Exploring Tainan

After visiting Green Island earlier in the year I took the train around the southern coast and back inland to Tainan (台南), the oldest city in Taiwan and the former capital during imperial times. Being mid-spring the weather was pretty much perfect.

Anping Fort

Tainan was initially established by the Dutch East India Company as a trading base called Fort Zeelandia during the period of Dutch rule in Taiwan (1624–1662).

Anping Fort Cannon

You can still visit the fortress today which is now named Anping Fort (安平古堡). While not large, it’s worth a look around.

Caligraphers House

A short walk away you can visit the house of a famous calligraphist, Chu, Jeou-Ying (朱玖瑩). All these hanzi makes my brain hurt!

Merchant House

Next door is the old British Tait & Co. Merchant House (英商德記洋行) which houses a small museum about the history of immigrants in Taiwan. It is one of the last surviving examples of European architecture in the area.

Consumed Wall

An old warehouse within the same compound has been almost entirely consumed by banyan trees and is known as the Anping Tree House (安平樹屋).

Tree House Interior

Like an H. R. Giger surrealist nightmare the walls and roof have been assimilated by the organic aerial roots of the trees.

Anping Tree House Roof

Metal walkways allow visitors to get a better look from above.

Vanishing Window

Until it was opened to the public in 2004 locals considered the building to be haunted and wouldn’t go near.

Sweet Treat

Time for a sweet treat of mango, red bean and kiwi on crushed ice with ice bubble tea to accompany.

Chihkan Tower

The next stop was Chihkan Tower (赤崁樓), formerly known as Fort Provintia during Dutch colonisation, which looks like a temple but was actually an administrative centre/library.

Sakam Tower

The classical Chinese style roof with red tiles and carved cornices are very pretty.

Wuchang Pavilion

You can walk up to the second floor for a better view.

Confucius Temple Grounds

Also worth a look is the Confucius Temple (孔廟) which is surrounded by a small park. Bamboo bonsai hedges are aplenty.

Old Banyan Tree

The grounds also contain another eye-opening banyan tree that is one of the largest in Taiwan. Possibly the inspiration for the ‘home tree’ in Avatar?

Gated Fort
Tainan Taxi

When night falls and you’re feeling hungry your best bet is to head to one of the city’s many night markets.

Tainan Night Market

Crowded, hot, noisy and somewhat unsanitary there is no better place to try a huge range of affordable snacks and drinks. Don’t expect gourmet quality but it’s good fun.

Night Market Stalls

Compared to other parts of Taiwan that I’ve visited, it felt like Tainan had a lot more on offer in terms of history and culture which is why I would definitely recommend a visit if you’re passing through the area.

David avatar


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