Move over Taipei; gay Kaohsiung is the new darling in town. Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, may get all the international attention. But Kaohsiung is no stranger to the global spotlight. This city hosted the 2009 World Games with tremendous fanfare. Gay Kaohsiung also morphed into a modern city with a rapid transportation system and the second largest Taiwanese international airport.
Kaohsiung, in southwest Taiwan, has beautiful sites and a vibrant culture. If you need a break from the noise, get out of Taipei and head down to Kaohsiung. This new-old city will take your breath away.
Local must-visit attractions
The best way to absorb local culture is to check out Kaohsiung’s night markets. The two largest, Kaisyuan and Jin-Zuan, are the ones to visit. Kaisyuan Market has over 1000 food vendors and stalls to sample while Jin-Zuan Market has about 500 vendors of authentic local food and drinks.
Lotus Pond is an artificial lake on the east side of Kaohsiung. Famous for the lotus plants on the lake and the numerous temples around the lake, this attraction has been a popular tourist destination since 1951. Lotus Pond was also the site for several watersports for World Games 2009, including canoe polo, water skiing and the dragon boat.
While you’re near Lotus Pond, you’ll also want to visit Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, another famous attraction. This temple, built in 1976, has a Tiger Tower and a Dragon Tower serving not only as a place to worship, but a representation of traditional Kaohsiung culture.
Thriving Kaohsiung nightlife
Kaohsiung is all about hospitality and having a great time. Taipei may be the king of nightlife, but Kaohsiung rivals Taipei’s bar and club scene, from clubs to live music.
How cool is it to discover a “discotheque” in Kaohsiung? At this ultra-hip club, Lamp Disco, young hipsters, sexy babes and expats mingle and dance together to the latest beat. This nightclub plays hits that will make you dance — and you can see internationally renowned DJs like Andrew Chow from Singapore’s Zouk Club to get you into the groove.
Did someone say “all-you-can-drink?” Muse is the best place for champagne services and best of all — there’s an all-you-can-drink menu. Beautiful people flock to Muse for the EDM and fabulous DJs. Muse also has a cafe if champagne is not your cup of tea. For the ladies (and, ahem, gay men), Wednesday is Hunky Boys’ Night — which always attracts a massive crowd for a fun night of lust.
If you need to take a break from EDM and bright neon lights, Brickyard is the best place to mingle. This warehouse-inspired space has different theme nights including a gay night, Rainbow Thursday, and Brickyard always teems with fun party energy. A go-to club for expats, Brickyard plays hip-hop and Latin music for a young crowd.
Live Music Venues and lounges
Not a fan of clubs? No worries, Kaohsiung also offers excellent live music venues and cozy lounges for people who enjoy a mellow night out. Located in the famous art district, Pier-2, In Our Time is a live music mecca that houses a bar, restaurant, gallery and radio station. Sunday is the best day to check out this artsy spot. In Our Time is a hipster haven — they come here for its chill ambiance and a vast array of craft brews.
Rocks is the best venue in town for alternative music fans. This place exudes an indie vibe and is the best place to rock out with both local and foreign bands. If this is your first time checking out Rocks, make sure you get clear directions from the locals. Rumor has it that Rocks is so hip, first-timers will have a hard time finding this dark, brick basement.
If you have expensive taste, Barcode offers a luxurious experience for a sophisticated crowd. This upscale bar has a posh vibe and serves fancy — and pricey — cocktails. Barcode is notorious for its strict dress code. So if you want to impress the crowd, you better step up and dress up.
Mercury Bar is another favorite local hang-out spot with an excellent beer selection and friendly staff. Patrons come to this cozy lounge to socialize in a soothing environment. Hosting regular live music events, Mercury Bar also serves comfort food like hot dogs and fries to satisfy your hunger after a night of drinking.
Gay Kaohsiung Nightlife
We know we mentioned Brickyard and Rainbow Thursday already, but we just wanted to make sure you didn’t miss out. Every Thursday night, boys come to Brickyard and shake their booties to the sound of hip-hop and music with a Latin beat. Already a favorite hangout place for boys and girls, Brickyard spices things up with this high energy party. If you only have time to check out one event at Kaohsiung, Rainbow Thursday is worth it.
Hi-Man is the premier spot in gay Kaohsiung. Conveniently located by the train station, this sauna has an excellent facility for guys to relax and unwind. Hi-Man also has different theme nights, from Student Night to Solider Night. Don’t forget to check out the bar.