A confusing day in Tainan

After watching the fireworks at Taipei 101 on New Year’s Eve my husband and I came back to our hostel to get ready for a day trip to Tainan tomorrow. Well, today to be correct because it’s January 1st.

After a few hours of sleep we woke up again and got ready to leave, making sure we had our train tickets. Leaving the hostel in the morning on New Year’s day, there weren’t many people out. But it was busier than I thought it would be. We walked the 10 minutes to the train station, and after figuring out the train schedule, we went downstairs to the correct platform. There was still some time before the train left, so we found a couple seats and waited with the crowd.

It was our first time on the high speed railway, and my husband pointed out to me that the trains are the same as the Japanese shinkansen. Just the older models that Japan wasn’t using anymore. We found our seats and got ready for the ride, which was less than two hours.

From Tainan main station we searched for the bus that would take us in to the city. I must admit, we were both confused about the buses and how to get into and around the city. We had a couple maps from the information centre, and decided to check out the Confucian Temple first. At least I think it was the Confucian Temple. This is what I mean, we were both confused a lot today. Wherever it was that we went first, the gardens were lovely to walk around in.


Around this time, we were getting hungry for some foods. We didn’t have a lot of time though, so rather than sitting in a restaurant we just grabbed some different dumplings from the sidewalk market.


Walking down the streets, my husband pointed out an alley. It was right beside us, but I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about because it was so narrow. I can confidently say that it is the narrowest alley that I have ever seen. I don’t think two people would be be able to pass each other. Someone would have to turn around and go the other way.


We happened to be in Tainan on New Year’s day, and when we were walking around the city centre we heard drumming and music coming from the street. We couldn’t see what was happening through the concrete wall, so we left the temple to try and find where the sound was coming from.

Turns out it was a parade. It wasn’t a very long parade, and there weren’t a lot of people. There were no floats or anything. But there were people carrying a dragon, others dancing and playing drums, and others dressed in different kinds of costumes. I don’t know who the costumes were supposed to represent or what they meant, but it was very in interesting for me.


If someone can explain who the black costume is, or the two painted faces, I’m all ears.


After watching the parade for a little while, we kept walking. We wanted to go to another part of the city and hopped on a bus, hoping it would take us in the right direction. It took us to a busier part of the city that had a few more temples. There was also a market. We explored the temples and market, but I’m sorry to say, I don’t know any of the names or where we were exactly. I know how we ended up so confused the whole day. Anyway, we had a few more snacks, and I think I was ripped off by a man selling little bread and egg things. Anyway the snack was warm and delicious.

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As the sun started to go down, we (mostly me) were starting to get cold. I am not always very good at dressing for the weather, and today I overestimated how warm it was going to be. I think I was dressed for spring, not winter. I had been okay during the day, but not so much anymore. My husband was also getting cold, so decided to start heading back to the train station. We didn’t really know how to get back to though, since we don’t even know how we got to where we were now. We picked a bus and hoped for the best.

The bus ride was taking longer than we expected because there was a lot of traffic. But it seemed like it was going the right direction back to the train station. As we were getting closer and our surroundings were becoming familiar from earlier in the day, we decided to just get off and walk the rest of the way. The bus was moving slowly anyway, and we were getting cold sitting on the bus. It would be better to be moving.

About thirty minutes later we were back at the train station, but it was the wrong one. Luckily, we were able to take this train to the high speed train station, and then we had things all sorted out. So we made it back to the next station ready for the trip back to Taipei. We had another mini adventure planned for the next two days on the southern tip of the country.


Today had been a bit confusing, and if we had done a better job of navigating our adventure, we probably could have seen more of the city. But it was a lot more spread out than I thought it would be, so maybe we would have been better off staying one night.

Have you ever spent the day not lost, but confused, while exploring a new city? Let me know about some of your confusing moments in the comments below.

Also, read about our our next trip in Taiwan. We explored Kenting in the south.


5 thoughts on “A confusing day in Tainan”

  1. Great trip, Jennifer. I like how you and your husband travel. I believe you could have talked to many people on the way, as Taiwanese are very kind in general. The local festival is also confusing to me, probably many local tradition mixed up with Chinese migrants one. BTW, how was the food there?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We were separated on the first bus, and my husband was speaking English with a woman who had spent time in the United States. It was early though, so we hadn’t yet realized how lost we were going to be. We may have asked for directions here and there, but I can be a bit stubborn about doing that, and I’m not very good at approaching strangers. The food was yummy!


  2. Amazing photos! I like them all. In my opinion, we are all confused when we come to a new place. We easily lost orientation (despite having maps and co.) and make silly things, for example: getting on a wrong train (it is getting worse if it is an express train, and there is no stop in between 🙂 ). But I guess we learn through that and are better prepared for the next time. If possible, I always plan one day extra to scout the destinations where I want to visit the next day 🙂


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