The Anping Tree House has had most of its visitors thinking about the slumbering princess and the palace covered by briars and hedges that numerous sons of Kings and princes tried to cut down to get to the cursed Sleeping Beauty. Only, this is no palace under the thick growth of Banyan trees but an old warehouse of an old trading company in Tainan. And there’s no need to axe down the hedges either to see the insides of it. After being abandoned for many centuries, the Tree House has been restructured and opened in 2004 so that the public may see it at leisure.
Still, the similarities with the old fairytale do not end with the warehouse’s outside appearance. Much like the people in the Sleeping Beauty story, the locals of Tainan stayed away from the warehouse for many years because they believed that Banyan trees bring an evil curse too, and give bad luck to everyone who goes near it. In fact, the Anping Tree House was called the “Haunted House” in the old days until it was restored by the National Anping Harbor Historic Park and the suspicions and mistrust of the people were destroyed.
Located at Anping District of Tainan, the oldest city in the South of Taiwan, the Anping Tree House stands adjacent to what used to be the office of the Tait and Co., the business that originally owned it. It was built in late 19th Century at the beginning of the Japanese colonization, and functions as a warehouse for Tait and Co, which trades export quality salt. After World War 2, when the Japanese were defeated, the warehouse became the property of Taiwan Salt Company.
The warehouse was then refurbished and retained much of its Western style architecture. Most of the building design, however, is now lost because of the roots and branches of the Banyan tree wrapped around the house’s red bricks and concrete walls, filling holes and cavities and making the house look like a house and a tree at the same time. This spectacular work of nature is what makes the Anping Tree House a popular tourist destination in Tainan, and is definitely one of the places you should see if you ever find yourself in the city.
Even though there’s nothing remarkable with the building itself, not the architecture, its structure, materials used nor its location, it is amazing to see how the Banyan tree became a part of the house, or how the house became a part of the tree.
How to get there: It is easy to get to the Tree House. From the city center of Tainan, take the train going to the Tainan Railway Station. About 6 kilometers away, or a 15-20 minute away, you’ll find the tree house beside the Tait & Co. Merchant House, the old office of the company turned into a museum.
Opening Hours: The Anping Tree House is open everyday from 8:30am to 5:30pm. Admission fee is free for Taiwan citizens only. Their telephone number is 06-3913901.