The Love River or Ai River (simplified Chinese: 爱河; traditional Chinese: 愛河; pinyin: Ài Hé)
The Love River is a long river (canal) in Kaohsiung. It originates in Renwu Township, Kaohsiung County, and flows 12 kilometers (8 miles) through Kaohsiung to Kaohsiung Harbor. Love River is the spine of Kaohsiung, playing a similar role to the River Thames of London. This lovely river is of great cultural significance to the people of Kaohsiung and plays an important role in its economy and kaohsiung tourism. A riverside park, the Love River Park, runs along the riverbank in downtown Kaohsiung City. A night market operates in the park, and there are three outdoor cafés, often showing live music and excellent bands.
Boat tours along the river day and night are a popular activity for tourists. The boats are now totally solar powered with the panels laid out on the roof top. The solar power boats which hold about fifteen people take tourists up and down the river. The scenery is enhanced by attractive city structures near the river, such as the Holy Rosary Cathedral, Kaohsiung Bridge, and the Kaohsiung District Court. Cultural events such as concerts and the Lantern Festival and Dragon Boat races are often held along the river.
The Love River has become an iconic image of Kaohsiung City and its tourism bureau. It is worth a visit, walk, cup of coffee, boat ride, and bike ride day or night.
City Bike stands are peppered along the Love River. Use a credit card and rent out a bike for a few hours and follow the bike path along the river towards the harbor and Pier 2 Arts Center. It makes for a great site seeing tour of Kaohsiung City.
The Love River was heavily polluted many years back in the time raw sewage and industrial waste water flowed untreated into the river. Recent efforts by the local city government to divert the waste water to the treatment plant in Cijin District has resulted in significantly improved water quality.
Before the urban development of the area, the river flowed in a wide and flat channel, used for irrigation and surrounded by farms. In the Qing Dynasty, it was called the Takao River. In 1895, the Japanese dredged the river and turned it into a canal to transport lumber from Southeast Asia. Embankments (levees) were constructed on either sides of on the river and in 1908, Kaohsiung Harbor was constructed at the mouth of the Love River, replacing the mangrove forests. In 1945.