SOUTHERN TAIWAN: MODERN KAOHSIUNG AND HISTORICAL TAINAN AND SIGHTS AROUND THEM

KAOHSIUNG

Kaohsiung (southwestern part of Taiwan) is Taiwan’s largest industrial center and the second largest city in Taiwan, after Taipei. Covering an area of 152 square kilometers (59 square miles), Kaohsiung is also home of much of Taiwan’s heavy industry and is Taiwan's largest and busiest port. At the beginning of the 20th century, Kaohsiung was a small fishing. By the beginning of the 21st century, it was the world's third largest container port after Singapore and Hong Kong. It now ranks 14th in the world. Kaohsiung’s population rough;y doubled in the 1990s and the early 2000s and the city is now home to about 2.8 million people. The city has several large fisheries and a thriving fish canning industry. It is also an educational center, with three universities, and four junior colleges.

In contrast to Taipei, which is surrounded by mountains, Kaoshsiung is located at the end of the 160-kilometers-long Chianan Plain, the agricultural heartland of Taiwan. A large portion of Taiwan's manufactured goods are produced in Kaohsiung's industrial complexes such as the 5,500-acre Linhai Industrial Park, near Kaohsiung's excellent port facilities, which contains many industries, including a steel mill and a large petrochemical facility. The city also hosts one of the largest oil refineries in Asia, a shipyard and hundreds of small- to medium-size factories producing petrochemicals, cement, textiles, aluminum, refined sugar, paper, bricks and tile, fertilizers, plastics, electronics, machine tools, plywood and numerous other products. Not surprising, Kaohsiung has bad air pollution and relentless construction activity.

Kaohsiung has a pleasant climate, with warm, mild winters and long summers. Yearly temperatures in the city average between 24 degrees C (75 degrees F) and 32 degrees C (90 degrees F). Due to the regulating effects of the sea, Kaohsiung is generally sunny and enjoys pleasant weather year-round. Much drier than Taipei, Kaohsiung receives most of its rain during the typhoon season between May and September.

Tourism and Transport in Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung has some good restaurants and decent shopping and a few tourist sights worth checking out. The city hosted the 2009 World Games. Known as "Taiwan's Maritime Capital," it has worked hard in recent years to develop its tourism industry, which has included sprucing up and beautifying the city’s urban landscape and dreaming up potential tourism sights.

Tourist Offices: 1) New Zouying Railway Station, Tel: [886]-(7)-588-0768, No. 1, Caigong Rd, Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City; 2) Kaohsiung Railway Station, Tel: [886]-(7)-236-2710, No. 318, Jianguo 2nd Rd, Sanmin District, Kaohsiung City; 3) Kaohsiung International Airport (Domestic Travel), Tel: [886]-(7)-801-9206, No. 2, Zhongshan 4th Rd, Xiaogang District, Kaohsiung City; 4) Love River Visitor Center, intersection of Hedong Rd. and Minsheng 2nd Rd, Kaohsiung City, Tel: [886]-(7)-221-0768. 5) Formosa Boulevard Station Visitor Information Center, No.115, Zhongshan 1st Rd, Xinxing Dist, Kaohsiung City, Tel: [886]-(7)-235-2862. 6) Kaohsiung City Lotus Pond Visitor Information Center, No.110, Shengli Rd, Zuoying Dist, Kaohsiung City

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System (KRTS) is Kaohsiung’s subway system. The metro lines are commonly known as Kaohsiung MRT for "mass rapid transit"The Red Line runs between Gangshan South and Xiaogang. The Orange Line runs between Xiziwan and Daliao. The Circular LRT Line (aka Kaohsiung LRT, Kaohsiung Tram) for Kaohsiung City is a planned light rail line. Construction of Phase I, C1 Kaisyuan to C14 Sizhihwan began in June 2013. Phase I had operations on September 2017.

Auto ticketing machines are be found in all MRT stations, providing ticketing services. Single-journey ticket prices range in price depending on travel distance. KRTC also offers a "One-day pass", "Stored-value Ticket" and "Group Ticket". A one-day pass purchased from A service booth allows unlimited travels on all MRT lines within one day. 1) MRT running hours: 6:00~24:00. 2) To provide passengers a comfortable and safe ride, smoking, drinking, and gum chewing are strictly prohibited in MRT trains and stations. 3) Using cellular phone is prohibited in the first and the last coaches of the train. 4) Tickets are valid on the day of purchase. 5) Please place pets in hand-carry cages, except for police dogs and guide dogs. KRTC customer service lines: Tel: [886]-(7)-793-8888, 0770-2300, 7-588-2497

Kaohsiung can be reached by plane from several international cities and reached by plane, train and bus from places all over Taiwan. There are flights to Kaohsiung International Airport from Taipei International Airport fly and Hualien Airport on Mandarin Airlines. A fast train — using Japanese-made, Shinkansen-like bullet trains — operates between Kaohsiung and Taipei.

Sights in Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung offers ocean views and rivers as well as port, cultural, and historic attractions and fine cuisine. Tourist sights in Kaohsiung include Longevity Mountain Park (Shoushan, (Mt. Shou, noted for numerous temples and pavilions), Cheng Qing Lake (a resort renowned for its islands, bridges, towers and pavilions), Dragon and Tiger Pagodas (situated in the water and joined to the shore by a nine-corner bridge), Love River, Xiziwan Bay, Lotus Pond, Qijin, and the Old City of Zuoying.

Shou Shan is located in the city and offers visitors excellent panoramas of Kaohsiung. One of the most popular tourist destinations is Lotus Lake, a resort area that contains several beautiful buildings, such as the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas described above, the Spring and Autumn Pavilions, and a large Confucian temple. Kaohsiung's Hsi Tzu Bay beach has reasonably nice sand and clear water. Chichin Island can reached be ferry or through a tunnel from Kaohsiung. Miao-Chen Road is lined with seafood stalls, carnival games and souvenir sellers. People pray at Matsu temple and fly kites on the back Local specialities include steamed fish with soy and wasabi, oysters stewed in black bean sauce and squid braised with sesame oil and chili sauce.

Kaohsiung is is an ethnic melting pot, joining Hokkien and Hakka communities, the Pingpu, Tsou, Rukai, Bunun, and Paiwan indigenous tribes, and a military community culture. Visitors to the city can head to the nearby Hakka village of Meinong to experience traditional oil paper umbrella art. The Neimen Songjiang Battle Array and the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist monastery in Dashu further add to the ethnic richness of Kaohsiung. Taiwan's biggest mall and well-known night markets complete the scene for a thoroughly satisfying trip.

Among the museums in Kaohsiung are te Kaohsiung Museum of History, Kaohsiung Astronomical Museum, Vision of Kaohsiung Museum, Kaohsiung Music Center, Kaohsiung Municipal Film Archives, Chiang Kai-shek Cultural Center, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, National Science and Technology Museum, Kaohsiung Hakka Culture Museum

Heart of the Love River (intersection of Bo'ai 1st Road and Tongmeng 1st Road) is a heart-shaped bridge over the Love River between East Lake and West Lake. There is picturesque bike routes and beautiful lakeside parks here. At night, the bridge is lit up with bright lights.

The Lake Exotic Marine Life Museum is housed in a 200-meter tunnel and bomb shelter with a massive bomb-resistant doors that weighs 5000 kilograms, meeting rooms, lounges, communication chambers, and Chiang Kai-shek spacious bathroom. After lying unused for years, the tunnel was turned into an aquarium, where the sea creatures are kept in terrible conditions according to a blogger named Sarah everymileblog.com

Shopping and Night Markets in Kaohsiung

Shopping malls and area in Kaohsiung include the E-Da Outlet Mall, Dream Mall, , Sanduo Shopping District, and New Juejiang Shopping Area

Tthe New Juejiang shopping area is centered near a popular consumer magnet, the Datong Department Store at the intersection of Wufu 2nd Road and Renzhi Street. It is also right next to the Mercuries Department Store and the Oscar Cinema on Lane 167 of Wenheng 2nd Road. Young people, new fashions, recreation, shopping, and dining all get together at New Juejiang, which is rapidly attracting new businesses to become Kaohsiung's biggest shopping destination. Cinemas, trendy clothes, jewelry, watches, cosmetics, and beauty salons mingle with cafes, American and Japanese fast-food restaurants, and stalls with many types of food.

The Sanduo shopping districtthe has gained popularity as a top shopping destination in Kaohsiung in recent years. Anchor stores here include the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store, SOGO, and Mega'21 Far Eastern Shopping Complex. There are also a number of clothing boutiques and small shops, including Japanese merchandise retailers Poya and A+1, and other shops selling discount cosmetics, handbags, and daily goods. Items at these shops are generally 20% to 50% cheaper than similar items in department store boutiques, making them a magnet for young shoppers. Sanduo has also benefited from its proximity to the traditional market on Linsen Road.

Sanduo Shopping District is adjacent to the Sanduo and Zhongshan Road traffic circles near the high-rise core in Kaohsiung. To the south it links with the Asia-Pacific Financial Plaza, the 85-floor Tuntex Sky Tower, and a multifunctional economic and trade area being promoted by the Kaohsiung City Government. An MRT station will soon open in this area, making it even easier to reach.

Nanhua Night Market (on Nanhua Rd.) is a popular night market next to shops that sell clothes and shoes. Among the Popular snacks sold at the food stalls are liao-li sparerib soup, fried mutton, mushroom and meat thick soup of Beigang. Liuhe Night Market (on Liuhe Rd) is famous in Taiwan for papaya milk, salt-steamed shrimp and seafood porridge. Zhonghua Street Night Market (on Zhonghua Street, Fengshan District) features jelly fig ice, Taiwanese fried chicken, rice with chicken, beef noodles, grass tea and other tasty traditional snacks

Dream Mall

Dream Mall (in Qianzhen District) is the largest shopping mall in Taiwan and was once the largest in East Asia, but has been displaced by malls in Thailand, the Philippines and China. It is built and operated by Tungcheng Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Uni-President Enterprises Corporation, Taiwan's largest food conglomerate that also runs subsidiaries in many other industries. It was designed by international architecture firm RTKL, based in Baltimore, Maryland and opened on 12 May 2007, and contains restaurants, movie theater, gym, and entertainment facilities including a rooftop amusement park with a Ferris wheel known as the Kaohsiung Eye that is 50 meters (160 feet) in diameter. The building and wheel have a combined height of 102.5 metres (336 ft). Getting There: The mall is accessible within walking distance west from Kaisyuan Station of Kaohsiung MRT.

Dream Mall named as one of Asia's ten best shopping centers by a magazine in the Forbes group. Admission fee is TWD 150 for an adult of Ferris Wheel, from which there are both sea and city views. There are retail stores on eight and large food court in the basement. On the 8th next to the movie theaters and Ferris wheel is a kid's dinosaur themed amusement park with fairly cheap rides and claw machines. .Times Avenue (Shihdai Blvd.), in the front of mall, holds large activities including balloon processions, new year celebrations including a countdown and fireworks display, and beer festival.

One person posted on Trip Advisor: “This shopping centre lives up to its name as one of the largest, but it is also one of the most expensive too. This modern mall has a store for nearly every designer brand of clothing, watches, shoes, bags, cosmetics and electronic products. Unfortunately, nothing was cheap – expect to pay full retail price. There is an abundance of restaurants, from basic cafés to fine dining. A tax refund service for international visitors is available too. Beware of the cosmetics/skincare shops, as you may well get a pushy sales pitch and product demonstration that can be hard to get away from. I gained the impression this centre was designed for wealthy cruise ship passengers. Easiest access is via the green LRT line. We left without buying anything, but it was still a good place to escape the heat for a couple of hours.” Getting There: Take the MRT Red Line line) to Kaisyuan station .Wait for the free mall shuttle bus.

85 Sky Tower

85 Sky Tower (Lingya District, Kaohsiung) was , formerly known as the T & C Tower or Tuntex Sky Tower An 85-story skyscraper, it is 347.5 meters (1,140 feet) high. An antenna increases the pinnacle height to 378 meters (1,240 feet). Constructed from 1994 to 1997, it is the tallest skyscraper in Kaohsiung, and was the tallest in Taiwan until the completion of Taipei 101 in 2004.

Located on the 75th floor, the 75 View Deck provides spectacular panoramic views over the city and harbor. Take the world's 2nd fastest lift, which reaches the 75th floor in only 43 seconds, at over 10 meters per second. On the top you can enjoy the sunset over Shou Mountain and beautiful scenery of Love River and Kaohsiung Harbor. There is no 44th floor in the building (because it considered bad luck); the 43rd floor connects directly to the 45th floor. The pyramid shaped crown is the equivalent of three stories high and is hence marketed as 83-85 to arrive at a round number. There is no elevator access to floors above 80.

The building was designed by C.Y. Lee & Partners and Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, and has an unusual 'prong' design with two separate 39-floor sections, which merge into a single central tower rising to a spire. This unique design leaves a substantial space below the central part of the tower. The design was inspired by the first Kanji and Chinese character of the city's name. The building was owned by the now defunct Tuntex Group, and is mainly offices, but includes residential space, and a department store. The 85 Sky Tower Hotel occupies the 38th to 70th floors.

Getting There: THSR: Take the THSR to Zuoying Station, transfer to the MRT or bus. By MRT: Take the MRT to Sanduo Shopping District Station, walk about 20 min to Kaohsiung 85 Building. By Road: Nat'l Hwy 1 Kaohsiung Interchange (Take the Exit toward Zhongzheng Rd.) Zhongzheng 1st Rd. Wufu 1st Rd. to Wufu 3rd Rd. Ziqiang 3rd Rd. Kaohsiung 85 Building; Address: No.1, Ziqiang 3rd Rd, Lingya District, Kaohsiung City, Tel: [886]-(7)-566-8000 ext.2323.

Lotus Lake

Lotus Lake (northern outskirts of Kaohsiung City) is a famous scenic area noted for its profusion of temples, with the Confucius Temple at its northern edge and, in the south, the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas and the Spring and Autumn Pavilions. The lake is most beautiful in the late afternoon, when the setting sun is reflected in the water. Nearby are the ruins of the Fengshan County walls and gates.

The Spring and Autumn Pavilions are two massive pavilions dedicated to Kuan Kung, the God of War, completed in 1951. In front of the pavilions is a statue of Guanyin (Kuanyin), the Goddess of Mercy, riding a dragon. According to legend, Guanyin appeared above the clouds riding on a dragon, signifying that believers must erect an image depicting this event between pavilions of summer and autumn: The present-day structures are a result of this vision.

About 700 meters to the south of the Spring and Autumn Pavilions are the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. The dragon's throat is the entrance and the lion's mouth is the exit. Entering a dragon's throat and coming out a lion's mouth symbolizes turning bad luck to good fortune. Inside, paintings depict China's 24 most obedient sons as well as scenes of heaven and hell to inspire people to do good deeds during their lifetime, and to provide threatening examples of retribution for wrongdoing.

Getting There by Public Transport: By Railway: Take the THSR or TRA train to Zuoying Station, walk about 10 minutes. By MRT: Take MRT Red Line and get off at Ecological District Station, continue by the Bus Red 51 to Lotus Lake stop from Ecological District Station Exit No. 2. By Road: Nat'l Hwy.1 Exit at the Dingjin System Interchange Nat'l Hwy 10 Duhui Expressway Exit at the Zhonghua Rd. Interchange Xinzhuangzai Rd. Shengli Rd. Liantan Rd. Lotus Lake / Spring and Autumn Pavilions / Dragon and Tiger Pagodas; Address: No. 1435, Cuihua Rd, Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City, Tel: [886]-(7)-581-6216.

Dome of Light

Dome of Light (at the Formosa Boulevard Station, the MRT transfer station for the Red Line and Orange Line) was created by renowned artist Narcissus Quagliata. It is the world's largest public art installation made from individual pieces of colored glass. The work not only adds to the beauty of the station, but also adds a new dimension to the art life of the Kaohsiung and creates a new scenic spot in the city.

The Dome of Light took nearly four years to complete. The work was overseen personally by Quagliata and shipped from Germany for installation at the station. The dome tells the story of human life in four chronologically arranged themes: Water: The Womb of Life; Earth: Prosperity and Growth; Light: The Creative Spirit; and Fire: Destruction and Rebirth, with an overall message of love and tolerance.The dome has a 30-meter diameter and covers an area of 660 square meters. The lead glass panes were created and assembled according to a full-scale blueprint created by Quagliata to produce a creative new departure from this millennia old art form.

Getting There by Public Transport: 1. THSR Zuoying Station Kaohsiung MRT Formosa Boulevard Station; 2. TRA Kaohsiung Station Kaohsiung MRT Formosa Boulevard Station By Road: Nat'l Hwy No. 1 Kaohsiung Interchange (Take the Exit toward Zhongzheng Rd.) Zhongzheng 1st Road to Zhongzheng 3rd Road Zhongzheng 3rd Rd. & Zhongshan 1st Rd. intersection Dome of Light (Situated at the Kaohsiung MRT Formosa Boulevard Station); Address: Zhongzheng 3rd Rd. & Zhongshan 1st Rd. intersection, Xinxing Dist, Kaohsiung City, Tel: [886]-(7)-215-5100.

National Science and Technology Museum

National Science and Technology Museum opened in November 1997. The museum is not only a prominent organization of social education, it is also the first and largest museum of applied science in Taiwan. It occupies a base area of 19 hectares, and is divided north and south by Jiuru Road. The museum comprises several permanent galleries and three temporary galleries as well as the IMAX 3D theater.

Exhibits focus on the historical, current and future development of technology as they relate to the industry and economic development of Taiwan. Exhibits introduce principles, procedures and applications of technology, and their influences on society. Many of the exhibits also provide the visitors with fun and knowledge not only through observation, but also through hands-on experience. The museum aims to enlighten visitors through the wonders of technology.

The museum has embarked upon a commitment to provide a wide variety of technological education activities. It offers an alternative learning environment where participants can learn about technological life in both serious and playful ways. There are some robots.

Getting There by Public Transport: THSR: Take the THSR to Zuoying Station, transfer to the MRT, bus or taxi. MRT: Take the MRT to Kaohsiung Main Ststion, continue by Bus No.60, 73 or Red 28 to the museum; Train: Get off at Kaohsiung Railway Station. Then take Bus No. 60, 73 or Red 28 to the museum. By Road: Nat'l Hwy 1 Kaohsiung Interchange (Take the exit toward Jiuru Rd.) Jiuru 1st Rd. National Science and Technology Museum; Address: No. 720, Jiuru 1st Rd, Sanmin District, Kaohsiung City, Tel: [886]-(7)-380-0089.

Near Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung is surrounded by a fertile agricultural area that produces rice, sugar, groundnuts, bananas and citrus fruits. The celebrated Fo Kuang Shan (Light of Buddha Mountain) is about an hour drive from Kaohsiung. It is a huge 25-meter-tall gilded statue of Buddha surrounded by 480 life-size golden images of Buddha. The site is not only a noted tourist site, but also an important pilgrimage destination for Buddhists from Taiwan and all of Southeast Asia. Also check out the Baolai Hot Springs, Bulao Hot Springs and the Taiwan Aboriginal Culture Park in Pingtung County.

One of the largest and most popular tourist resort south of Kaohsiung is the Cheng Ching Lake Resort. Located only a few minutes from the city, Cheng Ching offers wonderful sight-seeing opportunities. The resort, which is spread out over several miles, contains several beautiful pavilions, a distinctive zigzag-shaped bridge, a large aquarium, a recreational center, and an avenue filled with orchids that is perfect for a relaxing late-afternoon stroll. The Chung Hsing Pagoda, which is one of Taiwan's most famous monuments, is also located at the resort. Below the Chung Hsing Pagoda, an 18-hole golf course, owned by the Kaohsiung Golf and Country Club, allows visitors to play a game amid beautiful rolling hills.

The southern tip of Taiwan has beautiful beaches, extensive coral reefs, hot springs, unusual scenery and a very large tropical arboretum established by the Japanese and currently maintained as Kenting Park. Sichongxi Hot Springs are located in the scenic mountains of Checheng Township, fed by a steady source of mineral-rich water from the foothills of Shimu Mountain. The springs were first discovered during the Guangxu period and by the early Republican period they were ranked among the four major hot springs in Taiwan along with the springs at Yangming Mountain (Yangmingsha), Beitou and Guanziling. Bathers soak in clear, tasteless, alkaline; sodium bicarbonate water and enjoy the view of the Sichong River (Sichongxi) as it winds through the picturesque landscape. A popular summer retreat, the Sichong River area is also known for its red center duck eggs and delicious local cuisine made with organic produce, fresh river fish and shrimp, and hot spring vegetables.

E-Da Theme Park is an ancient-Greek-themed amusement park with a facsimile of an ancient Greek temple, the blue and white city of Santorini and a Trojan castle and horse. It has the largest entertainment theatre and the biggest indoor recreation center in Taiwan, the country's first roller coaster ride in a complete pitch-black surrounding, a water show, erupting volcano show and the spectacular view from the biggest ferris wheel in Taiwan. Getting There by Public Transport: 1. THSR Zuoying Station E-Da Bus to E-Da Theme Park; 2. TRA Gangshan, XinZuoying, Nanzi, or Fengshan Station E-Da Bus to E-Da Theme Park By Road: Nat'l Hwy 3 Exit at the Yanchao System Interchange Nat'l Hwy 10 Exit at the Renwu Interchange Sec. 3, Shuiguan Rd. Yida 2nd Rd. Sec. 1, Xuecheng Rd; Address: No. 10, Sec. 1, Xuecheng Rd, Dashu District, Kaohsiung City, Tel: 0800-588887.

Meinong

Meinong (Meinong District, Kaohsiung City) is a small southern Hakka community with plenty of visual charm. Meinong came out on top in the "Land of Smiles" internet survey jointly conducted by CommonWealth magazine and the Taiwan Tourism Bureau. Its vibrant Hakka culture, rustic landscape, and simple, sincere residents make it a popular destination for visitors who want to experience the richness of the Hakka culture and way of life.

The Hakka people have a close connection to the land—a link that is reflected in the community's strong disposition towards environmental protection. In Meinong, nature and man coexist, bringing the butterflies, birds, and nature's other creations close to hand. Meinong has preserved its roots in Hakka tradition more fully than any other town in Taiwan. The best way to experience these living traditions is to stroll through the town and take part in its daily life activities.

Clear water and ideal growing conditions have made Meinong a center for high-quality rice, vegetables and fruit. These ingredients combine with the town's Hakka food culture to create a number of must-try specialty dishes. Fields of sunflowers brighten the green foothills of Meinong with their golden hues in winter. Fields of colorful flowers blanket the farms of Meinong after the autumn harvest. A procession of people wearing traditional Hakka blue robes Hakka advances to the Respect Words Pavilion to burn paper with writing. Farmers stoop to transplant seedlings in a rice paddy at the base of Meinong Mountain. Hakka women with protective hats and headscarves tend to a field of tall tobacco plants. Stripped tobacco leaves are sorted by size and quality. Several old tobacco buildings have been preserved in Meinong. In summer, yellow butterflies descend en masse to the green valley of Meinong. Meinong has preserved the traditional skills for hand-made paper umbrellas. A happy pair of Meinong farmers collect Meinong's trademark white radishes together.

Getting There by Public Transport: 1) THSR: From Zuoying Station, take the Cishan-Meinong Express Bus to Meinong; 2) Taiwan Railway: From Kaohsiung Station, take bus No. 8011, 8025, 8028, or 8038 to Meinong. Address: Meinong District, Kaohsiung City

Pintung County

Pintung County (south of Kaohsiung) is the southernmost county in Taiwan. It covers a long and narrow territory with a border defined by mountains to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Taiwan Strait to the west, and the Bashi Channel to the south. Due to its subtropical location, Pingtung enjoys spring-like weather all year round. Graceful coconut trees add to the county's ample South Pacific charms.

Pingtung is home to Kenting National Park, Taiwan’s first National Park. Other visitor attractions here include the island Eden of Xiaoliuqiu, scenic forest-hemmed highways, Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area, Maolin National Scenic Area, and Taiwan's best paragliding area, Saijia Air Park. Coastal areas in Pingtung are excellent choices for coastal recreation, whether donning a snorkel to explore the beauty of the corals or hunting for shells on the beach. At Eluanbi, marking the southernmost tip of Taiwan, you can enjoy the unusual sight of the Pacific to the left and the Taiwan Strait to the right. Pingtung is also a wintering stop for migratory birds, including shrikes, and in October, gray-faced buzzards, making this a good spot to enjoy the avian ecology. And if you like to gaze at the stars, the light-pollution free night skies over the Pingbei foothills offer the perfect tapestry to indulge. The local indigenous culture is also well worth experiencing.

Pingtung has a number of local specialties. Linbian Township is known for its juicy and sweet black pearl wax apple, Wanluan for its tasty and chewy pig's feet, and Donggang for melt-in-your-mouth bluefin tuna. The coffee of Dewen, onions of Checheng and Hengchun, and preserved dates of Gaoshu are other delicious must-try treats. For recreation or dining fun, Taiwan's southern border is hard to beat!

Minzu Rd. Night Market in Pingtung City has a 70-year history. Snacks and dishes found here includes spearfish thick soup, mushroom and meat thick soup, meatballs of Pingtung, vegetarian gelatin, stick rice dumping, refreshed taro, The market is located on Minzu Rd.,under Fuxing Rd. bridge.

Little Liuqiu (in the sea about 14 kilometers southwest of Donggang in Pingtung County) is the only one of Taiwan's numerous offshore islands that is composed of coral. In the waters offshore are numerous species of coral. Coral rock formations are situated in some places on the island. Little Liuqiu is a fishing island whose inhabitants are very religious. There are many temples here. Tourist Offices: Pingtung Railway Station, Tel: [886]-8-732-3979, No. 43, Guangfu Rd, Pingtung City, Pingtung County; Hengchun Transfer Station, Tel: [886]-8-888-1542, No.30, Zhongzheng Rd, Hengchun Township, Pingtung County

Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Cultural Park

Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Cultural Park (40 kilometers east of Kaohsiung) was set up in 1987 in Pingtung County in order to preserve aboriginal culture and resources. Covering 82.65 hectares, the park presents each of Taiwan’s aboriginal tribes and their characteristics. The park is next to Fugu Bay, which as a natural and graceful scenery. There are no modern architectures in the vicinity.

The Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Cultural Park has traditional tribal cabins, which are located according to each tribe's tradition and lifestyle. There are a wax figure room, a multimedia room and an exhibition room in the park, presenting the development and culture of the aboriginal tribes. The handicraft room shows how the aborigines create their unique handcrafts.

One person posted on Trip Advisor in December 2018: Arrived at 12 noon. Headed to the suspension bridge before entering the cultural park. Bridge entrance NT50 per adult. It is 263m long and very stable. The shuttle bus after the steep climb to the other end of the bridge has been suspended according to the staff and this means walking by foot on the bridge back to the entrance of cultural park. Entrance NT150 per adult. Near entrance at 2pm received a welcoming ceremony with 16 Canon gun shots! Felt so welcome! Spectacular cultural performance with drums and instruments made from bamboo at 10.30am and 2.30pm only so plan your time! Like a mini concert with song and story theme. Audience can sing along with lyrics on large screens. For us, we checked out of our hotel in Fangliao that morning. Took 10am bus from Fangliao to Pingtung, an hour ride and faster than taking TRA. Pingtung has good size lockers to store luggage, NT50 for 3 hours. From Pingtung train station, turn left and cross over to Pingtung bus station located next to 7-11 store. Took bus 508 to the cultural centre also about an hour and between mid Oct to 1 Jan 2019, rides are free for Passengers with Easycards which we used on both buses. Note: Bus 508 operates at 8am, 12noon & 4pm from Pingtung on weekdays. Return timings from cultural park 9.15am, 1.15pm & 5.30pm on weekdays. On weekends, 2 extra service at 10am & 2pm from Pingtung and 11.15am & 3.30pm from the park.

Getting There by Public Transport: By Bus: Travel until Pingtung Railway Station and connect to the bus of Pingtung Bus for the direction of Shueimen or Sandimen. Get off at the Shueimen stop and walk to the Park. (Connecting buses to the Park available on holidays). By Road: By Car: 1) National Freeway No.1 Exit at the Jiuru 2nd Rd. Interchange for Kaohsiung City Pingtung City Provincial Highway Route 24 Shueimen Beiye Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Cultural Park; 2) National Freeway No.3 Exit at the Changzhi Interchange Pingtung City Provincial Highway Route 24 Shuimen Beiye Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Cultural Park; 3) National Freeway No.3 Exit at the Jiuru Interchange Provincial Highway Route 3 Ligang Provincial Highway Route 22 Gaoshu Bridge Shuimen Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Cultural Park (through Saijia); Address: No.104, Fengjing Lane, Beiye Village, Majia Township, Pingtung County, Tel: [886]-8-799-1219.

Paiwan and Rukai Settlements and Their Slate Buildings

Paiwan and Rukai Settlements and Their Slate Buildings (Pingtung County) shows the ingenious living arrangements that Taiwan’s indigenous and provide insight into tribal life on Taiwan's mountains more than 500 years ago. The aboriginal settlers decorated their rooftops with rounded white stones for defensive purposes; the skulls-like objects could be seen from afar and thus act as a deterrent against potential invaders.

The aboriginal Paiwan and Rukai communities had a clearly defined caste system consisting of royalty, nobility and a working class. More importantly, however, was their following of the so-called "house society” social structure, in which all those who were born under the same roof were considered relatives and part of the house family. The name of the house is then taken as surname.

Given this emphasis on the residential complex, is it no wonder that they went to great lengths to complete each building in their village. One well-preserved village still stands today; known as the Laochijia Village, it can found at the Chunrih Township of Pintung County. At 115 meters above sea level, it is the most comprehensive cultural site of its kind and comprises of nearly 50 slate constructions.

The Paiwan-style slate construction was made with stones from the riverbed and logs from the nearby forest. For the Laochijia Village, the closest source of quality stones was the Chijia River, which was a two-hour hike away. After the procurement of raw materials, the villagers would then sand the stone slabs, clear the land, fill the walls with mortar, insert the ancestral pillar, and pile the rooftop with stone slabs in a layering pattern that make the slabs appear like fish scales.

When completed, each stone house was supported by 7 beams, fronted by a yard and included a front room, a bedroom, a living room, a storage shed and a pig pen. The cooking area would be close to the living room in the middle of the house, while one could identify where the tribe's leader lived by finding the house with a platform in the front yard. The platform was used for issuing public orders and hosting harvest festivals.

One ingenious design of the Paiwan-style slate house is its low entrance door. It was designed as such not only for defensive purposes, but also to commandeer respect from guests, who had to bow their heads as they entered through the door. For preserving the wisdom and resourceful lifestyle of these aboriginal ancestors, the slate construction settlement in Pingtung has been included as one of the 18 potential world heritage sites Taiwan has to offer.

Daladalai is a Paiwan tribe village that can be reached on foot from Santimen. The hike traverses rivers on hand-built suspension bridges a hundred feet above the milky green water. The mountainsides are covered with bamboo, juniper and cedar.

Kenting National Park

Kenting National Park (less than two hours from Kaohsiung) has been compared to Hawaii. Located on Hengchun (Eternal Spring) peninsula on the southernmost piece part of Taiwan island, it has quaint fishing villages, white-sand beaches, placid coves, unusual rock formations, palm trees, exotic scenery and coral reefs. Taiwan's most tropical place, it has hot summers, and balmy winter, with an occasional chilly wind. Vacationer come here the entire year to swim and enjoy Taiwan's best beaches. Kenting is the home of Taiwan's only international resort. It is especially crowded in the summer, when there are lots of jetskis in the water.

Located on Hengchun Peninsula, Kenting National Park is Taiwan's only tropical national park. Established in 1982, it Park covers a total area of 332.68 square kilometers of land and maritime environments. It is also Taiwan's most densely populated national park, and includes large tracts of agricultural land. There are also mountains, forests, pasture, lakes and sand dunes. Kenting National Park Lighthouse is a popular landmark.

Old Hengchun City Wall (on the southern tip of Taiwan) was built in 1873 during the Qing dynasty. The best preserved historical wall in Taiwan, it is 2.700 meters long with gates. Travelers can begin their visit at the West Gate and walk to the Queen of Heaven (Mazu) Temple, the South Gate, and the East Gate, where they can climb to the top for panoramic views of the town. They can also watch flames spewing from the ground beside Chuhuo Bridge.

Getting There by Public Transport: Take the THSR to Zuoying Station, and take the Zhongnan Bus (toward Kending) to Kenting National Park. Railway: Or take the train to Kaohsiung Railway Station, continue by Kaohsiung Bus (toward Kending) to Kenting National Park. By Road: Freeway 1 Exit at the Wujia System Interchange Prov. Hwy 88 Zhutian System Interchange Freeway 3 Exit at the Nanzhou Interchange County Hwy 187B Prov. Hwy 1 Fenggang Prov. Hwy 26; Address: No.596, Kending Rd, Hengchun Township, Pingtung County, Tel: [886]-8-[886]-1321.

National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium

National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium (10 kilometers northwest of Kenting National Park) is located in Checheng Township, Pingtung Country, where the sea and foothills of Guishan Mountain meet. The facility covers 60 hectares and is divided into three parts: 1) Waters of Taiwan, where you can see Taiwan river fish and a whale shark, the biggest fish in the world; 2) Coral Kingdom Pavilion, housing an 80 meter underwater tunnel through an aquarium with a variety of fish and coral reef ecology from the South China Sea; and 3) Waters of the World, addressing the Earth’s extremely ancient, deep and cold ocean ecology.

Check out the the 10-meter-high acrylic viewing window of the Giant Kelp Tank, which is the highest in the world. There are penguins from Antarctica and belugas from the Arctic. There are also various touchable displays, fun science education activities, even sleepover tours. In the Touch Pool kids and adults to gently handle some of the sea creatures such as starfish and snad dollars. The Kid's Deck, located on the balcony outside the building, is a playground with many models of marine organisms and interactive games. It provides a place for kids to rest and play and encourages them to explore the secrets of the ocean world. One of the highlights include going on an enigmatic dive trip.

The Coral Reef exhibit simulates the feeling of scuba diving in southern Taiwan with large expanses of coral and the sense of waves breaking overhead. There are busy schools of fish and eels swimming back and forth among the cracks of the reef. South Bay Reef displays the colorful fish, invertebrates and corals of South Bay, one of Taiwan's most precious and beautiful marine ecosystems. Nomads of the Oceans is devoted to jellyfish. The Open Ocean Aquarium is the largest aquarium in Taiwan. It is home to 16-meter whale shark, 13 2.4-meter dolphins, and three sailfish and numerous other marine creatures, both large and small.

Getting There by Public Transport: 1) Pingtung Bus (Kenting Shuttle Bus - Orange Line) to the Aquarium; 2) THSR Zuoying Station Zhongnan Bus (toward Kenting, Eluanbi) to Hengchun Pingtung Bus (Kenting Shuttle Bus - Orange Line) to the Aquarium; 3) TRA Kaohsiung Main Station Zhongnan Bus (toward Kenting, Eluanbi) to Hengchun Pingtung Bus (Kenting Shuttle Bus - Orange Line) to the Aquarium; 4) TRA Kaohsiung Main Station Kaohsiung Bus (toward Kenting) to Hengchun Pingtung Bus (Kenting Shuttle Bus - Orange Line) to the Aquarium; 5) . TRA Pingtung Station Pingtung Bus (toward Hengchun) to Hengchun Pingtung Bus (Kenting Shuttle Bus - Orange Line) to the Aquarium By Road: Nat'l Hwy 1 Exit at the Wujia System Interchange Prov. Hwy 88 Zhutian System Interchange Nat'l Hwy 3 Exit at the Nanzhou Interchange County Hwy 187B Prov. Hwy 1 Fenggang Prov. Hwy 26 Township Road Ping-153; Address: No.2, Houwan Rd, Checheng Township, Pingtung County, Tel: [886]-8-882-5678.

Tainan

Tainan (north of Kaohsiung) is the former capital of Taiwan. Unlike other Taiwanese cities, it has many old historical buildings and 200 temples, including a well-restored temple honoring Koxinga (Taiwan's celebrated pirate), a Confucian temple, founded in 1666, and is viewed by many experts as Taiwan's most beautiful example of Confucian temple architecture. The elaborate new Temple of the Goddess of the Sea at Luermen, built by some of Taiwan’s finest craftsmen. Kaiyun Temple is one of the country's oldest Buddhist temples.

Tainan is Taiwan’s oldest and fourth largest city. It seems relatively low key compared to Taipei. Reminders of the city’s past include the remains of gates, memorial arches and temples that date to three centuries ago. Fort Zeelandi and Fort Provintia were built by the Dutch in the 1600s. Eternal Fortress was built by the Chinese in 1876.

From 1684 to 1887, T'ainan served as the capital of Taiwan. Today, it is home to about 1.8 million people. The city is situated in a highly productive agricultural region and serves as southwestern Taiwan's trading center for peanuts, sugarcane, rice, and fruits. Among the industries located in T'ainan are rubber goods, chemicals, textiles, refined sugar, plastics, processed foods, and electrical appliances. The city has many artisans known for their gold and silver handicrafts.

Garden Night Market is a large and conveniently located night market with an extensive array of tasty Tainan specialty foods. The wide selection of clothing, accessories and other items further add to the popularity of this tourism hot spot, Intersection of Hewei Rd, Sec. 3 and Haian Rd, Sec. 3, in North District, Tainan City Wusheng Night Market, Tainan specialty foods, general goods, and entertainment come together to make Wusheng Night Market one of the Tainan's premier destinations for late night fun, No. 42, Lane 69, Wusheng Rd, West Central District, Tainan City

Tourist Offices: 1) Chiayi Railway Station, Tel: [886]-5-225-6649, No. 528, Zhongshan Rd, Chiayi City; 2) THSR Chiayi Station, Tel: [886]-5-310-7007, No.168, Gaotie W. Rd, Taibao City, Chiayi County; 3) Tainan Railway Station, Tel: [886]-6-229-0082, No. 4, Sec. 2, Beimen Rd, East District, Tainan City; 4) THSR Tainan Station, Tel: [886]-6-600-8338, No.100, Guiren Blvd, Guiren Dist, Tainan City; 5) Tainan Airport, Tel: [886]-6-335-9209, No. 1002, Sec. 2, Datong Rd, South District, Tainan City; 6) Xinying Railway Station, Tel: [886]-6-637-8821, No. 1, Zhongshan Rd, Xinying District, Tainan City.

Koxinga and the History of Tainan

Tainan is the birthplace of Taiwan and the oldest city on the island. In 1661, the Ming loyalist Koxinga (Cheng Cheng-kung, Zheng Chenggong) drove the Dutch from Taiwan and established his administration in Tainan. At the time, mainland Chinese immigrants were coming to Taiwan in droves, helping the young city to grow.

Koxinga was originally called Cheng Sun, a native in County Fujian. His father, Cheng Chi Lung, was a wanderer in his early days. He has been a merchant as well as a pirate. His mother was a Japanese lady called Tagawa. Cheng was an intelligent child. Not only was he diligent in his studies, he also has a huge ambitious to achieve something big. When Koxinga was 21 years old, Wu San Kwei led the Qing army into China and the Ming dynasty collapsed and came to an end. His father surrendered to the Qing Dynasty and his mother committed suicide. Koxinga suffered a lot of pain and decided that he should turn against the Qing Dynasty to rejuvenate the Ming Dynasty in order to get rid of the shame caused by his father's traitorous behavior. In April, 15th year of Emperor Yung Li (1661 A.D.), Koxinga led his army crossing the Taiwan Strait and after nine months of fighting, captured Taiwan from the hands of the Dutch.

After gaining access to Taiwan, Koxinga quickly built up the whole place by setting up governing offices, regulations, education system as well as developing more farm lands to improve the living standards of the local people. He also actively trained people in military tactics, preparing them to fight the Qing army. However, just half year after he had retrieved Taiwan, Cheng died of illness on May 8, the 16th year of Emperor Yung Li of Ming Dynasty. His aim of rejuvenating the Ming Dynasty was unfulfilled which was the biggest regret of his whole life. In the 13th year of Emperor Tong Chi of the Qing Dynasty (1874 A.D.), emperor's special envoy Shen Bao Chen requested for the enlargement of the then existing Kai Shan Wang' shrine which was in memory of the work of Koxinga. It was approved by the regime and the new shrine was officially called " Koxinga 's Shrine" and for people to pay tribute to this folk hero.

After the Qing pacification of Taiwan in 1683, the Taiwan Prefectural Capital was established in Tainan. In 1885, Taiwan became a province and Tainan's position changed to that of Tainan Prefectural Capital, from which its current name derives. Tainan remained the political, economic and cultural center of Taiwan up to the late nineteenth century. As a result, Tainan is home to many famous historic sites. It also is the city with the longest history and earliest cultural roots in Taiwan.

Koxinga Shrine

The Koxinga's Shrine (Kaishan Road, Yanping) is located in Junwang Temple. Surrounded by trees, this shrine was built in memory of the work and achievement of Koxinga, the pioneer of Taiwan. It is the only Fujianese style shrine in Taiwan.

Inside the Koxinga's Shrine is the Tainan Folk Cultural Hall, which exhibits various historical and culture items related to Tainan. The first floor is for pre-historic artifacts and excavations. Apart from illustrating the geographic connection between Taiwan and the Mainland, these things also describe the evolution of life from the past to the present. Most of the exhibits in the second floor are historical materials from Tainan. These include the materials and things related to concerned ancestors, such as the portraits of Koxinga and Shen Bao Chen, and their works. In addition, daily items of Tainan city of the old like the street signs, bedding equipment, land deeds and banknotes are on exhibition.

Getting There by Public Transport: Take the train to Tainan Station, transfer Tainan City Bus (No.3) to Dong-Men Roundabout. By Road: Nat'l Hwy 1 Tainan Interchange County Hwy 182 Kaishan Rd; Address: No. 152, Kaishan Rd, West Central District, Tainan City, Tel: [886]-6-213-5518.

Anping Fort

Anping Fort (in the Anping District of Tainan) was built by the Dutch in 1624 and originally called "Fort Zeelandia". Used a military outpost, the administrative center, and the hub for trading by the Dutch, the fort was originally composed of a square inner fortress and rectangular outer walls. In 1661, the fort was renamed as Anping to commemorate Koxinga’s home town after he drove the Dutch out of Taiwan. It has also been called "King's Fort" and "Taiwan Fort".

During the reign of the Kangxi Emperor during the Qing Dynasty, Taiwan was included in the Chinese empire and the main administration center was transferred to Tainan City, causing the decline of the Fort. The red bricks of the Fort have been taken for construction of the Eternal Fortress. During the Japanese occupation, the Dutch style buildings in the inner fortress were completely destroyed. A square red-bricked step platform was constructed with a western style house on the platform, which served as a dormitory for Customs officials, where the memorial hall now is located. It was named Anping Fort after the restoration of Taiwan after World War II. The remains of the original fort include more than 70 meters of worn-out red bricks of the south walls of the outer fort, part of which engulfed in old banyan tree roots.

Getting There by Public Transport: Take the train to Tainan Station transfer city bus No. 2 to Anping Fort stop. By Road: Nat'l Hwy 1 Yongkang Interchange Prov. Hwy 1 Zhongyang Rd. Sec. 1, Zhonghua N. Rd. Sec. 2, Zhonghua W. Rd. Anping Rd. Gubao St. Guosheng Rd; Address: No.82, Guosheng Rd, Anping District, Tainan City, Tel: [886]-6-299-1111.

Official God of War Temple

Official God of War Temple (Yongfu Rd, West Central District, Tainan City), along with the Confucius Temple, are among the oldest and best-preserved temples in Taiwan. Exactly when it was originally built is not known, but according to legend it was during the Ming dynasty's Yungli reign, in the mid-17th century. During the Qing dynasty, this was where government officials offered sacrifices to the god.

The Official God of War Temple is also known as the Sacrificial Rites Martial Temple. The God of War (Guandi or Guangong) worshipped here holds a heavy sword and rides a swift horse. According to legend, he was mortal general of the late Han dynasty (early 3rd century) who, because of his behavior, becomes a symbol of uprightness and loyalty to later generations and was deified. He is said to have been good at managing finances and to have invented a method of accounting, and so he is also worshiped, particularly by businessmen, as the God of Commerce.

The entrance to this temple has a particularly high threshold, and for a reason. In the old days, it is said, women were banned from the temple and the high threshold was designed to keep them out. Getting There by Public Transport: Take the train to Tainan City, transfer Tainan City Bus (No.3 or 5) to Chi-Kan Lou (The Chamber of Red Hill) stop. By Road: Nat'l Hwy 1 Yongkang Interchange Zhongzheng N. Rd. Zhongzheng S. Rd. Gongyuan Rd. Sec.2, Minzu Rd. Sec.2, Yongfu Rd; Address: No.229, Sec. 2,Yongfu Rd, West Central District, Tainan City, Tel: [886]-6-299-1111.

Great Queen of Heaven Temple

Datianhou Temple (Yongfu Rd, West Central Dist, Tainan City) is locally known as the Matsu Temple of Tainan — the first Matsu Temple built in Taiwan. The god worshipped in Datianhou Temple is The God Mother of Heaven, commonly called Mother Matsu, the most worshipped god in Taiwan.

The Datianhou Temple was originally a palace of Prince Ningjing, a pretender to the Ming Dynasty throne. In 1684, after admiral Hsih Long had occupied Taiwan, he found that Matsu was deeply worshipped by the Taiwanese people, As a way to assuage their hard feeling towards foreign rule, he had the Ningjing Palace rebuilt into a Matsu Temple and elevated Matsu to Tianhou, meaning the Heaven God Mother. Since then the Matsu temple has been called Datianhou Temple (Taina Grand Matsu Temple).

Datianhou Temple is divided into four main parts: the San Chuan Hall, the Worship Hall, the Main Hall and the Back Hall. The lively large sized Matsu statue is the main feature of the Temple. It was produced by a sculptor from Chuan Chou about 300 years ago and regarded as one of the best example Taiwanese sculpture. In all temples, there are doors guarding the gods. At Datianhou Temple these door are decorated with nails rather than paintings. Around the temple are numerous plates from well known scholars and VIPs. On the walls of the Worship Hall there are two stone tablets. One of them was set up in the 24th year of Emperor Kang Si (year 1685) by admiral Hsih Long. It describes his plan for invaded Taiwan and placating and managing the people aftewards.

The Datianhou is dedicated to Matsu, Goddess of the Sea. Matsu is the patron deity of fishermen, and her birthday on the 23rd day of the third lunar month (in April or May) is celebrated each year with frenetic explosions of colorful activity. The goddess is usually flanked by two guardians, Eyes that See a Thousand Miles and Ears that Hear on the Wind; these are said to have once been malevolent spirits who were reformed by Matsu's example and now use their powers to help her do good works. A secondary deity in this temple is the Old Man under the Moon, a sort of matchmaker god worshipped especially by unmarried men and women. They believe that all they need do is pray to the god for a red matrimonial thread or apply their rouge before him and they will quickly find a mate.

Getting There by Public Transport: Take train to Tainan Station, transfer No. 3, 5 city bus to Chi-Kan Lou stop. By Road: Nat'l Hwy 1 Yongkang Interchange Zhongzheng N. Rd. Zhongzheng S. Rd. Gongyuan Rd. Sec.2, Minzu Rd. Sec.2, Yongfu Rd. Ln. 227, Sec. 2, Yongfu Rd; Address: No.18, Ln. 227, Sec. 2, Yongfu Rd, West Central Dist, Tainan City 700, Taiwan (R.O.C.), Tel: [886]-6-221-1178.

Chikanlou

Chikanlou (Minzu Rd, West Central District, Tainan) is a historical building built by the Dutch in 1652. It was originally called Provintia, which means eternity in Dutch. The Chinese called it "Chikanlou,” "Fanzailou" and "Honmaolou". Chikanlou endured through the Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty and the Japanese Colonization Period.

Chikanlou (Chihkanlou) served as an administration center under the Dutch. In 1661, when Koxinga repelled the Dutch, Provintia became the Chentien governor's mansion. In the early of Qing Dynasty when Taijiang River was still running, the tides could reach Chikanlou directly. "The sunset in Chikanlou” was one of the eight famous scenes in Taiwan. Chikanlou means Chamber of the Red Hill.

In front of Chikanlou there are nine sets of stone turtles carrying plates. These were made in Qing Dynasty and were taken from other places and placed located here. The legend says that the stone turtle is one of the dragon's nine sons. It shifted into a turtle because it loved to endure heavy objects. There is also a stone horse with broken legs. The legend says that the stone horse's legs were broken by force because it shape-shifted into a monster at night and harassed the residents. Later, Chikanlou declined due to damages caused by civilian upheaval and lack of management. Chinese style building was added to the original Dutch structure. For a time the place was used for the worship for Guanshiyin Budda. During the Japanese colonization period, Chikanlou was used as an army hospital. There have been numerous restoration and repair work over the years. After Taiwan World War II , the wooden building was replaced with a steel concrete structure. The main entrance was changed.

Getting There by Public Transport: Take the train to Tainan Station, transfer Tainan City Bus (No.3, 5) to Chikanlou stop. By Road: Nat'l Hwy 1 Yongkang Interchange Zhongzheng N. Rd. Zhongzheng S. Rd. Gongyuan Rd. Sec. 2, Minzu Rd; Address: No.212, Sec. 2, Minzu Rd, West Central District, Tainan City, Tel: [886]-6-299-1111.

Anping District in Tainan: Source of the Name Taiwan

Anping District in Tainan City is the source of the name Taiwan. In early times, Anping was known as "Dayuan," the origin of the name "Taiwan." Anping abounds with historic sites—Anping Fort, the Eternal Golden Castle, and Anping Tree House are a few of its major attractions. Other points of interest include the Old Julius Mannich Merchant House, Haishan Hostel, Tait & Co. Merchant House and Anping Minor Artillery Fort. These historical sites reflect the 300 year history and architectural styles of the Dutch occupation, the Koxinga period, Qing administration, and Japanese colonial era.

Anping Fort was the first fort built by the Dutch in Taiwan. At that time it was called Fort Zeelandia. Old Julius Mannich Merchant House was built by the Germans as a trading post. During Anping's commercial heydays, there were five major foreign trading houses in the district, along with Tait & Co, Bain It is possible to take in many of these sights while enjoying a stroll along the old Anping Harbor, where there is a nice park. In addition to the rich mangrove ecology, the area has bike paths and bird-watching platforms. Anping Tree House has long been engulfed by old banyan trees.

Sword Lion Park is the first sword lion themed park in Taiwan. The sword lion wards off, repels bad fortune, and invites good luck. Anping. No visit to Anping is complete without trying the amazing array of delicious local foods—shrimp cakes, bean curd pudding, candied fruit, shrimp rolls, oyster rolls, fish ball soup, and oyster pancakes.

Getting There by Public Transport: 1.THSR: From Tainan Station take the THSR Shuttle Bus (Tainan City Hall Route) to the Qingping Road/Ande Road stop; 2. Taiwan Railway: Take the train to Tainan Station and then take the Tainan City Bus No. 2, 14, 88, or 99 to visitors sites in Anping District.

Sights and Hot Springs Near Tainan

There are sights around Tainan that can be enjoyed throughout the year. In spring, the Taiwan International Orchid Show is held in Houbi Township's Taiwan Orchid Plantation. Every year on the 15th day of the first lunar month, the spectacular Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival attracts throngs of visitors from across Taiwan to Tainan. In the summer visitors can choose from firefly watching in Meiling, lotus watching in Baihe, and activities at Qigu Mangrove Tourist Park. With the arrival of the autumn cool, visitors can head to Dongshan to sample the fragrant locally-grown Arabica coffee. And in winter, you can sooth away those sore muscles at the Guanziling mud springs.

Two other tourist attractions are located a short drive from T'ainan. Coral Lake (32 kilometers from Tainan) is part of a resort complex that is popular among both tourists and native Taiwanese. This lake, which contains over one hundred islets, is a favorite boating spot for tourists, while the forested areas around Coral Lake are ideal for camping and hiking. Coral Lake is fed by the Tsengwen Reservoir, which is located 60 kilometers northeast of T'ainan and is also considered an interesting place to visit. The Tsengwen Reservoir was created when a large hydroelectric dam was constructed on the Tsengwen River in 1973. With an area of nearly seven miles, the Tsengwen Reservoir is Taiwan's largest lake. Cruising the Tsengwen Reservoir in rented motorboats is a popular tourist activity.

Baolai and Bulao Hot Springs (west of Tianan) are fed by clear water from Baolai and Bulao Valley in Liugui District at the western side of the Southern Cross-Island Highway. The road to the springs is lined with cliffs and passes through a majestic scenic landscape. Several new hot spring resort have sprouted up here in recent years. Today there are more than 20 hot spring hotels in the Baolai area, most of them located along Zhongzheng Road and Xinbao Road in Baolai Village. In addition to room and cabin accommodations, most of the establishments here have spa and hydrotherapy facilities, hot spring pools, camping and barbecue areas, and other amenities.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Taiwan (Republic of China) tourism and government websites, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Japan News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in August 2020


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