung is way much more than just getting wet. It is also a cultural experience.