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Introducing Tainan City

You’ll almost certainly receive looks of jealousy from any Taiwanese person if you mention you’re going to Tainan (台南市), and it’s not hard to see why. Traditional culture continues to thrive in Tainan, the oldest city in the country. Inside temples that are hundreds of years old, people bwah bwey (cast moon blocks) to determine the best course of action, just as their ancestors did when the temples first opened. Outside, Tainanese are fastidious about food, and a number of dishes are exclusive to the region but renowned all over the country.

Tainan is best visited in winter: it’s warm (in the high 20s) and dry, but there are few tourists. Traditional festival days are, of course, a great time to come, as are the local birthdays of temple gods.

Most of the sights in Tainan are concentrated around the city centre west of the train station and in the Anping District. Both areas are compact enough to get around on foot, though you may want a taxi or bus to take you from one area to the other.