Tainan may be the oldest city in Taiwan, but its charm remains intact. It has hundreds of temples and monasteries, each of which has an interesting story to tell. Indeed, this is the perfect destination for those who want to learn more about the country’s rich history and culture. With that being said, here are the top ten things to do in this historical metropolis.
1. Confucius Temple
Built in 1665, the Confucius Temple was the first temple dedicated to Confucianism in the country. Apart from its eventful history, the structure is famous for its well-preserved Chinese architecture. Go for a walk around the historic site to see the pond where ancient rituals took place and the hall consisting of philosophical texts. The surrounding Banyan trees are also worth seeing. It may have gone through several renovations, but the Confucius Temple is still one of Tainan’s most beloved attractions.
Address: 2, Nanmen Rd., West Central District, Tainan City 700, Taiwan
Price: Free; 2 USD to enter Dacheng Hall
Opening Hours: 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM
2. Anping Treehouse
Natural and man made wonders join forces in Anping Treehouse, which is located in an old trading hub. When the warehouse closed in the 1940’s, a huge Banyan tree literally swallowed it, making it look like a place you only see in fairy tales. You can explore the site on foot, and you will surely be astounded by how the tree managed to grow. There’s also a skywalk, which will give you a bird’s-eye view of the treehouse. It’s the perfect opportunity to take photos. Behind it is an ecological pond where you can just sit back and marvel at the sight of the waterways.
Address: 108, Gubao St., Anping Dist., Tainan City 708, Taiwan
Price: from 2 USD
Opening Hours: 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM
3. National Museum of Taiwan Literature
It used to be the building of the Tainan Prefectural Government, but now it’s the home of Taiwan’s literary arts. The National Museum of Taiwan Literature was founded in 2003, and its European-style architecture has captivated both local and foreign visitors. Inside, you will see a wide collection of literary works from the indigenous period to the modern times. It also has reading rooms for adults and children and an area dedicated to the country’s architectural history. Most of the descriptions of the exhibits are not in English, but multilingual audio tours are available.
National Museum of Taiwan Literature
Address: 1, Zhongzheng Rd, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700
Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Contact: +886 6 221 7201
Website: National Museum of Taiwan Literature
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4. Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium
Watching a game at Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium is sure to be a memorable experience, even if you’re not a follower of the sport. The fans are dedicated, and the atmosphere is more lighthearted compared to the West. You will hear loud chants all throughout such as “Lei Da,“ which means “hit a home run!” If you want to witness a huge event, then you should go see the Uni Lions play. The Lions is the team that represents Tainan. You can check out the schedule of games on the team’s website. Field level tickets cost around 10 USD while the outfield bleacher seats cost around 5 USD.
Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium
Address: 257, Section 1, Jiankang Rd, South District, Tainan City, Taiwan 702
Price: From 5 USD
Contact: +886 6 215 9852
Website: Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium
5. City God Temple
The City God is believed to be the judge of the afterlife, and this temple in Qingnian Road was built in honor of him. At the main hall, you will see the red abacuses, which are used by the City God to calculate the good and bad deeds of a person. There’s also a plaque that says: “Your Turn Finally,” giving visitors a feeling of uneasiness and excitement at the same time. The worship hall contains pink papers, all of which are from students who wish to pass their exams. What makes the temple even more unique is its resemblance to a courthouse. It’s the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary.
City God Temple
Address: 133, Qingnian Rd, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700
Opening Hours: 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM
6. Grand Matsu Temple
This temple in Yongfu Road is dedicated to Matsu, the goddess of the sea. Since Taiwan is an island, the deity is considered one of the most significant. It used to be the residence of the Prince of Ningjin, but was converted into a temple in 1684. Apart from Matsu’s beautiful golden statue, the site also houses the sculptures of Qianli Yuan and Xufong Er, two monsters who were converted by the goddess to protect the sea. Many rituals involving Chinese puppets, firecrackers, and gongs are held here as well. Expect a lively atmosphere when you visit this temple.
Grand Matsu Temple
Address: 18, Lane 227, Section 2, Yongfu Rd, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700
Opening Hours: 5:30 AM to 9:00 PM
Website: Grand Matsu Temple (Chinese Website)
7. Chihkan Tower
Chihkan Tower on Minzu Road was built in 1653 by the Dutch, and served as their administration center until 1662. Fort Provintia was the original name, but after the Dutch colonial period, it was changed to Chihkan to honor the aboriginal village that originally stood there. Outside, you will see statues depicting the surrender of the Dutch to Koxinga, a commander of the Ming Dynasty. Inside, there are relics dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. You can also drop by the shrine dedicated to the god of examinations, Lord Kuixing. The tower’s brilliant mix of Dutch and Chinese architectural styles is enough to make your visit memorable.
Address: 212, Section 2, Minzu Rd, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700
Price: From 2 USD
Opening Hours: 8:30 AM to 10:00 PM
Contact: +886 6 220 5647
8. Hua Yuan Night Market
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Located on Haian Road and open on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, Hua Yuan is the largest night market in the city of Tainan. If you have a car, then parking won’t be a problem-you can put your vehicle in the huge parking area for only 2 USD. As for the market, the stalls are guaranteed to satisfy your appetite. Some of the most popular dishes include shawarma sandwiches, sausages, steaks, oysters and Taiwanese pizza. Make sure you also visit the tea stalls to quench your thirst.
Hua Yuan Night Market
Address: 3, Hai An Rd.,Tainan City,Taiwan
Opening Hours: 6:00 PM to 11:30 PM
Website: Hua Yuan Night Market
9. Eternal Golden Castle
The square-shaped Eternal Golden Castle was built in 1876 to protect the city from Japanese invasion. It was designed by a French architect, and served as a symbol of the modernization of the country’s military defense. Revisit history as you walk into the tunnel and through the fort. You will see the British Armstrong cannons, one of which is still operational. There’s a ceremonial firing of the cannon during the day by people dressed in period costumes. If you go in the evening, you might be lucky enough to catch a musical performance.
Eternal Golden Castle
Address: 3, Guangzhou Rd, Anping District, Tainan City, Taiwan
Price: from 2 USD (adult); 1 USD (child)
Opening Hours: 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM
Contact: +886 6 295 1504
10. Hayashi Department Store
The department store first opened during the Japanese Colonial Period, but in 1945, it turned into an office of the Taiwan Salt Factory. When the company moved out, the site was deserted for a few years. Thankfully in 2013, the government and the locals decided to bring it back. In 2014, Hayashi Department Store is open to the public once again. The building kept its classical design, making it a beloved gem. Here you can buy the finest Taiwanese clothes, household products, and many other items. It also has restaurants serving different types of Asian dishes.
Hayashi Department Store
Address: 63, Section 2, Zhongyi Rd, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700
Opening Hours: 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Contact: +886 6 221 3000
Website: Hayashi Department Store
Tainan is waiting for you
Winter is the ideal time to explore Tainan. The atmosphere is warm, and there are fewer tourists around. It’s also the fourth largest city in Taiwan, which means that there are many attractions for you to check out. From the ancient wonders to the lively markets, Tainan will certainly fulfill your fantasies of a real adventure. Come see the beauty of this ancient city.
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