- 1) Explore an old haunted house
- 2) Pop into a hipster cafe
- 3) Shop local designers at Taiwan’s oldest department store
- 4) Eat at Tainan’s 2nd biggest night market
- 5) Soak in an infinity pool atop the mountains
- 6) Learn traditional Taiwanese embroidery
- 7) Sample Tainan-ese fare
- How to get to Tainan
Taiwan is a traveller’s darling — food is cheap, locals are friendly, and at four hours away; it’s a great destination for a weekend trip. There’s cosmopolitan Taipei, urban Kaohsiung, Alishan’s famous sunrise, and Kenting’s beach-bum vibe.
And then there’s Tainan, which rarely makes it to a Taiwan travel itinerary — a compact city, tucked in the shadow of bustling Kaohsiung just next door. But Taiwan’s cultural capital and oldest city has a lot going on, from hipster cafes to a thriving food scene. Here are some things to do over a weekend in Tainan, and maybe a little bit more.
1) Explore an old haunted house
Today, the Anping Tree House has been cleaned up by the Tainan city government, so you can explore via a boardwalk that even leads above its roof. Hidden crannies are perfect for an #ootd among the web of roots, and we even spotted a couple taking wedding photos there.
Cost: NT$50 Opening Hours:8:30am–5:30pm
Address: No.108, Gubao St, Anping district, Tainan City
2) Pop into a hipster cafe
If you’re looking to cafe-hop, take a stroll to the surrounding Anping old street where you can discover more cafes tucked within the alleys.
Cost: NT$90-160 for drinks, 220-270 for mains Opening Hours:9:30am–2:30pm
3) Shop local designers at Taiwan’s oldest department store
Source: Hayashi Department Store
Hayashi department store, which opened in 1932 during the Japanese colonial era, was the first department store in Southern Taiwan to have an elevator — people travelled from far and wide to see it for themselves!
Opening Hours: 11:00am–9:00pm
Address: No.63, Sec. 2, Zhongyi Rd., West Central Dist., Tainan
4) Eat at Tainan’s 2nd biggest night market
Come nightfall, hit up the Datong night market, where you can sample a smorgasbord of Taiwanese street food. While it’s not Tainan’s biggest night market, Datong’s crowd is decidedly local. Go in a group so you can share servings of fried squid, grilled chicken steaks and bacon wrapped toasts oozing with cheese.
Opening Hours: 5:30pm–12:30am; Mon, Tue and Fri
Address: Sec.2, Linsen Rd., E. Dist, Tainan, Taiwan
5) Soak in an infinity pool atop the mountains
The farm also organises activities for guests, such as farm tours, coffee appreciation and ang ku kueh making sessions. Look for affable farm hand Poky, who is a walking encyclopaedia on the trees and plants grown there.
Cost: From NT$7800 for a double room
6) Learn traditional Taiwanese embroidery
The trend has caught on among young Taiwanese, and university students are among the eager students who come to Illuminate for courses, then create modern interpretations of the Taiwanese art form on bags and clothes. If you’re keen to learn the art, half-day workshops start at NT1500. Email [email protected] for reservations.
Cost: NT$1500 for half-day workshop
Address: 70047 台南市中西區永福路二段186-3號
7) Sample Tainan-ese fare
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll like Tainan cuisine. From 1683 to 1885, Tainan prospered as Taiwan’s former capital. Locals could afford sugar — a luxury during the time — and sweetened their dishes liberally with it. At the traditional Jin Xia restaurant, even traditionally savoury dishes such as stir-fried eel and seafood soup are flavoured with hints of sweetness.
Besides cooking with sugar, the Tainanese love their milkfish, which is served steamed, fried, or with congee for breakfast. Try it at famous stall Ah Tang, but go early – the stall opens at 5.30am and shuts by noon!
Cost: NT$500 for a portion of stir-fried eel at Jin Xia
How to get to Tainan
Although Tainan does not have an international airport, it is well connected with the rest of the country. Scoot flies from Singapore to Kaohsiung three times a week, and you can take a bus or train from Kaohsiung to Tainan in about 45-60 minutes.
If you’re coming from the north, high speed trains make the 1h 45 min journey from Taipei to Tainan multiple times a day.
This post was brought to you by Scoot.