The only downside to traveling is packing. The process is so stressful, deciding what to bring and not bring, knowing what to wear and not wear, and making sure you won’t forget any necessities such us medicines and personal effects. When traveling to Kaohsiung either for business or pleasure, it is helpful for you to first know how to behave and what to wear in Kaohsiung. Understand local culture, know the weather, and determine which months are the best months to visit this bustling city in Taiwan.
When deciding what clothes to pack, keep in mind that Kaohsiung is a tropical Asian city located along the South China Sea. Unless you are going there for business or an international convention where you will be required to dress formally, forget about packing a coat or heavy clothing. Kaohsiung experiences tropical climate and warm weather throughout the year. Annual average temperature is a warm 28°C (82°F), which is cooler than other major Asian cities such as Manila, Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur. Temperature drops in winter from 23°C (73°F) during the day and 15°C (59°F) during the night. Most visiting westerners would not need to put on a coat or extra layer of clothing even on the coldest winter night. It could also get very humid and sticky during the day. The best months to visit Taiwan are March, August and December.
Due to the warm tropical climate, it is best to wear light cotton shirts, jeans, shorts or 3/4 pants and a pair of sneakers. You would also need a cap and sunglasses to protect you from the tropical sun. In other words, dress as casually as you can. You may stroll around restaurants, parks and malls dressed-down in light clothing and people won’t mind, since this is a modern city and residents are used to seeing westerners and foreigners all the time.
City residents are very courteous, friendly and inviting, although some may find it difficult speaking in English. When invited to visit a Taiwanese home, dress well, but not necessarily formal. Wear a pair of slacks (jeans are fine in most cases), a shirt and clean shoes. Ladies don’t need to be in a dress. Kaohsiung residents are very respectful and religious. It would help for you to know a few common etiquettes before you visit a Taiwanese residence.
As with the Chinese, Taiwanese are very religious and strong believers of the spirit world. They believe that the ghosts of their ancestors are among them all the time and may be easily attracted by simple innocent acts like humming or whistling a tune. Avoid talking about dying or the subject of death over the dinner table. When touring around the city with locals, avoid pointing a finger at graves since this is seen disrespectful of the dead and could bring you bad luck. It is also bad luck to write a person’s name in red ink, especially his or her Chinese name. When dining in a restaurant (especially in the more expensive ones), be careful not to rest your chopsticks facing down or up, since this is seen as wishing death to the people you are dining with. Rest your chopstick across the top of the bowl or on the chopsticks holder.
These may be a lot to remember, but there’s really nothing to worry about since the locals are very forgiving. They understand the differences in culture and, therefore, would simply giggle at any foreigners making any cultural slipups. Know how to conduct yourself and what to wear in Kaohsiung simply to please your host and friends and feel comfortable about yourself. And by the way, you are not expected or required to tip in Kaohsiung restaurants.