Welcome to Taiwan’s oldest Confucian Shrine! Of all the Confucius temples around the island, this one is my favorite. The halls are set in front of a vast park filled with huge banyan trees where people chat, fly kites, paint or just walk around. There’s no better place to be on a sunny day when the temple’s pink walls contrast against a deep blue sky.
Great South Gate of Tainan
Remain of Tainan’s old defences. From the Confucius Temple, it’s only a short walk along Nanmen Rd. to get to the Great South Gate. The massive double gate was completed in 1835. Set in yet another pleasant park, the giant structure is a reminder of Tainan’s military past as well as one of the most photogenic attraction in town.
Extremely popular with Chinese tourists from the mainland, this memorial is dedicated to Koxinga – the Ming Dynasty general who kicked the Dutch out of Taiwan in 1662. You can see a statue of the man in the main hall as well as tablets commemorating his army along the side corridors. A small museum by the shrine has traditional Taiwanese puppets on display.
National Museum of Taiwanese Literature
Set in an attractive neoclassical building that used to be Tainan’s City Hall, this museum showcases exhibitions that detail the progression of Taiwanese literature since the Japanese occupation. For most, the building’s architecture is the main interest. It was built by the Japanese in 1916. Most displays have English descriptions. It’s just a short walk north of Confucius Temple.
Due to its central location and its proximity to lots of good restaurants, this popular landmark seems to attract more tourists than any other attraction in town. Even if you don’t like crowds, you should still put Chihkan Towers on your travel itinerary.
When you enter the site, take a right to make your way to the pavilions. You’ll see a statue of a helpless Dutch bowing his head in front of a powerful Koxinga.
Climb up the two Fujianese-style pavilions to get good views over the city. The nine tablets lined up on the back of stone turtles at the base of the first pavilion date back as far as 1786. They were sent by the Chinese Emperor of that era.
Also called Fort Zeelandia, this impressive bastion was originally built by the Dutch in 1653. All that remains from the original structure are a few crumbling walls that used to make up the foundation. The streets around the fort turn into a lively market on weekends and the entire area enjoys a carnival atmosphere as hundreds of Taiwanese tourists show up to buy snacks and play games.
Eternal Golden Castle
The fortress is set in the biggest and most beautiful park I’ve seen in Taiwan. Unsurprisingly, tons of Taiwanese flock here on weekends to stroll around the fortifications.
It used to be an important piece of Taiwan’s defense against the Japanese. Military buffs will enjoy the cannons on top of the citadel. Photographers will want to shoot the front gate early morning. I highly recommend to walk between this site and Anping Fort.