If you think Tainan’s history and culture are only worth exploring during the day, then you are certainly underestimating what this historic city has to offer. To validate that myself, I spent the night of my two-day solo trip down south to experience the nighttime glamour in southern Taiwan. To my surprise, Tainan is just as vibrant and busy at night as during the day.
The famous Shennong Street is where you want to be if you are looking for a nighttime adventure in Tainan. The narrow street is full of red lanterns and brightly lit shops, cafes, temples or residential houses. As I walked down the street, it felt like I were in a movie taking place in Tainan 30 years ago. Though every house has its own look and style, yet the entire street still forms this coherent, historic scene that is unique to Tainan.
As I stood in front of each house, mesmerized by the historic look and design, I couldn’t stop awing at the efforts that Tainan has put into preserving the original culture, look and feel of this area. What’s more amazing is Tainan’s ability to turn it into a destination that offers one of the most authentic representations of Taiwanese culture and history. For first time visitors like me, Shennong Street allows me to reimagine Tainan in the old days through the architectures, the variety of items that shops sell, and the historic sites that are so perfectly embedded into the whole area. While it may not be 100 percent authentic, it is close enough to give me an accurate idea about Tainan’s past.
Near the end of the tour, I stood in front of one historic temple, comparing what I had experienced that night to what I experience every day in Taipei. If Taipei is the symbol of Taiwan’s progressiveness, then Tainan should be the representation of Taiwan’s root. You can easily see the resemblance of other cities in Taipei, but what you mostly see and experience in Tainan are unique to Taiwan. The architecture, the food, and the atmosphere. It won’t be hard to find another skyscraper that reminds you of Taipei 101 in other cities, but you certainly can’t find another place like Shennong Street, where you find the purest form of Taiwanese culture.