Tainan Anping Fort (aka Fort Zeelandia) is an ancient fort in Tainan City that dates back to the Dutch rule of Taiwan. The fort sits right next to Anping Old street, making it a great place to understand Taiwan's culture and at the same time get some of the best snacking at the culinary capital of Taiwan.
After the Dutch defeat in Penghu in 1624, they turned their sights instead to the island of Taiwan (Formosa) and began building on what were then sandbars in what is now Anping, Tainan (the inland sea that once existed here has long silted in).
Fort Zeelandia was completed in 1634 after 10 years of construction, built on the high ground of one of the sand bars, along with other forts in the area, such as Fort Zeeburg. It included a one story outer fort armed with cannons. There was also a three story inner fort for administration, including a church and jail. The bricks for the building were shipped in from Java.
The Dutch ruled most of Taiwan until 1661 when they were defeated by Ming Loyalists lead by Koxinga. Koxinga sieged fort Zeelandia, for nine months, killing 1,600 of the Dutch people there before they surrendered due to lack of water. The victory at Zeelandia proved to be the end of 38 years of Dutch rule in Taiwan, the survivors fleeing to Batavia.
After Taiwan was taken over by the Qing Dynasty in the late 1600s, Tainan became the provincial capital of Taiwan. Fort Zeelandia fell into disrepair as the bay silted in. The bricks on the outer wall were harvested for the Eternal Golden Castle fort closer to the ocean.
During the Japanese occupation, the fort was repaired and renamed Anping Fort.
In 1975 the fort was further repaired and the tower improved to what currently stands.
Anping Fort: 50 NT per person
Anping Old Street: Free
Anping Fort: Every day 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.
Anping Old Street: Every day 7 AM to 6:30 PM.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: From central Tainan go west on Minsheng Road until it becomes Anping Road. After that keep going until you see the tower.
By Bus: Take Tainan Bus 2 from Tainan Train Station to Anping Old Fort station. The ride takes about an hour.
Map: Please see below:
The Dragon Boat Festival (aka Double Fifth Festival) is a special time of year, during which Taiwan gets a major holiday vacation and there are Dragon Boat Races. During this time, people also must eat Zongzi. We have created this guide for you to see the official dragon boat races all around Taiwan and understand more about this special cultural festival.
Originally Dragon Boat Festival may have started during the Qin Dynasty as a day to remove evil spirits and bad luck that were thought to appear on the fifth day of the fifth month.
The best known origin story for the Dragon Boast Festival is that it commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a famous poet and official of the Chu Dynasty during the Warring States Period. He opposed the Chu Dynasty joining an alliance with the Qin, and therefore was banished. When the Qin Dynasty finally took over the Chu Dynasty, he committed suicide by entering the Miluo River (汨羅江 Mìluójiāng) and drowning himself.
It was said that the local people went looking for him by rowing dragon shaped canoes, and threw sticky rice balls into the water so that the fish would eat the rice and not Qu Yuan's body. Because of this, during Dragon Boat Festival everyone eats stick rice, or Zongzi, and holds dragon boat races to commemorate Qu Yuan's memory.
Another tradition is for people to balance eggs, which is thought to bring good luck during the "unlucky" holiday.
Dragon Boat races usually involve a team rowing together, while someone beats a drum to keep rhythm and someone else stands at the front of the boat to catch the flag.
Dragon Boat Festival is an official holiday in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, China, and is celebrated by Chinese heritage communities throughout Asia and the world.
When is Dragon Boat Festival?
The fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar.
2020: June 25th
2021: June 14th
2022: June 3rd
2023: June 22nd
2024: June 10th
2025: May 31st
When are Dragon Boat Races in Taiwan?
Training starts about a month before Dragon Boat Festival
The actual races begin a few days before or on Dragon Boat Festival, and can last a few days after as well. Races usually last the whole day.
Where are Dragon Boat Races in Taiwan?
Taipei International Dragon Boat Championships: 國際龍舟錦標賽
Dates: (June 25-June 26 2020)
Location: Dajie Riverside Park 大佳河濱公園 (under Dazhi Bridge going to Neihu near the airport along the Keelung River. There is parking at the riverside park, but it can get very crowded late in the day).
Tainan International Dragon Boat Championships: 台南市國際龍舟賽 (June 23-June 25)
Dates: (June 25-June 26 2020)
Location: Yunhe River in Tainan Between Anyi Bridge and Chengtian Bridge, near Anping Old Street 臺南市運河（安億橋至承天橋河段）
Kaohsiung Love River Dragon Boat Festival: 高雄愛河端午龍舟嘉年華
Dates: (Cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19)
Location: The Love River between Kaohsiung Bridge and Zhongzheng Bridge (愛河， 高雄橋-中正橋).
Changhua Taiwan International Dragon Boat Races 台灣國際競技龍舟錦標賽
Dates:(Cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19)
Location: Lukang, along the FuLu River near Lukang Old Street (彰化福鹿溪水域)
Yunlin Dragon Boat Races 雲林龍舟賽
Dates: (June 25-June 26)
Location: Kouhu Township, Yiwu Wet Pond at the north pond (本縣口湖鄉宜梧滯洪池北池)Price:
Please see below for a map of dragon boat racing locations.
Tainan green tunnel is famous for its beautiful green waterway surrounded by overgrowth to become a literal tunnel. One would think that this place was a pristine natural wonderland, but actually it is not. Keep reading. With no expectations other than seeing the photo, we visited the place with open minds. Below we have detailed our experience.
The Sicao wetlands are a protected area of 515 hectares, designated to protect the habitat and wildlife from encroachment by nearby industrial parks and factories. The area has a long history of Taiwan Aboriginal habitation, and then being an economic center settled by Fujian fisherman, Dutch, Chinese, then Japanese, and now the ROC (see further down for a more complete history of the area).
200 NT per person
8:30AM to 4PM every day
Driving a car, we simply used GPS to find the place, which consist of a Daoist temple, parking lot, shops, and ferry terminals (No. 360, Dazhong Road, Annan District, Tainan City, 709 台南市安南區大眾街360號). There is also a large temple in front of the river, Dazhong Temple (大衆廟), that according to our tour guide was supposedly 300 years old. Behind the temple is also the Qing era Sicao Fort（四草炮臺）which we will not cover in this blog. You can also get there via Tainan city bus no. 2.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.