As one of Taiwan’s foremost tourist destinations, it’s hardly surprising Tainan has seen a range of new hotels open in the past few years.
An old establishment recently and eccentrically redesigned, this 27-room boutique hotel has some of the most unusual guestrooms anywhere in Taiwan. Each suite was assigned to an artist, and several let their imaginations run riot. Thanks to large windows there’s plenty of natural light, and the location is hard to beat. Several points of interest, including Fort Provintia, are within 10 minutes’ walk.
A new lodging option aimed at families with kids, Hotel Cozzi has themed rooms and amusement facilities designed to keep youngsters happy. Together with excellent shopping and dining choices within five minutes’ walk, those who stay here need never get bored.
Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel Tainan
Combining international standards with south Taiwan’s genuine hospitality, the Tainan Shangri La occupies a steel-and-glass cylinder a stone’s throw from Tainan Railway Station. The five-star rooms are well regarded, and the views from the higher floors are excellent. The heart-shaped outdoors swimming pool is heated on cooler days, which in Tainan are rare.
Tayih Landis Hotel
Art Deco influence is evident in the decor, but there’s nothing 1930s above the level of comfort or facilities in this five-star. There is, of course, a fitness centre, a sauna with a steam room, an indoor heated swimming pool, plus other creature comforts.
Zheng Xing Cafe B&B
This is no ordinary hotel, but rather a pre-war building that has been repurposed as a coffeeshop with rooms to rent. Located in the old heart of the city and offering the space and quiet preferred by families, Zheng Xing Cafe is a welcome change for those who’ve seen enough same-old places to stay.
Eating Out in Tainan
Among Taiwanese, Tainan is almost as famous for its snack foods as it is for traditional culture. Westerners find some of these delicacies rather odd, but the brave and the gluttonous will have a field day in the city’s night markets. The two most popular evening bazaars are Huayuan Night Market and Dadong Night Market; every taxi driver knows how to get there.
One tasty dish long associated with Tainan is danzaimian, also called danzai noodles or dandan noodles. The fisherman who popularised this dish back in the Qing Dynasty used shoulder poles to carry his noodles to the temple courtyards where he hawked them; danzai means ‘carry on one’s shoulders’. The noodles are served in small portions with minced pork and a single shrimp. Much-loved danzaimian specialist Chikan Peddler’s Noodles has three branches in Tainan.
Being very near the ocean, Tainan folk eat a lot of seafood, especially clams and oysters. Chen’s Oyster Rolls in Anping epitomises Tainan cuisine in the sense that it’s utterly without pretension, shockingly inexpensive, and rambunctious during peak periods. The oyster omelette, fish-ball soups and other items are consistently excellent. Go around the corner to Chou’s Shrimp Rolls for similar food featuring different shellfish.
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