Portland’s sister city: Kaohsiung, Taiwan

This bustling port on the Republic of China’s south coast is known for its cultural and religious sites, shopping, world-class cuisine, and natural beauty.

Pagodas line either side of a long walkway which ends in a massive Buddha statue at the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum.

Fo Guang is home to the world’s largest copper-cast Buddha statue, standing nearly 36 stories tall.

Photo by Zairon

Table of Contents

Divided by the vast Pacific Ocean, it’s fitting that the symbol of Portland and Kaohsiung’s sister relationship is a boat. Every year during the Rose Festival, the Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association hosts the Dragon Boat Races on the Willamette River — a display of colorful craftsmanship and competitive spirit.

Since 1988, this partnership with Taiwan’s southern port city has floated on the warm waters of congeniality, with many goodwill missions and unique gifts — like a freshly caught, 36-pound Tillamook Bay Chinook salmon once presented to Mayor Nan Cheng Su.

Let’s see what else there is to explore.

Liuhe Night Market in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Eat street food to your heart’s content at Liuhe Night Market.

Photo by taitiro1987

Key facts

Kaohsiung City is Taiwan’s largest industrial center and the country’s “Maritime Capital.” As a powerhouse of commerce and culture, visitors can enjoy shopping in its many night markets, dine on dishes like duck rice and beef noodles at Michelin-rated restaurants, and take in the Pier-2 Art Center’s expansive galleries.

There are opportunities aplenty for outdoor recreation, from biking along the Love River and playing on Cijin Island’s black sand beaches, to hiking the mountain slopes of Shoushan, where Formosan rock monkeys swing in the banyan trees.

An aerial view of the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.

Tradition tells to the enter the dragon’s mouth and exit through the tiger.

Main attractions

Start your trip by turning bad luck into good fortune at the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas on Lotus Pond. As you hop around Kaohsiung on the metro, be sure to stop at the Dome of Light — the world’s largest public art installation made from individual pieces of colored glass. Interacting with the exhibits at the National Science and Technology Museum makes for a day of fun.

Outside of town, the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum is a sprawling monastery with temples and a massive 354-ft golden statue, while Tianliao Moon World presents otherworldly landscapes.

Other sister cities

Our travels to visit Portland’s international family have so far taken us to Ulsan, South Korea, Guadalajara, Mexico, and Bologna, Italy.

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