Discovering Tainan’s Treasures: 9 Must-Visit Places in Taiwan’s Oldest City

What to do in Tainan || Discover Taiwan’s Most Historical City
+ What to Eat in Tainan!

Tainan, with its centuries-old history and rich culture, is a unique destination that offers a glimpse into Taiwan’s multicultural past.

As the island’s oldest city and previous capital, Tainan boasts a wealth of heritage sites, culinary delights, and hidden gems that offers something for everyone.

Here’s our list of 9 places you absolutely must visit in Tainan and our top food recommendations!

What to do in Tainan || Anping Tree House

What to do in Tainan || Anping Fort

What to do in Tainan || Chihkan Tower (Fort Provintia)

What to do in Tainan || Chi Mei Museum

What to do in Tainan || Tainan Park

What to do in Tainan || Flower Night Market

What to do in Tainan || Blueprint Cultural and Creative Park

What to do in Tainan || Hayashi Department Store

What to do in Tainan || Shennong Street

BONUS || What to Eat in Tainan

What to do in Tainan || FAQs

What to do in Tainan || Anping Tree House
安平樹屋 Ānpíng Shù Wū

Your Instagram will thank you for visiting the Anping Tree House!

The Anping Tree House is actually a former 19th warehouse built on the grounds of the Tait & Co. Merchant House and served as a vital hub during the era of the Dutch East India Company.

Now, it’s enveloped by the sprawling roots of banyan trees.

Almost totally reclaimed by nature, the many rooms of the warehouse really are a breathtaking sight.

There’s no particular path you need to follow, you can simply give yourself an hour or so to wander round the ground and elevated pathways.

Once you’ve explored to your heart’s content, there’s an Anping Tree House Café on the grounds. It’s not just for coffee lovers, it even sells beer, ice cream and souvenirs.

You will need a ticket to visit the Tree House, but at 70NTD, it’s a steal!

TOP TIP || Most people will come here during the late morning or early afternoon. To beat the crowds, you could stay overnight at the AnPing Inn and be the first on the grounds when it opens at 8:30am

No.82, Guosheng Rd, Anping District, Tainan City, 708

What to do in Tainan || Anping Fort
安平古堡 Ānpíng gǔ bǎo

Whilst Anping Tree House is the place to indulge your inner photographer, Anping Fort is one for your inner history buff.

Constructed by the Dutch in the 17th century, Anping Fort was a center of defense and trade.

As you might’ve guessed, it’s adjacent to the Anping Tree House, so you could tick both these places off your Tainan bucket list in one afternoon!

After its completion in 1632, Anping Fort was originally known as Fort Zeelandia (熱蘭遮城 Rè lán zhē chéng) until 1662, when it was captured by Taiwanese forces and referred to as King’s Fort.

It wasn’t until after WWII that the historical site was officially named Anping Fort.

So, having passed through eras of Dutch, Taiwanese and Japanese rule, Anping Fort is teeming with 400 years of history (including total destruction of some parts!) and is a must-visit cultural location.

TOP TIP || climb the stairs of the viewing tower for a spectacular views of the surrounding area.

To enter the grounds the grounds where Anping Fort is located, tickets cost 70NTD.

No.108, Gubao St., Anping Dist., Tainan City 708, Taiwan
Former Name of Taiwan 🏝 Isla Formosa and Taiwan History Thumbnail

Former Name of Taiwan 🏝 Isla Formosa and Taiwan History

When discussing the former name of Taiwan, Formosa & Isla Formosa come up as previous names of the Island, but how turbulent has Taiwan’s history been?

What to do in Tainan || Chihkan Tower (Fort Provintia)
赤嵌樓 Chì qiàn lóu

Chihkan Tower, originally built by the Dutch as Fort Provintia in 1653, is another fascinating spot that encapsulates Tainan’s colonial past and is one of the most famous sites in the city.

Once a hub of administration under the Qing Dynasty, the tower now houses a museum focusing on Tainan’s intricate history since its colonial days.

Inside, you’ll find a picturesque temple and pavilion.

On the grounds of Chikhan Tower, you’ll find a famous statue of Koxinga, a Taiwanese general, accepting the surrender of the Dutch.

Also on the grounds, at the south gate, are 9 imperial plinths carried atop of 9 Bixi (贔屭), which look like large stone turtles. According to Taiwanese folklore, the Bixi is one of the nine sons of the Dragon King.

If you time your visit well, you might even have the chance to enjoy a concert, which are often held in front of the temple!

No. 212, Section 2, Minzu Rd, West Central District, Tainan City, 700

What to do in Tainan || The Chi Mei Museum
奇美博物館 Qíměi Bówùguǎn

The Chi Mei Museum, opened in 1990, houses a treasure trove of historical artifacts, from classical art to prehistoric weapons to musical instruments.

It’s not only one of the most spectacular sights in Tainan – with the huge Fountain of Apollo and grand bridge leading to the museum itself, Chi Mei Museum is one of the most beautiful museums in the whole of Asia.

Whilst it has a few permanent exhibitions dedicated to Western art development and musical history, make sure to check out the Chi Mei Museum website for the latest gallery updates.

👉 Tickets will set you back $200, but the museum is well worth a visit and you can expect to spend a few hours enjoying the grounds and various exhibits.

No. 66, Section 2, Wenhua Rd, Rende District, Tainan City, 717015
Want to know what it’s like to live with a local Taiwanese family?

Things to do in Tainan || Tainan Park
台南公園 Táinán Gōngyuán

Sometimes all we want is to escape the hustle and bustle of city life – Tainan Park is just the place!

This serene oasis is nestled in the heart of Tainan and is the perfect place for an afternoon picnic or sunset stroll.

Formerly known as Zhongshan Park, Tainan Park is home to a large lake, beautiful footbridges, several pavilions and even one of the few remaining Qing dynasty stone archways.

It’s one of the oldest parks in Tainan and like many places in this city, is rich in history.

It’s also a great place to absorb some local culture.

Older residents of Tainan can often be spotted here practicing Tai Chi, joining in dance classes and playing Chinese chess.

No. 89, Gongyuan S Rd, North District, Tainan City, 704

What to do in Tainan || Tainan Flower Night Market
花園夜市 Huāyuán Yèshì

A favorite of locals and visitors alike!

Tainan Flower Night Market is a vibrant and bustling market that comes alive in the evening, offering the perfect combination of food, shopping, and entertainment.

With around 400 stalls, this bustling market is the perfect spot for foodies keen to try all kinds of Taiwanese foods.

👉 If you’re not sure what to try, we’d recommend seeing which stalls attract the most locals!

Night Markets in Tainan || The Ultimate Guide Thumbnail

Night Markets in Tainan || The Ultimate Guide

The Best Night Markets in Taiwan || The Big 5 Night Markets in Tainan Night markets in Taiwan are an absolute institution, and night markets in Tainan in southern Taiwan are arguably some of the best and most original and…

Once you couldn’t possibly eat anymore food, there’s still plenty to do at the Tainan Flower Night Market.

There’s balloon popping games, fishing games and stalls selling clothing, accessories and gadgets.

Make sure you go on Saturday, Sunday or Thursday, as it’s only open on these days.

However, with stalls operating from 5pm until midnight, you’ll have plenty of time to try everything this famous night market has to offer.

No. 533, Section 3, Hai’an Rd, North District, Tainan City, 704

What to do in Tainan || Blueprint Cultural and Creative Park
藍晒圖文創園區 Lán Shài Tú Wén Chuàng Yuánqū

Housed within old Japanese government dormitories, the Blueprint Cultural and Creative Park captures the artistic streak of Tainan.

First opened in 2015, the park developed into an artistic hub and now boasts some of the best graffiti and street art in Taiwan.

There’s also plenty of sculptures and artsy gift shops to peruse.

The best time to visit is in the evening or at night, as it’s the best time to enjoy the 3D Blueprint art installation – think matrix crossed with Taiwanese streets.

Once you’re done feasting your eyes, we’d recommend you feast your stomach at the Xiaomimi (Little Secret) Noodle House – some of the best beef noodles you’ll ever have!

No.2, Ln. 689, Sec. 1, Ximen Rd., West Central Dist., Tainan City 700

What to do in Tainan || Hayashi Department Store
林百貨 Lín Bǎihuò

The Hayashi Department Store stands as a relic of the Japanese colonial era and was first opened in 1932.

In 2014, the department store was restored to its former glory and you can buy a wide range of gifts of souvenirs, including boxed snacks, pins, stickers, socks, bags, mugs and more.

You’ll also find a lot of Hello Kitty and Mt Fuji inspired merchandise!

👉 Make sure you make it to the top floor, which is actually a rooftop Shinto shrine with pretty impressive city views.

FUN FACT || whilst Hayashi Department Store is also locally known as Five Stories (五層樓 wǔ céng lóu), it actually has six floors!

The Hayashi Department Store is a unique historical site. The elevator is one of the only remaining old style dial types and if you look carefully around the building you’ll see damage left over from US air raids in WWII.

No. 63, Section 2, Zhongyi Rd, West Central District, Tainan City, 700
LTL's Guide to Houtong Cat Village Thumbnail

LTL’s Guide to Houtong Cat Village

Forget your cat cafes, Houtong Cat Village is exactly what it says on the tin: a village full of cats! Houtong is easily accessible by train from Taipei.

What to do in Tainan || Shennong Street
神農街 Shénnóng jiē

This charming historic street encapsulates Tainan’s heritage through its well-preserved architecture, traditional houses, temples, and artisanal shops.

As you stroll down its cobbled paths with red lanterns lining the walls, you’ll find plenty of picturesque spots, perfect for history enthusiasts and hipsters alike!

If you head over late afternoon, you’ll get to enjoy the daytime charms and see the lanterns all light up after dark.

Unsurprisingly, Shennong Street has its own fair share of history. During the Qing Dynasty, Shennong Street was the entrance to the Tainan Five Channels, a trading hub based in Tainan’s canal network.

Even though the street is less than 100m in length, there’s plenty of cafes, restaurants and even a couple of bars tucked away in the tiny buildings.

Once you’re done taking advantage of the photo opps, you can visit the King of Medicine Temple and the Water Fairy Temple on the west and east ends of the street respectively.

700, Tainan City, West Central District, 神農街58-1號

What to Eat in Tainan || Our Recommendations

As Taiwan’s oldest city, Tainan has had a lot of time to develop some seriously delicious food!

Here’s our must-eat treats:

Beef Soup

By far the most famous food in Tainan is beef soup (牛肉湯 niú ròu tāng).

It’s a bowl of simple perfection: thinly cut beef slices, onions, cabbage and clear broth slow cooked for about 8 hours.

Michelin Guide recommends Kangle Street Beef Soup.

However, Win Chang Beef Soup (文章牛肉湯) seems to win the popular vote online, with thousands of 5 star reviews on Google!

Win Chang Beef Soup, No. 300, Anping Rd, Anping District, Tainan City, 708

Coffin Bread

Not as morbid as it sounds, we swear!

Coffin bread (府城棺材板 fǔchéng guāncai bǎn) is a unique and popular dish originating from Tainan.

It is essentially a type of open-faced sandwich with a creative twist.

The dish consists of a thick slice of white bread that has been hollowed out, creating a bread “coffin.”

The hollowed-out bread is then toasted or deep-fried and filled with a variety of savory ingredients, such as creamy seafood chowder, chicken stew, or curry.

Coffin bread is definitely not one to be missed on your trip to Tainan.

The most authentic coffin bread is said to be found at the Chikan Coffin Bread stall in the Kangle Market, which has been making the delicacy since 1942!

No. 180, You’ai St., West Central Dist., Tainan City 700
Here’s the coffin bread from Chikan, plus some bonus recommendations!

Night Markets

Specific dishes aside, Tainan is known for a thriving night market scene.

The ‘Big 5’ night markets are:

  • Tainan Garden Night Market
  • Tainan Dadong Night Market
  • Tainan Wusheng Night Market
  • Tainan Xiaobei Night Market
  • Tainan Xiaobei Night Market

To find out location and opening times each one, as well as plenty of intel on what to try at each one, check out our Tainan Night Market Guide here.


Have you been to Tainan before? Why not drop your recommendations down in the comments below and tell us what you loved.

We hope to see you in Tainan very soon 🤩

What to do in Tainan || FAQs

What is there to do in Tainan?

Tainan really offer something for everyone.

History buffs might most enjoy visiting cultural landmarks like Chihkan Tower and Anping Fort, shopaholics will definitely want peruse the unique merchandise at Hayashi Department Store and Shennong Street.

The Instagram influencers among you won’t want to miss out on the picturesque Chi Mei Museum and Blueprint Cultural and Creative Park.

What are some historical sites to explore in Tainan?

As Taiwan’s oldest city, Tainan is teeming with history, with plenty of relics left over from the Qing Dynasty, Dutch rule and Japanese colonial times.

Some of the top sites we’d recommend are Anping Fort, Chihkan Tower and Koxinga Shrine.

Chihkan Tower, originally built by the Dutch, offers insights into various periods of rule. Anping Fort showcases maritime history, and Koxinga Shrine commemorates a national hero.

Where to eat in Tainan?

Foodies are really spoiled for choice in Tainan, with a thriving night market scene you’ll be able to try a huge array of Taiwanese specialties.

Tainan is most famous for its beef soup (牛肉湯 niú ròu tāng) and the best beef soup in town can be found at Win Chang Beef Soup (文章牛肉湯).

Specific dishes aside, Tainan is known for a thriving night market scene.

The ‘Big 5’ night markets are:

— Tainan Garden Night Market

— Tainan Dadong Night Market

— Tainan Wusheng Night Market

— Tainan Xiaobei Night Market

— Tainan Xiaobei Night Market

How to travel from Taipei to Tainan?

There’s a few popular options for travelling from Taipei to Tainan, inlcuding:

High-Speed Rail (HSR): The fastest way is to take the Taiwan High-Speed Rail (THSR) from Taipei Main Station to Tainan Station. The journey takes around 90 minutes and there are frequent departures.

Train: Regular trains are also available, offering a more economical option. You can take a standard train from Taipei Main Station to Tainan Railway Station. While the journey takes longer than the HSR, it provides an opportunity to enjoy scenic views along the way.

Bus: Several long-distance bus services connect Taipei and Tainan. Buses offer varying levels of comfort and travel time. It’s advisable to choose a reputable bus service for a comfortable journey.

Driving: Renting a car and driving from Taipei to Tainan is an option if you enjoy road trips. The journey takes around 4 to 5 hours, depending on traffic and stops along the way.

Where is Tainan?

Tainan is a city situated in the southern part of Taiwan.

It is located on the southwestern coast of the island, facing the Taiwan Strait.

What are the best night markets in Tainan?

The ‘Big 5’ night markets are:

— Tainan Garden Night Market

— Tainan Dadong Night Market

— Tainan Wusheng Night Market

— Tainan Xiaobei Night Market

— Tainan Xiaobei Night Market

Can I study Chinese in Tainan?

Absolutely.

You can take small group or individual courses with LTL in Tainan from one week to one year!

Learn more about our Chinese courses in Tainan here.

Want more from LTL?

If you wish to hear more from LTL Mandarin School why not join our mailing list.

We give plenty of handy information on learning Chinese, useful apps to learn the language and everything going on at our LTL schools!

Sign up below and become part of our ever growing community!

BONUS | Want to study the local Taiwanese dialect known as Hokkien? We provide Hokkien classes in person and online.

.

Leave a Reply

You will get a reply from us
Your email address will not be published. Name and Email are required.

Ask us a question!
  • LTL Avatar Manuel Saldaña Quintans
    Manuel Saldaña Quintans , Student Advisor

    Welcome to LTL Language School!

    How can I help you?