Tainan, Temples and Trees

Days 7-9 of 137

We finally settled on our next destination, after Taroko: Tainan. This decision was the result of a new approach that we wanted to take to travelling, namely visiting the political capital (Taipei – DONE), the nature capital (Taroko – DONE), and the cultural capital (Tainan - DOING). We think this method is more likely to give us a rounder view of a country. Maybe.

Our last-minute decision left us with a last-minute problem – where to stay? We frantically messaged every couchsurfer in Tainan, a mere 12 hours before we would be arriving, and were not expecting any responses. We awoke to a life-saving message from the heroic Super Hans, who swooped in and saved the day (and our money).

The journey from Hualien (Taroko) to Tainan was full of green countryside which, combined with the fabulous food we had been enjoying thus far, lead us to create the third entry in the SobCoe dictionary: Delushious.

Delushious: adj – Pertaining to a place of both phenomenal food and flourishing flora.

Upon arriving in Tainan, the first thing we did was visit the famous colonial Dutch-built Chinkan Tower. It was very pretty at night and while there we were treated to a very mediocre light show and subjected to a surreal jazz band performance.

We then explored one of Tainan’s awesome night markets, and sampled many more delushious treats, which will be divulged in the upcoming food post(s!).

The next day we went to Anping, ex-home of the Dutch colony from the 17th century. Anping was delightfully quaint, with tiny side streets full of restored European-esque houses and the occasional unexpected shrine.

We visited the tranquil Anping Fort, ruined by an untranquil school trip. This area has some huge trees.

Huge Tree!
Next was the Anping Tree House, an urban forest that gave an apocalyptic vibe, like something out of Twelve Monkeys, minus Bruce Willis. 

Huge Tree
 The final stop of our two-day Tainan trip was the Confucius temple. It was very relaxing and both of us really Zenned out in its calming gardens. Just a heads-up, it’s not worth paying to get into the middle, as there is hardly anything to see and all the good stuff is in the free outside bit anyway. However, we were happy to donate to the upkeep of this beautiful temple area.

If you do visit this temple, you simply must go to the mart/bakery/steamed bun shop opposite the entrance. This boasts the best dumplings we have ever eaten. Be it fried, wontons, mandu, or big steamed buns – trust us, we’ve done the legwork. Mouth watering? Don’t worry – more food to come soon!

Finally, here are some pictures of a park by Super Hans' house. Absolutely stunning and it was really interesting seeing old men and women practicing Tai Chi and meditating in the early hours of the morning.

Tai Chi Practitioners
Hualien to Tainan - Train = 627 NT$ (£13, $18)
Tainan to Taipei - Slow Train = 738 NT$ (£16, $20)
Entrance Fees = 25-50 NT$ (£0.60-£1.20, $1-2)