TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Tainan City made National Geographic's "cool list" of the top travel destinations in 2024.
On Oct. 30, National Geographic released "The Cool List 2024: the 30 most exciting destinations to visit in 2024." In addition to Tainan, the list not only includes cities, regions, countries, and scenic landscapes such as Chile's Atacama Desert, but also Europe by train, the UEFA European Football Championship, and Whisky in Wales.
Shennong Street. (Taiwan Touism Bureau)
Under its entry for Tainan City, the magazine pointed out that in 2024, it will celebrate the 400th anniversary of its founding by the Dutch under the name of Fort Zeelandia. The magazine cited the city's "intriguing heritage" and upcoming quadricentennial as reasons to visit next year.
It observed that Tainan's architecture is a reflection of the different powers that occupied the city over the centuries such as the Dutch, Ming loyalists, Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), and Japanese. The article listed the Old Japanese Martial Arts Academy and the Qing-era facades dotted with lanterns on historic Shennong Street as examples of this architectural legacy.
Coffin bread. (Taiwan Tourism Bureau photo)
Tainan is well known for its cuisine with street food being a "major draw." The magazine recommended visitors try danzai noodles and Tainan's famous coffin bread, which is bread hollowed out to look like a coffin and filled with creamy chowder.
The city also features a number of events throughout the year, with the most raucous being the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival, which is ranked the third-largest folk celebration in the world. The festival occurs on the 15th day of the lunar new year and involves the firing of hundreds of thousands of firecrackers simultaneously in the streets of Yanshui District and is "not for the faint-hearted."
Fireworks at Tainan Yanshui Wu Temple. (Taiwan Tourism Bureau photo)