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Charming Ocean City – Kaohsiung Lin Da-yang leads the way

 

Charming Ocean City - Kaohsiung Lin Da-yang leads the way

◎Written by Jhang Siao-ting

◎English translation by Hou Ya-ting

◎Photos courtesy of Chen Shih Photo Studio

 

 

 Mr. Lin Da-yang, a poet, toured his beloved hometown Kaohsiung, leading the way to Pier-2 Art Center, Kaohsiung Port Warehouse No. 2 (KW2; also known as Jhan-2 Warehouse), and Cijin Island. He feels the ocean delineates Kaohsiung's charm, and the sights he introduces all showcase the city's maritime scenery.

Pier-2 Art Center

 The stream of tourists visiting Pier-2 Art Center, a leading art base in south Taiwan, is constant nowadays. The art center's buildings were formerly warehouses affiliated with the port. The site's transformation began in 2001 and was led by local artists. Kaohsiung City Government, which took control of Pier-2 Art Center in 2006, has developed this part of the city by organizing a variety of events, including Kaohsiung Design Festival, The Delight of Chinese Character Festival, Kaohsiung International Steel & Iron Sculpture Festival, and Kaohsiung International Container Arts Festival.

 Pier-2 Art Center now flourishes with an Eslite Bookstore, a Bandon Grocery Store, in89 Pier-2 Cinema, Kaohsiung VR Film LAB, and live music performances. “Unlike art centers in other places, Pier-2 Art Center's open space, which is in close proximity to ocean, creates a relaxing atmosphere,” says Lin.

Ambling through Cijin Island

 Taking the ferry is the iconic way to visit Cijin Island. Many of the commuters also take their motorcycles onboard. It's interesting to see such a boisterous and lively scene. Travelers can board the ferry at either KW2 Ferry Station or Gushan Ferry Station. Taking the ferry from KW2 Ferry Station, Lin recalls that when he was little, trucks frequently took the Cross-Harbor Tunnel to the southern part of Cijin, because there weren't enough government-operated ferry services to handle the number of passengers. For a short period, government-operated ferries ceased altogether, and some fishing boats were refurbished as freighters. Lin remembers his mother holding his hand as they boarded one such vessel. The freighter emitted a smell of diesel oil. He was small at that time, and felt intimidated by the shuddering as waves hit the ship. The sound of waves has stayed with him, and the experience made Lin feel a bit like Pinocchio when, in The Adventures of Pinocchio, the protagonist is swallowed by a whale.

 Arriving on Cijin Island, Lin crosses Cijin Old Street, the most bustling part of Cijin District and a magnet attracting foodies. Tourists line up to buy barbecued squid. A popular roasted-bun stall operat es adjacent to the legendary Cihou Tianhou Temple.

 Being surrounded by the sea, Cijin Island is one of Kaohsiung's most popular destinations. However, its shoreline has long suffered erosion. The city government has taken various steps to preserve and recreate the shoreline.

 Climbing up the hill at dusk to Cihou Lighthouse and Cihou Fort, the superb location of the lighthouse becomes apparent. Photography buffs like to take pictures of Kaohsiung's port from Cihou Lighthouse. Sizihwan Bay and National Sun Yat-sen University are also visible. From afar, the container ships entering or leaving the Port of Kaohsiung look like toy blocks.

 The cityscape has changed quite a bit over the years, yet some of Kaohsiung's old appearance remains vivid in Lin's memory. He mentions that he misses riding a motorcycle along Yancheng District's Gongyuan Road, where for a long time there was a cluster of businesses dealing in machine parts and hardware. The distinctive oily smell of this neighborhood has stayed engraved in his memory. Because some of the businesses were occupying government-owned land, the city government transformed this part of the city into a park in 2011. It is near Pier-2 Art Center.

 According to Lin, another notable change is that the former military pier (now known as Glory Pier) near the mouth of Love River, the pier now called Lingya Pier, and the No. 3 Wharf, were long off-limits. These port areas finally opened to public in 2005. Lin's craving to get closer to the port and the ocean prompted him to sneak into the restricted area. He points out that the development of the Port of Kaohsiung reflects the dreams and ambitions of the city, and he believes that the sea is an indispensable part of Kaohsiung. He urges visitors to embrace the ocean when visiting the city. Watching the sun set over the ocean gives one a peaceful and tranquil feeling, and Kaohsiung's maritime personality is obvious in its friendly residents.

  Recommended itinerary: Day 1  
  85 Sky Tower, Kaohsiung Exhibition Center, Kaohsiung Main Public Library, MLD Reading, KUBIC Containers Village, Dream Mall, Light Rail Transit, Singuang Ferry Wharf, Kaohsiung Music Center, sunset at Sizihwan Bay, A-jin Noodles in Yancheng District, A-po Shaved Ice in Yancheng District, Kaohsiung Film Archive, Love River
  
  Recommended itinerary: Day 2  
  Yancheng District traditional breakfast (milkfish rice vermicelli at Dagouding), Pier-2 Art Center, Kaohsiung VR Film LAB, Wuguan Books, lunch at Duck Jhen, take the ferry from Gushan Ferry Station to Cijin, Cijin Old Street, Cihou Fort, Cijin Beach, Cijin seafood for dinner, take the ferry to Jhan-2 Warehouse, Jhan-2 Warehouse, tour the port area via Kaohsiung Light Rail Transit system

Cijin travel information: