Taiwan’s oldest city and capital until 1887 when Taipei took over, Tainan was originally established as a trading port by the Dutch East India Company. Today the city is renowned for its preservation of traditions and rich folk culture, as well as its much acclaimed regional snack foods. Find peace at the old temples, where locals worship much as their ancestors did, and explore the history of the Dutch colonialists and China’s Ming dynasty.
Taiwan’s first Confucian temple founded in 1666, Tainan’s temple is considered one of the oldest buildings on the island. Set in peaceful grounds dotted with banyan trees and graceful structures, the temple also served as Taiwan’s first official school, becoming an important centre of the community, as it remains today. The temple is part of a larger cultural zone in the old part of the city that also encompasses the Old Tainan Martial Arts Academy.
Located on the western side of Tainan, the historic district of Anping is where the Dutch East India Company established their Fort Zeelandia in the 17th century. The fort you see today is a reconstruction but it is still suitably impressive and includes a museum on the Dutch occupation of the area. Around the fort you’ll find some of Tainan’s oldest streets – a wander down these alleys will bring you to restored brick buildings and some excellent local snack foods. Another fascinating sight is located next to the old Tait & Co Merchant House. The Anping Tree House was originally a Tait & Co warehouse until it was taken over by the aerial roots of a banyan tree!
Founded by the Dutch in 1653 as Fort Provintia, the Chihkan Tower has since been in the hands of the Ming and Qing dynasties and the Japanese. On a visit today you’ll find a quirky collection of artefacts including stone horses, stone weights, steles and nine stone tortoises carrying carved stone tablets on their backs. Set in lovely landscaped gardens Chihkan looks particularly lovely lit up at night.
Tainan has a number of lively night markets that each open a few nights a week, meaning you are always likely to find something going on. Try the flower market, Da Dong market and the Lovers’ night market, to name just a few, for an evening of local fun and entertainment. Each market offers a load of opportunities to taste local foods, try oyster omelette and stinky tofu, do a little shopping and watch how the Taiwanese like to spend their evenings.
Right in the cultural heart of the city, just a few minutes from the main sights, the Evergreen Plaza is one of Tainan's top hotels. Elegantly designed and full of modern facilities, the hotel features an outdoor pool and three dining options as well as rooms that are spacious and comfortable.
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