Located in southwest Taiwan's Jianan Plain, Tainan faces the Taiwan Strait to the west and the Alishan Range to the east. Bordering Chiayi County to the north and Kaohsiung to the south, Tainan's excellent natural harbors served as safe havens for mainland Chinese and Penghu fishermen.

Originally called Fort Provintia by the Dutch, Tainan was later named after the indigenous Siraya people's settlement of Chikan. During the Qing dynasty, it was Taiwan's administrative center with thriving commerce. As scholars note, to understand Taiwan's history, go to Tainan.

As the island's oldest developed city, Tainan bears witness to the passage of time. With its unique cultural and historical background, Tainan exudes a relaxed yet refined spirit, like a gentleman-scholar infused with the passion of southern Taiwan.

Within this former capital, over 100 major historic monuments stand - from the sunset-silhouetted walls of Anping Fort to ornate Confucius temples. Tainan's beauty manifests in the contrast between old and new. Today, busy streets see white-collar workers rush by while honking cars awake the slumbering old quarter. Traditional architecture fuses with modern creativity as Taiwanese culture merges with global influences, allowing this ancient grand city to shine anew. Yet some things endure, like the weathered stone lions guarding the entrance to the Grand Matsu Temple, keepers of Tainan's heritage.

Consumption level

Accommodation in Tainan is relatively affordable, with decent youth hostels and small inns available for around $30-45 USD per night. As a famous food city, dining in Tainan offers excellent value with fair prices. A bowl of beef noodle soup costs only around $1.50 USD. You can easily get your fill at the Huagai Night Market for around $10 USD per person. The numerous free historic sites make Tainan feel extra welcoming for visitors. However, famous old houses turned cafes here have somewhat pricey afternoon tea at around $12 USD per person. With free attractions and cheap eats, Tainan is a budget-friendly destination. But be prepared to splurge a bit for the unique café experiences.

Currency

The official currency in Taiwan is the New Taiwan Dollar (TWD or NTD). When traveling to Tainan, having a UnionPay card is very convenient. Most ATMs in Taiwan accept UnionPay and you can withdraw TWD directly using your UnionPay card. UnionPay ATMs can be easily found in convenience stores, post offices, and banks across the city. Some Chinese banks like Huaxia Bank offer UnionPay cards with no overseas withdrawal fees, so check with your bank before your trip. As of September 2015, the exchange rate is approximately 1 TWD = 0.06 CNY = 0.16 USD. With a UnionPay card, you don't have to worry about exchanging currency or carrying large amounts of cash in Tainan.

Anping Tree House, Entangled with a Hundred Years of Leisure Time

Once a warehouse for the British trading company Tait & Co., the Anping Tree House is now an enchanting fusion of brick ruins and lively banyan trees. The simple brick structure was abandoned after WWII, while the surrounding banyan roots continued to spread unfettered. Over decades, thick tangled aerial roots engulfed the antique walls in a tenacious embrace. This picturesque scene encapsulates generations of quiet growth within the phrase “a tree within a house, a house within a tree”. Ascend the newly built wooden observation deck to admire the interwoven dance of brick and banyan up close. Listen to the poetic monologue of this living treehouse, which has stood resolute through a century of change. At Anping Tree House, ponder the passing years enfolded in sturdy roots and weathered rubble.

In the old house, drink a cup of coffee called 'Time'

Centuries of history have left Tainan filled with endless ancient sites and given its people a calm, unhurried character. Inside weathered old buildings, cozy cafes now run where stories once unfolded. The aroma of coffee permeates the air, and a relaxed vibe inhabits the antique furniture. Come afternoon, sit within a century-old home and sip a drink aptly named "Time Flows Like a River". With the leisurely mindset of Tainan's locals, steadily unravel the nostalgic tales steeping in this vintage setting. As flavors blend on your tongue, details and memories seep through the cracks of the aged wooden walls. In Tainan, time moves slowly between the old and new, allowing you to savor every moment.

Deep in the ancient alley, the unforgettable "ancient morning flavor"

While visiting the historic sites is a must in Tainan, don't overlook the delicious local snacks! From night markets to roadside stalls to restaurants, Tainan offers appetizing bites everywhere. But for truly authentic old-fashioned flavors, venture into the city's ancient alleys and follow the faded brick walls to century-old mom-and-pop shops. Du Xiao Yue has been serving noodles since 1895. Yong Tai Xing exclusively makes traditional candied fruits. Wan Chuan Hao bakery boasts over 100 years of history. These beloved establishments represent the unique "old taste" of Tainan. Savoring these time-honored snacks is more than indulging in food perfected over generations. It's appreciating the cultural essence distilled within this unhurried, nostalgic atmosphere. In Tainan's historic backstreets, each bite is a link to the past.

Best Travel Time

The best time to travel to Tainan is in spring and autumn, especially from October to November, when the temperature is suitable and you can better experience the traditional atmosphere of Tainan.

Dressing Guidelines

Taichung has mild winters from December to March, averaging around 18°C. Pack pants, long sleeves and a medium-weight jacket. Summers from May to October are hot and humid, with temperatures steady around 27°C. June to August sees highs around 32°C. Light pants or shorts with short sleeve shirts work well. Bring a thin extra layer like a jacket or sweater for cool evenings or windy days.

On hot sunny days, don't forget a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Umbrellas help in sudden storms too. Pack clothes that dry quickly if caught in rain. Locals dress casually, so shorts, skirts, t-shirts and sandals are comfortable for exploring Taichung's neighborhoods and markets on foot. Check the forecast to confirm, but packing layers for Taichung's fluctuating conditions ensures you'll stay cool while enjoying all the city has to offer.

Arriving at the airport

Getting to Tainan from the Airports in Taiwan

Although Tainan has an airport, currently it only has limited flights to/from Hong Kong. Check schedules in advance if wishing to fly directly.

Most visitors arrive in Taiwan at Taoyuan Airport near Taipei. From there you can take the high-speed rail or inter-city buses to get to Tainan.

The closest airport is Kaohsiung. Buses, trains, and high-speed rail can all take you to Tainan from Kaohsiung.

For more flight options to Taiwan, check out the Fliggy flight channel. Once arrived, efficient public transport makes getting around the country easy. High-speed trains provide quick links between major cities. Or take local trains and buses for a more scenic experience. The comprehensive network offers convenient access to all that Taiwan has to offer.

Go to the train station

Getting to Tainan by Train in Taiwan

1. High Speed Rail - Catch high-speed trains to Tainan from stations in Taipei, Banqiao, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, and Kaohsiung. Book at least 2 weeks early for discounted fares. Check schedules and prices on the THSR website.

Taipei - Tainan: NT$1,350 full fare
Banqiao - Tainan: NT$1,320 full fare
Taoyuan - Tainan: NT$1,190 full fare

2. Taiwan Railways - Take local trains southbound to Tainan Main Station in the city center, convenient for accessing attractions. Outside the station you'll find visitor centers, taxi stands and more for easy onward travel.

The comprehensive Taiwan railway network makes train travel easy and scenic. High-speed rail provides speed, while local trains allow you to soak up scenery along the way. With stations right in town centers, trains provide the perfect entry point to start exploring.

Go to the bus station

Getting to Tainan by Bus in Taiwan

If on a budget, consider taking inter-city buses to Tainan. Fares are around NT$350 from Taipei, taking around 4 hours 20 minutes.

Buses depart from main bus stations in cities around Taiwan. While slower than high-speed rail, buses give you a chance to watch the landscape unfold along the way. Stations are centrally located downtown, putting you steps away from top attractions in Tainan upon arrival.

For the most economical transport, buses can't be beaten. Online schedules make planning your route easy. Just sit back and enjoy the scenery on a cross-country bus adventure to Tainan and beyond. You'll save money while experiencing Taiwan from ground level.

Safety considerations

Taiwan offers Youth Travel Cards specifically for domestic and foreign travelers aged 15-30. The cards provide discounts on attractions, transportation, hotels, dining, and shopping to encourage youth tourism.

Eligibility:
- Ages 15-30 with valid ID showing proof of age

Getting a card:
- Free of charge
- Bring passport, entry permit, or other identification
- Complete on-site application at select locations

Locations:
- Major transit hubs like Taipei Main Station, airports, metro stations
- Tourism centers in Taipei City
- Taipei Youth Volunteer Center

Use:
- Cards issued in 2006-2008 remain valid until December 31, 2015.

Taiwan warmly welcomes young visitors. Apply for a Youth Travel Card on arrival to unlock savings across the country and fully experience Taiwanese culture, cuisine, and adventure as a youth traveler.

Equipment

Taiwan offers Youth Travel Cards specifically for domestic and foreign travelers aged 15-30. The cards provide discounts on attractions, transportation, hotels, dining, and shopping to encourage youth tourism.

Eligibility:
- Ages 15-30 with valid ID showing proof of age

Getting a card:
- Free of charge
- Bring passport, entry permit, or other identification
- Complete on-site application at select locations

Locations:
- Major transit hubs like Taipei Main Station, airports, metro stations
- Tourism centers in Taipei City
- Taipei Youth Volunteer Center

Use:
- Cards issued in 2006-2008 remain valid until December 31, 2015.

Taiwan warmly welcomes young visitors. Apply for a Youth Travel Card on arrival to unlock savings across the country and fully experience Taiwanese culture, cuisine, and adventure as a youth traveler.

Tainan Surrounding Cities