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Best things to do in Tainan

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Where in the world: Asia  /  Taiwan  /  Tainan

Top 15 things to do in Tainan

1. Chimei Museum, Rende

Discover one of the world's largest collections of violins at Chimei Museum, packed with artworks, music instruments, artifacts of warfare, and natural history displays. Those with an interest in military history flock to the collection of ancient weapons, split up into a European and non-European exhibit. Amenities include a cafe and gift shop.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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2. Chihkan Tower (Fort Provintia), West Central District

Built in 1653, Chihkan Tower (Fort Provintia) represents a Dutch outpost that has been preserved since the days of colonization. This attraction was named by the Dutch after a nearby indigenous village, which is now called Tainan. Though this site was surrendered to the Koxinga and then demolished by an earthquake in the 1800s, it has since been rebuilt. This new structure served at the capital of the island and later opened to the public for tours. Take note of the site's architectural value as well as its library.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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3. Anping Tree House, Anping

At Anping Tree House, you won't find a house built on a tree, but rather, a tree and vines becoming one with a building. The structure, originally a Tai & Co. warehouse, is thought to have been built at the end of the 19th century. Since its abandonment, a fairytale-like Banyan tree has grown through the house, with many more trees, branches, and vines growing around it. Now, many artists and tourists have visited this overgrown space to engage with intersection of human history, nature, and their own imaginations.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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4. Confucius Temple, West Central District

A historical landmark of the Eastern philosophy and the first of its kind in Taiwan, Confucius Temple once acted as a central academy in the religion’s teachings. Opened in 1665 under the Koxinga dynasty, the elegant burnt sienna complex sits within a plush garden, with plenty of shady courtyards in which to relax. Make your way to the temple’s center, framed by two ceremonial gates leading to the Dacheng Hall and Hall of Edification, admiring Confucian calligraphy and tablets. Wander back to the central courtyard, where locals regularly practice Tai Chi underneath the Banyan trees, looking out over the sports field to a sea of colorful kites.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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5. The Pier-2 Art Centre, Yancheng

A complex of old warehouses converted into exhibition halls and artsy boutiques, The Pier-2 Art Centre houses various modern art projects in the middle of a huge abandoned industrial district. Take in the psychedelic-colored sculptures, installations, graffiti, large paintings, and other street art, and browse around the various industrial structures, including an old steam engine on display. You can also stroll along the wharf or take a mini-train tour of this post-industrial area, built in 1973. Cafes, bars, bookstores, and handicraft shops cluster in this private, university-managed center.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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6. Dragon Tiger Tower, Zuoying

The seven-story Dragon Tiger Tower stands as a strong example of traditional Kaohsiung style and culture. One of two towers built in 1976, it connects to the other by a bridge. This temple is marked by its yellow walls, orange tiles, and red pillars. In one of the towers you will find representations of the 12 Magi, Confucius, and Jade Emperor's palaces. Before scaling the site's spiral staircase, take a walk along the nearby lake and look out upon the Small Tortoise mountains and several pavilions.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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7. Hayashi Department Store, West Central District

The oldest in the city of Tainan, Hayashi Department Store features a memorable combination of traditional and modern. Ever since its opening in 1932, this building has been a favorite shopping and gathering place for citizens. It sustained severe damaged in World War II, but its most famous and important feature remained untouched--the first elevator in the country, which still works today. Here you can shop, have a meal, and see exhibits of historical memorabilia.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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8. Xiao Liu Qiu, Liuqiu

Get away to experience the life of leisure at Xiao Liu Qiu. With friendly people and plenty of restaurants, the island serves as a destination for those looking to take a break from everyday life. Rent a scooter to explore the island, looking for the strange natural rock formations and caves. Soak up the sun on the sandy beaches, or go swimming or snorkeling in the clear waters around the island to see the typical marine life in the area. Don't worry about crowds, as the seclusion of the island provides plenty privacy.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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9. The Dome of Light, Xinxing

At the heart of Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit, see why The Dome of Light earned the Formosa Boulevard station the title as one of world's most beautiful metro stations. Located in the station's upper section, the dome features extensive glasswork designed by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata; the record-breaking piece consists of about 4,500 glass panels, covering an area of over 2,180 sq m (23,465 sq ft). The colorful installation tells the story of human life, earth, water, light, fire, and the act of growing.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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10. Anping Fort (Anping gubao), Anping

Brush up on your local history with an excursion to Anping Fort (Anping gubao), a 17th-century fort constructed by the Dutch East India Company. Developed over a 10-year period between 1624 and 1634, the fort became a central hub for trade in East Asia throughout Dutch and Japanese occupations of Tainan. Follow well-kept paths to some of the few surviving remnants of the original fort, including the red brick city walls and oyster kiln. Much of the site is newly built, housing a collection of museums for you to wander through, learning the fort’s extensive history. Climb the steps of the observation tower for some of the town’s best views, and make the most of the predominantly English displays.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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11. Shennong Street, West Central District

Take in the trendy atmosphere of Shennong Street. One of the best-preserved streets in the city, it commemorates a great emperor whom people revered as a deity after his death. Though only around 100 m (324 ft) long, the strip features many shops selling antiques, handmade crafts, and jewelry, as well as restaurants and bars. Taste traditional Taiwanese cuisine, or take a walk to the temple at the end, dedicated to the emperor. Consider visiting at night, when the street really comes alive.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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12. Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum, Dashu District

Home to one of the tooth relics of Gautama Buddha, Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum serves as a Mahayana Buddhist center. This complex opened in 2011 as an educational, religious, and cultural space for local and foreign visitors. Located behind the main temple, this area is over 100 hectares (247 acres) and has eight Chinese pagodas symbolizing the Noble Eightfold Path. Here, you will also find stupas that represent the Four Noble Truths, Welcoming Hall, Memorial Hall, and a photo terrace where you can capture images to show friends at home.
Suggested duration: 3h 30 min
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13. Cijin Island, Qijin

Take a five-minute ferry from the harbor to Cijin Island, one of the city's top places to savor exotic seafood. Apart from the fine dining, the island also offers a clean beach with warm waters suitable for swimming and water sports. Visit the lighthouse built by British engineers in 1883, and check out the nearby fort, marine museum, parks, and temples. The weather can get extremely hot here, so carry extra water and don't forget the sunscreen.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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14. Lianchi (Lotus) Lake, Zuoying

Bike or walk around Lianchi (Lotus) Lake, a natural body of water dotted by historic sites. This lake is located in a tranquil area of the city known for temples, making it a good place to go for a stroll or rent a bicycle. Walking around the lake's 3 km (2 mi) trail takes a little over two hours; there are places to stop and eat or drink along the way.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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15. Fo Guang Shan, Dashu District

Learn about Buddhism and enjoy the spectacular countryside views at Fo Guang Shan, a 100 hectare (247 acre) complex. The hilltop monastery houses around 1,000 monks and preserves a tooth relic of Buddha. Walk around the tranquil garden and visit all of the eight pagodas, as well as an enormous Buddha statue. While enjoying the peaceful surroundings, you can pray, meditate, or have a vegetarian meal in one of the onsite restaurants. The monks are happy to share their knowledge with visitors.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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