Introducing Shaochuantoushan Bunker
【◎Written by Winnie ◎English translation by Hou Ya-ting ◎Photos by Zeng Sin-yao】
Kaohsiung City Government has been promoting military-themed tourism since 2018, when Kinma Military Hostel in Gushan District was transformed into ALIEN Art Center. The hostel used to accommodate soldiers heading to frontline bases on outlying islands in the Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu archipelagos.
Last May, the city government introduced Gushandong Air Raid Shelter to the public. The same year, Shaochuantoushan (Mt. Shaochuantou) Bunker also opened its doors to the public. The latter bunker, which is situated on Mt. Shaochuantou, has been fully restored. Its surroundings have been turned into an observation deck that offers unobstructed views of the landscape.
Because of its hidden location, getting to Shaochuantoushan Bunker may be a bit of a challenge for first-time visitors. However, if they enter the hiking trail that is opposite the small park next to Lane 30 of Anchuan Street in Gushan District, they will be heading in the right direction. They should stay on the trail, then continue walking toward the sightseeing path that belongs to the Former British Consulate at Dagou.
One side of the sightseeing path presents the original wall of Mt. Shaochuantou, whereas the other side is paved with red bricks and coral reef limestone, reflecting the area's special geology. Nearby Mt. Shaochuantou is also mainly made up of coral reef limestone. Along the way, travelers can see how houses are spread along the mountain.
After less than a minute of walking, visitors will reach Shaochuantoushan Bunker Observation Deck. A 50m-long wooden walkway, shaped like the letter z, is connected to the observation deck. This walkway gradually gains height. The observation deck built around the Shaochuantoushan Bunker was originally a machine-gun outpost from World War II.
The deck, which can accommodate about 40 people, is surrounded by luscious greenery and cooled by fresh breezes. Visitors can look up to the top of Mt. Shaochuantou and the Former British Consulate. They can also appreciate the scenery of Mt. Shou, 85 Sky Tower, the Port of Kaohsiung, and Cihou Lighthouse on Cijin Island.
The observation deck at Shaochuantoushan also provides panoramic views over Gushan District's Hamasing neighborhood. Hamasing's various architectural styles embody its glorious history and melting pot of different cultures since the 1895-1945 period of Japanese colonial rule. Lighting has been installed along the deck and wooden walkway, making it a safe and wonderful spot to linger through the golden hour as the sun sets over the harbor. For unobstructed sunset views without the crowds found elsewhere, Shaochuantoushan Bunker Observation Deck is the place to go.
The toponym Shaochuantou has an interesting historical meaning. Back in the Cing Dynasty (which ruled Taiwan between 1684 and 1895), navy patrol boats were called Shaochu in Chinese. Because of the Cing naval base in what is now Kaohsiung, patrol boats were often seen around here. Thus, this place came to be known as Shaochuantou. In the 19th century, foreign businessmen, agencies, customs and the British Consulate all established offices at Shaochuantou due to its pivotal location in relation to Kaohsiung's harbor. International trade is what made Shaochuantou flourish.
Mt. Shaochuantou is approximately 25m above sea level, and the bunker is thought to have been built around 1944, near the end of the Pacific War. This site was used for land and coastal defense. Finally, following two years of restoration work led by the Tourism Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government, it has become an attraction for military fanatics and others. Admission is free.
Tourists are also welcome to visit the nearby Gushandong Air Raid Shelter (at the end of Wufu 4th Road) and Shoushan Air Raid Shelter (inside Sizihwan Bay Tunnel).
Direction for Shaochuantoushan Bunker:
Travelers can enter via the hiking trail opposite a small park next to Lane 30 of Anchuan Street in Gushan District. If they follow the trail and continue to the sightseeing path for the Former British Consulate at Dagou, within one minute they will reach Shaochuantoushan Bunker Observation Deck.