So today I embarked to a new city, Tainan! I made it to the train station fine and ended up taking the slow train, which was only an hour long. The hostel I am staying at is City Hut 1828. If anyone ever comes to Tainan, I definitely recommend it. The showers and bathroom rock, the dorm room is clean, they have a big kitchen, and there is plenty of lounge space indoors and outdoors. The staff was very helpful and they had bike rental which made it possible to see everything I saw in the city in one day.
The first place I visited was a Confucius Temple. This temple was a center of Confucius teachings and built in 1665 and was the first built in Taiwan. It also contains one of the largest and most beautiful banyan trees in all of Taiwan. There was a fee to go into the main temple grounds, but I chose to pass up going in and just hang out in the main grounds which were free.
The second place I visited was the Great South Gate. It is the only one in Tainan that remains and it gives a feeling of how the defenses were set up in this city. There was also a big slate that commemorated many of the battles that were fought and anything else that is worth commemorating.
The Wufei Temple was very small compared to most temples I’ve visited. This temple commemorates the concubines of King Ning Jin, who was the last contender of the Ming throne, that hung themselves because they felt their honor was as important as the king’s and would not surrender to the Manchus. This occurred in 1683.
When the Ming Dynasty was overthrown by the Manchus in 1661, Koxinga went with his army to resupply Taiwan and retake the mainland. What he found was the Dutch had already occupied Taiwan. He waged a nine month battle to retake Taiwan and send the Dutch packing. He did much to improve the conditions in Taiwan. The shrine and temple was built to honor Koxinga.
I was going to go to the Dongyue Temple which is supposed to have some crazy paintings of hell and the City God Temple which houses Chenghuang, the god who protects towns, but could not find them and got sick of riding around looking for them. So I moved on to the Alter of Heaven to pray to the Jade Emperor for good luck. But, again I failed to find this temple. I ended up taking a picture of this building, which I don’t know what it is for. Thought it looked cool.
UPDATE: I found out what this building is!! It was built in 1897 by the Japanese. Interestingly, it was built two years after Taiwan ceded to Japan. The purpose of the building was to monitor the weather. It is the only one remaining from this era out of five that were built and there are no buildings like this left standing in Japan either.
I then rode to the Official God of War Temple which is the oldest temple in Taiwan and is dedicated to a general from the Han dynasty who is defied as a patron of warriors. This temple was established back in 1690.
Across the road behind the temple is the Chihkan Towers. It was an old fort and the foundation was built by the Dutch, but has been under Ming, Quin, Japanese, and Kuomintang since its 1653 establishment. It was a small fe to go in, but it was interesting.
This was pretty much the end of my temple tour around Tainan. Now, I am so happy I decided to do it by bike and not walk everywhere. Since I saw all these sights in only a couple hours, I rode my bike five miles to Anping. Anping is the historical district of the area and one of the original Dutch settlement areas. The coolest place I visited, and one of the main reasons I headed that way was for the Anping Tree House. Basically, banyan trees have engulfed this old house. Roots and branches have grown up the walls and replaced the roof. IT is pretty surreal!!
The last notable place I visited in this area was the Anping Old Fort. It was built in the 17th century as a colonial outpost for European traders. In 1624, the Dutch occupied the area. After 1662, Koxinga and his son lived here and it was named “King Castle”. The Japanese gave it its current name. A few of the original walls built by the Dutch still exist around the fort and they are covers by banyan tree roots.
Wow, what a day!! I totally killed it on the touring today. I went back to my hostel and just chilled out the rest of the night and had a few beers. I could have gone to a Night Market, but they all start to look the same like the temples and I am starting to get burned out on them. I don’t think I have any other temple things to see in Taiwan. Heading back to Taipei Wednesday and taking the bullet train. It reaches speeds of 300 km/h!! I wish the US would get off their ars and spend a little money on our own infrastructure instead of fighting these wars and killing innocent people with our drones. Enough politics, I’m on vacation!!
While in Taipei, I plan to do a few things I was unable to do when I was there earlier on my trip. Hoping to do the Taipei Zoo, Gondola, Elephant Mountain, and maybe a hot spring. I also will probably be hanging out with Stu and meet up with another old Korea friend, JoJo!! Until tomorrow!