Wow Tainan International Hostel is located in the center of Tainan and is surrounded by many traditional local foods and historic attractions.
The Tainan Confucius Temple
Confucian temples usually exude the calm, grace and dignified beauty of traditional Chinese culture and this, the first such temple in Taiwan, doesn't disappoint.
Entry to the temple grounds is free, but you must pay to enter the palace area. Look out for the stone tablet on the right as you enter the Edification Hall. It explains the school rules (the site was once a centre for Confucian studies), such as prohibition of gambling, drinking and cheating.
The temple is part of a larger cultural zone that includes the Old Tainan Martial Arts Academy , a renovated Japanese dojo (building where martial arts are practised) built in 1926 and once used to train the colonial police force (not open to the public).
Across the street from the temple entrance is a stone arch that was crafted by masons in Quanzhou, Fujian, in 1777. It's now the gateway to a pedestrianised street filled with cafes and small eateries.
Chihkan Towers (Fort Provintia)
This old fort is a splendid place to roam around, or to enjoy an outdoor concert on weekends.
Chihkan has gone through many masters – Ming, Qing and Japanese, and the Kuomintang (KMT; China's Nationalist Party) – since the foundations were first laid by the Dutch in 1653. At that time the seashore reached the fort's outer walls. Our favourite features are the nine stone turtles with tablets on their backs. These stelae hail from the Qing dynasty. If you check the backs you can see where the carver made a mistake on one and, rather than starting over with a fresh slab, simply turned the stone over and redid everything on the other side.
In 1661 Ming loyalist Koxinga (Cheng Cheng-kung) led his army to Taiwan with plans to restock supplies and then retake the mainland, which by that point had been all but conquered by the Manchus. He found the Dutch already here, but after nine months' battle they surrendered and departed Taiwan.
Koxinga did much to improve conditions on the island. But, like the KMT of modern times, he did not live to see the mainland retaken. He died after only a year in Taiwan, and his grandson surrendered to the Manchus in 1683.
The original southern-style temple was rebuilt in a northern style by the KMT government in the '60s. Many of the artefacts are historical, however, including the boxes in the shrine that hold the original imperial edict from 1874, which permitted the shrine’s construction.
Fuzhong Street is right next to the first Confucius temple in Tainan. Although it is only two hundred meters long, the street is delicate and clean with many specials shops and Indian Coral trees. Even though it is in hustling downtown area, the atmosphere turns to be quiet and pleasant when you pace in. Along with the main street, several allies are also renewed with wall paintings and modern arts. There are some coffee shops, food stands, clothing shops, and old toy and antique shops. The famous food here is boiled instant noodles (炒泡麵), egg rolls, and taro and rice cake. There are also small stands selling handicrafts on holidays. The atmosphere attracts young artists/designers to renovate old houses and start their business here. You can spend an afternoon just to relax with a cup of coffee or discover corners for photographs.
Lily Fruit Shop
Across from the Confucius Temple is this well-known shop serving delicious bào bīng (刨冰, shaved ice and fruit) and fruit drinks.
Directly opposite Matsu Temple, TCRC (The Checkered Record Club) is cool in all the right places – indie music, dim lighting, a great range of cocktails and beers, and a low-key crowd that’s the height of casual sophistication. TCRC also has a small underground indie club nearby that hosts live music on an irregular basis. Check with the bartender.