Having more days left for spring break, Tainan would be the perfect city to stay in for the rest of the days I have left without classes. There’s so much more left to see. Finally, I crossed out my other plans.
Anping District (04/06)
As a new day started, I woke up with the sun shining brightly. It was another perfect day for a bike ride. As Dennis recommended, I should head off to Anping District to see the treehouses. I immediately looked it up online and saw that the area is surrounded with a lot of attractions. I swiftly got out of bed, grabbed breakfast, and hopped on a bike.
Using Maps.Me for bike rides, I journeyed through the city for a 9KM cycle. It was not as fascinating as expected it to be since there were just plain buildings that looked the same. However, the dismay died down and my excitement rose upon the sight of the river. I went biking at the riverside until I reached the Zhahamuyuanzhumin Park (札哈木原住民公園). It was just across the Lin Mo-Niang Memorial Park (林默娘公園) which sat beside the scenic Fishermen’s Wharf (安亿桥下河底观景步道).
Walking past the bridge, one can easily spot the Anping Customs which is quite an interesting establishment.
Just a few steps away, the Anping Old Street is quite interesting to wander around. Filled with mini stands that sells various kinds of knickknacks, key chains, and other interesting items, the vendors stand by their booths with smiles reaching their ears.
As I’ve mentioned before, everything is close to each other. Walking was the best way to just see everything. I stumbled upon Fort Zeelandia, Zeelandia Museum, and Anping Old Fort who were side by side each other. All of these spots were touristy, but the walk and sightseeing experience throughout the fortresses was great.
Searching for more food, I found a little shop that sells fried vegetable pockets. I actually thought they were huge dumplings! They were tasty. (I had 3 of them!) Before heading further, I grabbed some shrimp rolls from a restaurant along the street near Anping Old Fort. They were so yummy! I went on for a walk to the Old Tait & Co. Merchant House since it’s where the Anping Treehouse was located. I was fascinated by how natured fused with man-made structures. It was not your typical treehouse. It took the definition of a treehouse to a whole new level. After long walks and going in and out of the museums, I eventually was tired out and napped in one of the parks.
Making my way back to West Central District, Dennis was having his Chinese Class at Cheffresh. It was great since I couldn’t pedal more to the east district, 6KM was enough. Getting enough rest, I came along to watch his basketball game with his Taiwanese teammates. Watching the game was so much fun! Goofy music, announcers, multiple courts, simultaneous games, and crazy players – it was very similar to the local basketball games in the Philippine provinces. We ended the night with a beers with the team. They actually won, unexpectedly – last-minute luck!
Chimei Museum (04/07)
FriYAY: last day of the weekday! Hearing great things about this museum, I decided to go on another 8KM bike ride. The great thing about the day was its weather. It was a bit cloudy, not too much sunshine. The guide led me to a path that was so refreshing. Rural vibe all over – bustling poultry areas, stretches of farmlands, abandoned streets, hidden forests; these were the sights that I’ve been surrounded about during biking. It made me really happy to be around nature rather than taking the highway fighting roads with scooters and cars.
After less than half an hour, I was at the Tainan Metro Park. I sat down for a while and started walking. I went up the viewing deck first to catch an overview of the whole area. It was huge: green fields, a stretch of lake, and the museum grounds were perfectly laid down on this whole space.
I first stopped at 觀景平台 which is the best spot to take a photo of the museum combined with the lake scenery. Seeing this view, I was reminded of Sun Moon Lake in Taichung. It gave off the similar aura due to its setting.
Filled with excitement, I walked quickly to the museum’s main entrance. Upon entering this architectural fascination, I was lost for words in enchantment of how beautiful the interior is. The outside appearance was justified by its inner contents. The collection housed by the museum was definitely worth viewing. I easily spent about three hours inside by just walking and observing their displays.
As I exited the building, I was greeted by the Muse Plaza which was connected to the Olympus Bridge leading to the Apollo Fountain Plaza. Filled with the gods and goddesses we all know from Greek mythology, I sighted Athena. (Fun fact: My mom was supposed to name me Athena!) I sat beside her and took out the book entitled Everything and More by David Foster Wallace. (Check it out!)
Having the sun rise again, I went back the grass fields to look for a spot to lay down and read. Some of the visitors were having a picnic around the area. I grabbed some food from one of the stalls and the Taiwanese vendor exclaimed, “You’re Filipina!” That made my day even brighter, it was actually refreshing to be recognized as a Filipino while traveling. Finding the perfect spot, I sat down below a tree which was situated by the lake where the ducks were all hanging out. I was able to read the book peacefully while enjoying the view. I even found time to take a nap. Chimei Museum easily became my favorite in Tainan.
Once again (I never learn.), my phone battery was about to die. I asked Dennis if he could pick me up from the Tbike station at the Baoan bus stop. The bus stop was actually a nice place to just sit down and read a book at. It has an interesting tree growth on a wall, similar to the treehouse.
After a few minutes, I hopped on the motorbike! Searching for Costco, Google Maps led us to the rural road. What a refreshing ride! The cool thing about riding at the rural area of Tainan is knowing that its vicinity to the city is so near. We did some grocery shopping for the traditional dinner since it was a Friday. For Jews, it was called Shabbat. (Both Dennis and Noah are Jews.) For the first time, I witnessed a Jewish tradition which was astonishing. They sang a few songs while the candles were lit firsthand. After the tradition, we ate some of the Challah (bread) with hummus then ravioli was served for dinner. Geshmak! Bringing people together, they played a couple of songs with their ukuleles as we drank beers and wine. The night passed swiftly. Indeed, another great day in Tainan.
Chiao Tou Beach Park (04/08)
For the lovely Saturday morning, we headed for brunch after lazing around the early morning. The Artful Dodger was a nice breakfast place where they serve great food. A few minutes after we arrived, Addy and Tina came to join us. Eggs, toast, salad, bacon, coffee, tea, and even fries – everyone had a great brunch in this cozy place that has good atmosphere. Bidding goodbye, we agreed to meet at the beach in the late afternoon.
Rest up! It was a chill Saturday. After napping, we headed off to Anping Beach. It was about a 15 minute motorbike ride from the city to the beach. With only a few people walking around, we sat down to enjoy some beers with the scenery. People were relaxing through the afternoon in the ocean by kitesurfing and kiteboarding too. The beach might not have white sand, swaying palm trees, and pristine water, but it’s a nice spot to watch the sunset. It wasn’t bad at all. Dipping into the ocean, the beach was nice to swim at as well.
As the sun went down, we had dinner at a Taiwanese restaurant. Once again, I had a taste of Taiwanese food that I’ve never tried before! My favourite was specifically the shrimp with sprinkles on top. It was heavenly. Finishing off, we went back to prepare for the night. The destination: Legends Sports Bar. It was the night before Noah‘s birthday, so it was a time to celebrate! 小case – 樂團 was the band name of Dennis’ friends. This band is specifically different because they have a trombone player! It was quite interesting. As they started to play their music, the crowd gathered up near the stage to jam with them. Growing up listening to live bands, I personally enjoyed watching them and listening to their music. The vibe that they gave off influenced the crowd’s mood of having a good time. Great job!
For my last day in Tainan, we had brunch at Dennis and Noah’s place. (It was Noah‘s birthday!) Some band members of Xiao Case came over. Coffee, french toast, bacon, mushrooms and peppers, fruits – it was a nice meal. The whole noon till early afternoon was spent on chatting. Before everyone had to head to Taipei, we dropped by Mary B’s. It’s a cupcake shop owned by Dennis’ friend, Mary! She’s a really pretty woman with nice blonde hair and a great personality. Her cupcake shop was superb! As cuteness was overloading the atmosphere, there were food shaped pillows on the colourful sofa, random paintings of creative figures pinned against the wall, and the best part: bite sized cupcakes! We had coffee to wake us up and most had cupcakes. I wish I tried some, but my stomach was sickly the whole afternoon till the evening. Definitely would go visit Mary B’s again to eat a dozen or more of those cute yummy tiny cupcakes! (Check out Noah’s birthday video.)
As Sundays go, it was time to unwind. We visited a park and sat down to relax. I spotted a lot of Filipinos in the park! They were actually numerous. It was a nice afternoon. Saying our farewells, the band headed out to catch their trains going to Taipei. I decided to stay and just leave in the morning since my classes don’t start till the afternoon. Hanging out with Dennis and Noah for the rest of the night, we watched a couple episodes of Rick and Morty. A weirdly addictive show, it’s a good watch for when you want to have a good laugh while having your mind messed up. It’s absolutely hilarious. My sickly self enjoyed it a lot.
Concluding my spring break, I took a train back to Zhongli for three hours. Undoubtedly, I had a blast during my stay in this beautiful city. Immersing myself in culture, tradition, art, and music – it was a rejuvenating experience for me. It has been a long time since I acted as a “touristy traveler,” I surely liked being one for that whole week. If ever one visits Taiwan, Tainan is a city that must be on the list!