Narrow Door Cafe

Narrow Door Cafe (Zhǎi Mén Kāfēi   窄門咖啡) There is a wonderful new movement in Tainan to turn old buildings into funky bars and cafes, as opposed to the previous trend of letting old buildings get torn down and replaced by nondescript new buildings that lack any history or character. In the West, we love our … Continue reading

Xinhua National Forest Arboretum

Xinhua National Forest Arboretum (Xīnhuà Guójiā Zhíwù Yuán 新化國家植物園) One of the quickest ways to get out into the forest and get some fresh air is to head out Xinhua (usually spelled Shinhua or Sinhua) Township and explore some of its nearby natural areas. Some of the surrounding land is designated as part of the … Continue reading

Xunfang Fortress

Xunfang Fortress (Xùnfāng Pàotái 巽方砲台) Throughout most of the Qing Period in Taiwan (18th and 19th centuries), the island had a reputation as a revolutionary hot spot. Both the aboriginals and the Han peasants frequently revolted against the Manchu Qing. For many of the Han peasantry, the Qing were colonial occupiers who administered the island … Continue reading

Tiantan (Altar of Heaven)

Tiantan (Tiāntán 天壇) Tiantan is usually translated as the Altar of Heaven. It is the altar to the god that rules over all the mortal realms. He is commonly known as the Jade Emperor (Yù Huáng 玉 皇). His worship in Taiwan goes back to the early days of Chinese settlement when Zheng Chenggong made … Continue reading

Almond Shaved Ice

Almond Shaved Ice (xìngrén dòufǔ bīng 杏仁豆腐冰) Tainan is hot, and keeping cool in this city is a job that fans and air conditioners alone cannot always handle. Sometimes you have to cool down the body from the inside by eating some ice. Taiwan has several kinds of shaved ice. One of the premier places … Continue reading

Old Tainan Prefecture Hall (National Museum of Taiwan Literature)

Whether a tourist or resident of Tainan, it is unlikely the large European-style building on the Minsheng traffic circle has escaped your eyes. It seems a bit out of place and is so well-restored that it almost looks like it was recently built to serve as the newly conceived National Museum of Taiwan Literature that … Continue reading

Central Shopping District

Central Shopping District Just outside of Tainan Railway Station is the heart of Tainan’s commercial district. The bulk of shops and eateries run between Beimen Road (北門路) and Zhongshan Road (Jhongshan 中山路), fanning south in a triangular shape and ending at Qingnian Road (Cingnian 青年路). Minzu Road (民族路) bisects this area, putting it at the … Continue reading

Swimming – Tainan Spa World

Tainan Spa World (Táinán Shuǐdū Shìjiè 台南水都世界) One of the most complete swimming facilities in Tainan is Tainan Spa World. While most people these days tend to associate the word spa with health spas (or maybe the gentlemen’s spas common in Taiwan), this establishment seems more about swimming and bathing than massage and beauty treatments. … Continue reading