Tainan is the oldest city in Taiwan, situated on the island’s south-west coast. It’s a real joy to explore on foot, particularly at dawn when the many winding alleyways gently stir to life, sunlight cutting through rustling paper lanterns and potted plants.
Character, texture and attention to detail are in abundance. Not to mention history; the city is home to Taiwan’s greatest number of temples, from one of the “Three Teachings” (Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist) to an assortment of folk religions.
After dark, a different character emerges. Street food carts take up their positions as motorbikes narrowly squeeze past. Giant night markets assemble, drawing crowds to their mixture of xiaochi (small eats), fairground games and clothing stalls. And in the distance, the sound of drums and firecrackers – perhaps one of the many processions marking a deity’s birthday (over 130 are observed) or the opening of a festival – serve as a reminder of customs not just preserved but vital and alive.
All photos: Olympus OM-1, Fuji Superia X-Tra 400.