• TAINAN

    What To See & Do

    Woman walking outside Confucius Temple in Tainan
  • TAINAN

    What To See & Do

    Woman walking outside Confucius Temple in Tainan

WHAT TO SEE & DO IN TAINAN

Tainan quickly became our favourite city in Taiwan, thanks to its meandering back alleys, varied architecture, rich history and numerous retro coffee shops and bars. While we’ve previously covered the delights of eating and drinking your way around Tainan, you may be wondering what else this southern coastal city has to offer? From temples to treehouses, here’s a rundown of the best things to see and do in Tainan. We’ve also hand-picked our favourite accommodation options and included info on how to get to Tainan and around.

OUR MAP OF TAINAN

Use the map below to find all the places mentioned in this guide

Tainan has a lot to offer. It’s the country’s oldest city, the former capital and first trading port, and is also home to the largest concentration of temples in any Taiwanese city. But, it’s so much more than that. Tainan’s charms run deeper, hidden in narrow alleys, twisting lanes and leafy inner courtyards. For every big ‘sight to see’, there’s another highlight sitting quietly down a charming lane. So, with that said, be sure to stray from the main streets and embrace the indirect route, allowing yourself time to get a little lost as you explore this unique city.

A man working on something in a Tainan backstreet doorway, sitting with his back to us on an upturned bucket

Undercover footpath on a Tainan street with a characteristic row of motorbikes, shuttered shop fronts and a man delivering a gas canister

Detail shot of a facade in a Tainan alley, with tiles, letterbox and patterened window and door grates

A local resident busy doing something
in a bold and eyecatching doorway


A classic covered walkway on the streets of Tainan,
complete with the characteristic row of motorbikes


All the shapes: the kind of facade we love
setting eyes on in the back alleys of Tainan



Tainan is very walkable. The main highlights are clustered in the city centre, west of the train station, and in coastal Anping District. We’d suggest a minimum of two days to explore the highlights, with some food and drink stops along the way. If you have three days, you can afford to wander at a more relaxed pace, check out a museum or two, and kick back at a few more cafes and bars.

WHAT TO SEE & DO IN TAINAN CITY

Confucius Temple

Tainan Confucius Temple was the first of its kind in Taiwan, built in 1666. It’s currently undergoing a massive renovation, restricting access to the outer garden only. Despite this, it remains one of the most impressive of Tainan’s temples and a peaceful place for a stroll. Squirrels scamper about the tall trees, and birds provide a suitably relaxing soundtrack. The entire complex is surrounded by a striking red wall, punctuated by attractive stone windows. The street opposite the main entrance has a fantastic stone entrance gate and numerous shops and cafes.

Open 830am – 530pm daily

*Don’t miss the yummy steamed buns and crystal dumplings from nearby Klin Taiwan Baozi*

Tainan Confucius Temple Main Gate, bright orange red in colour with Chinese Lettering above the door

This striking gate leads into the Confucius Temple



Plants and flowers line the back of the Tainan Confucius Temple complex wall

Flowers and plants line the inside of the complex walls



Tainan Confucius Temple Main Gate, bright orange red in colour with Chinese Lettering above the door

This striking gate leads into the Confucius Temple


Plants and flowers line the back of the Tainan Confucius Temple complex wall

Flowers and plants line the inside of the walls



Tainan Art Museum Buildings 1 & 2

Only recently opened, the Tainan Art Museum buildings are a work of art in their own right. They are spread across two separate sites: the first is a historic Art Deco building, the second has a bold contemporary design. Completed in 1931, Building 1 is centred around the original Tainan Police Department. It now has additional modern exhibition spaces creating an interesting fusion of old and new. Building 2 is a spectacular creation, designed by Pritzker Award winning architect Shigeru Ban. The pentagonal glass roof is truly a sight to behold. Rotating exhibitions focus largely on Tawainese art, and both buildings house cafes in attractive settings.

Entry to both NT$200, open 9am – 5pm Tue – Sun (9pm Sat)

More Museums

Tainan has plenty of other museums to visit, even if just to check out their impressive buildings. Two that we admired from the outside were the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, housed in the imposing former City Government building, and the Tainan City Fire Museum just across the road. Both buildings were constructed during the Japanese Colonial period (the former in 1916 and the latter in the 1930s) but in two very different styles.

The distinctive 1930s Tainan City Fire Museum (M) with a group of motorbikers stopped at the traffic lights

The distinctive Tainan City Fire Museum, built in the 1930s



Tainan City Fire Museum Side Door and tiled walls

Couldn’t resist a shot of this fine facade



The distinctive 1930s Tainan City Fire Museum (M) with a group of motorbikers stopped at the traffic lights

The distinctive Tainan City Fire Museum



Hayashi Department Store

Tainan is home to an eclectic range of architectural styles as a result of Dutch, Chinese and Japanese influences over the centuries. Taiwan was colonised by Japan between 1895 and 1945, a period of rapid construction and development of infrastructure. Many colonial-era buildings exist across Taiwan to this day, and the Hayashi Department Store is one of our favourites.

Designed by the same architect as the Tainan Police Department (now the Tainan Art Museum Building 1), it was completed in 1932. It was the second department store in existence in the whole of Taiwan, the first having opened just a few days before in Taipei. Known locally as the ‘Five Story House’ or Lin’s Department Store, it caused quite a stir back in the day. Home to one of only two elevators in the country at that time, people used to queue up to ride it. It’s a novelty that persists to this day.

Aview from across the crossroads of Hayashi Department Store in Tainan

The iconic Hayashi Department Store



Aview from across the crossroads of Hayashi Department Store in Tainan

The iconic Hayashi Department Store



The building changed hands and fell into disrepair over the years, until a 21st century restoration project returned it to its former glory. It reopened to the public in 2014, retaining many of its original design features (much to our delight!). Today, the department store showcases Taiwanese design, fashion, food and culture. 

The Ground Floor of Hayashi Department Store in Tainan, truthfully restored to its elegant 1930s aesthetic, with dark wood, high white ceilings, period windows and soft lighting

Products are artfully presented on the department store's shelves, side by side with stylish antiques

The women's clothing department on the Second Floor of Hayashi has a kind of relaxed ambience, very different to today's stores. Soft lighting, tiled floor and ceiling hangings help to recreate the period atmosphere.

Hayashi Department Store Stairway minimal design feature, a round porthole type window underneath the banister

Products are artfully presented on the department store's shelves, side by side with stylish antiques

Products are artfully presented on the department
store’s shelves, side by side with stylish antiques


The Ground Floor of Hayashi Department Store in Tainan, truthfully restored to its elegant 1930s aesthetic, with dark wood, high white ceilings, period windows and soft lighting

The Ground Floor of Hayashi Department Store,
truthfully restored to its elegant 1930s aesthetic


Hayashi Department Store Stairway minimal design feature, a round porthole type window underneath the banister

The stairway has great minimal design features


The women's clothing department on the Second Floor of Hayashi has a kind of relaxed ambience, very different to today's stores. Soft lighting, tiled floor and ceiling hangings help to recreate the period atmosphere.

The women’s clothing department on the Second
Floor of Hayashi has a kind of relaxed ambience



It’s a wonderful place to visit, even if you aren’t interested in shopping, and the view from the rooftop over the city is great. There’s a Shinto shrine up top, too.

Open 1030am – 930pm daily

Watching motorbikes speeding by from
the Hayashi rooftop is a fun game



Land Bank Of Taiwan

On the opposite corner of the busy intersection from Hayashi lies the dominating neoclassical Land Bank of Taiwan. It’s quite unlike any other building in Tainan. Its rows of soaring columns are reminiscent of classical Greek design, yet wandering behind them also feels quite naturally Taiwanese, like strolling down any traditional shopping street. Its wedge shape is best appreciated from above, on the rooftop of Hayashi.

The striking Land Bank of Taiwan as seen from Hayashi Department Store rooftop



The neoclassical columns of the bank



The striking Land Bank of Taiwan as seen
from Hayashi Department Store rooftop


The neoclassical columns of the bank



Grand Mazu Temple

Mazu (Matsu), the Goddess of the Sea, is widely worshipped in Taiwan. You can find temples dedicated to her deity all over the country, and Tainan is no exception. Originally the Palace of Prince Ningjing, Tainan Grand Mazu Temple dates from 1665. Now while we didn’t find it as impressive as the Mazu Temple in Lukang, or others in Taipei, it’s certainly worth swinging by. It’s lively throughout the day and is conveniently close to both Chihkan Tower and Bar TCRC (covered in this guide).

Open 6am – 845pm daily

A courtyard area inside the Tainan Grand Mazu Temple, with potted plants, a large hexagonal red door and a circular mural on the wall

A courtyard area inside the Grand Mazu Temple



Colourful figures astride the temple roof



A courtyard area inside the Tainan Grand Mazu Temple, with potted plants, a large hexagonal red door and a circular mural on the wall

A courtyard area inside the Grand Mazu Temple


Colourful figures astride the temple roof



Other Temples

There are literally hundreds of temples in Tainan. Some are grand multi-room affairs, others tiny gaps in the wall. Wandering around the city you’ll come across plenty, but if you have a particular interest, here’s a few you may wish to seek out: Official God of War Temple (right next to the Mazu Temple), City God Temple, Koxinga’s Shrine, Tiantan Tiangong Temple (Altar of Heaven) and Kailung Temple (next to Gandan Cafe).

SEE MORE FROM TAIWAN

Plants and flowers line the back of the Tainan Confucius Temple complex wall
A barman makes a cocktail in TCRC , one of the best places to eat and drink in Tainan.
An intricately arranged motorbike repair shop in Dadaocheng, Taipei, Taiwan
A boldly coloured huge lantern hangs at the entrance to Longshan Temple, Taipei
7 Best Things To Do In Taipei
Taipei Night Market Culture: A Quick Guide
Day Trip From Taipei: Releasing sky lanterns at night at Pingxi, Taiwan

Chihkan Tower

Built by the Dutch in 1653, this site was first known as Fort Provintia. It doesn’t look much like the original these days, so don’t go expecting a classic ‘fort’. Still, it’s an impressive building, with attractive grounds that are lit up nicely at night.

The lights coming on at the Chihkan Tower in Tainan as night approaches

The lights coming on at the Chihkan Tower as night approches



The lights coming on at the Chihkan Tower in Tainan as night approaches

Night approaches at the Chihkan Tower



Inside you can learn about the history and get a good view from the top. Students often visit to be blessed by the God of Culture and Literature, and as a result, you can see plenty of handwritten messages strung up on wooden plaques inside.

NT$50 (although it was free the day we visited), open 830am – 930pm daily

Traditional, painted doors leading into the main building of Chihkan Tower in Tainan

Traditional doors leading into the main tower



The God of Culture and Literature (a bronze figure in a shrine) keeping a close eye on students' handwritten messages which are attached to a red wooden frame

The God of Culture and Literature looking after students’ messages



Traditional, painted doors leading into the main building of Chihkan Tower in Tainan

Traditional doors leading into the main tower


The God of Culture and Literature (a bronze figure in a shrine) keeping a close eye on students' handwritten messages which are attached to a red wooden frame

The God of Culture and Literature keeping a
close eye on students’ handwritten messages



 There’s a well known Danzai noodle shop on the corner by the entrance to Chihkan Tower (with the red signage and white lettering). If we’re honest, we weren’t that blown away by it, but it is said to be one of the better places to try this classic Tainan dish. Maybe we just made a mistake in ordering the dry version instead of the soupy one?

A restaurant famous for Danzai noodles in Tainan, lit up at night with the shopfront open on the street

The Danzai noodle place across from Chihkan Tower



A restaurant famous for Danzai noodles in Tainan, lit up at night with the shopfront open on the street

The Danzai noodle place near Chihkan Tower



Shennong Street

Shennong Street is lined with historic houses, shopfronts and old warehouses dating from the 1700s. It was once one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city, running parallel to one of five canals leading to Anping Harbour. 

The buildings here are mostly two-story, long and narrow, not dissimilar to those found in Dadaocheng district in Taipei. Back in the day, boats would pull up at the back of the building to offload their cargo, which was hauled up to the second floor storage area. The ground floor acted as home and shopfront. Many of the buildings share a crossbeam, making it impossible to demolish one without the consent of neighbouring owners. For this reason, the street has been largely preserved, despite the disappearance of the canals and associated trade long ago.

With a resurgence in nostalgia and eagerness to embrace Taiwan’s heritage, Shennong Street has become a cultural hub once again. Artists, designers and entrepreneurs have transformed the derelict buildings into bars, shops and studios. The street is lit up with lanterns at night, making it a nice place for a stroll in the early evening (most places close by 9pm).

Colourful lanterns hanging above the street



Doors shut but lanterns on as we passed late at night



Doors shut but lanterns on as we passed at night


Colourful lanterns hanging above the street



More Backstreets

We wouldn’t want to spoil the enjoyment of aimless wandering down unknown lanes. But, we can point you in the direction of a few areas we particularly enjoyed. The first is the cluster of lanes around Pari Pari and Zyuu Tsubo. Here you’ll find a mix of residential homes, independent cafes and unique shops. A particular favourite is Asuka Antique, a treasure trove of vintage furniture, homewares, trinkets and jewellery.

A row of HMV dogs on a shelf, an old framed picture and a vintage wall clock in Asuka Antique, Tainan

Here’s what awaits you inside Asuka Antique



Vintage furniture in Asuka Antique, Tainan

Vintage furniture in Asuka Antique



A row of HMV dogs on a shelf, an old framed picture and a vintage wall clock in Asuka Antique, Tainan

Here’s what awaits you inside Asuka Antique


Vintage furniture in Asuka Antique, Tainan

Vintage furniture in Asuka Antique



The lanes north-west of Shennong Street, leading towards Lola and Duiyuemen historical gate are also fun to explore.

  • A person walking at night through Duiyuemen Gate in Tainan, Taiwan
  • A person walking at night through Duiyuemen Gate in Tainan, Taiwan

Duiyuemen historical gate at night



Lastly, we liked the backstreets around our accommodation, to the east and south-east of the Confucius Temple. Hidden cafes like Tin Drum, Drifter Cafe and Shi Ye Kafei Restaurant sit alongside residential homes, tiny temples, art galleries and grassy parks.

EAT & DRINK IN TAINAN

Most of the cafes, bars and restaurants we’ve just mentioned are covered in this guide, which we think makes a great accompaniment to your Tainan sightseeing plans.


Garden Night Market

If there’s one thing Taiwan does well, it’s night markets. The Garden Night Market (also called Flower Night Market) is Tainan’s biggest and arguably best. It’s open three nights a week (Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) as long as the weather is dry. We timed our visit to coincide with the market, but heavy rain scuppered our feasting plans. There’s loads of food vendors, as well as clothing, games and household goods stalls. It’s held in the North District, about 2km north of Shennong Street.

Open 5pm – midnight Thurs/Sat/Sun

WHAT TO SEE & DO IN ANPING DISTRICT

Anping is a fascinating area of Tainan and is not to be missed.
But before we dive into the nitty gritty of what to see and do, here’s a little bit of history first.

The Importance Of Anping

The modern history of Taiwan starts in Anping. Having been inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years, the 17th Century saw great changes across the island. In 1622 the Dutch East India Company (VOC) established a base at Tayouan Harbour (modern day Anping) to better trade with China and Japan. They built Fort Zeelandia and Fort Provintia (now Chihkan Tower) and encouraged the immigration of Fujianese workers from southern China.

The Dutch colonial period did not last long however. The VOC were driven from the island by Chinese Ming loyalist Koxinga in 1662. With him came around 30,000 Chinese, adding to an indigenous population of around 100,000. Fort Zeelandia was renamed Anping, and soon after the name Tayouan (Taiwan) was given to the island as a whole. After Koxinga’s death, his son ruled for about 20 years. This was followed by a 200 year period when Taiwan was governed by the Qing dynasty. It was ruled as a prefecture of Fujian province, right up until the start of the Japanese Colonial Era (1895-1945).

Chinese Migration

Mass migration to Taiwan continued throughout this period, the majority coming from Fujian and Guangdong provinces in southern coastal China. They brought their religion with them and continued to worship the same deities as before (Mazu for example). Temples were built in the southern Chinese style (commonly referred to as Hokkien, Minnan or Hoklo style). These influences are the reason that Taiwan has such unique temple architecture; it’s a style that’s found in only a few other Chinese communities across Southeast Asia. Ethnically Hoklo and Hakka people (descendents of these 17th-19th Century immigrants) now make up approx 85% of the current Taiwanese population. A further 2% are indigenous peoples, while the remainder is largely made up of post WWII emigrants from mainland China. 

Modern Anping

In 1858 Anping Harbour was opened to trade with the west, and a number of international merchants established businesses here. Among them was Tait & Co., and the company’s former merchant house and warehouse (Anping Tree House) are now key attractions in the area. However, such international commerce didn’t last long. By the end of the 19th Century sea trade was in decline, with Anping Harbour having largely silted up. Foreign merchants then withdrew from Anping as the Japanese Government monopolised opium, camphor and other trades. After approximately 300 years, the capital of Taiwan was moved from Tainan to Taipei at the end of the 1800s. While Taipei experienced mass overdevelopment, Tainan managed to retain its many temples and historic sites, including those found in Anping District to this day.


Anping Old Street

Crowds thronging the busy Anping Old Street in Tainan, Taiwan

Touristy Anping Old Street



There are many so called ‘old streets’ in Taiwan, but this is indeed the oldest of them all. Established by the Dutch nearly 400 years ago, it’s an interesting place to wander (if a little touristy). We actually enjoyed exploring down quiet side streets and back alleys more than the main street itself, which is home to more than a few souvenir shops.


A person wandering a narrow back lane in the Anping District of Tainan

Wandering the grungy back alleys



There are many so called ‘old streets’ in Taiwan, but this is indeed the oldest of them all. Established by the Dutch nearly 400 years ago, it’s an interesting place to wander (if a little touristy). We actually enjoyed exploring down quiet side streets and back alleys more than the main street itself, which is home to more than a few souvenir shops.

Crowds thronging the busy Anping Old Street in Tainan, Taiwan

Touristy Anping Old Street


A person wandering a narrow back lane in the Anping District of Tainan

Wandering the grungy back alleys



Anping Traditional Snacks

There are plenty of restaurants and snack stops to be found in Anping, ideal for grazing before or after a trip to the nearby fort. Coffin Bread is a classic; deep fried bread hollowed out like a coffin and filled with creamy seafood chowder. A small one was just right for us, any more and we might have required a larger coffin. We had some deliciously crispy salty wontons from the same stall, found outside Anping Guiji Cultural Restaurant.

NT$65 for 2 small coffin breads & 2 wontons

A lady in the Anping District of Taiwan selling wontons and coffin bread

This lady was doing a mean trade in wontons and coffin bread



Anping coffin bread, a filling deep fried casing full of chowder

The aforementioned coffin bread, a very filling snack



A lady in the Anping District of Taiwan selling wontons and coffin bread

This lady was doing a mean trade in
rather tasty wontons and coffin bread


Anping coffin bread, a filling deep fried casing full of chowder

The aforementioned coffin bread, a very filling snack



Anping Fort (Fort Zeelandia)

The oldest historical site in Taiwan. It’s a wonderful place to learn about the history of the country and the Dutch occupation in particular. The Fort itself has undergone a lot of reconstruction but, alongside the museum, it remains an interesting place to explore for an hour or two.

NT$50, 830am – 530pm daily (8pm Fri – Sun)

The layered inner walls of Anping Fort in Tainan, with the modern watchtower on top

The layered inner fort walls, with modern watchtower on top



The old walls of Anping Fort in Tainan are surrounded by attractive, well maintained trees

The old walls are surrounded by attractive, well maintained trees



The layered inner walls of Anping Fort in Tainan, with the modern watchtower on top

The layered inner fort walls at Anping, with the
more modern watchtower and building on top


The old walls of Anping Fort in Tainan are surrounded by attractive, well maintained trees

The old walls of the fort are surrounded
by attractive, well maintained trees



Anping Tree House & Former Tait & Co. Merchant House

One of the highlights of our trip to Tainan, the Anping Tree House is a fascinating example of the power of nature. Behind the former Tait & Co. Merchant House (now a museum), the old merchant warehouse lay abandoned for decades. Slowly, banyan trees started to take over the space, their branches and roots spreading around, over and through the walls of the empty shell. Their limbs and leaves form a roof of sorts over the building, a home to squirrels, birds and various other wildlife.

The merchant building almost totally hidden in places by the limbs, vines and tresses of the banyan tree

The building almost totally hidden in places



Banyan trees growing through and sprawling over the remains of the warehouse in Anping

Banyan trees growing through and sprawling over the remains of the warehouse



Banyan trees growing through and sprawling over the remains of the warehouse in Anping

Banyan trees growing through and sprawling
over the remains of the merchant warehouse


The merchant building almost totally hidden in places by the limbs, vines and tresses of the banyan tree

The building almost totally hidden in places



In 2004 the site was opened to the public, with dark wooden walkways and industrial support beams in keeping with its gothic ambience. You can explore the numerous rooms at ground level, or climb the stairs to the elevated walkways. Within the tree house there are permanent exhibitions about local history and banyan trees. Temporary art exhibitions are also held, with artwork displayed among the tree trunks. It’s an incredible place, where your imagination can easily run away with you as you gawk at angular limbs of seemingly alien creatures and weave your way around tresses of vines.

NT$50, 830am – 530pm daily

An exhibition of artwork among the vines of the banyan trees in the Anping Tree House in Tainan

An exhibition of artwork among the vines of the banyan trees



The rear of the Anping Tait & Co. Merchant House, draped in vines and seen from the elevated walkways of the Anping Tree House in Tainan

The back of the old merchant house



An exhibition of artwork among the vines of the banyan trees in the Anping Tree House in Tainan

An exhibition among the vines of the banyan trees


The rear of the Anping Tait & Co. Merchant House, draped in vines and seen from the elevated walkways of the Anping Tree House in Tainan

The back of the old merchant house, seen from
the elevated walkways of the Anping Tree House



More In Anping District

If you have more time to explore Anping District, there are numerous other points of interest. Anping Mazu Temple is centrally located and, not surprisingly, one of the oldest in Taiwan. There are various former merchant residencies and colonial-era  buildings, such as the Former Taiyen Dormitory (wooden, Japanese style), Julius Mannich Merchant House and Zhu Jiu-Ying Residence. There are also plenty of interesting residential streets to wander, and riverside viewpoints.

A weathered facade on the streets of Anping



A friendly local



A weathered facade on the streets of Anping


A friendly local



*Look for the free Anping Old Street Walking Tour Map for a rundown of all the local sights*

WHERE TO STAY IN TAINAN

Tainan has some wonderfully unique accommodation options, with many designated ‘homestays’ available in beautiful old houses. These are more like boutique guesthouses, with just a few rooms and sometimes a common area or small kitchen. We highly recommend staying in one of these to fully appreciate the Tainan vibe we love so much! 

If you’re looking for budget hostel accommodation there’s plenty of that out there too, some in old homes with traditional features like terrazzo flooring. At the higher end, there are plenty of hotels offering more facilities like pools, restaurants and bars.

 We’ve hand-picked a few favourites below.

BUDGET TAINAN HOSTELS

158 HOSTEL

Excellent choice for those looking for cheap dorm beds. Perfect location, hidden down a quiet lane near Pari Pari. Beautiful old house with minimalist retro design. Privacy curtains, two secure lockers per bed, plenty of showers & toilets and nice common areas.

Dorm Bed Approx NT$600/£15/US$20


CAO JI BOOK INN HOSTEL

One for the book lovers out there. Huge library, sleek design, big bathrooms with quality
local toiletries and a rooftop terrace. Excellent location close to Confucius Temple.

Dorm Bed Approx NT$800/£20/US$26

CAO JI BOOK INN HOSTEL

One for the book lovers out there. Huge library, sleek design, big bathrooms with quality local toiletries and a rooftop terrace. Excellent location close to Confucius Temple.

Dorm Bed Approx NT$800/£20/US$26


U.I.J HOTEL AND HOSTEL

Offers dorms as well as private rooms in a modern building with lots of big windows, exposed brick and minimal
design. Nice terrace covered in plants. Good location close to the new Tainan Art Museum Building 2.

Dorm Bed Approx NT$675/£17/US$22
Private Doubles From Approx NT$2800/£70/US$92

U.I.J HOTEL AND HOSTEL

Offers dorms as well as private rooms in a modern building with lots of big windows, exposed brick and minimal design. Nice terrace covered in plants. Good location close to the new Tainan Art Museum Building 2.

Dorm Bed Approx NT$675/£17/US$22
Private Doubles From Approx NT$2800/£70/US$92


BUDGET TO MID-RANGE HOMESTAYS

JIMU’S SHARE SPACE

Wonderfully atmospheric old home with tasteful vintage furniture and very welcoming host. Small shared kitchen, common areas, shared bathrooms and a few private rooms. Great location a little south of Shennong Street.

Double Approx NT$1400/£36/US$47


HOME IN TAINAN

Comfy, modern and spacious rooms, many with balconies. Large homely common area
and helpful host.
Good location for visiting Garden Night Market, Grand Mazu Temple, etc.

Double Approx NT$1600/£40/US$53

HOME IN TAINAN

Comfy, modern and spacious rooms, many with balconies. Large homely common area and helpful host. Good location for visiting Garden Night Market, Grand Mazu Temple, etc.

Double Approx NT$1600/£40/US$53


BAO CHENG HOME

Traditional old house with very friendly hosts and quirky design features, including
an indoor climbing wall! Great location close to Shennong Street and Grand Mazu Temple.

Double Approx NT$1780/£45/US$59

BAO CHENG HOME

Traditional old house with very friendly hosts and quirky design features, including an indoor climbing wall! Great location close to Shennong Street and Grand Mazu Temple.

Double Approx NT$1780/£45/US$59


SHENNONG 147

Historic home located on Shennong Street, full of character and vintage details.
Very friendly host who has had the house in his family for over 50 years.

Double Approx NT$1700/£43/US$56

SHENNONG 147

Historic home located on Shennong Street, full of character and vintage details. Very friendly host who has had the house in his family for over 50 years.

Double Approx NT$1700/£43/US$56


DISCOVER TAIPEI’S OLDEST DISTRICT

MID-RANGE TAINAN ACCOMMODATION

XIAOBEI HOME

Entire heritage house with comfortable modern touches. Great location near
Shennong Street. Good for small groups as can sleep more than 2 people.

From Approx NT$3500/£89/US$117

XIAOBEI HOME

Entire heritage house with comfortable modern touches. Great location near Shennong Street. Good for small groups as can sleep more than 2 people.

From Approx NT$3500/£89/US$117


LAILE HOSTEL

We’ve got some serious love for the retro vibes in this historic home with modern touches, especially the spacious deluxe rooms with balconies. Includes a great breakfast and peaceful leafy common area. Great location close to Chihkan Tower.

Double Approx NT$2200-3960/£56-100/US$74-130


LOKU. TAINAN

Retro chic hidden down a quiet lane next door to Lola (one of our favourite bars in Tainan) and historic Duiyuemen (west gate). Beautiful design features, some rooms with deep stone baths and a terrace.

Double Approx NT$2730-3285/£69-83/US$90-109

MACHIYA HINOKI

Small but cosy Japanese inspired rooms with nice touches like tatami mats, wooden tubs and yukatas. Quiet local area with a friendly family restaurant next door (Shi Ye Kafei) and a short walk to the Confucius Temple.

Double Approx NT$1979-2454/£50-62/US$65-82


Ceramic wash basin in the room at Machiya Hinoki in Tainan

Inside the rooms at Machiya Hinoki



Ceramic wash basin in the room at Machiya Hinoki in Tainan

Inside the rooms at Machiya Hinoki



HIGH-END TAINAN ACCOMMODATION

SHANGRI-LA’S FAR EASTERN PLAZA HOTEL, TAINAN

Spacious rooms plus all the services and facilities you would expect from a
Shangri-La, but at a reasonable price. Great location, right next to the train station.

Double From Approx NT$3960/£100/US$130

SHANGRI-LA’S FAR EASTERN PLAZA HOTEL, TAINAN

Spacious rooms plus all the services and facilities you would expect from a Shangri-La, but at a reasonable price. Great location, right next to the train station.

Double From Approx NT$3960/£100/US$130


THE PLACE TAINAN

Sleek hotel with boutique design features and spacious rooms.
A little far to be within walking distance of the main sights though.

Double From Approx NT$3960/£100/US$130

THE PLACE TAINAN

Sleek hotel with boutique design features and spacious rooms. A little far to be within walking distance of the main sights though.

Double From Approx NT$3960/£100/US$130


SILKS PLACE TAINAN

Good location, a little south of the new Tainan Art Museum Building 2. Friendly
staff, excellent breakfast, swimming pool and all the other usual facilities.

Double From Approx NT$3960/£100/US$130

SILKS PLACE TAINAN

Good location, a little south of the new Tainan Art Museum Building 2. Friendly staff, excellent breakfast, swimming pool and all the other usual facilities.

Double From Approx NT$3960/£100/US$130


FIND MORE TAINAN ACCOMMODATION

Booking.com

HOW TO GET AROUND TAINAN

Tainan is a very walkable city. Chances are you may only use a bus/taxi to get between the city centre and Anping District, or to and from the train station depending on how far your accommodation is. There are also T-Bike stations throughout Tainan, so cycling is an option.

Get Around Tainan By Bus

The easiest way to navigate the bus system is by using Google Maps (iOS/Android). Locate your closest bus stop and click on it to see which buses stop there. You can click on the bus number to see every stop on that bus route and figure out the correct direction of travel. Bus numbers 2 and 99 both ply the route between the centre and Anping. Fares are NT$18. Pick up an i-Pass or EasyCard in advance and tap on to pay. You can use these cards on public transport throughout Taiwan.

Get Around Tainan By Taxi

Hailing a taxi on the street is your best bet as Uber and similar apps don’t work here. To give you an idea of fares, we paid NT$170 for a journey from the Confucius Temple to Anping Fort (approx 5.5km), and NT$60 from our accommodation to the train station (approx 1.3km). Taxis run on a meter and don’t expect the driver to speak English, so be prepared with your destination written in the local language.

Get Around Tainan By Bike

You can use the city’s public T-Bike network to get around pretty cheaply. It costs NT$10 for 30 mins, with a max charge of NT$100 per day. You can pay using your i-Pass or EasyCard, or by credit card. Check the official site to locate the bike stations and read up on how to use the system.

HOW TO GET TO TAINAN

Most people travel to Tainan by train, however there are also bus links and flights.

Get To Tainan By Train

You can take either the HSR (High Speed Rail) or regular TRA (Taiwan Railways Administration) train to Tainan from Taipei and various other destinations on the west coast (Taichung, Kaohsiung, etc.). The TRA train station is very central in Tainan, whereas the HSR station is approx 15km southeast of the city. TRA trains are slower but considerably cheaper than HSR trains. Unless you’re very restricted by time, the TRA train is the ideal way to get around Taiwan in our opinion. 

You can search TRA timetables and fares here, and HSR timetables and fares here. If you’re arriving at the HSR train station, walk 1 minute to Shalun Station to catch a TRA train to central Tainan Station (23 mins). Alternatively, take the HSR shuttle bus or a taxi into the city.

A person's hand holding a pair of Taiwanese train tickets in front of a blurred background train

Taiwan train tickets: aesthetically pleasing and wonderfully tactile



A train at the platform in a station in Taiwan

Taiwan trains got style



A person's hand holding a pair of Taiwanese train tickets in front of a blurred background train

Taiwan train tickets: aesthetically
pleasing and wonderfully tactile



Get To Tainan By Bus

Ubus and Taiwan Bus have services from both Taipei and Taichung to Tainan.
The journey time is slower than the train, but also cheaper.

Ubus and Taiwan Bus have services from both Taipei and Taichung to Tainan. The journey time is slower than the train, but also cheaper.

Get To Tainan By Air

Tainan flight options are limited. China Airlines flies to Osaka and Hong Kong, VietJet Air fly to
Ho Chi Minh City, and Uni Airways fly domestically to Kinmen and Magong (Makung) in the Penghu Islands.

Tainan flight options are limited. China Airlines flies to Osaka and Hong Kong, VietJet Air fly to Ho Chi Minh City, and Uni Airways fly domestically to Kinmen and Magong (Makung) in the Penghu Islands.

You can search flight options and find the best deals on Skyscanner.


A few buses, including the 239 and 5, connect Tainan Airport and Tainan Station (as well as other stops in the city). Check Google Maps for your best option. It takes about 40 minutes.

WHEN TO VISIT TAINAN

October to April are the most pleasant months to visit Tainan. May until September can be rainy, hot and humid. The ideal months, with temperatures in the twenties, are March, April, October and November. The coolest months are December to February, with temperatures ranging from about 14°C – 24°C. 

Lunar New Year is a particularly busy time to travel (usually falling in January or February), with the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival taking place at a similar time. Attend at your own risk!

WHAT TO SEE & DO IN TAINAN

Well folks, that’s the lot. We hope you love Tainan as much as we did and that you have found this guide useful. If you have any questions, just drop them in the comments below. And if you have anything more to add, maybe something we’ve missed, feel free to weigh in with your opinions and recommendations. Enjoy Tainan!

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – if you purchase a product or service via these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps offset the cost of running this blog and keeps us travelling so that we can continue to produce great content for you. We greatly appreciate your support!*

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