The Republic of China is a compact island that bursts with hall of fame travel targets from feverish Taipei to Alishan National Scenic Area, the coast of Kenting National Park to the dramatic spires of the Central Mountain Range. One Taiwan gem under the mainstream radar, however, is the vibrant city of Tainan.
Home to over 1.8 million people, Tainan sometimes gets lost in the urban shuffle behind Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung. Nevertheless, the comeback kid of Taiwan and “City of the Phoenix” has ample reason to brandish a measure of bravado. For one, Tainan is the oldest city on the island and subsequently unfurls a singular parade of architectural wonders. Indeed, visitors have to go to mainland China to hone in on just comparisons.
As the birthplace of modern Taiwan and first city on the island then, venerable landmarks in Tainan span the Dutch colonial, Qing Dynasty and Japanese colonial eras. The best of the lot includes the National Museum of Taiwanese Literature, Eternal Golden Fortress, City God Temple, Chihkan Tower (Fort Provintia) and God of War Temple. Other worthwhile diversions in Tainan include Tainan Park, Guanziling Hot Spring and Chigu Salt Mountain.
Tainan’s Top 10
10. National Museum of Taiwanese Literature, in the old city hall, is one of the best cultural monuments in the country.
5. Eternal Golden Castle is a fortress monument built in 1874 to ward off Japanese military raids.
9. Chigu Salt Mountain is 3 hours outside Tainan but well worth the trip in the cool winter months.
4. Taiwan Confucius Temple is a national treasure that dates back to 1665.
8. Wusanto Reservoir is a foremost scenic area in Taiwan.
3. City God Temple is venerable shrine that sits in the middle of a busy city artery.
7. Guanziling Hot Spring is just the place to melt workaday cares away in Tainan.
2. Chihkan Tower, formerly Fort Provintia, is a Dutch citadel built in 1653.
6. Tainan Park is a sublime public space in the city.
1. Night Markets of Tainan stand up gamely to counterparts in Taipei and Kaohsiung.
- Chihkan Tower - This famous Tainan landmark offers an introduction to the history of the area.
- Anping Tree House - Amazing look at how Banyan trees reclaimed this ancient property.
- Shennong Street - This street is leftover from the Qing dynasty and offers a look into the past.
- South Gate - This gate is part of an ancient fortress that used to guard the city from invaders.
- Wufei Temple - This ancient temple was dedicated to the last king of the Ming dynasty.
Tainan Art & Culture
- Eternal Golden Castle - Some of the old canons are still on exhibit at this attraction.
- Dongmen Art Museum - Local artists from the past and present display their works at this popular museum.
- Tainan Holocaust Museum - This museum offers a grim reminder of the bloody history of Tainan.
- National Museum of Taiwan History - The turbulent and complicated history of the area is laid out in this museum.
- Tainan Science Park - A museum is the main attraction at this park, which features displays relating to science.
- Nanmen Weekend Flower Market - Lovers of flowers come to this unique Tainan market to buy local plants.
- Tainan Night Market - One of the most popular activities in the city, just about everything can be found at this local market.
- Singda Harbour Fish Market - One of the best places to purchase seafood or just to have a snack.
- Xiao Bei Baihuo - This 24-hour market is known as the everything market because it sells just about everything.
- Fuzhong Street - This street is much more European in style and offers residents a great place to take a stroll.
Gay & Lesbian Tainan
- Light - This Tainan gay bar is also popular among lesbians and is a great place to learn about the local gay scene.
- Music Town Karaoke - This hotspot is popular among the gay community but caters to lesbians as well.
- M - Located near Chinatown, this bar features a friendly staff, which makes it popular among the gay and lesbian crowd.
- Fu Low - This gay-friendly restaurant serves seafood in an open-air, relaxed environment.
- Lemon Mini - One of few gay-friendly tea shops in Tainan.
- Chigu Salt Mountain - The people come to this mountain made of salt for the spectacular views.
- Guanzi Hill - This hill is one of the best places in the area to take a scenic stroll.
- Yujing - This famous area is home to mango groves and a great place to spend the day.
- Fire and Water Springs - These hot springs just outside of Tainan are a favourite place to relax.
- Wu Su Lin - One of the favourite spots for locals to take a walk through the forest.
- Skate the ramps at Tainan Extreme Sports Park.
- Catch a game at the Tainan Baseball Stadium.
- Stretch out and stay in shape at Atha Yoga.
- Hike the trails at Xinhua National Forest in Tainan.
- Take a relaxing swim at Tainan Spa World.
Tainan celebrates all the major civic, national and cultural holidays of Taiwan with verve. From Double Ten Day to Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival to Chinese New Year, Ghost Festival to Lantern Festival, there is no bad time to visit Tainan from an event standpoint.
Tainan has a lively restaurant and nightlife scene.
When To Go
Tainan has a mix of a humid subtropical and wet and dry monsoon climate, with heavy downpours from June to August. Humidity is high throughout the year and total rainfall in the range of 66 in (1,673 mm).
- From April to October, the average midday high in the city crests at 85°F (30°C). The summer season from June to September is particularly hot, with temperatures between 78°F (26°C) and 91°F (33°C).
- Winter, on the other hand, features relatively comfortable weather, with a low of 56.5°F (13.5°C) and high of 76°F (24°C).
Located in southern Taiwan, Tainan is a pleasing city that will captivate visitors with history, festivals, forts and ancient sanctuaries. Filled with a rich tradition and heritage, the locals provide a welcoming feeling and friendly atmosphere. From temples to treks in national parks, tourists to Taiwan should not miss this destination on their holiday travels.
- Fort Provintia
- National Museum of Taiwan Literature
- Taiwan Confucius Temple
- Trek about in the Taijiang National Park
- Visit the Tainan Flower Market at night
- Stroll through the National Museum of Taiwan History
Although Tainan has a subtropical climate that is characterized as humid, the seasons seem to follow a wet and dry pattern. The months of April to September are rainy, and October through March are relatively dry. Average temperatures for summer are quite hot at 91°F (33°C), so visitors may find November through March a better time to visit due to cooler temperatures and less rain.
Getting There & Around
Located in the South District, the Tainan Airport brings visitors into the city through domestic flights. By rail, the Tainan Station is a major stop on the Western Line that connects Tainan to major cities such as Taipei, Kaoshing, Keelung, Taichung and Hsinchu.
Getting around in the city is easy with buses, cars, scooters and walking. Scooters can be a real convenience, but riders should know where they are going as well as feel comfortable driving through traffic.
More Info On Getting Around
Kaohsiung International Airport is the most proximate major hub to Tainan. Tiny Tainan Airport fell in importance after the launch of the Taiwan High Speed Rail line from Taipei to Kaohsiung. THSR Tainan Station has been open for service since January 2011.
The inter-city bus network in Taiwan is very affordable, efficient and a comfortable alternative.
12 hotels in Tainan
89 Section West, University Road, Map
Combining deluxe accommodations, gracious hospitable service and convenient location, Shangri-La's Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Tainan makes for an ideal base for travellers while in Tainan. The... More
Offering quality accommodation and convenient facilities, Wei Yat to Toong Mao Tainan Wei Yat Grand Hotel is the place for an enjoyable holiday. Anping Fort and Eternal Golden Castle are the places... More
No.243, Kangle Street, West Central District, Tainan, Taiwan, 700 Tainan Map
3F., No.2, Chenggong Rd., Tainan City, Tainan, Taiwan 704 Map
Takatama Hotel Tainan offers cosy accommodations strategically set near public transportations to travellers visiting Tainan. Tourists exploring the southern part of Taiwan go on tours around the... More
No.150-1, Sec. 2, Yongfu Rd., West Central Dist., Tainan City 70048, Taiwan (R.O.C. Map
The Famous Hotel is located in downtown city center and it is very close to Chikanlou, one of the most famous historical sites in Tainan. Take advantage of the hotel's location near local snacks.... More
Hwa Du Hotel Tainan offers business and leisure travellers modern and tasteful accommodations in the oldest city of Taiwan. Visitors can immerse themselves in Tainan's rich history by visiting... More
No.2-1, Ln. 70, Weimin St., West Central Dist. Map
1967 City Central Hotel was established in 2012 and located on the downtown Tainan. "1967"is not just a name of a hostel but also a special love from a husband. The owner built... More
No.658-2, Sec. 1 Ximen Rd., West Central Dist., Tainan City Map
Seek for the world of complete peace and relaxation by residing at the Good Ground Hotel Tainan that offers fabulous accommodation and immaculate service to indulge you in a perfect getaway in... More
No 175 Sec 3 Jinhua Road West District, Tainan, Taiwan Map
Hua Shin Hotel Tainan is a modern hotel situated in West District, offering comfortable accommodation to discerning travellers. It also has Tainan Park, Tsaoshan Moonscape Scenic Area, Garden Night... More