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Think of a typical tube or underground station and you’ll likely recall a dark, dingy place with lots of miserable commuters (or was that just my personal experience in London?!). While planning our recent trip to Taiwan, we’d seen a few pictures of what looked to be a rather fantastic metro station (the ‘Dome of Light’) in Kaohsiung at the Formosa Boulevard MRT – we’d even seen a few articles describing it as the “…world’s most beautiful metro / underground station”.
Dome of Light in Kaohsiung
Clearly, this is something we needed to see for ourselves and it just so happened to be within walking distance of the hotel we were staying at (FX Kaohsiung) – after walking through Central Park (very different from the New York one) and dropping our heavy backpacks off at the hotel, this was the very first ‘attraction’ we headed to see in Kaohsiung.
The main station itself is as you’d expect of any Taiwanese MRT station but it is the Dome of Light that makes this so special and unique. The four parts that comprise it – water, earth, light and fire – symbolize birth, growth, glory and destruction respectively, and refer to Taiwan’s democratic process and reform.
The dome was designed by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata and is approx 30 metres in diameter, and made up of around 4,500 glass pieces. It is also the ‘world’s largest domed underground station’ and took over four years to complete and install.
It is truly a stupendous site to see and not something you’d really expect to find in an underground station. We visited at around 2pm on a weekday and the viewing area directly below the Dome of Light really wasn’t that busy – in fact, most people we saw were commuters seemingly going about their normal working day, pretty much ignoring the dome (they’d likely seen it hundreds of times before).
At certain times of the day there is a also a musical light show that takes place, bringing the intricacies of the Dome of Light to life.
As with a lot of places we had visited in Taiwan outside of Taipei, we were the only western tourists there so it was easy to get pictures. We would recommend using a wide lense to capture it’s full beauty. We were also quite fortunate when we visited as someone was playing the free piano, so the quirky melodies reverberated around the area below the dome.
After our visit, we also discovered one of the best gift-shops we’d seen in all of Taiwan – it sold all variety of Taiwan transport / MRT related souvenirs plus lots of character based gifts we’d not seen elsewhere (e.g. a whole set of official Doraemon in Taiwan cards and magnets). So if you aren’t happy with your photos or don’t have a wide lense, you can get all manner of Dome of Light postcards here to take back home as a reminder of this ‘illuminating’ experience.
The Dome of Light is free to visit and can be found in the B1 level of the Formosa Boulevard Station, where the Kaohsiung MRT Red Line and Orange Line intersect.
More Taiwan inspiration
- Awesome things to do in Taipei, Taiwan for first time visitors
- Kaohsiung travel highlights, Taiwan
- Things to do in Taichung, Taiwan
- What to do in Tainan, Taiwan
- Pier 2 Art Center in Kaohsiung, Taiwan
- Cijin island day trip in Kaohsiung, Taiwan
- Taipei day trips – visiting Houtong Cat Village
- A guide to the Anping District in Tainan
- Food tour in Taipei – tasting local Taiwanese dishes
Here are some highly rated accommodation suggestions for all types of budget in Kaohsiung!
Hostel accommodations that come highly rated include:
Legend Hotel Pier2
Hostel with private and dormitory rooms near Pier2 Art center. Check out prices and availability for Legend Hotel Pier2
Brand new guesthouse located near Formosa Boulevard metro station with private and dormitory rooms. Check out prices and availability for AHIRUYAH
If you are looking for something mid range then these hotels are in excellent locations with great reviews:
Kindness Hotel Shinkuchan
Comfortable hotel a 5-minute walk from the Shinkuchan Night Market with buffet breakfast. Check out prices and availability for Kindness Hotel Shinkuchan
Just Sleep Kaohsiung Station
Clean and spacious hotel located a 5 minute stroll away from Formosa Boulevard MRT Station. Check out prices and availability for Just Sleep Kaohsiung Station
Alternatively if you are looking for something more special then treat yourself to a stay at one of these beautiful hotels in Kaohsiung:
Silks Club Kaohsiung
Modern and stylish hotel with rooftop infinity swimming pool and SPA and wellness area. Check out prices and availability for Silks Club Kaohsiung
Park Lees Hotel
Elegant hotel with floor-to-ceiling windows and 3 minutes walk from MRT Kaohsiung Arena Station. Check out prices and availability for Park Lees Hotel
Comfortable hotel with hot tub in each room and 5-minutes walk from Love River. Check out prices and availability for Starhaus Hotel
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