Quaint Tainan was such a gem...
We spent a few days in Tainan, the southwestern former capital city of Taiwan (with over 200 years of history as the capital of Taiwan under Koxinga and later Qing dynasty rule) - initially just as our stepping stone to fly to the Penghu islands the west coast of Taiwan.
There are a few options to get to Penghu: ferry or propeller plane, and you can leave from Kaohsiung or Tainan. Due to the flight timings available - and after reading that Tainan is the oldest town in Taiwan - we decided to take a drive up to Tainan.
Tainan is steeped in unique and traditional culture and has retained traditional Taoist rites and other local community traditions that cover everything from child birth to funerals. Tainan also claims more Buddhist and Taoist temples than any other city in Taiwan, as well as many unique-to-Taiwan Matsu Goddess temples. It is also one of Taiwan's snack capitals!!
With very little expectations prior to arriving in Tainan, we fell in love with the quaint old streets, ornate temples, the Anping Fort and the amazing...
...Fire and Water Spring
One of my favourite memories of Tainan is the Fire and Water Spring in Guanziling. This is a treat for anyone who loves the magical, mystical forces of nature in small doses. A natural spring where water and fire coexist in the same source, this spring has been this way for 300 years, thanks to the methane found in the water (don't drink it, of course).
For more information on this location, visit the Tainan tourism site here.
We also had a memorable driver on this leg of our journey - approaching his mid 70s, he would talk to an invisible friend while on the road...and occasionally jolt upright as if he'd fallen asleep...of course, we gave thanks at the many temples that we made it there in one piece!
Onwards to Penghu!