About a 30 minute drive east from Kaohsiung City lies the bustling little township of Qishan (also spelled Cishan). Qishan along with Meinong which is just across the river offer up good local food and picturesque mountainous views. It has a population of about 39,000.
Qishan is all about bananas. If you love bananas, then you'll never want to leave. The river valley here is loaded with banana plantations where farmers grow all different variations of the banana/plantain family. The fruit is fresh, local, sweet, and very inexpensive.
The Qishan locals have finally realized that they can market their banana prowess and the Qishan Old Street is a showcase. The old street is located right in the center of town (there are plenty of signs) and is blocked off from car traffic. There are plenty of food and drink stalls set among 100 year old Japanese era store fronts which were once owned by wealthy merchants. There are still residents in these buildings as well as businesses. The facades are unique and bear the family names of those who built and once lived there.
At the end of the street is the old Qishan train station. It's been done over and is quite small with a gift shop, but again it has the look and feel of the Japanese era. The train once was linked here but now has been cut off since the 1970's.
There isn't much to do besides walking around the old street and sampling all the banana delicacies. You'll find everything like banana cake, banana cream puffs, banana shakes, banana sweet egg rolls, banana chips, banana ice cream, and banana bread. Of course there are plenty of farmers selling fresh bananas as well. For the Banana Puff Pastry location, Click HERE.
The best way to Qishan is via a car on Route 10. As with Meinong, drive east on Highway 10 until it ends. Take a left once you get off the exit and follow the signs for about 5 minutes. You'll cross a bridge and you're there.
There are plenty of buses to Qishan from Kaoshiung as well. Check the schedule at the bus station. Expect over an hour drive.
By scooter is possible from Kaohsiung. It means navigating the country roads which can be fun. Via scooter, expect to take at least an hour.