Best Hotels in Kaohsiung by Location, Budget and Things to Do
Kaohsiung is the second-largest city in Taiwan. While traditionally known as an industrial or port city, this charming southern town has successfully developed arts and culture scenes and become a popular holiday destination. If you are looking for the best hotels in Kaohsiung for your upcoming visit, you’ve come to the right place!
I have lived in Kaohsiung for more than three years. While I did not need to check in to hotels, I know the city very well and have been to many local hotels for various occasions. In addition to my local knowledge, I also did thorough research, so you don’t have to. I promise you won’t need to look anywhere else to find your best place to stay in Kaohsiung after reading my detailed neighborhood and hotel guide.
In this article, I’ll introduce seven best areas to stay in Kaohsiung with things to do in each neighborhood. If it’s your first time in Kaohsiung, it will help you get your bearings. Kaohsiung is huge; therefore, understanding key areas is essential for travelers who like to stay close to the main attractions.
Below each area guide, see my recommendations for Kaohsiung hotels in a diverse range of budgets. I handpicked these recommendations based on the location, amenities, and reputation, as well as my direct/indirect experiences.
At the bottom of this article, check out two 5-star luxury hotels in Kaohsiung, which are excluded from my area guide. If comfort and style are more critical than the location for you, you will appreciate these choices.
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7 Best Areas to Stay in Kaohsiung
#1. Formosa Boulevard Station
Best for travelers who use public transport
Formosa Boulevard Station is Kaohsiung’s central MRT stop, where the Orange Line and the Red Line meets. If you are visiting the city for a few days, the most accessible and convenient transport means is Kaohsiung MRT. And nestled near this transport hub would save you time and energy. (I recommend buying this Kaohsiung Unlimited MRT Pass.)
Did you know Formosa Station is one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world? Above the ground, its glass pyramid architecture resembles the Louvre Pyramid. Under the ground features the most substantial work of glass art in the world!
The Dome of Light was created by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata. The dome tells the history of the universe and echoes the message of hope and rebirth, using 4,500 glass panels. It was built right beneath where the historically significant protest (2.28) had taken place to commemorate the birth of Taiwan’s democracy.
Things to Do near Formosa Boulevard Station:
- Appreciate glass arts and mini-concert at one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world
- Gobble up night market snacks at Liuhe Night Market
Best Hotels in Kaohsiung near Formosa Boulevard Station
Hotel Dua Kaohsiung
> My Favorite Kaohsiung Boutique Hotel! (4*, Affordable Luxury)
Hotel Dua (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is an elegant design hotel in the heart of Kaohsiung. Dùa means home in Taiwanese, a daily spoken native language of Taiwan. This modern and stylish hotel with the comfort of home is one of the best choices for a couple or family travelers. Our friends stayed in this hotel and had only great things to say about it. Don’t miss out on its Dim Sum restaurant and rooftop bar.
> Highly Recommend (4*, Mid-range, Kaohsiung Boutique Hotel)
Greet Inn (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is technically closer to City Council MRT station and Liu He Night Market. However, this brand new boutique hotel is not to be overlooked! It features a clean, spacious room with style. While the restaurant is only open to its guests only, a cute coffee cart is pulled out in front of the hotel for morning commuters. My friends said their stay was above and beyond their expectations.
> Value Stay (3*, Budget)
Jia’s Inn (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is another hotel located 2 minutes away from Liu He Night Market and 8 minutes away from Formosa Boulevard Station. Marked by the iconic red door, this hip hotel features whimsical and young designs. Check out their cozy bar on the second floor. Free bicycle rentals and breakfast included. Jia’s Inn is a great value for budget-minded travelers.
#2. Kaohsiung Central Park
Best for the young and hip travelers, nightlife
Kaohsiung Central Park is one of the largest urban greeneries in Kaohsiung. During the day, many locals – especially the elders – hang out in the park or enjoy a peaceful stroll. But when the shops at Xin Jue Jiang open its doors in the early afternoon, the neighborhood wakes up to be a hip, happening place. By night, the young crowd hunting for trendy fashion and food fill up the streets. This area is an excellent choice if you are looking for nightlife.
Things to Do near Kaohsiung Central Park:
- Shop affordable fashion at Xin Jue Jiang
- Taste the best milk teas in Kaohsiung
- Stroll at Central Park
- Enjoy your night out at bars and lounges
- Shop Asian beauty essentials (K-beauty & J-beauty) at Poya
- Get year-supply of cute stationery at 9×9
Best Hotels in Kaohsiung near Central Park
Hotel Indigo Kaohsiung
> Highly Recommend (5*, Luxury)
Hotel Indigo (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is one of a few Kaohsiung’s 5-star hotels across from the Central Park. Located in the hip neighborhood, this hotel in a slick glass tower exudes a luxurious vibe. Modern and trendy rooms incorporate colorful designs, whereas stylish bathrooms boast funky blue tiles. Some suites have city views overlooking lush green Central Park. The open-air rooftop bar has one of the best night views of the Kaohsiung city. Even if you don’t stay in this hotel, it’s worthwhile to visit the bar for the view and creative cocktails. The Wok, a chic restaurant on the second floor, and the cafe downstairs are also open to any visitors.
Brio Hotel (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is another excellent hotel near Central Park, right at the doorstep of Central Park station. Tastefully decorated rooms have a beautiful city view. Its classy restaurant & bar “The Lookout” offers fine dining experience with Kaohsiung city views. Many guests highly praise the hotel’s attention to detail and excellent guest services – including the friendly staff, a smartphone with a data plan, complimentary snack bars.
#3. Kaohsiung Arena
Best for trend-setters and shoppers
Do you enjoy shopping? Like to be in the smack middle of happening? Then, Kaohsiung Arena is the perfect place to stay for you.
The Hanshin Department store is one of two main shopping malls in Kaohsiung, conveniently housed near Kaohsiung Arena MRT station. You can find both international and local brands, Eslite, gift shops, food court, and restaurants inside the mall. The surrounding area is dotted with trendy shops, cafes, restaurants, dessert shops, as well as casual and lounge bars/clubs.
Also, this area is an excellent choice if you need to take an HSR train. Zuoying Station is only three MRT stops away from Kaohsiung Arena Station on the Red Line. Or, a taxi ride would cost you about NT$200 (USD 6).
Things to Do near Kaohsiung Arena:
- Shop gifts and gourmet souvenirs at Hanshin Department Arena
- Eat your way through Ruifeng Night Market
- Explore trendy cafes, restaurants and dessert shops
Best Hotels in Kaohsiung near Arena
H2O Hotel Kaohsiung
> Kaohsiung 5-Star Hotel (Luxury)
H2O Hotel Kaohsiung (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is a glamorous high-rise hotel with a fancy illuminated facade. Stylish rooms are worthy of note; however, amenities such as a rooftop pool, a posh bar, and three high-end restaurants are what sets this hotel apart from others. Guests receive complimentary breakfast. I recommend dining at restaurants at H2O. Particularly, I was quite impressed by gourmet menus and impeccable services at Capstone Steakhouse.
Park Lees Hotel
> Kaohsiung Boutique Hotel (4*, Affordable Luxury)
Park Lees Hotel (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is a chic hotel in a perfect location. The hotel sits in an elegant building right off Kaohsiung Arena MRT station and 5-min away from Ruifeng Night Market. Tastefully decorated rooms feel cozy with warm-tone accent colors. If you are not keen on having European cuisine at the in-house restaurant, plenty of cafes and restaurants are available right at the doorstep.
#4. Sizihwan & Yancheng District
Best for Kaohsiung first-time visitors and budget travelers
Gushan (Sizihwan) and Yancheng Districts are homes to the most famous Kaohsiung attractions. Thanks to Kaohsiung Harbor, these communities were the economic centers of the city during early industrial development. Now the old neighborhoods house many historical sites, art galleries and cultural shops in renovated industrial warehouses, and classic Taiwanese restaurants frequent by old-timers.
If it’s your first time in Kaohsiung, you will most likely spend most or all of your time in these two adjunct districts. The convenience and accessibility make these areas the best place to stay in Kaohsiung for tourists – especially for first-time visitors.
On the other hand, this area might not be the best for those who want to avoid heavy tourist traffic. These communities are both residential and touristy (read: crowded all the time). On the weekends, a slew of tourists and residents congest the roads and pedestrian walkaways.
Oddly for the tourist central, hotel options are somewhat limited in the areas. (Perhaps because they used to be residential communities.) With a few exceptions, you will mostly find small independent hotels, hostels, or Bed and Breakfast. On the bright side, the majority of accommodation here is budget-friendly.
Things to Do in Sizihwan & Yancheng District:
- Imbibe creative spirit in Pier 2 Art Center (Instagram hot place)
- Sip a cup of coffee with the Kaohsiung Harbor view from a former banana warehouse
- Take a ferry to Cijin Island, explore the island and eat fresh seafood
- Hike up the Shoushan Mountain with wild monkeys
- Explore the revived old neighborhood and taste classic Taiwanese food at Yan Chen Eaters Alley
Best Hotels in Sizihwan & Yancheng District
Chateau de Chine Hotel Kaohsiung
> Kaohsiung Boutique Hotel (4*, Mid-Range)
Chateau de Chine Hotel Kaohsiung (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is a vintage glam hotel in Yancheng District. Renowned Japanese designer Tadashi Yamane created the glass-paneled exterior, which colorfully illuminates at night. Each floor of the hotel curates western and eastern artwork. Chateau de Chine is a rare Muslim-friendly accommodation offering Halal cuisine, in addition to dim sum and Japanese. Complimentary airport pickup service is also available for guests.
City Suites Chenai
> Bang for the Buck (4*, Mid-Range)
City Suites Chenai (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is one of the Kaohsiung branches of the Taiwanese hotel chain. Chenai location is across the street from the Pier 2 Art Center in Sizihwan. While key Kaohsiung attractions are a stone’s throw away, this sophisticated hotel is a strategic home base for any travelers exploring beyond Sizihwan. It takes 2 minutes on foot to a light rail station (Sizihwan-Dream Mall) and 5 minutes on foot to Sizihwan MRT Station. Upgraded rooms feature balconies and the Kaohsiung Harbor view.
Smokey Joe’s Apartment
> Unique Hotel (3*, Budget)
Smokey Joe’s Apartment (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is a hip hotel housed in a 5-story building with vertical gardens. This hotel with uniquely decorated rooms is perfect for budget travelers who are looking for something different from an ordinary hotel. The masterminds behind Smokey Joe’s Tex-Mex restaurant created this novel accommodation. That said, check out the American diner at the Lobby decorated with a parked classic Chevy. Located in the heart of Yancheng District, Smokey Joe’s Apartment is within walking distance to the Pier 2 Art Center.
#5. Kaohsiung Main Station
Best for traveling beyond Kaohsiung via train or bus
Kaohsiung Main Station is a transport hub for the TRA railway and public bus. If Kaohsiung is your pitstop on your round-the-island journey, it makes sense to stay in this area for convenience.
Kaohsiung Main Station services regular trains via the TRA railway that makes a loop around the Taiwan island. (Don’t get confused with #7 Zuoying Station, which only serves bullet trains.) It’s a cheaper, slower train than High Speed Rail (HSR). Although I recommend taking HSR to the Western cities, it doesn’t service the further South or East of the island. Therefore, you might need to take a TRA train to the towns like Pingtung, Kenting, Taitung, and Hualien.
For those who are planning a round-the-island via train, 5 Day Joint Train Pass (THSR+TRA) comes with discount and might make sense.
Also, if you prefer to take a highway express bus from Kaohsiung to other cities, the Aloha Bus station is near Kaohsiung Main Station as well. That makes #5 Kaohsiung Main Station enticing location to stay for city hoppers!
This area is also the most diverse community in the city. If you are interested in a multicultural dining experience, you can easily find Indonesian and Vietnamese restaurants and grocery stores.
Things to Do near Kaohsiung Main Station:
- Buy cheap (wholesale) fashion at Hou Yi Shopping District
- Try international food at the most multicultural neighborhood in Kaohsiung
- Shop electronic items
Best Hotels near Kaohsiung Main Station
Just Sleep Kaohsiung
> Vegan-friendly Boutique Hotel (3*, Mid-Range, Kaohsiung Boutique Hotel)
Just Sleep is a popular hotel chain in Taiwan, owned by the Silks Hotel Group. Just Sleep Kaohsiung (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is an affordable hotel near Kaohsiung Main Station. I particularly recommend for vegetarian/vegan travelers. What I like the most about the hotel is its vegan buffet restaurant, Double Veggie. This restaurant offers an excellent breakfast for guests (free) and vegetarian dining experience (lunch/dinner at a charge) with a variety of creative vegan cuisine. Beautifully floral murals decorate the spacious, clean rooms. Guests can also select from various types of pillows for comfortable sleep. The bathroom features luxury toiletry by Cha Tzu Tang, Taiwanese skincare brand sold in department stores.
> Best Value Hotel (3*, Budget)
PAPO’A Hotel (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is the best value hotel in Kaohsiung, conveniently located near Main Station. Don’t look over this hidden gem tucked behind the station. This modern hotel with an industrial look has excellent customer reviews and ratings. The cozy place offers impressive foreign language support in English, French, Japanese, and Chinese. Hou Yi Shopping District is a stone’s throw away from this charming hotel.
Kindness Hotel Kaohsiung Main Station
> Value Stay (3*, Budget)
Kindness Hotel (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is an excellent hotel chain for budget travelers. While many branches are spread all over Kaohsiung, the one near Kaohsiung Main Station is perfect for travelers who want to stay near Kaohsiung Main Station. While the hotel features clean, basic rooms and amenities, it is known for its fantastic breakfast and midnight snacks. That is an excellent value for the price!
#6. Love River
Kaohsiung’s Love River is one of many famous sights that draw the mob of tourists and locals. For a romantic evening, you can cruise on a gondola ride or stroll along the river. However, if you prefer to gaze at the light reflections on the water, staying at riverside hotels can be a great idea.
Another advantage of staying along the Love River is the accessibility to all the events nearby. Many of the notable Kaohsiung events take place here. Just hop over to participate in (or watch from your room) weekend events and annual festivals such as New Year’s fireworks, Lantern Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Kaohsiung Film Festival, etc.
Things to Do near Love River:
- Take a walk along the Love River
- Cruise the Love River on a gondola ride for a romantic evening
- Culture yourself at Kaohsiung Museum of History, Kaohsiung Museum of Labor, and Kaohsiung Film Archive
- Enjoy frequent events and festivals along the river.
Best Hotels in Kaohsiung with Love River View
Ambassador Hotel Kaohsiung
> Highly Recommend Best View Hotel (5*, Affordable Luxury)
Ambassador Hotel (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is a classy, upscale hotel with the best Love River view in Kaohsiung. The restaurants at Ambassador are top-notch, which serve dim sum over a fabulous harbor view (second floor) and the best Sichuan cuisine in Kaohsiung (20th floor). My family members from the U.S. frequently return to stay and host events at Ambassador, and I had numerous opportunities to experience the ins and outs of the hotel. While I think rooms can use some design upgrades for more pow-wow, I can confidently say their amenities and staff are superb. Also, you might be happy to hear that this five-star hotel won’t break your bank.
Harbour 10 Hotel
> Family-Friendly Kaohsiung Boutique Hotel (4*, Affordable Luxury)
Harbour 10 Hotel (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is a modern hotel along the Love River. Polished rooms are well-designed and chic. Some units feature a spectacular river view from the room or a bathtub. Harbour 10 is an excellent choice for family travelers with small children as the hotel provides a spacious playroom with electric cars and other toys.
#7. Zuoying High-Speed Rail Station
Best for travelers who has an early morning train to catch
I would recommend staying near Zuoying Station only if you have an early morning train to catch. You can also hop on a Kenting Express Bus (purchase discount ticket here) or a limousine bus to Fo Guang Shan in front of the Zuoying Station.
Although the area is close to Lotus Pond, one of the unmissable things to do in Kaohsiung, it is further out from other main attractions (#4 above). Plus, I don’t see many outstanding accommodations in this area worth the daily hassle.
By the way, Zuoying Station is Kaohsiung’s HSR stop. Taiwan High Speed Railway (THSR) zips you through the West of the island in less than two hours from one end to the other. Does your Taiwan itinerary include city hoppings from Kaohsiung to Tainan, Taichung or Taipei? Without hesitating, I recommend taking HSR over a regular train. It saves you so much time, which justifies a hefty price. Plus, you can take advantage of FOREIGNER DISCOUNTS by purchasing a one-way ticket or 3-day tourist pass here!
Things to Do near Zuoying Station:
- Visit Lotus Pond to see the largest Buddhist and Taoist statues on the water.
- Take an express bus to visit Fo Guang Shan or Kenting.
Best Hotels in Kaohsiung near Zuoying Station
> Value Stay (4*, Mid-range)
Garden Villa (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is a hotel super close to the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas on Lotus Pond and an only 5-minute drive away from an HSR station. A free shuttle to Zuoying Station is available for guests. Garden Villa features an outdoor pool and fitness center.
Wenke 24 B&B
Kaohsiung Hotels 5-Star Luxury
Wait! Continue reading before you book your hotel. I’m not trying to make it more challenging for you, but you won’t regret it.
I want to introduce two more 5-star hotels in Kaohsiung. They are not included in the list above because they are away from the seven neighborhoods. However, these hotels are worth considering, especially if you are a luxury traveler who prioritizes comfort and style.
Silks Club Kaohsiung
> My Favorite Ultra-Luxury Hotel! (5*, Luxury)
Silks Club Kaohsiung (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is a top-rated luxury hotel in Kaohsiung’s financial district. Don’t be fooled by its unfancy exterior. The moment you walk in, you will be mesmerized by the 4D kinetic installation “Dancing Particles.” The elegant rooms are minimalist yet equipped with Boss sound systems, complimentary minibars, and Nespresso machines. And a marble bathroom boasts a city view from the tub. Silks Club also features a rooftop infinity pool, gym, spa, and sauna. (Recently, K-pop star Hyun Ah posted Instagram photos from this pool, which made news in Korea.) Even if you don’t stay at Silks Club, check out its high-end teppanyaki grill, dapper sake bar, and swanky cocktail bar.
Grand Hi Lai Hotel
> Neoclassical Luxury Hotel (5*, Luxury)
Grand Hi Lai Hotel (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda) is another five-star hotel in Kaohsiung worthy of note. Housed in a neoclassical building annexed with the upmarket Hanshin Department, Grand Hi Lai features an outdoor swimming pool, spa, gym, and plenty of dining options. Among 13 in-house restaurants, Grand Hi-Lai Harbor on the 43rd floor is an excellent buffet restaurant with quality sushi and is very popular. (Be sure to make a reservation if you’d like to try.) The high-society ladies of Kaohsiung frequent the lobby cafe and in-house restaurants during the day. Although I cannot say the decor and atmosphere are my taste, the hotel is a popular choice among elders for its comfortable luxury features.
Are you still having difficulty deciding where to stay in Kaohsiung? Or, do you want to double-check if your choice is the right one? Check more Kaohsiung hotels and compare below.