A Few Days Around Tainan

Tainan is often though of as Taiwan’s most beloved city.  There’s good reason for that.  Compared to the capital of Taipei, Tainan has a more traditional feel to it.  It seems like almost anywhere you go, you’ll find something important to history, or at least something that looks like it should be!

I recently spent a day and a half there mostly on the outskirts without a real plan on what to see and do, and the following is what I ended up with.  Note that this is not nearly as complete a view of the city as I’d like to give you, and the last time I visited Tainan wasn’t either.  Hopefully one of these days I’ll be able to visit Tainan properly.  But regardless, I’ve still really enjoyed this interesting place.

Salt Fields, Tainan, sunset

Tainan’s Jingzijiao Salt Fields are famous for their traditional sea salt harvesting methods.

Moon World 月世界

My first day there, I visited two of the more touristy attractions on the outskirts of Tainan.  The first is known as Moon World 月世界 and, as the name suggests, is a very strange geological feature that resembles the moon.  Unfortunately, even though I’m definitely a fan of the geology of Taiwan, I didn’t find Moon World to be all that interesting.  The park there has set up a paved track to walk around that will take about an hour to complete.

For a more in depth read of Moon World and the other “Badlands” of Taiwan, read Richard’s or Michael’s excellent blogs.

Moon World, Tainan, Taiwan

Visitors pose for photos at one of Moon World’s vistas.

Visitors at Tainan’s Moon World walk along the main trail that visits the park’s strange geological features.

Visitor’s to Tainan’s Moon World walk through a bamboo grove along the park’s circular walking trail.

Moon world, near Tainan, Taiwan offer a very different landscape to that of the city.

Jingzijiao Salt Field 井仔腳瓦盤鹽田

These famous salt fields can be found just to the north of Tainan, in Biemen Township.  While I was again a little underwhelmed by what I saw when I arrived, the salt field do have an interesting charm to them.  They are a living example of the traditional way to harvest salt.  Basically, let the salt water come into the fields, let the sun evaporate the water, and rake up all the salt.  Have a look at another excellent blog Wandering Taiwan for a more complete explanation.

Tainan’s Jingzijiao Salt Fields are famous for their traditional sea salt harvesting methods.

Workers collects sea salt using traditional methods at Tainan’s Jingzijiao Salt Field.

A worker collects sea salt using traditional methods at Tainan’s Jingzijiao Salt Field.

Sunset near Tainan’s Jingzijiao Salt Field.

Shennong Street 神農街

Shennong Street 神農街 is a small, traditionally decorated street in the heart of Tainan.  I only spent a few minutes there but I felt that the street was (again) a little underwhelming, this time because it just doesn’t live up to its potential.  At only about 200 meters long, the street has restored many of its old facades, but doesn’t offer visitors much else.  There was a cafe or two, and I believe there are a few work shops that you can visit, but the street was fairly quite the day I was there.  At one end is the Yaowang Temple, which starts a walking tour called the Old Five Channels Cultural Zone and visits a few temples in the area.

A small shrine on Shennong Street in Tainan, Taiwan.

Shennong Street in Tainan, Taiwan is a throwback to old Taiwanese streets of yesteryear.

Shennong Street in Tainan, Taiwan is a throwback to old Taiwanese streets of yesteryear.

Many of the facades on Shennong Street are traditionally and/or artfully decorated.

I did experience one other very interesting part of Taiwan’s religious culture while in Tainan on this trip.  It was a practice called “Jitong 乩童” and it involves a shaman’s soul getting replaced by a God’s spirit.  Soon after, the blood-letting and self-flagellation begins…

I’ll try to have that post up in a few days.  Check back soon.

Cheers,
-Neil

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Categories: Must See Taiwan, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “A Few Days Around Tainan

  1. Great photos! Look me up next time you are in Tainan, I’ll show you some out of the way places.

    • Hey Rich, thanks! I was thinking that I should have tried to meet you or Steven at some point during this trip, but the looming typhoon had me rush around and leave a bit early. Next time!!

  2. Wow!! Gorgeous photos! Love the ‘Moon World’ ones!!

  3. I’ve always wanted to explore the Moon World outside of what can be seen from driving past it on the highway. Great shots Neil!

  4. What made you feel underwhelmed? I am now living in Taiwan myself and I have to say that for me the big issue with many of the (could be amazing) historical sites is that they seem to have become markets for cheap plastic trinkets. It makes me a bit sad because I think the Taiwanese could do a lot more to promote this beautiful island and one of the things would be to actually tell us more about the history – it’s tough to google before you speak mandarin… I often feel that I must have missed something when I visit a site in Taiwan, but would be interesting to hear if your “feeling underwhelmed” is similar to my experience.

  5. Pingback: Ji Tong – Taiwanese Spirit Mediums | Neil Wade's Photography Blog

  6. You are doing a great job in photography of this island, thumbs up for your amazing work!

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