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==Understand==
 
==Understand==
 
Tainan is the oldest city in Taiwan and was the capital during imperial times. It is famous for its temples, historic buildings and snack food. The city is currently the fourth largest city on the island with a population over 760,000. For a city of its size by population, Tainan's size by land area is exceptional very few buildings are more than 5 to 6 stories in height and most are between two and three stories. Like other Taiwanese cities, most people in Tainan, including taxi drivers, cannot speak English well (except for high school and college students), though some of the older generation can converse in Japanese. However, to help visitors get around, there are free tri-lingual (Chinese, English and Japanese) map-guides available at the railway station.
 
Tainan is the oldest city in Taiwan and was the capital during imperial times. It is famous for its temples, historic buildings and snack food. The city is currently the fourth largest city on the island with a population over 760,000. For a city of its size by population, Tainan's size by land area is exceptional very few buildings are more than 5 to 6 stories in height and most are between two and three stories. Like other Taiwanese cities, most people in Tainan, including taxi drivers, cannot speak English well (except for high school and college students), though some of the older generation can converse in Japanese. However, to help visitors get around, there are free tri-lingual (Chinese, English and Japanese) map-guides available at the railway station.
 
In 2010 the '''National Film Board of Canada''' produced an online documentary called ''Out My Window'' [http://highrise.nfb.ca/outmywindow]. It provides a unique view of high-rise life in Tainan through interactive photo panoramas.
 
  
 
==Get in==
 
==Get in==

Revision as of 23:55, 30 December 2010

Tainan (台南; Táinán) [1] is a city in south west Taiwan.

Contents

Understand

Tainan is the oldest city in Taiwan and was the capital during imperial times. It is famous for its temples, historic buildings and snack food. The city is currently the fourth largest city on the island with a population over 760,000. For a city of its size by population, Tainan's size by land area is exceptional very few buildings are more than 5 to 6 stories in height and most are between two and three stories. Like other Taiwanese cities, most people in Tainan, including taxi drivers, cannot speak English well (except for high school and college students), though some of the older generation can converse in Japanese. However, to help visitors get around, there are free tri-lingual (Chinese, English and Japanese) map-guides available at the railway station.

Get in

By plane

The closest international airport is in Kaohsiung. From there you can take a train, bus, taxi, or rental car for a 45 minute to one hour journey to Tainan.

There is a domestic airport in Tainan, and the flights from Taipei take about 45 minutes, although the route is now defunct.

By bus

Tainan has good inter-city bus connections with other cities in Taiwan.

By train

Tainan is a major stop on the Taipei - Kaohsiung express line. High Speed Rail has its stop a bit outside town[2] (NT$400 by taxi ~US$15). There are free shuttle buses running from the city to the bullet train terminal. Travel time from Taipei is 1 hour and 45 minutes and generally considered more convienent (city center to city center) and less strenuous to ride than domestic air travel. Standard rail takes ranging from 3.5 hours to 6 hours depends on the type of the train.

For example, a class 1 (4 hours) ticket from Taipei will cost NT$758.

For more detailed information, see "Getting Around" on the Taiwan page.

Get around

The best way to travel around the city is by car or motorcycle. There are taxis and buses (公車 gōngchē), but they are not so convenient for non-Chinese speakers.

All inner city bus routes pass through Tainan Station (train). There is a tourist information booth at the Station with friendly staff (English speaking) who can show you how to use the bus system. On Sundays there are two free sightseeing bus routes (88 and 99) which can take you to and back from all the major historical sites.

If you do take a taxi just make sure you have a map you can point at or the business card of the location you're headed. The taxi drivers are very helpful, but be aware that sometimes even Chinese speakers a roundabout way.

One should take note that there are thousands of scooters and motorbikes packing the streets and if you injure someone while you are driving in Taiwan, the local laws require you to provide whatever the person you injured cannot, from any injuries. Try getting your insurance company to write a waiver for you to be insured before driving in Taiwan.

Shopping

Shinkong Mitsukoshi department store Ximen branch provides first class shopping experience. The department store focuses on both high end products and mainstream fashion. Luxurious brands such as Chanel, Hermes, Ferragamo can be found in the department store. Men's fashion includes Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Polo Raulph Lauren, Nautica, Esprit and more. There's also a movie theatre inside. Two food courts offer various Asian, western cuisine and fast food chains.

Beimen road is considered to be the "downtown" of Tainan. It is here where you can find the main train station and also all the intercity bus terminals. It stretches from the National Tainan Second High School, by the Tainan Park (previously known as Dr. Sun Yat San Park). South of the main train station is where you can find various boutique stores that mainly focuses on Japanese fashion and sport equipment stores (a popular place to visit for local students). It is also on Beimen road where you can have maybe too much technology. Countless electronic stores offer the selection that is very hard to be competed. Sony, being the predominant electronic brand in Taiwan, is found in virtually every shop. Note that the laptops purchased in Taiwan comes with standard U.S. keyboard with Chinese alphabets. Most of electronics on the other hand has English as optional language for operation. Da-han art supply shop is a great little store for the artists. It is here where you can find most of the art supply you need for your next masterpiece or even just a relaxed Sunday afternoon drawing.

On the other side of railway and back entrance of the station is Tainan's landmark; Far-East department store and Shangri-La's Far Eastern Plaza Hotel. The department store focuses more on midrange consumers. Downstairs food-court offers good selection of restaurants and Hong Kong-based supermarket, Wellcome.

Also close to Beimen Road is the Shinkong Mitsukoshi department store Chung-San branch, and another Far-East department store where the Times Warner Movie Theatre is situated. Chung-San Road, Beimen Road, and the train station make up the core of Tainan.

See

Landmarks and Historical sites

  • Eternal Golden Fortress (億載金城 Yì Zài Jīnchéng), 16 Nanwen, Anping District - a 19th century coastal fortress. Hours: 9AM-5PM.
  • The ruins of Anping Fort (安平古堡 Ānpíng Gǔbǎo), originally called Fort Zeelandia, was built in 1620 by the Dutch. Its commanding views of the ocean make it a popular place to watch the sunset. Hours: 8:30AM-5:30PM.
  • Chikan Towers (赤崁樓 Chìkàn Lóu), originally called Fort Provintia, was built in 1653 by the Dutch. There are tablets, stone horses/camels and a row of nine turtle-borne steles with inscriptions. Hours: 8:30AM-9PM.
  • National Museum of Taiwanese Literature Located in a restored colonial-era Japanese building, even with the limited English on display this museum is fascinating. The coffee shop is good too
  • Confucius Temple A serene destination surrounded by a small park. Explore the temple, then go to the incredibly popular shaved-ice store opposite

Night markets

There are over two dozen night markets of various sizes in and around the city. Regardless of size, night markets all possess an abundance of stalls selling clothing, shoes, jewelry, toys, food and drink. Some even have live entertainment.

Most night markets are only held on certain days of the week. Check before going.

One of the night market hua yuan (花園夜市 huāyuán yèshì, literally translated as "Flower Garden") is open on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday.

Do

Mangrove reserves. Tainan is located near a significant mangrove reserve, which serves as a migrating ground for the rare black-faced spoonbill. Trips to these reserves can be arranged through a local expat group called 'Barking Deer Adventures' [3]

  • Tainan Park (台南公園), GongYuan North Rd. Beautiful park in a central part of the city. Great for a relaxing walk or a stay of a few hours. It has many beautiful trees and flowers as well as a pond.

Buy

Preserved Plums(酸梅 suānméi)

Eat

Tainan is often known as "the City of Snacks" (小吃城). In addition to the wide variety of food available at night markets, the city also has an abundance of street vendors specializing in tasty and cheap dishes.

Tainan specialities are:

  • Coffin toast (棺材板 guāncaibǎn) - fried bread stuffed with various ingredients, such as chicken, beans, seafood, vegetables and milk-based sauces
  • Oyster omelette (蚵仔煎 kèzǎijiān / o-a chen)
  • Oysters and thin noodles (蚵仔麵線 kèzǎi miànxiàn / o-a mi soa~)
  • Rice cake (碗稞 wǎnkē)
  • Dan Dan Noodle(擔仔麵 dānzǎi miàn)
  • Elite Cake (狀元糕 zhuàngyuan gāo)

Don't forget to try the shrimp rolls (zhou-shi) down along the canal.

  • Andi's Party Corner sells traditional Austrian food and beers, an oddity in Tainan.

There's a massive (and crowded) night market at the corner of Hai-an and He-wei Roads

Drink

Pearl milk tea (珍珠奶茶, zhēnzhū nǎichá) is a must drink in Tainan. Look out for shops, where it is made directly to order!

  • Dirty Rogers is an excellent small bar. Used to be very hip, still very good! Every Music imaginable. It's close to the Railway station at Dongmen Rd.
  • The Armory on Gongyuan Road is good for beers and sport
  • Willies Second Base for beers, sport, food and pool upstairs

The Hang out is also a nice bar to relax, play pool and watch sports

  • Eroos, 台南市神農街115號, (06) 221-0321, [4]. 2100~0400. Bar/Lounge, Very nice place to relax and have a drink. 100NT.
  • Imma bakery & cafe, shulin st. a very special coffee house, with great breads, cakes, cookies and much more. An Israeli chef and western style

Sleep

Budget

  • Guang Hwa Hotel, 155 Beimen Road Sec. 1. Tel:+886 6 226-3171-4. Located near the train station. Offers free internet connection and breakfast. Small singles starting from NT$720.
  • Cheng Kuang Hotel, 294 Beimen Road Sec. 1. Tel:+886 6 222-1188. Near the train station. The hotel is a little old, but the rooms are OK for the price.
  • Tainan City Labour Recreation Centre, 261 Nanmen Road. Tel:+886 6 215-0174. Large single room including private bathroom NT$550/Double room. Opens at 6 in the morning, closes at midnight, checkout at 11AM, hot water only from 6PM to midnight. [5]
    • They no longer offer dorm rooms**

Mid range

  • SENDALE Yong Fu - Tainan City 新大福軒館(behinds Landis Hotel,), (3 minutes by walking to New Life Square-Mitsukoshi Department Shopping Mall) 115 Yong Fu Road, Section 1, Tainan, Taiwan Tel:+886 6 214-2988. Fax:+886 6 214-2799 [6]
  • Dynasty Hotel, 46 Chengkung Road. Tel:+886 6 225-8121. Fax:+886 6 221-6711
  • Cambridge Hotel, 269 Sec 2 Mintzu Road

Splurge

  • Shangri-La's Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, 89 Section West, University Road, Tainan City 70146, +886-6-702-8888 (fax: +886-6-702-7777), [7]. Five-star property near the train station (regular, not HSR). Free in-room broadband internet (wired).
  • Tayih Landis Hotel, 660, Shi-Men Road, Sec.1, Tainan, 700, +886-6-213-5555 (fax: +886-6-213-5555), [8]. Five-star property adjacent to an enormous Shin Kong Mitsukoshi department store, and said to be close to major historic landmarks, including the Confucius Temple and the Chihkan Towers.
  • Evergreen Plaza Hotel, No. 1, Lane 336, Chunghua E. Rd., Sec. 3, Tainan City, +886-6-289-9988 (fax: +886-6-289-6699), [9]. Four- or five-star property about 10 minutes South of the train station (regular, not HSR). Free broadband internet.

Tainan County

  • SENDALE Siraya Resort Hotel - Wushantou Dam 新大西拉雅渡假飯店 - 烏山頭水庫, Wushantou Resevoir Scenic Area, 92 Jianan Village, Kuantien Township, Tainan County 720, Taiwan, +886-6-698-3121 (fax: +886-6-698-3123), [10]. Located at Wushantou Reservoir Scenic Area, near Guantian Township, about an hour Northeast of downtown Tainan City by car.
  • SENDALE Tainan Science Park Hotel 新大南科大飯店, No. 406, Jhong Jheng Rd., Sinshih Township, Tainan County 744, Taiwan, +886-6-589-9111 (fax: +886-6-599-1688), [11]. Tainan Science Park, near Sinshih Township, is about 40 minutes Northeast of downtown Tainan City by car or train.

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