Kaohsiung is an important maritime transportation and trade center in Taiwan. The Taiwan port, in fact, is considered one of the top cargo-shipment free ports in the world. The Kaohsiung Harbor, on the other hand, receives a number of ferries and boats every day brining in tourists and vacationers from the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Okinawa, Japan. An important tourist attraction within the harbor is the Kaohsiung Fisherman’s Wharf. The wharf used to be a simple port area but was transformed into an attractive destination after it was renovated. In the past, the wharf used to be the secondary Kaohsiung port that served as a gateway for exporting steel, wood and bananas.
Through the years as Taiwan’s economy grew and stabilized, the main Kaohsiung port turned high-tech: its maritime activities became automated and millions of cargo shipments began to pour in every year. With so much going on at the main port, Port No. 2 gradually declined in function and significance. At the same time, the city of Kaohsiung was intensifying its tourism and so the secondary port was transformed into a cozy, sightseeing wharf. Today, people visit the wharf to enjoy a scenic snack or dinner by the sea. There are several food stalls in the area serving delicious seafood dishes and local delicacies. Strolling along the wharf is also a great idea as it promises a stunning seaside view and breathtaking sunsets.
Similar Kaohsiung attractions are the ultra popular Love River and Urban Spotlight Arcade. People call the Love River the “spine of Kaohsiung”, as the Thames River is to the city of London. Also called Ai He, Love River is a 12-km long canal that runs from the Renwu District through the city and onto Kaohsiung Harbor. Since the city heavily relies on bodies of water for its local economy and tourism, the Love River, needless to say, is very important in the lives of Kaohsiung locals. Along the canal’s length are major city landmarks and day-to-day facilities such as the majestic Holy Rosary Cathedral, Kaohsiung Bridge, a riverside park (Love River Park), night market, cafés, restaurants and hotels. Also, held along the river are important cultural events such as the annual Lantern Festival.
When the city was still on the verge of development, the Love River used to be heavily polluted with tons of industrial waste and raw sewage. Thanks to the city’s efforts and determination of catapulting Kaohsiung into a world-class destination, waste water was diverted to a treatment plant in Cijin, and today, the Love River is very lovely indeed.
Urban Spotlight Arcade, on the other hand, is not a seaside attraction but a well-lighted walk along the Wufu Road and Zhongshan Road intersection. It is marked by city streetlights that bring to life this rather sleepy part of the city. Simple and lowly bus stops, trash cans, bulletin boards, and streetlamps become very aesthetic as they bathe in colorful neon lights at nights. People come here to relax, hang out, or go shopping at the nearby Shinkuchan shopping area.
Along with the Love River and Urban Spotlight Arcade, the Kaohsiung Fisherman’s Wharf is definitely among the must-see walkways and dining areas in the city. Other important city attractions are the Liuhe Night Market, Lotus Lake, and Cijin District.