Walking Tour: Tainan Temples

  • Start Confucius Temple
  • End Grand Mazu Temple
  • Length 6km; four hours

Explore the elegant classical layout of the Confucius Temple, then head south. You'll pass the Great South Gate with its defensive wall. Turn left on Shulin St and take the first right. At Wufei Rd, you'll see Wufei Temple, shrine to the concubines of the last contender for the Ming empire.

Head east down Wufei Rd and turn left just past building No 76. You'll soon see the grounds hosting the simple outlines of the 300-year-old Fahua Temple.

Continue up the alley to a large intersection, then head north up Kaishan Rd until you see the stately Koxinga's Shrine on the left. When you leave the compound, take the back-right gate to visit Lady Linshui's Temple. It's mostly visited by women seeking protection for their children.

Return to Kaishan Rd and turn right at the intersection. Head east down Fuqian Rd, turning left at the big intersection onto Mingquan Rd. At Dongyue Temple check out the terrifying paintings of hell and listen for the screams of tortured spirits.

Continue up Mingquan to Chenghuang Rd and turn right. At the end of this short street you'll see City God Temple, which welcomes visitors with the most famous words ever written on a temple plaque in Taiwan: 'You're here at last'.

Now head west down Qingnian and turn right up Mingquan. Cross Gongyuan and turn left. You'll see a bank then a small alley. Turn right into the alley to get to Altar of Heaven. Say a prayer for protection from bad luck.

When you leave the alley and Lane 84, Zhongyi Rd, it's a quick left then a right onto Minsheng Rd. A block later, turn right up Yongfu Rd. Two blocks ahead you'll see the beautiful rose-coloured walls of the Official God of War Temple.

Now continue to the end of Yongfu Rd to Chihkan Towers, whose foundations were laid by the Dutch in the 17th century. On the opposite side of the street, a tiny alley leads to the Grand Mazu Temple. Don't forget to check out the door gods and roof beams.