Kaohsiung, Taiwan: Discovering Artistic Landmarks in My Hometown
Even though I left Taiwan at a young age, I still associate my hometown as the southern wonderland of Taiwan - Kaohsiung. It feels like home whenever I touch down at the airport. The warm temperature, the sun, the light breeze, and of course, the Southerners that are always passionate and welcoming.
The reason why I’ve been lagging on posting about Taiwan two-fold:
I usually spend time with relatives when I’m in Taiwan, which means less time to roam around and hit up attractions
I want to represent my hometown in the best way possible, so I want to put in a good amount of effort when writing
So yes, it took me a while to get here, but I’m ready to share my favorite spots in Taiwan. I’ve also decided to skip over the touristy spots and only focus on places that the locals love to hang out on the weekends.
If you don’t know this already - Kaohsiung is the second biggest city in Taiwan, also it has the biggest port on the island. When I first moved to Shanghai, most people only want to talk about Taipei when they see me, but now, more and more people have been to Kaohsiung and have experienced the charm. That makes me so happy!
In recent years, there are some cool, new spots that opened to the public, so I’m gonna share some of my favorite ones with you right now!
Pier-2 Art Center
The artistic camp of Kaohsiung is for sure Pier-2. Located alongside the Kaohsiung port, Bo-er used to be warehouses of Taiwan Sugar Corporation that became abandoned over time. After rounds of transformation and expansion, Bo-er now has three areas that can take up to a whole day to explore.
You can find several shops and galleries in the area, many featuring local artists and manufacturers. Very interesting to look at even if you don’t aim to purchase anything.
Swings bring out the kid in me….
My favorite is the fairs that take place almost every weekend. When I visited this time around, the theme was “handmade”, so you literally see products that are crafted carefully by vendors, each of them sitting in designated booths that represent their creative dreams.
Every booth you walk by, you get greeted by the biggest smiles. All the artists and creators would talk to you passionately about the products they made, and how they have poured their heart and soul into every detail. Even if you don’t buy in the end, the sellers would still thank you for your time and for listening to their stories. Then they would invite you to come chat with them again the next time you drop by the fair.
Whenever I run into these situations, I can feel a small corner of my heart being touched. In our increasingly commercial world, it’s so rare to find a group of people that persist in creating things that they love. They don’t aim to be rich or famous. They just want to take their ideas and push them into the world.
Since Bo-er is an artistic area, there are always events, exhibitions, and shows happening. Check on their official website first before visiting!
👆Hot police alert!!
There are also restaurants and specialty shops. The famous pineapple cake store, Sunny Hills, constructed their store in the form of a shipyard. The store is actually located right across from the dock, so the shipyard structure blends in perfectly with the surrounding.
Next to the Sunny Hills store, you’ll find an art installation made up entirely by chairs borrowed (or stolen?) from elementary schools. Reminds me of my childhood!
There had been some major upgrades at Pier-2 recently, including trams that take you to different parts of the city. You can also take a ship to Hongmaogang Cultural Park to watch boats enter the dock. You can even catch big cruise ships if you are lucky!
There are many installations with metal elements, which are reminiscent of the history of the port. And they make for good photo spots!
I think Pier-2 is the perfect hangout ground for a weekend to walk alongside the ocean or take a picnic on the grass. I also love the concept of taking something old and turning it into something beautiful.
Pier-2 is a must-visit on your next trip to Kaohsiung!
Pier-2 Art Center
Address: No. 1, Dayong Road, Yancheng District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
One of the most popular new spots in Taiwan is KUBIC, a colorful village of renovated containers. So many travelers and locals have marked their journey on Instagram that I feel like a visit is much needed.
KUBIC includes a total of 33 containers, big and small. A platform for exhibitions, seminars, workshops, and local businesses.
The name KUBIC is obviously inspired by the word “cubic,” but it’s actually an acronym for what the project stands for: K (Kaohsiung), U (Urban), B (Boxes / Build), I (Innovation), C (Creativity)
You’ll see different colors of containers as you walk into the open area. Art works and installations can also be found at various corners.
The containers are stacked in creative ways, almost like different combinations of legos. The grass area in the center of KUBIC is where most activities take place, especially during the weekends. You can find live bands, fairs, food vendors and such.
I ran into the “City Cat” exhibition this time. Oh man, so adorable! Cat illustrations with humorous captions. Just the way I like it!
KUBIC is seriously a spot made for Instagram.
KUBIC is actually not a big area. You can probably finish walking it within an hour. I would then suggest you take a 3 minute walk to the next stop: MLD.
Address: No. 5, Fuxing 3rd Road, Qianzhen District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
Phone #：07 334 7310
Opening time：10:00–18:00（Public holidays till 22:00）
MLD is originally an old aluminum plant from the Japanese era and has been refurbished as a symbol of Taiwan’s past glory of heavy industries.
A large Y-shape RC pillar bears the name of MLD in this historic industrial architecture.
MLD stands for “metropolitan living development,” essentially a project that aims to better the lives of people living in the city.
Again, loving the concept of blending the past and the future. Opening up new possibilities at a historical site.
This mall consists of restaurants, cinema, food court, bookstore and exhibition halls.
Once you walk into the plaza, you get the metallic industrial vibes right away. There are food vendors lined up along the plaza. Outdoor patio sitting area is perfect for the Southern weather. Did I mention about the entertainment on the weekend? I’m not only talking about street performers and stuff. I actually saw traditional a Taiwanese puppet show when I was there one weekend, haha.
MLD Fresh has fresh fruits, veggies, meats and seafood all presented in such beautiful formats. All of the restaurants from MLD actually purchase their ingredients from this supermarket, which I find really interesting.
MLD Reading is my favorite part of this mall. I’ve always loved spending time at bookstores ever since I was little. I’ve also spent a fair amount of money on books. Even though it’s hard to keep up the habit of reading in the midst of work and life, I still force myself to do it whenever possible. I’ve placed a book in all the major corners around my house, to remind myself to pick one up and read a few pages.
Everybody knows the charm of Eslite bookstores, but there are more than a handful of tasteful bookstores with a great selection. MLD Reading is one of them. Spacious areas combined with beautiful interior design. I spent hours in the bookstore just browsing new books, checking out the record store, and sipping on some coffee.
Address: #8 Zhongqin Rd
Phone # : (07)536-5388
Opening hours :
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Rings: Chloé & Yunique BACKYARD
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