Saturday, February 4, 2017

Kaohsiung (高雄) - How to get to Cijin Island (旗津島) - Gushan Ferry Pier (鼓山輪渡站) - Cihou lighthouse (旗後燈塔) - Cihou Fort (旗後砲台) - Cijin seafood street (旗津廟前路) - Cihou Tianhou Temple (旗津天后宮) - Qijin Ferry Terminal [Travel in Taiwan 170203: The Land Down Under Part 8 "Cijin Story"]


If you're going to Kaohsiung then Cijin Island is a must-see place.  The island acts as a natural barrier to the concrete jungle creating a U-shaped harbor for ships coming from the Taiwan Strait.   It is called an island but it is connected to the city by a bridge.  After my double-decker bus had passed by the Gushan Ferry Pier during my trip in Travel in Taiwan 170201, I got intrigued on what this place has to offer.  There were so many people at the ferry station and I was so curious on what I would experience in Cijin Island.

at the platform of the Kaohsiung MRT


 From MRT Sizhiwan Station (O1). Go to Exit 1 and walk along Lixiong Street. Turn to your right when you come across Binhai 1st Road. The Gushan Ferry Pier is at the end of the street.
Gushan Ferry Pier


Motorists can take their scooters inside the ferry.

ferry ticket prices

ferry schedules


Getting here is fast and easy.  Just board the MRT to Sizhiwan Station (O1). Go to Exit 1 and walk along Lixiong Street. Turn to your right when you come across Binhai 1st Road. The Gushan Ferry Pier is at the end of that street and you know you're there when you see its big gate. Motorcycle drivers line up to be able to carry their scooters with them while passengers enter one side of the wharf to pay the fare worth NTD 25.  

I took a selfie before the left Gushan Ferry Pier

Kaohsiung Harbor.  The tall building in the middle is the 85 Sky Tower.





My ferry

Qijin Ferry Terminal

I enjoyed the ride although it was five minutes only.  As the boat passes through the sea I cannot stop myself from thinking that Kaohsiung Harbor is like Hong Kong.   The skyscrapers of Taiwan's biggest city in the south are visibly seen from Cijin Island with the 85 Sky Tower as its most noticeable building.   If you had been to Hong Kong then you can imagine what to see once you had been here on the island.

view of Kaohsiung Harbor from Cijin Island

looking at the other side of Kaohsiung from Cijin Island

The British Consulate at Takao is visible from the harbor in Cijin Island.  It is the orange building standing on top of the hill in this photo.

Cijin is best explored by bike and visitors can directly rent one in front of the Qijin Ferry Station.  There are bikes for families as well as bikes for a single person.   Since I was thinking to burn some calories, I opted to just walk.  Seeing Cihou Mountain from the harbor tempted me to explore more the place by foot and I enjoyed it a lot.  Visitors who are more aggressive can cycle until the end of the island to discover what this place has more to offer.  But for me, seeing its lighthouse and historic fort was already enough to complete my island adventure.



I did a little hiking just to see Cihou lighthouse.

The entrance of the lighthouse facility

Luo-Mu Jie and the Cihou lighthouse



replica of the Cihou lighthouse

The inside of the Cihou lighthouse was made into a museum showing its colorful history.

The spiral staircase of the lighthouse leading to the lantern room on its top.

From the premises of the Cihou lighthouse, visitors can get delighted with spectacular views of Kaohsiung Harbor ...

... especially when big boats enter the city.

A tale of two ships. 
The big boat that I watched as it enters Kaohsiung Harbor


A white building on top of the Cihou Mountain had been the guardian of ships in Kaohsiung for more than a hundred years.  Its color was perfect for the sunny blue sky during my visit tempting me to take a lot of selfies.  Admission is free in Cihou lighthouse and visitors have to make a short hike to reach the building.   Unfortunately, visitors could not go to the top but I was able to see its spiral staircase leading to its lantern room.   Tourists can also watch big ships entering the Kaohsiung Harbor and I was one of those delighted to record a video of a very big boat getting inside the premises of the city's busy port.

From the Cihou lighthouse, I followed a trail leading to Cihou Fort.




a portion of Cihou Fort


The kids again




The walls of Cihou Fort
view of Cihou Fort as I stand on its orange arch bridge

Notice the big ships on the sea
Visitors can see different views of Kaohsiung from Cihou Fort

Taiwan Strait from Cihou Fort

Cijin Beach from Cihou Fort

Located also at the peak of the Mount Cihou is an old fort.  There were no cannons pointed at the sea but visitors can enjoy taking pictures of the view of the harbor on one side while on the other side is the beachfront of Cijin.   You won't notice these big ships in Kaohsiung unless you go to a high place like the Cihou Mountain.  They were so many at the Taiwan Strait and they could be commercial fishing boats.   I was very careful in taking selfies because I could easily fall off from the high walls of the fort.  



Cihou Star Tunnel

I got tempted to explore Cijin Beach while I stand on the fort.  Its sand was color gray and the strong waves from the sea were no match to Kaohsiung Harbor's natural barrier.   After having fun in the Cihou Fort, I followed the road leading beach and I was surprised to see the Cihou Star Tunnel.  Unfortunately, the tourist attraction was somewhat being maintained so it was off-limits to visitors.  But based on its description, it was called the Cihou Start Tunnel because stars or constellation patterns are projected on the top of the tunnel as if you were like walking in space.  I don't know the reason why it was closed but had it been open my experience in Cijin would had been a lot different.


Cihou Fort as seen from Cijin Beach.  On this photo, you can see people standing on it.


fishing rods on Cijin Beach

Yeah!

Visitors having with the waves

Two men were busy preparing for their fishing rods on the beach and asked them if there were many fishes.  They both said “yes” and I was surprised to know that fishes can go up to the beachfront of Cijin Island. Haha! Kids and teenagers loved teasing the sea.  I also joined them but I was very careful not to let my shoes be touched by the big waves.  


Cijin seafood street



A lady as she records the orders of ther customers

It was almost lunchtime when I decided to go back to Sizhiwan.  A nice looking street full of vendors caught my attention and it was the seafood street of Cijin.  It was like a typical night market where visitors can dine and I was mostly intrigued by the stores selling fresh seafood.   I entered one store and a lady explained to me in English about the prices of the food.  Since the menu was in Chinese, I just pointed to the food that was on the table of the customers to make my transaction fast and easy.



My lunch in Cijin Island

For a price of NTD 200, I was given a plate of fried rice and another plate containing small squids in a sour sauce.   The fried rice had some shrimp but the squids were the more interesting to eat.  I initially thought that the squids were fried but they weren't.   They were a bit fresh and its sour sauce was perfect for my taste buds.   I don't know about the other stores but each kind of seafood here Cijin generally costs NTD 100.  

Along the seafood street in Cijin Island are many bicycle sidecars that one can ride to tour around the town.


Cihou Tianhou Temple



The inside of the temple

Before I went back to the Qijin Ferry Station, I noticed a temple that I was trying to look for.  Cihou Tianhou Temple was built in 1673 by a group of fisherman.  When it was established, it became a center of worship and development on the island.   As a travel blogger who had been to many places, it was fascinating to know that the whole Seafood Street was an ancient road that people used to walk on during the Qing Dynasty. 


Back to Qijin Ferry Terminal



until we meet again Cijin Island!

I returned to the city by boarding again the boat back to Gushan Ferry Terminal for the same ticket price of NTD 25.  I left the island. But I did not return to my hostel empty-handed of wonderful experiences, after exploring its old buildings to its seafood street.  It is not surprising that many people come here to create and share new memories.  It can be ordinary. It can also be out of this world.  Here in Kaohsiung, there is always a different version of a Cijin story.

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