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Special municipality
Kaohsiung City
Kaohsiung attractions.jpg
Flag of Kaohsiung
Official logo of Kaohsiung
Emblem (stylized form of )
Etymology: Takao Prefecture
The Harbor City (Gangdu), The Maritime Capital, The Waterfront City
Kaohsiung City shown within the Taiwan islands
Kaohsiung City shown within the Taiwan islands
Coordinates: 22°38′N 120°16′E / 22.633°N 120.267°E / 22.633; 120.267
Country  Republic of China (Taiwan)
Region Southern Taiwan
Seat Lingya District and
Fongshan District
 • Mayor Han Kuo-yu
 • Deputy Mayors Lee Shu-chuan, Yeh Kuang-shih
 • Special municipality 2,951.85 km (1,139.72 sq mi)
 • Urban
363 km (140 sq mi)
Area rank 4 out of 22
9 m (30 ft)
 • Special municipality 2,773,093
 • Rank 3 out of 22
 • Density 940/km (2,400/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density 7,000/km (18,000/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+8 (National Standard Time)
Postal code
Area code(s) (0)7
ISO 3166 code TW–KHH
Flower Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)
Tree Cotton Tree (Bombax ceiba)
Website www.kcg.gov.tw/EN (in English)
Kaohsiung City
Kaohsiung Chinese Characters.png
"Kaohsiung" in Chinese characters
Chinese name
Chinese 高雄市
Literal meaning Japanese transcription of an old Siraya name
Japanese name
Kanji 高雄市
Kana たかおし

Kaohsiung (/ˌkˈʃʌŋ/; Mandarin Chinese: [káuɕʊ̌ŋ] (About this soundlisten), Wade–Giles: Kao¹-hsiung²; Hokkien POJ: Ko-hiông; Hakka PFS: Kô-hiùng; old names: Takao, Takow, Takau) is a coastal city in southern Taiwan. It is officially a special municipality with an area of 2,952 km (1,140 sq mi) stretching from the coastal urban centre to the rural Yushan Range. As of 2018, the municipality has a population of 2.77 million, making it the third most populous administrative division and second largest metropolis in Taiwan.

Since founding in the 17th century, Kaohsiung has grown from a small trading village into the political and economic centre of southern Taiwan, with key industries such as manufacturing, steel-making, oil refining, freight transport and shipbuilding. It is classified as 'High Sufficiency' by GaWC, with some of the most prominent infrastructures in Taiwan. The Port of Kaohsiung is the largest and busiest harbour in Taiwan while Kaohsiung International Airport is the second busiest airport in number of passengers. The city is well-connected to other major cities by high speed and conventional rail, as well as several national freeways. It also hosts the Republic of China Navy fleet headquarters and its naval academy. More recent public works such as Pier-2 Art Center, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts and Kaohsiung Music Center have been aimed at growing the tourism and cultural industries of the city.


Hoklo immigrants to the area during the 16th and 17th centuries called the region Takau (Chinese: 打狗; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tá-káu). The surface meaning of the associated Chinese characters was "beat the dog". According to one theory, the name Takau originates from the aboriginal Siraya language and translates as "bamboo forest". According to another theory, the name evolved via metathesis from the name of the Makatao tribe, who inhabited the area at the time of European and Hoklo settlement. The Makatao are considered to be part of the Siraya tribe.

During the Dutch colonization of southern Taiwan, the area was known as Tancoia to the western world for a period of about three decades. In 1662, the Dutch were expelled by the Kingdom of Tungning, founded by Ming loyalists of Koxinga. His son, Zheng Jing, renamed the village Banlian-chiu (Chinese: 萬年州; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Bān-liân-chiu; literally: 'ten-thousand-year region (zhou)') in 1664.

The name of "Takau" was restored in the late 1670s, when the town expanded drastically with immigrants from mainland China, and was kept through Taiwan's cession to the Japanese Empire in 1895. In his 1903 general history of Taiwan, US Consul to Formosa James W. Davidson relates that "Takow" was already a well-known name in English. In 1920, the name was changed to Takao (Japanese: 高雄, after Takao (Kyoto)) and administered the area under Takao Prefecture. While the new name had quite a different surface meaning, its pronunciation in Japanese sounded more or less the same as the old name spoken in Hokkien.

After Taiwan was handed to the Republic of China, the name did not change, but the official romanization became "Kaohsiung" (pinyin: Gāoxióng) after the Standard Chinese pronunciation of 高雄.

The name Takau remains the official name of the city in Austronesian languages of Taiwan such as Rukai, although these are not widely spoken in the city. The name also remains popular locally in the naming of businesses, associations, and events.


Port of Ta-kau (1893)

The written history of Kaohsiung can be traced back to the early 17th century, through archaeological studies have found signs of human activity in the region from as long as 7,000 years ago. Prior to the 17th century, the region was inhabited by the Makatao people of the Siraya tribe, who settled on what they named Takau Isle (translated to 打狗嶼 by Ming Chinese explorers); "Takau" meaning "bamboo forest" in the aboriginal language.

Early history

Sketch of the Makatao people during the Qing Dynasty

The earliest evidence of human activity in the Kaohsiung area dates back to roughly 4,700–5,200 years ago. Most of the discovered remnants were located in the hills surrounding Kaohsiung Harbor. Artifacts were found at Shoushan, Longquan Temple, Taoziyuan, Zuoying, Houjing, Fudingjin and Fengbitou. The prehistoric Dapenkeng, Niuchouzi, Dahu, and Niaosong civilizations were known to inhabit the region. Studies of the prehistoric ruins at Longquan Temple have shown that that civilization occurred at roughly the same times as the beginnings of the aboriginal Makatao civilization, suggesting a possible origin for the latter. Unlike some other archaeological sites in the area, the Longquan Temple ruins are relatively well preserved. Prehistoric artifacts discovered have suggested that the ancient Kaohsiung Harbor was originally a lagoon, with early civilizations functioning primarily as hunter-gatherer societies. Some agricultural tools have also been discovered, suggesting that some agricultural activity was also present.

The first Chinese records of the region were written in 1603 by Chen Di, a member of Ming admiral Shen You-rong's expedition to rid the waters around Taiwan and Penghu of pirates. In his report on the "Eastern Barbarian Lands" (Dong Fan Ji), Chen Di referred to a Ta-kau Isle:

It is unknown when the barbarians (Taiwanese aborigines) arose on this island in the ocean beyond Penghu, but they are present at Keeong Harbor (nowaday's Budai, Chiayi), the bay of Galaw (Anping, Tainan), Laydwawan (Tainan City), Yaw Harbor (Cheting, Kaohsiung), Takau Isle (Kaohsiung City), Little Tamsui (Donggang, Pingtung), Siangkeykaw (Puzi, Chiayi), Gali forest (Jiali District, Tainan), the village of Sabah (Tamsui, Taipei), and Dwabangkang (Bali, New Taipei City).

Dutch colonial period

Taiwan became a Dutch colony in 1624, after the Dutch East India Company was ejected from Penghu by Ming forces. At the time, Takau was already one of the most important fishing ports in southern Taiwan. The Dutch named the place Tankoya, and the harbor Tancoia. The Dutch missionary François Valentijn named Takau Mountain "Ape Berg", a name that would find its way onto European navigational charts well into the 18th century. Tankoia was located north of Ape's Hill and a few hours south from Tayouan (modern-day Anping, Tainan) by sail. At the time, a wide shallow bay existed there, sufficient for small vessels. However, constant silting changed the coastline.

During this time, Taiwan was divided into five administrative districts, with Takau belonging to the southernmost district. In 1630, the first large scale immigration of Han Chinese to Taiwan began due to famine in Fujian, with merchants and traders from China seeking to purchase hunting licenses from the Dutch or hide out in aboriginal villages to escape authorities in China.

Qing Dynasty

South Gate of Fengshan County

In 1684, the Qing dynasty annexed Taiwan and renamed the town Fengshan County (Chinese: 鳳山縣; pinyin: Fèngshān Xiàn), considering it a part of Taiwan Prefecture. It was first opened as a port during the 1680s and subsequently prospered fairly for generations.

Empire of Japan

Old Kaohsiung Train Station, built during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan

In 1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan as part of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. Administrative control of the city was moved from New Fongshan Castle to the Fongshan Sub-District of Tainan Chō (臺南廳). In November 1901, twenty chō were established in total; Hōzan Chō (鳳山廳) was established nearby. In 1909, Hōzan Chō was abolished, and Takow was merged into Tainan Chō.

In 1920, during the tenure of 8th Governor-General Den Kenjirō, districts were abolished in favor of prefectures. Thus the city was administered as Takao City (高雄市, Takao-shi) under Takao Prefecture.

The Japanese developed Takao, especially the harbor that became the foundation of Kaohsiung to be a port city. Takao was then systematically modernized and connected to the end of North-South Railway. Kaohsiung Harbor was also developed starting from 1894. The city center was relocated several times during the period due to the government's development strategy. Development was initially centered on Ki-au (Chinese: 旗後; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Kî-āu) region but the government began laying railways, upgrading the harbor, and passing new urban plans. New industries such as refinery, machinery, shipbuilding and cementing were also introduced.

Before and during World War II it handled a growing share of Taiwan's agricultural exports to Japan, and was also a major base for Japan's campaigns in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Extremely ambitious plans for the construction of a massive modern port were drawn up. Toward the end of the war, the Japanese promoted some industrial development at Kaohsiung, establishing an aluminum industry based on the abundant hydroelectric power produced by the Sun Moon Lake project in the mountains.

The city was heavily bombed by Task Force 38 and FEAF during World War II between 1944-1945.

Republic of China

The Kaohsiung Martyrs' Shrine

The restored Port of Kaohsiung, which was badly damaged in World War II.

After control of Taiwan was handed over from Japan to the government of the Republic of China on 25 October 1945, Kaohsiung City and Kaohsiung County were established as a provincial city and a county of Taiwan Province respectively on 25 December 1945. The official romanization of the name came to be "Kaohsiung", based on the Wade–Giles romanization of the Mandarin reading of the kanji name. Kaohsiung City then consisted of 10 districts, which were Gushan, Lianya (renamed "Lingya" in 1952), Nanzi, Cianjin, Cianzhen, Cijin, Sanmin, Sinsing, Yancheng, and Zuoying.

During this time, Kaohsiung developed rapidly. The port, badly damaged in World War II, was restored. It also became a fishing port for boats sailing to Philippine and Indonesian waters. Largely because of its climate, Kaohsiung overtook Keelung as Taiwan's major port. Kaohsiung also surpassed Tainan to become the second largest city of Taiwan in the late 1970s and Kaohsiung City was upgraded from a provincial city to special municipality on 1 July 1979, by the Executive Yuan with a total of 11 districts. The additional district is Siaogang District, which was annexed from Siaogang Township of Kaohsiung County.

The Kaohsiung Incident, where the government suppressed a commemoration of International Human Rights Day, occurred on December 10, 1979. Since then, Kaohsiung gradually grew into a political center of the Pan-Green population of Taiwan, in opposition to Taipei where the majority population is Kuomintang supporters.

On December 25, 2010, Kaohsiung City merged with Kaohsiung County to form a larger special municipality with Lingya District and Fengshan District becoming the capital city, ending the administration of Kaohsiung County.

On 31 July 2014, a series of gas explosions occurred in the Cianzhen and Lingya Districts of the city, killing 31 and injuring more than 300. Five roads were destroyed in an area of nearly 20 square kilometres (7.7 square miles) near the city center. It was the largest gas explosion in Taiwan's modern history.


The city sits on the southwestern coast of Taiwan facing the Taiwan Strait, bordering Tainan City to the north, Chiayi and Nantou County to the northwest, Taitung County to its northeast and Pingtung County to the south and southeast. The downtown areas are centered on Kaohsiung Harbor with Cijin Island on the other side of the harbor acting as a natural breakwater. The Love River (Ai River) flows into the harbor through the Old City and downtown. Zuoying Military Harbor lies to the north of Kaohsiung Harbor and the city center. Kaohsiung's natural landmarks include Ape Hill and Mount Banping.


Located about a degree south of the Tropic of Cancer, Kaohsiung has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw), with monthly mean temperatures between 20 and 29 °C (68 and 84 °F) and relative humidity ranging between 71 and 81%.

Kaohsiung's warm climate is very much dictated by its low latitude and its exposure to warm sea temperatures year-round, with the Kuroshio Current passing by the coast of southern Taiwan, and the Central mountain range on the northeast blocking out the cool northeastern winds during the winter. The city, therefore, has a noticeably warmer climate than nearby cities located at similar latitudes such as Hong Kong, Guangzhou as well as various cities further south of northern Vietnam, such as Hanoi. Although the climate is classified as tropical, Kaohsiung has a defined cooler season unlike most other cities in Asia classified with this climate but located closer to the equator such as Singapore or Manila. Daily maximum temperature typically exceeds 30 °C (86 °F) during the warmer season (April to November) and 25 °C (77 °F) during the cooler season (December to March), with the exception when cold fronts strikes during the winter months, when the daily mean temperature of the city can drop between 3 to 5 °C (5.4 to 9.0 °F) depending on the strength of the cold front. Also, besides the high temperatures occurring during the usual summer months, daytime temperatures of inland districts of the city can often exceed above 33 °C (91 °F) from mid-March to late April before the onset of the monsoon season, with clear skies and southwesterly airflows. Average annual rainfall is around 1,885 millimetres (74.2 in), focused primarily from June to August. At more than 2,210 hours of bright sunshine, the city is one of the sunniest areas in Taiwan.

The sea temperature of Kaohsiung Harbor remains above 22 °C (72 °F) year-round, the second highest of Southern Taiwan after Liuqiu island. According to recent records, the average temperature of the city has risen around 1 degree Celsius over the past 3 decades, from about 24.2 °C (75.6 °F) in 1983 to around 25.2 °C (77.4 °F) by 2012.


Kaohsiung's skyline viewed from Kaohsiung Lighthouse in Cijin District, with the 85 Sky Tower right of center.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1985 2,379,610 —    
1990 2,505,986 +5.3%
1995 2,619,947 +4.5%
2000 2,725,267 +4.0%
2005 2,760,180 +1.3%
2010 2,773,483 +0.5%
2015 2,778,918 +0.2%
Source:"Populations by city and county in Taiwan". Ministry of the Interior Population Census.

As of December 2018, Kaohsiung city has a population of 2,773,533 people, making it the third largest city after Taipei and Taichung, and a population density of 939.59 people per square kilometer. Within the city, Fongshan District is the most populated district with a population of 359,519 people, while Xinxing District is the most densely populated district with a population density of 25,820 people per square kilometer.

Ethnic composition

Han People

As in most Taiwanese cities or counties, the majority of the population are Han Taiwanese. The Hans are then divided into 3 subgroups, Hoklo, Hakka, and Waishengren. The Hoklo and Waishengren mostly live in flatland townships and the city centre, while the majority of the Hakka population live in the suburbs or rural townships of the northeastern hills.

Taiwanese Aborigines

The Taiwanese aborigines of Kaohsiung, who belong to various ethnic groups that speak different languages belonging to the Austronesian language family similar/related to those of Maritime Southeast Asia and Oceania, mostly live in the mountain townships such as Taoyuan or Namasia. The main aboriginal groups living within the city center include the Bunun, Rukai, Tsou and the Kanakanavus.

Other ethnicities

As of December 2010, Kaohsiung city hosts around 21,000 foreign spouses. Around 12,353 are Mainland Chinese, 4,244 are Vietnamese, around 800 Japanese and Indonesians and around 4,000 other Asians or foreigners from Europe or the Americas.

As of April 2013, Kaohsiung hosts 35,074 foreign workers who mainly work as factory workers or foreign maids (not including foreign specialists such as teachers and other professionals). Within around half of which are Indonesians, and the other half being workers from other Southeast Asian countries mainly from Vietnam, the Philippines or Thailand.


Kaohsiung Harbor

The skyline of downtown Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung Skyline

Kaohsiung is a major international port and industrial city in the southwest of Taiwan. As an exporting center, Kaohsiung serves the agricultural interior of southern Taiwan, as well as the mountains of the southeast. Major raw material exports include rice, sugar, bananas, pineapples, peanuts (groundnuts) and citrus fruits. The 2,200-hectare (5,400-acre) Linhai Industrial Park, on the waterfront, was completed in the mid-1970s and includes a steel mill, shipyard, petrochemical complex, and other industries. The city has an oil refinery, aluminum and cement works, fertilizer factories, sugar refineries, brick and tile works, canning factories, salt-manufacturing factories, and papermaking plants. Designated an export-processing zone in the late 1970s, Kaohsiung also attracted foreign investment to process locally purchased raw materials for export.

The ongoing Nansing Project is a plan to reclaim 250 hectares (620 acres) of land along the coast by 2011. The Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau plans to buy 49 hectares of the reclaimed land to establish a solar energy industrial district that would be in the harbor's free trade zone.

The gross domestic product (GDP) in nominal terms of Kaohsiung City is estimated to be around US$45 billion, and US$90 billion for the metropolitan region. As of 2008, the GDP per capita in nominal terms was approximately US$24,000.

Despite early success and heavy governmental investment, the city suffers from the economic north–south divide in Taiwan, which continues to be the centre of political debate. There has been public aims to shift the local economy towards tourism and cultural industries, with projects such as Pier-2 Art Center, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts and Kaohsiung Music Center.


The main agricultural produce in Kaohsiung are vegetables, fruits and rice with a total arable land of 473 km, which accounts to 16% of the total area of the municipality. Kaohsiung has the highest production of guava, jujube and lychee in Taiwan. The main animal husbandry are chicken, dairy cattle, deer, duck, goose, pigs and sheep. The total annual agricultural outcome in Kaohsiung is NT$24.15 billion.



The 85 Sky Tower seen from the Love River

Main landmarks of Kaohsiung city include the 85 Sky Tower, the ferris wheel of the Kaohsiung Dream Mall, the Kaohsiung Arena and Kaohsiung Harbor. The newly developed city is also known for having a large number of shopping streets, organized night markets and newly developed leisure parks such as the Pier-2 Art Center, E-DA Theme Park, Metropolitan Park, the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts and Taroko Park.

Natural attractions of the city include Shoushan (Monkey mountain), the Love River, Cijin Island, Sizihwan, the Dapingding Tropical Botanical Garden and Yushan National Park at the northeastern tip of the city. The city also features various historical attractions such as the Old City of Zuoying, a historical town built during the early 17th century, the Former British Consulate at Takao built during the late 19th century, and various sugar and crop factories built during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan.

Natural attractions

Kaohsiung city includes a wide range of different natural attractions due to its large size and geographical variation, as it is bordered by the Central Mountain Range in the northeast and the warm South China Sea to the west and southwest. The year-round warm climate allows coral reefs to grow along the coasts around Kaohsiung Harbor, with Shoushan Mountain being a small mountain completely made up of coral reefs and calcium carbonate, while the mountainous districts in the northeast include Taiwan's highest mountain, Yushan. Other notable natural attractions include the Mount Banping, Lotus Lake, and Dongsha Atoll National Park, which is currently inaccessible by the public due to military occupation.

Historical sites

Former British Consulate at Takao

A large number of historical sites and monuments were left in the city after the colonization of the Dutch in the 17th century, the Qing dynasty during the 18th and 19th century and the Japanese empire from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century. The city government has protected various sites and monuments from further damage and many have been opened to the public since the early 1980s. Notable historical sites include the Cemetery of Zhenghaijun, Former British Consulate at Takao, Former Dinglinzihbian Police Station, Meinong Cultural and Creative Center, Former Sanhe Bank, and the Cihou Lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses of the city.


Confucius Temple of Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung is home to many museums, including the Chung Li-he Museum, Cijin Shell Museum, Jiasian Petrified Fossil Museum, Kaohsiung Astronomical Museum, Kaohsiung Hakka Cultural Museum, Kaohsiung Harbor Museum, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung Museum of History, Kaohsiung Museum of Labor, Kaohsiung Vision Museum, Meinong Hakka Culture Museum, National Science and Technology Museum, Republic of China Air Force Museum, Soya-Mixed Meat Museum, Taiwan Sugar Museum, Takao Railway Museum and YM Museum of Marine Exploration Kaohsiung.

Parks and Zoos

As the largest municipality in Taiwan, Kaohsiung has a number of newly built leisure areas and parks. Notable parks or pavilions in the city include the Central Park, Siaogangshan Skywalk Park, Fo Guang Shan, the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, the Love Pier, Singuang Ferry Wharf and Kaohsiung Fisherman's Wharf. Notable zoo in the city includes the Kaohsiung City Shousan Zoo.


Liuhe Night Market

Kaohsiung is home to many night markets, such as Jin-Zuan Night Market, Liuhe Night Market Ruifeng Night Market and Zhonghua Street Night Market, and the Kaisyuan Night Market. Other attractions include the Dome of Light of Kaohsiung MRT's Formosa Boulevard Station, the Kaohsiung Mosque and the Tower of Light of Sanmin District.


The majority of those living in Kaohsiung can communicate in both Taiwanese Hokkien and Standard Chinese. Some of the elderly who grew up during the Japanese colonization of Taiwan can communicate in Japanese, while most of the younger population has basic English skills.

Since the spread of Standard Chinese after the Nationalist Government retreated to Taiwan in 1949, Hakka Chinese and various Formosan languages are gradually no longer spoken with the new generation and many Formosan languages are therefore classified as moribund or endangered languages by the United Nations. Nowadays, only elder Hakka people mostly living in Meinong, Liouguei, Shanlin and Jiasian districts can communicate in Hakka and elder Taiwanese aborigines living mostly in the rural districts of Namasia and Taoyuan can communicate with the aboriginal languages. The Taiwanese government has established special affairs committees for both the Aboriginals and the Hakkas to protect their language, culture, and minority rights.


The Dome of Light at Formosa Boulevard Station of Kaohsiung MRT

Kaohsiung has rich resources of ocean, mountains and forests which shape a unique and active multi-faceted art and cultural aesthetic in public infrastructure and transport, public art, and city architecture, from MRT stations and city space to art galleries. The "Dome light" in the concourse of Formosa Boulevard Station of Kaohsiung MRT is one of the world's largest public glass works of art. The city also has the Urban Spotlight Arcade spanning along the street in Cianjin District. In October 2018, Weiwuying (the National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts), designed by Mecanoo, opened.


Religion in Taiwan (Government statistics, 2005)   Buddhism (35.1%)   Taoism (33%)   Christianity (3.9%)   Yiguandao (3.5%)   Tiandism (2.2%)   Miledadao (1.1%)   Zailiism (0.8%)   Other or undeclared (2.4%)   Non-religious (18.7%)

The religious population of Kaohsiung is mainly divided into five main religious groups: Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim and Christian (Catholicism and Protestantism). As of 2015, Kaohsiung City has 1,481 temples, the second highest in Taiwan after Tainan. Kaohsiung has also 306 churches.


Buddhism is one of the major religions in Taiwan, with over 35% of Taiwan's population identifying as Buddhist. The same applies to Kaohsiung city. Kaohsiung also hosts the largest Buddhist temple in Taiwan, the Foguangshan Temple.


Around 33% of the Taiwanese population are Taoist, making it the second largest religion of Taiwan. Most people who believe in Taoism also ascribe to Buddhism at the same time, as the differences and boundaries between the two religions are not always clear. Many residents of the area also worship the folk sea goddess Mazu, who is variously syncretized as a Taoist immortal or avatar of the bodhisattva Guanyin. Her temple on Cijin Island is the oldest in the city, with its original bamboo-and-thatch structure first opened in 1673. The area surrounding it formed the center of the city's early settlement.


Christianity is a growing religion in Taiwan. It was first brought onto the island when the Dutch and Spanish colonized Taiwan during the 17th century, mostly to the aboriginals. Kaohsiung currently hosts around 56,000 Christians.


Besides the majority population of Buddhists and Taoists, Kaohsiung also includes a rather small population of Muslims. During the Chinese Civil War, some 20,000 Muslims, mostly soldiers and civil servants, fled mainland China with the Kuomintang to Taiwan. During the 1980s, another few thousand Muslims from Myanmar and Thailand, whom are mostly descendants of Nationalist soldiers who fled Yunnan as a result of the communist takeover, migrated to Taiwan in search of a better life, resulting in an increase of Muslim population within the country. More recently, with the rise of Indonesian workers working in Taiwan, an estimated number of 88,000 Indonesian Muslims currently live in the country, in addition to the existing 53,000 Taiwanese Muslims. Combining all demographics, Taiwan hosts around 140,000 Muslims, with around 25,000 living in Kaohsiung. Kaohsiung Mosque is the largest mosque in Kaohsiung and the main gathering site of Muslims within the city.



Han Kuo-yu, the incumbent Mayor of Kaohsiung

Sometimes Kaohsiung used to be seen as the political opposite Taipei. While northern Taiwan leans towards the Pan-Blue Coalition in the state-level elections, southern Taiwan, including Kaohsiung, leaned towards the Pan-Green Coalition since the late 1990s. Frank Hsieh of the Democratic Progressive Party was reelected twice as Mayor of Kaohsiung, where he was widely credited for transforming the city from an industrial sprawl into an attractive modern metropolis. Hsieh resigned from the office of mayor to take up the office of Premier of the Republic of China in 2005. The municipal election, held on December 9, 2006, resulted in a victory for the Democratic Progressive Party's candidate Chen Chu, the first elected female mayor of special municipality in Taiwan, defeating her Kuomintang rival and former deputy mayor, Huang Chun-ying. The current mayor of Kaohsiung City is Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomintang.


Kaohsiung is directly divided into 35 districts and 3 mountain indigenous districts. There are a total of 651 villages in which each village is subdivided into neighborhoods (鄰). There are 18,584 neighborhoods in Kaohsiung City. Lingya and Fengsha districts are the administrative centers of the city while Lingya and Xinxinging Districts are the two most densely populated districts of the city. Kaohsiung has the most numbers of districts among other special municipalities in Taiwan.

Kaohsiung City administrative divisions map

Chiayi City
Tainan City
Hualien County
Chiayi County
Nantou County
Pingtung County
Taitung County

Kaohsiung City's population density 2009

Kaohsiung City with its districts before merger with Kaohsiung County in 2010

Note: There are several romanization systems used in Taiwan. This table contains both Hanyu Pinyin (the official standard of the central government), and Tongyong Pinyin (the official standard of the Kaohsiung City Government). The major order of districts referred to the code of administrative area. [1]
Region Name Chinese Taiwanese Hakka Formosan Area (km²) No. of villages Population (2016)
Yancheng 鹽埕區 Iâm-tiâⁿ Yàm-thàng 1.4161 21 24,997
Gushan 鼓山區 Kó͘-san Kú-sân 14.7458 38 136,679
Zuoying 左營區 Chó-iâⁿ Chó-yàng 19.3888 44 196,362
Nanzih (Nanzi) 楠梓區 Lâm-chú Nàm-chṳ̀ 25.8276 37 180,113
Sanmin 三民區 Sam-bîn Sân-mìn 19.7866 88 345,968
Sinsing (Xinxing) 新興區 Sin-heng Sîn-hîn 1.9764 32 51,953
Cianjin (Qianjin) 前金區 Chiân-kim Chhièn-kîm 1.8573 20 27,369
Lingya 苓雅區 Lêng-ngá Lìn-ngá 8.1522 69 174,419
Cianjhen (Qianzhen) 前鎮區 Chiân-tìn Chhièn-chṳ́n 19.1207 61 192,484
Cijin (Qijin) 旗津區 Kî-tin Khì-chîn 1.4639 13 28,992
Siaogang (Xiaogang) 小港區 Sió-káng Seú-kóng 45.4426 38 156,220
Fongshan (Fengshan) 鳳山區 Hōng-soaⁿ Fung-sân 26.7590 78 356,507
Linyuan 林園區 Lîm-hn̂g Lìm-yèn 32.2860 24 70,423
Daliao 大寮區 Tōa-liâu Thai-liàu 71.0400 25 111,675
Dashu 大樹區 Tōa-chhiū Thai-su 66.9811 18 43,158
Dashe 大社區 Tōa-siā Thai-sa 26.5848 9 34,585
Renwu 仁武區 Jîn-bú Yìn-vú 36.0808 16 82,696
Niaosong 鳥松區 Chiáu-chhêng Tiâu-tshiùng 24.5927 7 43,937
Gangshan 岡山區 Kong-san Kông-sân 47.9421 33 97,843
Ciaotou (Qiaotou) 橋頭區 Kiô-thâu Khiâu-thèu 25.9379 17 37,328
Yanchao 燕巢區 Iàn-châu Yèn-tshâu 65.3950 11 30,074
Tianliao 田寮區 Chhân-liâu Thièn-liàu 92.6802 10 7,457
Alian 阿蓮區 A-lian Â-lièn 34.6164 12 29,297
Lujhu (Luzhu) 路竹區 Lō͘-tek Lu-tsuk 48.4348 20 53,081
Hunei 湖內區 Ô͘-lāi Fù-nui 20.1615 14 29,604
Cieding (Qieding) 茄萣區 Ka-tiāⁿ Kâ-tin 15.7624 15 30,498
Yongan/Yong-an (Yong'an) 永安區 Éng-an Yún-ôn 22.6141 6 14,118
Mituo 彌陀區 Mî-tô Mì-thò 14.7772 12 19,657
Zihguan (Ziguan) 梓官區 Chú-koaⁿ Tsṳ́-kôn 11.5967 15 36,417
Cishan (Qishan) 旗山區 Kî-san Khì-sân 94.6122 21 37,749
Meinong 美濃區 Bi-long Mî-nùng 120.0316 19 40,776
Liouguei (Liugui) 六龜區 La̍k-ku Liuk-kuî 194.1584 12 13,435
Jiasian (Jiaxian) 甲仙區 Kah-sian Kap-siên 124.0340 7 6,252
Shanlin 杉林區 Sam-nâ Tsham-lìm 104.0036 7 12,382
Neimen 內門區 Lāi-mn̂g Nui-mùn 95.6224 18 14,953
Maolin 茂林區 Bō͘-lîm Meu-lìm Teldreka 194.0000 3 1,893
Tauyuan (Taoyuan) 桃源區 Thô-goân Thò-ngièn Ngani 928.9800 8 4,232
Namasia (Namaxia) 那瑪夏區 Namasia Namasia Namasia 252.9895 3 3,146

Colors indicate the common language status of Hakka and Formosan languages within each division.

Part of South China Sea Islands are administered by Kaohsiung City as parts of Cijin District:

Name Chinese Mandarin Taiwanese Hakka Other name Note
Taiping Island 太平島 Tàipíng dǎo Thài-pêng Tó Thai-phìn Tó Itu Aba Island in the Spratly Islands
Zhongzhou Reef 中洲礁 Zhōngzhōu jiāo Tiong-tsiu Ta Tsûng-tsû Tsiâu
Dongsha Islands 東沙群島 Dōngshā Qúndǎo Tang-soa Kûn-tó Tûng-sâ Khiùn Tó Pratas Islands


Port of Kaohsiung

Northern portion of Kaohsiung harbor viewed from Cijin island lighthouse hill.

A major port, through which pass most of Taiwan's marine imports and exports, is located at the city but is not managed by the city government. Also known as the "Harbour Capital" of Taiwan, Kaohsiung has always had a strong link with the ocean and maritime transportation. Ferries play a key role in everyday transportation, especially for transportation across the harbour. With five terminals and 23 berths, the Port of Kaohsiung is Taiwan's largest container port and the 13th largest in the world. In 2007 the port reached its handling capacity with a record trade volume of 10.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). A new container terminal is under construction, increasing future handling capacity by 2 million TEU by 2013.

The Port of Kaohsiung is not officially a part of Kaohsiung City, instead it is administrated by Kaohsiung Port Authority, under Ministry of Transportation. There is a push for Kaohsiung City to annex the Port of Kaohsiung in order to facilitate better regional planning.

Kaohsiung is one of the biggest ports in the world for importing shark fins, sold at high prices in the restaurants and shops of Taiwan and China. They are brought in from overseas and are placed out to dry in the sun on residential rooftops near the port.

Kaohsiung International Airport

Kaohsiung International Airport

Kaohsiung City is also home to Taiwan's second largest international airport, the Kaohsiung International Airport, located in Siaogang District near the city's center. It one of the three major international airports of Taiwan, serving passengers of the entire southern and southeastern part of the country. However, the size of the airport is relatively small with short runways compared to other major airports of Taiwan due to its age and its location near the city center, making it impossible for large aircraft such as the Airbus A380 to land at the airport. As a result, plans for runway expansion or building a new airport in replacement have been proposed.

Rapid transit

The Kaohsiung MRT

The Kaohsiung Circular Light Rail

Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit opened for service in March 2008. The system uses romanizations derived from Tongyong Pinyin.

Notably, two of Kaohsiung's MRT stations, Formosa Boulevard Station and Central Park Station, were ranked among the top 50 most beautiful subway systems in the world by Metrobits.org in 2011. In 2012, the two stations respectively are ranked as the 2nd and the 4th among the top 15 most beautiful subway stops in the world by BootsnAll. The K.R.T. Girls are the official mascots of the system.

Circular Light Rail

Skyline of Kaohsiung viewed from Cianjhen Star light rail station.

Zuoying Station of THSR

The Circular Light Rail Line (also known as the Kaohsiung LRT, Kaohsiung Tram) for Kaohsiung City is a planned light rail line. Construction of Phase 1, known as the Waterside Light Rail began in June 2013 and is in full operation since September 2017. To combat air pollution, usage of the light rail, was well as buses, was made free of charge for electronic ticket holders from December to February, when air pollution is at its peak.


The city is served by the Taiwan Railways Administration's Western Line and Pingtung Line. Taiwan High Speed Rail also serves Kaohsiung City at Zuoying Station in northern Kaohsiung City. The station is an underground station, replacing the old ground level station. Additionally, these two stations are also served by Red Line of Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System.


National Stadium

Kaohsiung is home to Taiwan's largest stadium, the National Stadium, and Kaohsiung Arena. National Stadium is Taiwan's largest international-class stadium with a maximum capacity of 55,000 seats.

Kaohsiung hosted the 2009 World Games at the National Stadium. Nearly 6,000 athletes, officials, coaches, referees and others from 103 countries participated in the 2009 Kaohsiung World Games.

Kaohsiung was also home to the Kaohsiung Truth of the ASEAN Basketball League. They were the first team in the history of the league that was based outside Southeast Asia. The team folded in 2017.


The campus of National Sun Yat-sen University

Kaohsiung Municipal Kaohsiung Senior High School

Front gate of the Republic of China Military Academy

Front gate of the Republic of China Air Force Academy

Kaohsiung has a number of colleges and junior colleges offering training in commerce, education, maritime technology, medicine, modern languages, nursing, and technology, as well as various international schools and eight national military schools, including the three major military academies of the country, the Republic of China Military Academy, Republic of China Naval Academy and Republic of China Air Force Academy.


  • Kaohsiung Medical University
  • National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology
  • National Kaohsiung Normal University
  • National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism
  • National University of Kaohsiung
  • National Sun Yat-sen University
  • I-SHOU University
  • Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages

High Schools and Junior High Schools

  • Kaohsiung Municipal Kaohsiung Girls' Senior High School
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Sinsing Senior High School
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Kaohsiung Vocational High School of Commerce
  • Sansin High School of Commerce And Home Economics Kaohsiung
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Jhongjheng Senior High School
  • The Affiliated Senior High School of National Kaohsiung Normal University
  • FUHWA Senior High School
  • Saint Dominic's Catholic High School
  • Kaohsiung Dah Yung Senior High School
  • Chung-Hwa School of Arts
  • Taiwan Kaohsiung St. Paul's High School
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Gushan Senior High School
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Chung-Cheng Industrial High School
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Cianjhen Senior High School
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Rueisiang High School
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Sanmin Senior High School
  • Lichih Senior High School
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Kaohsiung Senior High School
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Kaohsiung Industrial High School
  • Shu-Te Home economics&Commercial High School
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Chungshan Senior High School
  • Guoguang Laboratory School, National Sun Yat-sen University
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Nanzih Comprehensive Senior High School
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Siaogang Senior High School
  • Kao-Feng Vocational High School
  • The Affiliated Hospitality Senior High School of National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Sanmin Home Economics & Commerce Vocational High School
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Tsoying Senior High School
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Haiching Vocational High School of Technology and Commerce
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Renwu Senior High School
  • Kaohsiung MunicipalHsin Chuang Senior High School
  • National Kangshan Senior High School
  • National Kangshan Agricultural & Industrial Vocational Senior High School
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Lujhu Senior High School
  • Chung Cheng Armed Forces Preparatory School
  • Cheng Yi Senior High School
  • National Feng-Shan Senior High School
  • National Fongshan Senior Commercial & Industrial Vocational School
  • National Feng-Hsin Senior High School
  • Kaohsiung Municipal Fu Cheng High School
  • Chung Shan Industrial & Commercial School
  • Sin-Guang Senior High School

International Schools

  • Dominican International School Kaohsiung
  • I-Shou International School
  • Kaohsiung American School
  • Kivam Junior High School
  • Morrison Academy Kaohsiung

Military Schools

  • Chung Cheng Armed Forces Preparatory School
  • Republic of China Air Force Academy
  • Republic of China Air Force Institute of Technology
  • Republic of China Army Infantry School
  • Republic of China Marine Corps School
  • Republic of China Military Academy
  • Republic of China Naval Academy

(Note: The lists above are not comprehensive.)

Conferences and events

The Kaohsiung Exhibition Center, built by the Kaohsiung City Government, was opened on 14 April 2014. It includes an exhibition space for 1,500 booths, and a convention hall for 2,000 pax.

The center hosted the Taiwan International Boat Show in May 2014. Another conference and event-related venue is the newly renovated International Convention Center Kaohsiung in 2013.

Sister cities and twin towns

Kaohsiung is twinned with the following locations.

Relative location

See also

  • Administrative divisions of Taiwan
  • List of cities in Taiwan


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External links

  • Kaohsiung City Government official website (in Chinese)
  • Kaohsiung City Government official website (in English)
  • Geographic data related to Kaohsiung at OpenStreetMap
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