Recently, I have an opportunity to travel to Kaohsiung. As usual being a loner who love to travel alone without taking care or worry about others...I went there without any travel companion. At first was a bit worried since this is main Chinese speaking place. To be exact most of them speaking in Hokkien Dialect. Nothing new to my ears since my home town is Taiping. Most Chinese in Taiping speaking in Hokkien too. WTH! Feeling like going back hometown. If you don't know Hokkien you can speak in Mandarin and Cantonese. For me who knows only one or two words of Chinese, I just opt to use google apps translation tools and also body language. I love Kaohsiung since this place is less chaotic. Not many cars and people here are more calm and relax. I feel so much of ease everywhere I walk.
Here are some tips for those Non Chinese speaking who are traveling to Kaohsiung.
1. Get iPass
You can get iPass at Kaohsiung airport. The counter opposite Starbuck and visitor information at the Kaohsiung aiport. You won't miss it. iPass is like an electronic wallet. You can just tap it on Metro, buses and TRA. Then if you have enough along the journey , you can always top up the value at convenience stores like Hi Life , Family Mart and 7 Eleven. I kind of love using this since I don't have to ask how much or bring small change. I just tap at the machine. You can save a lot too pay using iPass. The discount for some place is like 15% to 20%.
Advisable to research where to go and how to go. I don't take cab at all. I just use subway, bus and walk if its not too far. Subway in Kaohsiung is very easy since they only have 2 lines. Unlike Taipei where they have massive lines. If you are daring enough to ride a bicycle then it will be easier too. Myself don't have confident to ride a bicycle in city or town center. Public bicycle are conveniently available for rent. Just make sure your iPass able you to pay for it. I tried mine once but it require me to register something so I am a bit put off with it.
At first I was thinking to use iTaiwan free internet. I got myself registered. However, its usual when free things is always has the limitation. I bought a local sim card for my convenient travel. I need to call and message one of 'Mingsu' owner to pick me up at bus stop since the place is a bit inner and no public transport are available.
Advisable to install google translate app. Even though its has limitation but still helps throughout journey. I use the voice one. I talk use my language and then it will talk back with Chinese. Its fun to use this apps.
It is always a habit to book accommodation walking distance to subway. I booked mine at the center of 2 lines and also walking distance to Liuhe and Nanhua Nightmarket.
Since I have a limitation due to religion. So I went on as vegetarian and sometimes add some seafood. Breakfast was well taken care off since the place I stayed provide good vegetarian breakfast. I normally eat some street food during day time and reward myself with good dinner at night. Everything base on personal judgement.
I enjoy this trip so much. In general people I met are willing to help and kind heart. Anywhere you travel the communication is not so much of the barrier. You just need to travel with open mind and adapt to the situation. I will share on how I spend 11Days / 10 Nights in Kaohsiung in next post.