After a few relaxing days at the beach in Kenting we continued our journey towards Tainan, Taiwan’s oldest and fifth largest city. We were interested to visit it because of its rich history, culture and artsy vibe.
On the way to Tainan we had an afternoon stop at the Fo Guang Shan monastery, the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. It’s a modern, very large monastery complex with a peaceful ambiance. It could take a full day to visit it properly and as far as I understood you can even book a night there and experience the morning ritual the day after. Besides the main hall and a few pagodas we also visited the Buddha museum. In the area of the museum they were showing a 3D movie for kids about the life of Buddha. The movie had English subtitles, however it contained a few scenes that scared a bit our 3 and half year toddler. I would not really recommend it for kids under 4. Besides the amazing sightseeing experience we also enjoyed the most delicious vegetarian meals. The complex has a number of vegetarian restaurants. We ate at the one in the mall and it’s been one of our favourite meals during the trip.
What we loved in Tainan:
Once in Tainan, we checked in the Silks Place Hotel which was again a great experience for all of us. During our stay in Taroko Gorge we also opted for this hotel. This is an extremely child friendly hotel with a proper play area, pool and the food is just delicious. The hotel in Tainan is also very well located, right in the centre.
The Confucius Temple and its salmon-red walls in the light of the sunset
Once in Tainan, in the beautiful light of the sunset, we visited the Confucius Temple. I think this was the most beautiful temple I have seen in Taiwan. The Confucius Temple is also one of the oldest buildings in Taiwan. While, our toddler took a nap in the stroller we visited the temple and its park.
Across the street from the Confucius Temple, you’ll find the a very artsy street, the Confucius Temple Shopping District. This is a street with many hip cafés, interesting hidden gem buildings, very colourful and alive. We also nosed around in the Hayashi Department Store, which is worth visiting even if you’re not looking to shop.
Dutch history at Fort Zeelandia
Fort Zeelandia was built in the 17th century by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) who ruled this part of Taiwan for about 38 years. Formosa island (former name of Taiwan) became one of East Asia’s most important transit sites for trade, and Fort Zeelandia a strategic international business centre. The fort has been reconstructed a few times, however there are still remains of the initial Dutch fort. It’s definitely worth a visit, the park around it is also very beautiful.
If you are in Tainan with kids, I would certainly recommend a stroll in the gorgeous Tainan park.
There is a lot more to see in Tainan and we’ve also seen a few other temples, however, in our 3 days here we had many random walks with no itinerary in mind in order to explore the vibe of the city.