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15 Things to do in Tainan, Taiwan

15 Things to do in Tainan, Taiwan

on Aug. 27, 2018 by

These are my carefully selected 15 best things to do in Tainan, the oldest city in Taiwan. I included gems like Fort Zeelandia, Du Xiao Yue for its epic Dandan noodles, Chun Sui Tang - the inventor of bubble tea, mega gachapon machine and the bizarre chicken butts delights on Shennong street.

Tips & Advice
  • Why: Tainan; inventor of bubble tea, founded by the Dutch in 1624 and the oldest city in Taiwan.
  • YouTube channel: Reformatt Show
  • Accomodation: Consider Silks Place Tainan for their incredible rooftop pool.
  • Notes: I visited Taiwan twice to record these videos, go watch my other Taiwan episodes as well.

Fort Zeelandia in Taiwan built by the Dutch VOC in the 17th century in Tainan, T'ai-nan, TaiwanChun Shui Tang - the original restaurant where bubble tea was invented in Tainan, Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwanfamous beef noodle bowl at Du Xiao Yue in Tainan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwana famous chinese stance - dance off in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwan

Sadly, Tainan is not popular with foreign tourists even though it is the oldest city of Taiwan. Tainan became a top priority on my bucket list for the simple reason that it was found by the Dutch in 1624. The city is home to Dutch VOC fortresses Zeelandia and Provintia which were massive fortifications for its time. I visited Tainan to find the remnants of my ancestors since I am Dutch myself.

Places

  • 1. Du Xiao Yue

    Most famous noodle joint in Taiwan known as Dandan Mie, established in 1895 and favorite restaurant by well known movie director Ang Lee. (map)

  • 2. Gachapon Machine

    Taiwan's largest gachapon machine which holds giant surprise balls with grand price, 2 flight tickets to Japan. 100NT per try! (map)

  • 3. Fort Provintia

    Tainan is the oldest city of Taiwan, Fort Provintia used to be part of the old Dutch VOC colony of Formosa. (map)

  • 4. Win Chang Beef Soup

    Tainan is most famous for its delicious beef soup, also try their incredible beef tongue stir fry. (map)

  • 5. Oyster Shell Cement Museum

    Cement was hard to come by in the old Dutch colonial days that's why they used oyster shells, sugar and sticky rice. (map)

  • 6. Tree House

    Former Tait & Co Merchant House which has an massive warehouse engulfed by nature. The museum contains lots of Dutch history, maps and VOC ship models. (map)

  • 7. Fort Zeelandia

    The original headquarters of the Dutch VOC company on Formosa, this massive fort was run from 1624 until 1662 when Koxinga banished the Dutch from Taiwan. (map)

  • 8. Anping Old Street

    First commercial street of Taiwan where you can buy delicious treats like almond tofu, my number 1 favorite! (map)

  • 9. Chun Shui Tang

    The original restaurant where bubble tea was invented, bubble tea refers to the little round tapioca balls on the bottom of your milk tea. (map)

  • 10. Shennong Street

    Beautiful and cozy street with historic sites, temples and stores. Fantastic spot for photography and an evening walk. (map)

  • 11. Chicken Butts

    Near a place called 茶研室 you will find a very cozy outdoor patio for refreshing Taiwan beers and chicken butts. (map)

  • 12. Mango Shaved Ice

    Most epic mango shaved ice in Tainan at a place called 冰鄉, ingredients; mango, shaved ice, mango ice cream and sweet condensed milk. (map)

  • 13. Garden Night Market

    Largest night market of Tainan, sadly only open 3 days per week: Thursday, Saturday & Sunday. (map)

  • 14. Muse Nightclub

    The only nightclub in Tainan but definitely a good one, even on a Wednesday night this place was epic and offers all-you-can-drink for $25! (map)

  • 15. Silks Place

    Beyond luxury hotel I've ever stayed at! This 5 star hotel has incredible suites and a rooftop pool with often live music in the evening. (map)

locally grown mango - this is delicious in Tainan, Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, TaiwanI love mango! this was the most epic mango dessert ever! in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwanpearl milk tea, purple yam and red bean bubble tea at Chun Sui Tang in Tainan, Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwanthe massive gachapon machine with crazy prices in downtown Tainan, Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwan

Tainan is known by the Taiwanese as the food mecca of the country due to its many locally grown produce, from epic mango shaved ice desserts to Chun Sui Tang - the original restaurant where bubble tea was invented but also its delicious beef noodle bowls called dandan noodles at Du Xiao Yue.

Fort Provintia built by the Dutch VOC in the 17th century in Tainan, T'ai-nan, TaiwanFort Provintia built by the Dutch VOC in the 17th century

My first stop was the Dutch Fort Provintia where the Dutch VOC's (Dutch East India Company) administrative heart of Taiwan was located. I was blown away to learn that the foundation of all these Dutch forts was made with a mortar recipe containing crushed oyster shells, sugar and sticky rice since cement was hard to come by on the island.

these are skewered chicken butts at Shennon st. in Tainan, Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, TaiwanCHICKEN BUTTS - believe it or not! crunchy and trasty in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwanpopular beef soup bowls in Tainan, Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwanbeef tongue stir fry is surprisingly delicious in Tainan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwanwet and chewy rice eels on a bed of cabbage - incredible dish at Du Xiao Yue in Tainan, Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwanthe famous local MILK fish in Tainan, Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwanincredible tasty dishes at Du Xiao Yue in Tainan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwanbest fried spring rolls EVER! in Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwan

In the evening I went for dinner on the ancient Shennon street which is gorgeous during the evening for its small historic shops and cozy atmosphere. At a local street restaurant I went all out and tried their bizarre local delicacy; grilled chicken butts. One place where you should definitely eat is Du Xiao Yue, the oldest noodle shop in Taiwan founded in 1895 and order the Dandan noodles! Alternatively, try their milk fish, rice eel and incredible fried shrimp rolls. Let's not forget about the delicious beef soup and beef tongue and Win Chang restaurant..

going back in time looking for my ancestors in Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwangoing back in time looking for my ancestors in Taiwan

The highlight of my visit was Fort Zeelandia, a massive Dutch VOC fortress on the Anping peninsula which the Dutch held onto until 1662 when the Ming Dynasty sent Koxinga to take over Formosa (Taiwan's original name) and banish the Dutch. Fort Zeelandia showcases a huge collection of Dutch artifacts from that time period. If you want even more Dutch history, check out the Merchant House for many ancient Dutch maps and VOC ship scale models, additionally visit the incredible treehouse, a warehouse completely engulfed by nature.

in front of Fort Zeelandia in Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwanbizarre scenery at the Treehouse at Anping in Tainan, Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, TaiwanDutch built Fort Zeelandia in Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, TaiwanFrederick Coyette surrendering to Koxinga of the Ming Dynasty in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwantreehouse in tainan, taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwanfort zeelandia in Tainan, Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, TaiwanVOC in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwandramatic nature take over at the Treehouse in Tainan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwan

My favorite object was the scale model of Fort Zeelandia, the sheer size was absolutely mindboggling. The Dutch were besieged by Koxinga for 9 months which left them with no other option than to surrender after which Taiwan became Chinese territory and the Dutch retreated back to Batavia in Indonesia, nowadays known as Jakarta.

having a drink with the locals at MUSE Tainan Nightclub in Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwanhaving a drink with the locals at MUSE Tainan Nightclub in Taiwan

Tainan doesn't really have a big nightlife, for good parties you'll have to go to either Taipei or Kaohsiung but luckily Tainan has one major nightclub called MUSE Tainan where I had a great time drinking and socializing with the locals. For just 700 NT ($25 USD) it was an all-you-can-drink party. It was a crazy experience seeing not many people at the bar even with it being an all-you-can-drink event, I guess the Taiwanese know their limits very well.

Chinese shrine in downtown Tainan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwangreat street restaurant on Shennon St. in Tainan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwangift shop on Shennon St. in Tainan, Taiwan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwanentrance MUSE TAINAN in Tainan, T'ai-nan, TaiwanMUSE TAINAN nightclub in Tainan, T'ai-nan, TaiwanMUSE TAINAN nightclub in Tainan, T'ai-nan, TaiwanSilk's Place Tainan in Tainan, T'ai-nan, TaiwanKoxinga statue at Fort Zeelandia in Tainan, T'ai-nan, Taiwan

In conclusion, I had a fantastic time in Tainan and I will consider visiting Tainan in the near future to see what other great places this magical city has to offer.

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