Although not a major tourist destination, Taiwan's second-largest city is also a sprawling industrial port. (It is the world's third-largest container port after Hong Kong and Singapore.) Kaohsiung provides a day's worth of sightseeing for anyone in the area. Begin early (or it will be too hot) at Shou-Shan (Longevity Mountain Park) for a good view over the city (but go prepared for smog and haze to diminish that view). See the small monkeys that live there, then head to the largest temple in Kaohsiung, the Three Phoenix Temple, devoted to demon expurgator Li Na-cha. Other worthy stops include the Chungcheng Cultural Center and Little Harbor (the largest ship-dismantling yard in the world).

Good shopping can be found on Hsin-Le Street and Henry's (Wu-Fu Fourth Road). Bargains include ships' lanterns and clocks (taken from the Little Harbor yards). Also, visit a traditional market on Zhonghua and Chienguo roads. For night markets, the ones on Wufu and Leohe roads are worth checking out.

Just outside of town are Chengching (Purity) Lake and the stately Restoration Pagoda. Also nearby is the Light of Buddha Mountain (Fokuangshan), a large temple complex that houses the country's tallest Buddha. When you get hungry, head to Chichin Island for delicious seafood. 185 mi/295 km southwest of Taipei.

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