Kaohsiung is a modern and very progressive city. Towering high rises and frenetic business commuting set a pace that is much like any large, high-tech city in the world. However, there are a number of Taiwanese standards of etiquette that most visitors should try to be mindful of.
By all means have a drink or two, but public drunkenness or becoming too intoxicated inside someone's private home are considered no-nos. The superstitions regarding death are taken very seriously here, so a visitor should never give a clock as a gift, or write somebody's name in red. Whistling at night is said to bring out evil night spirits, so refrain from whistling during the evening. Shoes should be removed before entering a person's home.
The New Taiwan dollar (NT$) is the currency of Kaohsiung. It comes in five paper denominations: NT$2,000, 1,000, 500, 200 and 100. Coins in circulation are NT$50, 20, 10, 5 and 1. It is easy to change money at any hotel or bank, but currency exchange offices are very scarce outside of the airport.
Credit cards are universally accepted. ATMs are prevalent, being located on almost every street with multiple cash boxes in the main shopping areas. Tipping is not required but is generally accepted for good service in fine dining restaurants.
Kaohsiung faces the Taiwan Strait so it is susceptible to changing weather conditions coming in from the sea. Kaohsiung enjoys a fairly tropical climate with an annual average daily temperature of 23°C. In the cooler months daily averages of around 18°C are the norm.
The wet season in Kaohsiung runs from April to September and occasional monsoonal storms can be expected during this period. Rains can be heavy at this time but not to the extent of downpours experienced in the wet seasons of say, Southeast Asia. The wet season coincides with the Kaohsiung summer, with daily temperature averages of well over 32°C.
Since Kaohsiung is host to the largest sea harbor in Taiwan, sea transportation is the main way that people enter and leave Kaohsiung. There are cargo and passenger ferry services here many times a day, every day of the year. However, most tourist and business travelers choose to fly in and out of Kaohsiung International Airport (KHH).
Getting to and from the airport is best achieved by Kaohsiung MRT subway, with the red line connecting both the domestic and international terminals with Kaohsiung Station. Buses also run from the airport into the city while car rental and taxi services are available in both terminals.
Currently under development in Kaohsiung is a mass transit system that will consist of new expressways and an elevated magnetic train similar to the one in Shanghai. There are one million motorcycles in Kaohsiung and no small number of bicycles. The already completed underground metro part of the mass transit plan covers the main areas of town very well.
Taxis are a convenient way to get around town but many drivers don't speak English so it is best to carry your destination written in Chinese. It is also possible to rent bicycles at many MRT stations and drop them off at any other station that acts as a rental point.
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