Sunday, September 28, 2008


Frustrated by the Typhoons in Taiwan I decided to run off to a city that wouldn't be hit by it. Tainan was the capital of Taiwan from 1661 until 1887. As such the city is rich with history. Tainan is also known for certain types of food from that region such as shrimp rolls, and danzi noodles.

No hostel listings online for Tainan either, however I have a Taiwan Youth Travel Card which also comes with a booklet full of discounts for hotels, hostels and museums. Luckily for me a dorm was listed in there for $320 NT - about $10 USD. It's called the Tainan City Labor Recreation Center, However once I got there and showed them my Youth Travel Card they discounted the dorm to $260 NT a night - which is about $8 USD a night. Not only was it only $8 a night but it was also the cleanest dorm I have stayed in yet!

Ok, let's get on to some of the sites of Tainan.

Temple of the 5 Concubines
The Crown Prince of the Ming Dynasty was in Taiwan when the Ming Dynasty fell to the Manchurians. Knowing he would be hunted down he decided he would commit suicide. He told his Concubines that they could go on with their lives, becoming wives of other men, or nuns, or whatever they wished. However upon learning the Prince's desire to commit suicide all five Concubines committed suicide in a show of fidelity to the Prince. Two of the Prince's Eunuch's also committed suicide in a demonstration of loyalty as well. Their story is now honored at this temple where the Concubines are buried.

The actual burial site is located behind the temple.
Shrine to the two eunuchs that also commited suicide.

South Gate
One of the few remaining city gates from the old Tainan City Walls. It was build in 1736, originally 14 such gates existed.

Koxinga Temple

Koxinga was a General for the Ming Army. When the Ming Dynasty lost to the Manchurians he took his army to Taiwan in hopes of returning to China and defeating the Manchus. During this period the Dutch had already established fortification in Taiwan. Koxinga, now a pirate-warrior with the defeat of the Ming, took back control of Taiwan. He defeat the Dutch,

Shrine to Koxinga
Inside the shrine.

This plumb tree was planted by Koxinga making over 300 years old. It still blooms but not very often. The tree was moved to the temple from it's original site.

Confucius Temple

Chinkan Tower

Chinkan Tower used to be the Dutch Fort Provinta. The pirate-warrior Koxinga defeated this fort quickly though and torn down all but the foundation laid in by the Dutch. The fort was then rebuilt into the Chinkan Towers.

Chinkan Tower

A pond at the tower.
Statue honoring Koxinga's victory over the Dutch.

Bastion Ruins of Fort Provinta - This section of the fort is part of the original Fort Provinta. It's part of the few sections left intact by Koxinga.

Another pond at the Tower.

Feeding Koi at the Tower ponds.

Monkey Tree
If you look closely at the bumps they supposedly resemble monkey heads. There is an old popular Chinese folk story about the Monkey King. If people wish to honor the Monkey King they do so at this tree.

Fort Anping
Originally a Dutch fort known as Fort Zeelandia built from 1624-1623, this fort was sieged by the pirate-warrior Koxinga. After nine months the dutch were defeated and left Taiwan. The fort was renamed to Fort Anping. Back when this fort was being used it was right on the water's edge. Today it is not that close to the sea.
Entrance to the fort.

Artifacts have been found here.

Eternal Golden Fort
During the Qing Dynasty this fort was built as protection against Japan. It was the first western style fort built by the Chinese in Taiwan.

Electronics in Tainan
Of course I had to go check out the electronics/computer shopping in Tainan. If you wish to do so you'll need to head to Beimen Road, just a few blocks south of the Train Station. Look for the section of the road with the blue ink on the side of it in the map below. That's where you want to go.


While walking around the shops I ran into an older lady. We started talking about the computer she was looking at. When she found out I was American she asked if I wanted to hop on the back of her scooter and get a tour of the city. Not seeing the harm, and being on a bit of an adventure anyway I decided why not? So I got on the back of the scooter. She took me to eat some traditional Tainan food, and talked about their history. She also took me to some temples not listed on the Tourist maps. We also dropped by an embroidery shop where the owner gave me a first hand look at his goods and talked about how he made them. I offered to put his website on my blog for his generous tour. If you like his stuff, check out his website for better pictures and to purchase:

There are a bunch of old Temples in Tainan that are still in use today. You can see them on the tourist maps provided by the city on signs along the street. Here are a couple temple tips I wish I had known before being I had gone:
Always walk into the temple through the right door; NEVER through the center or left door.
Always exist the temple through the left.

Leaving Tainan on the High Speed Train.
Taiwan has a High Speed Train which uses Japan's Shinkansen technology for it's core. It reaches speeds of up to 217 MPH.
Taiwan High Speed Rail - THSR

Map of Tainan Attractions - note Anping attractions not shown here.

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