Tainan is the kind of city where history and ancient architecture have been well preserved, much to the delight of history buffs. But whether you’re one of them or not, I guarantee that the charming Tainan won’t leave you indifferent.

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Tainan in a few words

Tainan's street

Taiwan’s fourth-largest city, I was quite surprised because I thought the atmosphere was really relaxed for such a large municipality. What makes Tainan so special is the contrast between modernity with its quirky, original architecture on the one hand, and ancient fortresses and temples on the other. Although surprising at first glance, the two blend quite well, offering visitors a unique experience.
The city, steeped in history, has managed to preserve its traditions despite numerous occupations and an ever-changing world.

As visiting a place can be difficult, especially if you only have a day, I’ll focus on 7 places that are easy to access and close to each other.

1. Snail Alley

Tainan's snail alley

Address: Lane 97, Section 2, Yongfu Rd, West Central District, Tainan City

A big city means busy, noisy streets, but that’s not the case in Snail Alley, as this special place invites you to slow down and move at the pace of…, well, a snail? In homage to the scholar Yeh Shih-tao and one of his novels, wander through its alleys and try to find and count all the snails you can find!

Snail alley
Seats in Snail Alley

Colorful, calm and original, it’s a pleasant way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city while admiring pretty and cute art installations.

2. Tainan Confucius Temple

Tainan Confucius temple

Address: No. 2號, Nanmen Rd, West Central District, Tainan City
Cost: free for the entrance and NT$50 ($1.50) for the palace area

A true example of preservation, this temple has been rebuilt many times following wars and natural disasters. The peaceful surroundings, lush gardens and history of the site will transport you back in time.
A wonderful experience and a must-see visit to include in your Tainan itinerary!

3. National Museum of Taiwan Literature

Literature museum
Photo by Ricky LK on Unsplash

Address: No. 1號, Tang Dezhang Blvd, West Central District, Tainan City
Cost: free, closed on Mondays

With so many museums in Tainan (Chimei, History, Archaeology…), the choice can be difficult. But if you want to know more about literature and the influence of history on it, this is the place. Interactive and educational, it makes for a serene afternoon for young and old alike.

4. Tainan Wu Garden

Tainan Wu Garden

Address: No. 30, Section 2, Minquan Rd, West Central District, Tainan City

Located close to two museums, this is the ideal spot to have lunch and relax by the pond. There’s a pretty garden with banyan trees, and you can feed the many fish if you wish. After several hours of walking and exploring, the Tainan Wu Garden is just what you need, believe me!

Bird in Tainan Wu Garden

5. Shennong Street

Shennong street

Address: 700, Taïwan, Tainan City, West Central District

The gateway for merchants during the Qing dynasty, this street has been transformed into a district selling arts and crafts. Murals, lanterns and bright colors make this alley so popular. You’ll need just a few minutes to explore this picturesque alleyway, but it’s also the perfect place to buy unique souvenirs. Take your time to enter the small boutiques and stroll through the neighborhood.
The experience is even better at night, when the hand-painted lanterns are illuminated, giving off a magical atmosphere.

6. Tainan Grand Mazu Temple

Tainan Grand Mazu temple

Address: No. 18, Lane 227, Section 2, Yongfu Rd, West Central District, Tainan City

Dedicated to Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea, this temple is one of the most important in Taiwan. As I like to immerse myself in a country’s culture, I thought it would be nice to visit and see the detailed carvings and beautiful paintings in this place of worship.

7. Kongmiao Shopping District

Tainan's street

Address: Fuzhong St, West Central District, Tainan City

Yes, I haven’t forgotten the shoppers! There are plenty of craft stalls, pretty cafés and tasty food. But honestly, I fell in love with this street because of one particular store I stumbled upon by pure chance.

Ghibli store

Okay, to give you some context, I’m a big fan of Ghibli films so, of course, when I saw this charming boutique, I was drawn to it. If you are too, here’s the name of the store: ViCki Zakka!

Bonus: K’un-shen Beach

K'un-shen beach

I may be a huge Ghibli fan, but I’m first and foremost a lover of the ocean, so it was a no-brainer for me to check out the beach. Only 30 minutes away by YouBike, you can certainly include it in your excursion, whether you choose to start the day with a bit of exercise and salty sea air or end it with a magnificent sunset!

How to get to Tainan

Here are the different ways to get to Tainan from Taiwan’s two main cities!

From Taipei

  • By THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail):
    From Taipei station to Tainan station, a high-speed train should take you between 1h45 and 2h for a total of NT$1350 ($42).
  • By TRA (Taiwan Railways Administration):
    This time the journey takes between 3 and 4 hours for a total cost of NT$738 ($23).
  • By bus:
    This is the most affordable solution, but it takes a little longer: around 4 and a half hours for NT$500 ($15). Buses are comfortable in Taiwan, so if you’re not in a hurry and want to save money, this is probably your preferred option.

From Kaohsiung

  • By TRA:
    Only an hour’s ride and only NT$68 ($2), this is a quick trip at a more than affordable price.
  • By bus:
    If you arrive directly at Kaohsiung airport and wish to travel to Tainan, an express bus will take you there in 1h30 and will cost you between NT$80 and NT$115 ($2.50 and $3.50).

If you’d like to consult the various timetables and plan your trip to Tainan, here are the links to the two websites: THSR and TRA.

In a nutshell

Whether for a day trip or a longer stay, Tainan’s oldest and most cultural city will take you on a journey through history. Stroll through its whimsical alleyways, marvel at its architecture and relax in its serene atmosphere.
Do you still need convincing, or have you already booked it as the next stop on your Taiwan itinerary?

🎯 Would you like to go straight to my recommendations?

🛌 Hostel: Old Man Captain

🥾 Recommended Tours:
Tainan Free Walking Tour
Chimei Museum Ticket

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8 Comments

  1. Ginger, Thank you for sharing your Tainan post and beautiful photos. I visited Taiwan a long while ago and didn’t make it to Tainan. I now have it on my list to visit if I have an opportunity to visit Taiwan again.

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