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.
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.
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.