Tainan is the oldest city in the southern of Taiwan. At first glimpse, many people are a little disappointed when the see Tainan. Most buildings in Tainan are anything but historic and many streets are the same 7-eleven-filled streets found anywhere on the island. Tainan is known for its history, temples, traditional lifestyles and traditional snack food. It sees a lot of domestic tourism around holiday times, but not much international tourism. Tainan has a subtropical climate, but Tainan borders on a tropical wet-dry sub-climate. It enjoys a mild and dry climate in the winter. December and January are particularly free of rain, and blue skies can last for weeks throughout the winter. Temperatures in January and February can sometimes dip down below 10°C (50°F) for a few days, though there can just as easily be daytime highs around 25°C (77°F). Jackets and sweaters are necessary for cooler days and nights. Summers can be insufferably hot and humid. The heat cranks up to the thirties (90-100°F – which feels hotter than it sounds due to humidity) around mid-May and stays there until mid-October. The summer is also the wet season and rains are more frequent. Typhoon season is also at this time. Typhoons usually occur between June and November, with the highest number of weather watches coming in August and September.
Public transportation in the city is lack, and most people drive scooters to get around. There is a bus system, but it is infrequent. Taxis are available and affordable. Scooters and motorcycles are the best way to get around. We can also park them both more readily and free of charge, compared if we use car to get around. Helmet laws are enforced for scooters and motorcycles, but not bicycles.
Even some schools/universities provide dorms for their students, but sometimes some people seem to be on their own in their search. One major problem that must be addressed is we need have enough knowledge in Chinese. Searching for them without much knowledge of Chinese isn’t very easy. If we want to find an apartment, there are a few different ways to find apartments in Tainan:
- Check expat bulletin boards. (http://www.tainanbulletin.com/ed-classified/tid/29)
- Search for ads on housing websites and/or hire an agent.
Here are some websites we may want to try. Make sure we’re looking at 台南市 for Tainan City, and 出租 or 租屋 for rentals.
The cost of renting an apartment in Tainan varies widely based on location, size, and quality. Tainan is not expensive for rent. If we compared to Taipei, we would probably find rents about 30 – 50% cheaper. It is possible to get rooms for as low as NT$2000 per month, but we could also spend over NT$60,000 for a furnished penthouse. For a small, furnished one bedroom apartment in a modern building, we can expect to pay between NT$8000 to NT$12,000 as a ballpark figure. We could also get an unfurnished three bedroom apartment in an older building for about NT$8000. We will also need to pay a deposit. Deposits in Taiwan run from one to three month’s rent, with two months being the most typical. As standard, we will be refunded the deposit if we complete the lease and no damage in the apartment, but no interest is given on deposits in Taiwan. Utilities are rarely included in the rent. Be prepared to pay our own water and electricity bills. Natural gas may be piped into newer apartments, but in older buildings we will have to order tanks of gas to meet our demand.
Food (Eat ‘n Eat)
Food in Tainan is truly something special and famous throughout Taiwan. Many well known Taiwanese cuisines originated from Tainan. Tainan was a center for sugar production industry. As a result Tainan cuisines tend to be sweeter compared to other Taiwanese cuisines. Don’t worry we will not be starving at midnight in Tainan, many food shops open until morning and 7-11 stores open for 24 hours. No wonder, Tainan is well known as food paradise in Taiwan. For the price of food varies start from NT$50 to NT$200 for each meal. Compared to Taipei, food prices in Tainan can be about 50% cheaper.
For those who are used to stay awake until night, Tainan provide night life for us.
One of them is night market. Night markets are essential to Chinese culture and have been around for more than a thousand years. In fact, much of the street market food we find all around the island originated at Tainan’s night markets. Many visitors still make Tainan’s night markets a priority in their visit. On the one hand, they are crowded, hot, noisy, and unsanitary places. On the other hand, they are a vibrant sense-explosion, offering a multitude of affordable eating, shopping, and entertainment experiences all in one place. Generally, night markets are all open from 6 pm to 11:30 pm. One thing to remember about Tainan’s night markets versus those of Taipei is that they are not open every night of the week. Each one has it’s own nights, so we should check the schedule before heading out. The largest night markets are the Hua Yuan (flower garden) Night Market in the northwest of the city, and the Da Dong (big east) Night Market in the southeast. These two run three nights a week on alternating nights, so one of these is open every day except Wednesday.
Another side of night life in Tainan is for those who like to go to bar, club or pub and enjoy your day with a glass of beer/cocktail. There are several places as recommendation :
Tin Pan Alley (Location: No. 28 Beimen Road (北門路), Section 2, North District, Tainan City)
The Orient Pub (Location: 3F, No. 662 Ximen Road, Sec. 1, West Central District, Tainan City)
Red Wolf Tavern (Location: No. 229 Gongyuan Road (公園路), North District, Tainan City)
Willy’s Second Base Bar & Grill (Location No. 321, Sec. 2 Jiankang Road (健慷路), South District, Tainan City)
The Armory (Location: No.82 Gongyuan South Road, North District, Tainan City)
Many people will underestimate what can be done in the such small city like Tainan? Maybe we even don’t think there is shopping mall there. But no worries, for all shopaholic there are several shopping districts in Tainan. The bulk of shops and eateries run between Beimen Road (北門路) and Zhongshan Road (Jhongshan 中山路), fanning south in a triangular shape and ending at Qingnian Road (Cingnian 青年路). Minzu Road (民族路) bisects this area, putting it at the heart of this shopping district. Beimen Road is a go-to place for budget clothing and accessories. One important to remember, when shopping at clothing stores in Taiwan, don’t be afraid to bargain.
Tainan also have several department stores, such as Focus Department Store or Shinkong Mitsukoshi Department Store. Shinkong Mitsukoshi is the largest of the upmarket department store chains in Taiwan. The company is a collaboration of the Japanese department store chain Mitsukoshi Ltd. and the Taiwan-based Shinkong Group. It is a bit surprise that a small city like Tainan would have two branches of Shinkong Mitsukoshi. And its the same thing applies in other cities, department stores’ stuffs are often more expensive than stuffs in other shops. Location of Shinkong Mitsukoshi Department Store : No. 658 Ximen Road (Simen Rd. 西門路) Section 1, West Central District, Tainan City.
City Services Directory
Emergency Phone Numbers:
- Police: 110
- Fire & Ambulance: 119
- Help Hotline for Foreigners: 0800 024 111
- National Cheng Kung University Hospital (06) 235-3535; No. 138 Sheng Li Road (勝利路), North District, Tainan City
- Tainan Hospital (06) 223-5753; No. 125 Zhongshan Road (中山路), West Central District, Tainan City
- Sin Lau Christian Hospital (06) 274-8316; No. 57 Dongmen Road (東門路), Section 1, East District, Tainan City
Courtesy & adopted from : Tainan City Guide