Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second city, is a popular stop on tours around the south of the island. Known in Dutch times as ‘Tancoya’, it expanded rapidly during the Japanese era to become one of the world’s largest container ports, and now boasts a population of 2.8 million.
Numerous vestiges of the city’s historic past endure in the old quarters of Zuoying, Yancheng and on Cijin Island, with its sweeping views across the water of Kaohsiung’s skyline. Dominating the panorama is the prong-shaped profile of the Tuntex 85 Sky Tower, Taiwan’s second-tallest, and most quirky building. The structure derives its unusual form from the Chinese character denoting ‘tall’, which also happens to be the first character of the city’s name.
More fine vistas extend from the top of nearby Shaochuantou Hill, where the former British Consulate at Takao stands as a reminder of a brief period in the 1860s when Queen Victoria ruled supreme over the territory. Today, the handsome old red-brick residence houses a smart café and art gallery.