While staying in Kaohsiung, I made some time to explore Tainan, the most historical city in Taiwan, both historically and culturally. It’s not terribly far if you take a rapid train from Kaohsiung, approximately 25-30 minutes. Tainan was a great adventure getting to see some traditional food the locals love to eat, a couple of meaningful places for Taiwanese & Tainan history and I shopped a little bit on my way back to Kaohsiung.
I prefer A train trip than A bus trip by miles, it’s way more convenient and relaxing. Besides, I feel terribly bad whenever I get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
As soon as you arrive in the Tainan main station, you probably want to go to Anping Area as it has the most tourist attractions, although it’s a bit outside of the city. I took a bus #2 and took a while to get there. If you already got an I-pass from Kaohsiung, you will be able to use that in Tainan as well. Easy life.
I guess Sio House (Tainan Salt Museum) must be the first place you will get and it’s a nice place to start your trip off. Every display inside the museum is written in Chinese, unfortunately so there was some limitation of understanding everything. Maybe that’s why I didn’t see many foreign tourists in the museum.
After, I kept walking a bit and found out Anping Tree House. As soon as you get inside, you are going to see the rich history of what Anping was like a long while back during the rule of the Dutch and Japanese. For only 50TD per entry, it’s very cheap and definitely worth visiting. If you only see the outside part, you might have the feeling that it looks quite unassuming but it will turn out as an interesting place.
After a short exploration, I headed off to Anping old street. It was as expected full of people. I wanted to get some food before going elsewhere but I wasn’t able to find anything I liked or it was already busy.
This street is better known as the oldest among the all streets in Tainan, also it’s the first established merchant street in the area. There are interesting souvenir shops and handmade products you can check if you are interested. Also, having a look at Taiwanese street food can be interesting.
Despite my frustration about not being able to find anything to eat, I kept walking and found Chihkan Tower (Fort Provintia), it was definitely on my plan and had a look inside. It was built in 1653 during the Dutch colonization of Taiwan, which means it’s also a significant place to know the history about Taiwan.
Note – It’s a photogenic site for visitors!
After having seen the view of the city, it was definitely time to return to the downtown and check BCP Tainan (Blueprint Cultural & Creative Park).
I was recommended by a friend of mine that has lived in south of Taiwan and he said this spot has been loved by youngsters recently and many foreign tourists visit the place as well.
I spent more than an hour in this place having a look at unique styled boutique shops, souvenirs and some snacks. There was an ice cream place I definitely wanted to check but it was out of service.
The whole area has been renovated and has attracted many tourists, thus it has become a bit more crowded and touristy compared to the past. You will see lots of shops selling dedicated handcraft, limited edition products and some food places as well.
Discovered amusing shops. I absolutely wished I had some more free spots in my suitcase, then I would have bought some of them. Still, they look nice, don’t they?
Damn, I was getting so hungry and couldn’t stop myself going to a restaurant. I asked a random girl working at this shop and she suggested me for a visit at Hayashi Department Store. According to her they have nice food places and also it’s an unique styled store that you don’t see everywhere.
This is also the oldest department store in Taiwan and it was built by Japanese when they occupied Taiwan. The lift is also the oldest in Taiwan. The rooftop is evidence of the March 01, 1945 bombing of Tainan during the Second World War.
It’s pretty close to Tainan railway station (8-15 minutes by walk) and if you are looking for pretty nice buildings, don’t miss it.
The shopping arcade definitely gets you back to old romantic romaji era of Tainan.
Note – Tainan was the first capital of Taiwan, better known as Formosa – the fabulous island.
So overall, it’s not just an ordinary department store, it’s rather an interesting historical place where you can learn more about the history from.
Tainan could be a great spot for your weekend getaway while staying in Kaohsiung. If you take a local train, it takes around 50 minutes which is cheaper but I strongly recommend you to take the rapid trains (25-30 minutes from Tainan to Kaohsiung).
Have you been to Tainan? What’re your favorite spots?
All the love,