Getting around Tainan is easy because of two reasons. The first is that because Tainan is a pretty small city, and second because Tainan City is one of the major stops in the railway transit systems of the country. But while walking on foot might be OK because of its size and because it’s easy to find a direct route to the city, there are really very few public transportation options in Tainan and you might find it a bit of a trouble to get a ride.
Buses in the city are not enough and taxi cabs are often just found in busy areas of the city. Also, there are very few people who can speak English. If you ever find yourself lost or in need of directions, it would be difficult to find anyone who can speak the language. And as there are not sufficient bilingual road signs in the city, it’s best to just arm yourself with a map of the city if you’re venturing out of your hotel without a guide. You can even get tri-lingual (Chinese, Japanese and English) maps and guides of the city.
GETTING AROUND TAINAN ON LAND
Taxi cabs in Tainan, as well as those the rest of the country, are colored yellow. Taxis charge by meters and taxi fares are computed based on every 300 meters traveled plus the flag down rate. Again, you’ll find it difficult to find a taxi driver who speaks English, so it’s best to communicate your destination to the driver by pointing it on a map or by showing a written address of it on a piece of paper.
There are many car rental companies in Tainan. Like most rentals, they can also come with a driver. Driving in Tainan is actually more preferable to riding taxi cabs because of communication barrier problems. It won’t be so frustrating like talking to drivers who, even though are often helpful, cannot speak your language. In addition, you’ll find it more convenient than finding your own way using a public transportation and getting stuck in a street with no English road signs anywhere.
MOTORCYCLES AND BICYCLES
Like rentals, motorbikes and bicycles are one of the best ways to get around Tainan. Motorcycles and bicycles are very popular with the locals as a mode of transportation. You’ll find that there are a lot of shops renting scooters and cycles, and even more people riding them on the roads and the streets. If you’re confident about driving a cycle, go ahead and give it a try. Otherwise, it’s probably better to just take another type of transportation.
In Tainan, the law requires you to shoulder and pay for hospitalization and medicine of people you injured while you’re on the road. But don’t count yourself off the hook if you’re a safe driver. Taiwan, like most Asian countries, has busy roads. So, if you think you can’t handle riding a scooter or a bicycle on roads without bike lanes, and with trucks ripping past you, or drivers who drive with little regard for scooters and cycles on the road with them, then, you definitely must pass on this one.
TRAINS AND BUSES
There are several bus operators with routes going to Tainan. The high speed rail system, particularly the West Line, also passes through Tainan City. You’ll find more information on bus and train routes, and generally the ins and outs of the system in information booths at the stations. Aside from the English-speaking locals manning the booths, there are also guides and maps that are available for free.
SIGHT-SEEING BUSES (ROUTES 88 and 99)
Finally, there are sight-seeing buses that take tourists to and from major attractions in the city for free. The routes are called 88 and 99, and even though they are only available on Sundays, it makes getting around Tainan really trouble-free.