Tainan’s known as the cultural centre of Taiwan, so it’s easy to be overwhelmed trying to figure out where you should go and what you should see in the plethora of historical treasures. So let’s make it easy – here’s a list of 5 must-see places in Tainan that won’t disappoint.
1. Anping Fort and Old street
The Anping Fort was constructed by the Dutch in the 1600s, and was their centre of command during their colonisation of Taiwan. Today, the fort has become a major tourist site, and a museum on the grounds highlights Dutch history in Taiwan.
All that history may make you a bit peckish, and that’s when you venture into Anping’s Old Street just outside the fort. Yenping street is actually where the first market in Taiwan started, and now is a tourist street with lots of little shops and food stalls selling traditional Taiwanese food.
To get to the Anping District, you can take the THSR Shuttle Bus (Tainan City Hall Route) from Tainan Station, or you can take the train to Tainan Station and then take the Tainan City Bus No. 2, 14, 88, or 99.
2. Anping Treehouse
Now if you’re thinking of a child’s playhouse up in a tree, you’re wrong – this is so much cooler than that. The Anping Treehouse is actually an abandoned salt warehouse that was completely taken over by a banyan tree so that it’s almost impossible to tell where the building ends, and the tree begins.
If you aren’t much of a tree-hugger, don’t worry because there is lots more to do at the Anping Treehouse than tree-gazing. There are notice boards describing the history of the area (you can get maps in English if you don’t speak Mandarin), a skywalk so you can get a birds eye view of the treehouse, and even a waterway surrounding the ground if you want to take a leisurely stroll by the water.
The treehouse is just a 5 minute walk from the Anping Fort and Old Street, so you can see both sites in a single day.
3. Confucius temple
The Confucius temple in Tainan is the first Confucius temple in Taiwan, and was built in 1665. Don’t underestimate this ancient beauty though, as it has fulfilled a myriad of roles, from ceremonial worship grounds, to being Taiwan’s first official school. Though a tourist hotspot, it is still used by the community, and you might even catch some locals practicing tai chi on the grounds.
It is free to walk around the temple grounds, but you do need to pay to the Tacheng Palace (shown above).
Confucius Temple is quite easy to get to, being right in Tainan City on Nanmen Road, which makes it perfect stop if you’re only in Tainan for a short time. Just take bus 2 from Tainan train station to get to the temple.
4. Garden night market
If you’ve had enough Taiwanese history to last a lifetime, it’s probably time for some retail therapy at the Garden Night market. Also called the Tainan Flower Market, it’s wise to go with an empty stomach and elastic pants to prepare you for the multitude of delicious local food.
The night market is only open from Thursday to Sunday, 6pm to 12mn, so try to get in early to beat the crowds.
To get to the Garden night market, take bus no. 0 from Tainan Train Station.
5. Sicao Lvshe Tunnel
This addition is a lesser-known treasure, so you may be the first among your friends to experience it. The Sicao Lvshe Tunnel is a natural beauty – a river that carves through mangrove trees to form this emerald “tunnel”.
The Sicao Lvshe Tunnel is best experienced by boat (unless you really like swimming). Not only will you be treated to the lovely mangrove tunnel, but the Sicao Lvshe Tunnel is also home to lots of wildlife, like cranes and crabs. This stop is a nice change from the cityscape of Tainan, and you get to see a completely different side of the region.
Slightly out of the way, you can either take bus 2 from Tainan Train station, which will take an hour and a half, or take a half hour drive to the Sicao Riverside park where the Sicao Lvshe Tunnel is located.