Macaque sitting on a bench in the forest of monkey mountain in Taiwan
Hike up Kaohsiung's Monkey Mountain via one of the many paths or the wooden staircase. Stop at Ya Zuo, about 45 minutes up, for views of the Straits of Taiwan. Many macaques live on the mountain. Don't bring any food with you — they've been known to swipe snacks from bags and pockets. Shy barking deer also live on Monkey Mountain, so keep your camera ready.
Street view of Kaohsiung City
The eight-mile-long Love River is to Kaohsiung as the Thames is to London. Take a solar-powered boat tour past architecture like the Kaohsiung Bridge and the Holy Rosary Cathedral. Stroll along the water's edge, or rent a bike and cycle to the Pier-2 art district.
On Lotus Lake, visit the multicolored, cartoon-like Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, set in front of the traditional temple towers. Choose your path carefully — tradition holds that you can reverse bad luck by entering through the dragon's jaws and exiting through those of the tiger.
Kaohsiung is one of the best spots in Taiwan for sampling the country's unique and varied cuisine. During your Taiwan cruise, try braised duck served cold (to retain tenderness) over fragrant rice alongside stir-fried kangkong, water spinach shoots. Pick up freshly grilled local squid and prawns from a street-food vendor. Hunt down slippery danzai noodles, served in a long-simmered prawn-head broth and topped with minced pork, shrimp and bean sprouts.
The Dream Mall, Chang Ming Street and An-Ning Street all have lots of shops, the latter two specialize in women's clothing. For a more Kaohsiung-specific souvenir, seek out some of Taiwan's high-quality loose-leaf teas or a handmade tea set. You can also find miniature versions of Taiwanese sky lanterns.
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