Tainan is the oldest city in Taiwan and was formerly the capital during the Qing Dynasty. Today it is known for its centuries old fortresses and temples. During my trip to Tainan, we visited both old and new landmarks. There was only so much we could see and do in 1.5 days so this is a short list, but I’ll definitely be adding more to it the next time I make my way down there again!
1. Chimei Museum 奇美博物館
Inspired by greek architecture, Chimei Museum was beautiful and majestic and I felt like I was transported to Europe. Walking up those steps into the museum was unreal, especially seeing how large those columns were. The permanent exhibits include a wide collection of Western art, musical instruments, weaponry, and natural history. There are four permanent exhibition galleries, one temporary exhibition gallery, and sculpture halls in the main building. I really enjoyed French sculptor, Auguste Rodin’s exhibit which showcased some of his work, along with the works of his peers, students, and mentors. This museum is great for all ages, from young to old.
Unfortunately you cannot take photos while inside the galleries. They have many employees walking around making sure you don’t! But that’s okay because it gives you a chance to really absorb all the cool exhibits without distractions. Besides, you can take photos to your heart’s content outside. The landscape is beautiful and there will be plenty for you to take.
Check their website for more information.
Address: No. 66號, Section 2, Wenhua Road, Rende District, Tainan City, 71755
2. Anping Sword Lion/Anping Old Street/Anping Old Fort 安平劍獅埕/安平老街/安平古堡
All these landmarks are within walking distance so you can check these places out together. This area was the first city built by the dutch when they conquered Taiwan in the 1600s. The Anping sword lion became a symbol to ward off potential intruders during the Qing dynasty. Soldiers would carve lions into their shield to strike fear into their enemies, then place their sword and shield by the door when they came home. Because it looked like the lion was biting down on sword, it evolved into a local custom. Now there are large statues of the sword lions sitting in a courtyard after you pass the sign in the photo above. Apparently if you wander around more, you can find many sword lion emblems hanging on people’s doors.
Anping Old Street sells many food and souvenir items. If you get hungry after walking around, there’s definitely tons to eat there. It’s similar to a night market but during the day. My favorite food was the fried potato on a stick that’s cut into swirls. You can ask for different flavors as well, like spicy, seaweed, and salt and pepper.
When you walk through Anping Old Street, you will end up circling around to the entrance the Anping Old Fort, also known as Fort Zeelandia. There’s a $50 NTD (~$1.5 USD) entrance fee. The fort was mainly reconstructed but you can learn more about the history of Tainan when the Dutch built the fort during their rule.
Yanping Street, Anping District, Tainan City, 708
No. 35號, Yanping Street, Anping District, Tainan City, 708
No. 82, Guosheng Rd, Anping District, Tainan City, 708
3. U.I.J Hotel & Hostel 友愛街旅館
This hostel is an absolute must to stay in. They have great customer service and the amenities are much better than all the hostels I’ve stayed at. When you first check in, they give you your key in a cute leather pouch along with a book about Tainan with illustrations of all the things you can see, do, and eat. You return when you check out; it was very thoughtful! I didn’t get a chance to look through it because by the time we checked in, the day was pretty much over.
They have dormitory style accommodations and private rooms. There’s a common space with a kitchen, a terrace, and an area to chill and hang out. The shared bathrooms were really nice too. Each shower stall was spacious, had a full length mirror, a place to put your things and glass to separate the shower and your things so it wouldn’t get wet.
There’s also a book store, coffee shop and restaurant on the first floor. They offer parking but I wouldn’t recommend it since the rates aren’t great.
Address: No. 5號, Lane 115, You’ai Street, West Central District, Tainan City, 700
4. Mao Don 毛丼
We stumbled upon this restaurant through a blog post when we were researching what to eat in Tainan. The dish that caught our eyes was the sashimi don in the photo above. We just had to order it because it was only $290 NTD (~$10 USD) and the sashimi looked fresh as heck. The restaurant wasn’t big, but it had a very chill vibe. They have other rice bowls, sushi rolls, and appetizers. It took us 30 minutes to walk to this restaurant from our hostel, but it was worth it! Definitely recommend coming here if you want some fresh sashimi and crave Japanese food while in Tainan.
Address: No. 105號, Dongrong Street, East District, Tainan City, 701
5. Chihkan Tower 赤崁樓
We visited this landmark on the last day of our trip. It was a 10 minute walk from our hostel so that was really convenient. Chihkan Tower, also known as Fort Provintia, was an outpost built by the Dutch during their rule. Unfortunately it was destroyed so only a small section of the original tower remains. I really enjoyed walking through and appreciating the design of Haishen Temple, which was later built on top where Fort Provintia’s southwestern bastion once stood. Chihkan Tower is $50 NTD (~$1.5 NTD) to enter.
Address: No. 212, Section 2, Minzu Road, West Central District, Tainan City, 700
In this series called “Restless In”, Annie and Juliet will list out several things that we did in a particular city. This includes places we visited, restaurants we tried, and activities we did, as well as what we thought of it.