Sunday, July 7, 2019

Taiwan Trip Day 7 - Tainan (台南) | Beimen Crystal Church | Beimen Visitor Center | Money Coming Grocery Shop (钱来也杂货店)

7 December 2018

Hello TAINAN (台南)!

Tainan is a city located on the southwest coast of Taiwan. Being the oldest city and was once the capital city, it is famous for its historical buildings, rick folk cultures, local street food and temples.

Part 1 of Day 7 @ Tainan
1) Money Coming Grocery Shop (钱来也杂货店)
2) Beimen Visitor Center (北门游客中心)
3) Beimen Crystal Church (北门水晶教堂)

Beimen District - designed with beautiful landscape for pre-wedding photo shoots.

9am - We set off from David's House at Xiding, and it was about 1.5 hours drive to Beimen District (Tainan). On our drive down from Alishan, we spotted sea of clouds!

10:30am - Beimen is a rural district far from downtown. Although there are a few popular tourist spots - Jingzijiao Tile-paved Salt Fields and Nankunshen Temple, there aren't many major attractions in the vicinity. That may explains why it was rather quiet when we arrived.  

Guide Map of Beimen

We had some free & easy time and walked around the area. Our first stop is 钱来也杂货店. If you have watched《王子变青蛙》 (The Prince Who Turns Into a Frog), - A Taiwanese Idol Drama production in 2005, you would have been familiar with the famous convenience store  钱来也杂货店 where many scenes were filmed at.

A little history behind the shop, it was built in 1952 and was initially meant for salt workers to purchase daily necessities and also a recreation center. When Beimen Salt Co. shut down its business in 2001, opportunity came in 2003 where the old house was given a new look. The walls of the whole house and outer yard are covered with abandoned salted tiles, shells and clam shells and hence it also has a name called "Shell House".

钱来也杂货店 (Money Coming Grocery Shop) is a retro shop selling all kinds of old school snacks, candy and toys. It brings back memories of our childhood and these are the things our teens have not seen before.

Though the grocery shop is not big, it is worthwhile to spend a couple of minutes to admire the building structure, toys that once brought us joy and reminisce the good old days.

Once a Salt-Cleansing Factory, Beimen Visitor Center (北门游客中心) now serves as a center to give visitors introduction to the history of the salt industry, the ecosystem of the wetland, culture, religion and arts. The exterior walls of Beimen Visitor Center are beautifully painted by local painter Hong Tong (洪通). Just go around the building and there are colourful mural walls with different theme for photo taking opportunities.

There are many exhibits within the visitor center with the sperm whale specimen being the main attraction. Look out for the markings on the floor which is an enormous map of the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area.

There are also interesting multimedia interaction areas like this one. Want to know your luck? Pray for a lot here and place it on the panel. The readings of the lot will be displayed and you can see if your luck bodes well.

Another interesting multimedia zone.

Here is a fun station where we try to catch fishes and take a family photo at the end of the game.

If you are travelling around Taiwan, you will spot Taiwan tourism spokesperson - 喔熊 OhBear in assorted attire associated to the local culture and activity. We first spotted him with his bicycle in Sun Moon Lake and happy to see him again in Tainan.

Beimen Crystal Church is the first church in Taiwan designed with a wedding theme. Standing on the waters, its elegant look has definitely set its mark as an emerging iconic tourist spot, thanks to a viral post of the beautiful church shortly after its opening.

The establishment of the simple, pure white crystal church is also a symbolism of the salt field characteristic in Beimen. For couples, this is a dream place for wedding photography and to host their wedding. We are unable to enter into the church as it was fenced up. If you like to go in to take a picture, an admission fee has to be paid.

Taking pictures from outside is just as good. The wavy curve architecture does have some resemblance of the Sydney Opera House.

The morning sun is hotter in Tainan which is a vast difference from the cooling weather in Alishan. Within only a couple of hours, we felt the change of temperature so do dress comfortably even in the December months. It was a free & easy morning walk around Beimen District and we took only about an hour to roam around the area. You may spend a little more time within Beimen Visitor Center and take more pictures with the murals, which we did not as our teens are not so keen to pose under the hot sun.

Part 2 of Day 7 on our next post.

Beimen District
Address: No.200, Jiucheng, Beimen Dist., Tainan City 727, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

Check out our 2 Weeks Taiwan Itinerary Family Trip here

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