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Kaohsiung travel memories begin at Love River

By Nancy T. Lu / Taiwan News, Staff Writer
Photos from Kaohsiung City Government

Changing Kaohsiung, an international port since the 19th century, is today a polished jewel in southern Taiwan waiting to be rediscovered.

Visitors may have just an hour, an afternoon or a day to check out the sights. The advice of the local residents is likely to be: take a stroll along the Love River. Go sip a cup of aromatic coffee in an open-air cafe. Board the Love Boat near the Zhongzheng Bridge for a leisurely and romantic 20-minute cruise along the river for only NT$50 or join a 100-minute harbor tour (ticket costs NT$100) and set out for the open sea from the Jhenai Pier (formerly known as Pier 12).

Those who call Kaohsiung City their home today are very proud of the Love River, formerly known as Kaohsiung River, and what has become of it after careful planning and development. When illuminated at nightfall, the setting with dancing reflections in the water calls to mind the Seine River in Paris (minus the Notre Dame Cathedral but with the beautiful Gothic-style Holy Rosary Cathedral instead a few minutes?walk from the Wufu Bridge).

Those with time in their hands can experience the ride on the Love Boat. This is a chance to
Chatting with friends over drinks by the Love River
during a regatta is one great way to spend time in Kaohsiung/Photos from Kaohsiung city government.
get a close look at how clean the river is. The passenger boat takes visitors to the Singuang Pier, where the towering Kaohsiung 85 Building dominates the southern capital's skyline. This space capable of accommodating a crowd of 150,000 has been designed for the biggest outdoor concerts in Kaohsiung.

The three-car Kaohsiung Toot Toot Train for sightseeing tourists during weekends and traditional festival periods stops at the Singuang Pier, too. The round-trip ride covering 27 kilometers offers an unobstructed view of the Love River. A ticket with popcorn snack and a drink costs NT$180 and one with meal comes up to NT$250. Inquire at the tourist counter at the Kaohsiung Train Station about the train schedule.

Once in Kaohsiung, plans should definitely include an actual visit to the Love River, especially the developed riverbank stretch where there are plenty of attractions catering to every interest.

For years the stench of the polluted wastewater flowing down the river drove people away. However, the dredging of the riverbed and the building of underground sewage and drainage pipes to divert the wastewater elsewhere for treatment in recent years have paid off in transforming the meandering Love River into a tourist destination.

Five city officials, including former Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh, three city councilors and the top education official from the city literally jumped into the river during the Dragon Boat Festival in 2004. One of them emerged with fish in his pocket to dramatically prove that the once dying river was alive once more.

Big physical improvements on the riverbanks especially near the Zhongzheng Bridge and the Wufu Bridge have contributed to the attraction of the Love River by day and night. In fact, this area along the Love River is where the annual major celebrations like the Lantern Festival and the Dragon Boat Festival unfold complete with colorful fireworks and laser light displays not to mention dancing fountains. Each well-organized happening easily attracts a crowd of almost 200,000.

Different water sports competitions, appealing to sailing, windsurfing and regatta enthusiasts, have likewise transformed the river into a popular city arena for exciting spectator events in southern Taiwan

Copyright © 2006 Tourism Bureau,Rep. of China (Taiwan) All Rights Reserved.