Travelogue: Tainan

Tainan (臺南, literally south Taiwan) is the old capital of Taiwan, and is full of history, so I stopped by for a couple of days to see the sights.
Tainan - Confucian temple 5 Tainan - Anping fort portrait 2

Night Markets:
I tried visiting two different night markets in Tainan, and found them both to be quite authentic and interesting – Dadong (大東) and Huayuan (花園).

At Dadong, I saw the Taiwanese Billy Mayes! Surrounded by enraptured visitors, he sold all sorts of knickknacks and doodads.
Tainan - night mart infomercial 1 Tainan - night mart infomercial 2

Lots of interesting foods too:
– Sheep bone marrow:
Tainan - sheep bone marrow

– Dorayaki: straight out of my childhood. When I was a kid, I often watched this Japanese (dubbed into Chinese) anime, Doraemon. And featured in almost every episode was this delicious snack, red bean pancakes. It’s a food I’ll always associate with happy childhood memories. Also, it’s delicious.
Tainan - dorayaki 1 Tainan - dorayaki 2

– Fresh-made mochi! Delicious!
Tainan - mochi 1 Tainan - mochi 2

Confucian Temple: temple #1. Notable for being quite drab. Also, a lot of students like to come here, pray to pass college entrance exams and other tests, and hang up wishes for successful exam results:

Koxinga (國姓爺) Temple: temple #2. Koxinga /Guoxingye is the guy who liberated Taiwan from the Portuguese! Noteworthy only for having a working well, which was pretty cool.

Big South Gate: A gate! I’ve noticed this thing in Taiwan, where a lot of public spaces get taken over by dancing students. Not dance as in salsa, waltz, or other classical dances, but more modern music video dancing.
Tainan - Big south gate Tainan - Big south gate dancers

Chikan Tower (赤崁樓) / Fort Provintia: It’s an old Portuguese fort, eventually conquered by the Taiwanese as they pushed the Portuguese out of Taiwan. Take that, Portugal! Quite full of tourists, but not quite worth it. Nice view at night.

Oddly enough, the current Chikan Tower has very little in common with the historical Fort Provintia:
Tainan - Chikan tower old model

Wufei Temple (五妃廟): temple constructed for four concubines who committed suicide with their lord with the fall of the Ming dynasty.

Anping Fort (安平古堡) / Fort Zeelandia: It’s an old Portuguese fort, eventually conquered by the Taiwanese as they pushed the Portuguese out of Taiwan. Take that, Portugal! Quite full of tourists, but not quite worth it.

Just like Chikan tower, Anping Fort seems to have very little in common with historical Fort Zeelandia:
Tainan - Anping fort model

On a side note, there’s an extensive market right next to Anping Fort, and I tried this new dish – enormous takoyaki! Not bad.

The Tree House: It’s not really a tree house, as much as a house and warehouse overgrown by mangrove trees. Post-apocalyptic, but quite scenic.  It’s also got some very nice views of the surrounding areas.


Tainan - panorama tree house 1

Also, random displays of history!
Tainan - Anping fort display 2Tainan - Anping fort display 1

Taiwanese Literature Museum: I like museums. I like literature. But I don’t quite like the combination thereof. Or at least, not when I can’t understand any of it. Still, an interesting narrative of how Taiwanese literature has evolved through the ages, from the writings of early settlers to rebellious literature during the Japanese colonization, to modern day tweets and blogs.
Tainan - literature museum Tainan - literature museum exhibit

Food:
– Chicken with dry noodles:
Tainan - chicken with dry noodles

– Milkfish congee, regular congee:
Tainan - milkfish porridge Tainan - congee

– Pork floss rice!
Tainan - pork floss rice

– Zhongzi!
Tainan - zhongzi

Bits and bobs:
– While walking around Tainan’s city center, I happened upon an elementary school field day / award ceremony of some sort.  I sat and watched them for a bit.  When they started singing Taiwan’s national anthem, it brought tears to my eyes.  Shit man, way back when, when I came to Taiwan for a semester during 2nd grade, that was me.  Me, standing there singing a song I didn’t quite understand, not sure what was going around me.  The feels.

– I stayed for a night at 1828 hostel. It’s old, but nice. It’s also got a lunar module!  This hostel is close to Dadong night market, but far away from most other attractions. I’d also suggest Iris Tower for something closer to city center and Huayuan night market.
Tainan - space capsule

– Relaxing on the roof while waiting for clothes to dry:
Tainan - laundry on the roof

– I wandered into Tainan’s wedding planning street!  An entire street, filled with nothing but wedding dress shops.  You can tell how popular a store is, by the number of shoes by the entrance…

– Goddammit, there’s Scientology in Taiwan? I saw a booth with Ron Hubbard’s books….
Tainan - scientology

– I found a map of a cat! (and also, a dog) (this is a Feynman joke).
Tainan - map of a cat

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