Travel in Tainan and Savor the Golden Days
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Travel in Tainan and Savor the Golden Days
Features & Amenities
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Discover the wonder of the lodging.
The summer heat of Tainan is as intense as your anticipation for the trip. Wandering through the alleys of old houses, every turn you make is like stepping closer back to childhood. Coming to the bustling Shuixian Temple Market, the air is filled with all kinds of smells, bringing you back to the time when you were little. Back then, your grandmother would take you in her somewhat rough hand, shop through assorted vendors, and go back home with loads of fresh food. As you turn into Gonghou Street and stroll along the nostalgic red-brick road, among the street houses an old house stands still – Back to the Old Tainan Guesthouse with warm yellow lights to transport you to former times.
A space mixing old and new
Back to the Old Tainan Guesthouse introduces you the lifestyle, accommodation, and delicacies of Tainan, for you to enjoy not only laid-back holidays but also a deeper exploration of Tainan. The lobby on the ground floor often holds cultural introductory and handicraft classes in collaboration with Sunshine & Cheerful Studio, while the café and bar on the side also sporadically holds events like Tainan traditional delicacies and wine tasting or various cuisine provided in limited periods. Unlike the common old houses with tiny spaces, the host Andy combines two old buildings, 100-year-old and 50-year-old respectively, by removing the wall in between, breathing the vigorous new soul into the old houses and retaining the spacious and cozy space like the residence of the past prestigious family at the same time.
Push open the heavy wooden door, a whiff of fresh smell permeates the air. A large policeman figure greets you with a big grin, while a Japanese show introducing Tainan’s delicacies plays on the TV on the wall. Brochures of the classes that the guesthouse collaborates with Sunshine & Cheerful Studio are laid out on the large long table, as the display shelves made of long benches exhibit sundry retro objects like vintage toys and faded black-and-white photographs. One of the walls is covered with retro signages, revealing Andy’s partner, Doctor Chen’s taste for antiques with childlike playfulness.
Take off your shoes and change into flip-flops, relieving the fatigue from the trip. Open the door behind the door and enter the atrium in the rear of the lobby, warm sunlight sifted through green leaves is dancing on the mottled iron window grilles. The bygone era is frozen in the corridor of time, with a touch of the tranquil wonderfulness, rendering a pleasant afternoon.
Stay one night in the tranquil bygone times
Going upstairs, in the narrow hallway with dim yellow light, every step is like walking back to childhood, as every trace of time bloom in the memory. The two combined old building of the guesthouse are transformed in the design of one room on each floor, for you to enjoy the entire floor of laid-back private time.
On the fourth floor, in “Roof Seclusion – Festival．Old Shop” two-person room, you may pick up a favorite book of poetry, step lightly onto the small attic, turn on the lamp, and enjoy the quiet reading moment. Or come to the screening booth below the attic, just like the kind of date you would have in the private viewing room of MTV center when you were young, and watch a movie with your sweetheart. The spacious “Roof Seclusion – Old House” room on the third floor is suitable for a family or a group of friends. Exchanging laughter and conversation with your bare feet, all turning into the accompaniment to good times. The refreshment counter on the second floor has transparent jars loaded with traditional Tianan desserts selected by the host. Slowly make a pot of fragrant tea, lay the chubby Tainan brown sugar bun cakes on the wooden plate, and return to “A Floor of Freedom – Market．Delicacy” room to savor the simple flavor of childhood memories. As the hustle and bustle outside the window fade away, surrounded by the pleasant chat and laughter, happiness can be as simple as a whiff of tea aroma over a bite of sweetness, calling to mind the sweet aftertaste of the memory.
In another adjunct century-old street house, you can enjoy the entire sun-drenched atrium. Carefully step on the wooden spiral staircase to the second floor, the whole floor is exclusive to you, including a two-person sleeping quarter, Japanese style tea-savoring space, and a bathroom outside the room. Gently turning the doorknob of “Atrium Seclusion – Tea．Coffee,” the old red-brick wall standing through three dynasties and vintage signages take you back to the memory of bygone days. At the end of the room stands a crimson double-leaf door with four Chinese characters “Di Ling Ren Jie“ on it, which means “a remarkable place produces outstanding people.“ Pull off the wooden bar and open the old wooden doors to the balcony, facing the warm evening breeze of southern Taiwan, you overlook the daily scenery of the streets of Tainan.
Evoke the memory of taste buds in the early market
As the busy streets of the morning have begun the day, you quickly freshen up and go downstairs with sleepy eyes. At 7 o’clock, Yuling from Sunshine & Cheerful Studio is waiting for you and sends the morning greeting. After the introduction with vivid powerpoint slides, under the guidance of Yuling, you head for the tour of Shuixian Temple Market with high spirits!
“Gonghou Street is one of the streets in Tainan that keeps its old name.” Following the light tripping steps of Yuling and the on-site staff Olive, you walk through the market with vendors’ yelling and haggling all over the place. The smells of fresh seafood, vegetables, fruits, and traditional snacks emanate in the air, evoking the memories of your taste buds. Returning the guesthouse with loads of ingredients for breakfast, your belly is grumbling from hunger and craving for the meal! Just in a short while, one dish after another cooked by Andy turns into a table full of culinary delights: stir-fried broccoli with garlic, red wine beef stew with red wine vinegar, rich-flavored scrambled eggs in the American style, and refreshing salad with homemade vinaigrette. Among others, the authentic milkfish soup is specially prepared for travelers; with a sip, the special sweet flavor of Tainan spreads in your mouth. The feast for your eyes and taste buds just starts a wonderful day.
Strolling under the sunny sky of Tainan and passing by houses with imprints of life, the joy of carefree childhood seems to call to your mind in the traces of time. You remember that being content could be quite simple, just like leisurely walking in flip-flops, laughing and chatting over some shots, and bathing in the sunlight. As long as you remember to take a break from the busy life, live in the moment, and regain the simple happiness.
Meet the moving story of the host.
“I hope people who come to Tainan can be reminded of something when experiencing life here.” In a casual white shirt with jeans, wearing a pair of golden thin-framed glasses, his smile with squinty eyes gave us a sense of warmth. As he told us one story of the old Tainan after another, it was hard to imagine that he wasn’t a Tainan native, cultural expert, historian, or community developer. He was the former general manager of Tainan JJ-W Culture Design Hotel and JJ-S Hotel, now served as an assistant professor and experienced accommodation consultant, he has been striving to imbue new life into the decaying old houses. He was one of the co-founders of Back to the Old Tainan Guesthouse – Andy, a Kaohsiung native who came to Tainan and never left.
The story began at a betel nut stall
The three co-founders included Andy, Dr. Chen, the owner of the houses, and Ahzheng, who promoted the culture of the historic district. When asked what brought the three together, we were surprised to find out the story began at a small betel nut stall.
With an unremarkable appearance, “Maru Yang Betel Nut Stall” in Tainan’s West Central District was actually an intercultural exchange hub. The hospitality and humor of the stall owner not only drew tourists from all over the world but was also the place for local neighbors to chat over tea. The zealous owner was the key person to link the three people, who later founded Back to the Old Tainan Guesthouse together.
It started with the conversation between the house owner Dr. Chen and the stall owner Mr. Yang. The old house was originally leased to a restaurant, which went out of business due to lease expiration. Obliging Mr. Yang kept Dr. Chen’s worry in mind and introduced Andy and Ahzheng to Dr. Chen over a dinner party. The three then formed the partnership to embark upon the work of reforming old houses.
Fell in love with Tainan and built the second home here
Andy, who was mainly in charge of the design concept, used to work at a five-star hotel. Nine years ago, he came to Tainan, a city full of historical charms, and fell in love with the culture and people here. “Tainan has so much to explore, it’s a city of distinct lifestyle and personality,” said Andy. Back to the time when the value of old houses had not been seen by the public, he already began to work with local people with his foresight, transforming an old building into the innovative Tainan JJ-W Culture Design Hotel. He also became a member of The Cultural & Creative Co., Ltd., playing a major role in operation and management.
“It was really crazy!” In his bright laughter, Andy told us about his first few years working in Tainan. To get a full picture of the local tradition and customs, he walked into the local people’s life and even drove around the city in mid-nights. With his own observation, he delved into the history and stories of Taiwan’s oldest city.
With his experience of traveling around in the past, he was even invited to assist with a preservation project of a historic town in Fujian, China. Like a big boy, he excitedly shared the ideas inspired by the trips: “For example, in order to draw people to the old town that no one hangs around after six in the evening, we put on outdoor cinema in the street and screened Taiwan movies, it was like a challenge to the local people.” The past experience has become the sustenance for Andy’s creative ideas.
Build a collaborative space for creative life
Now at Back to the Old Tainan Guesthouse, Andy built the space integrating creative ventures and accommodation, where travelers might be able to taste Japanese curry rice by day and have some drinks at the café and bistro by night, as well as join the classes or local tours guided by Yuling from Sunshine & Cheerful Studio. Andy said with a sunny smile: “To get connected with the local scene, you must visit the traditional market!” Thus, strolling through the local market in the morning was a must-do in the three-day trip he designed for travelers that one could enter the cultural history of Tainan in a relaxed way. There were many other events like “private kitchen sharing party” that one can taste special cuisine, or “street movie theater” which integrated the landscape, all provided intriguing and in-depth experience for travelers. Staying here, in addition to simply taking a break, travelers could develop a connection with the local customs, embodying the to-travel-is-to-live lifestyle.
“We would like to create a unique space!” This was the goal that Andy and his partners wanted to achieve. In the face of the challenge of creativity, Andy was never afraid to think outside the box as he unceasingly led the trends with the appreciation of local culture and history. From Tainan JJ-W Culture Design Hotel and JJ-S Hote to Back to the Old Tainan Guesthouse, Andy constantly reinterpreted old memories in novel forms, and with partners bearing the same visions, they would continue to create new stories.
Atrium Seclusion – Tea．Coffee
NTD 2,950 ~ 3,800/room
Breakfast included, On the 2nd floor, Indoor 83 m2, Private bathroom outside the room, 2 single mattresses, Up to 2 extra person (with extra bed) (more)
Roof Seclusion – Festival．Old Shop
NTD 2,950 ~ 3,800/room
Breakfast included, On the 4th floor, Indoor 40 m2、Outdoor 17 m2, In-room bathroom, 1 double bed, 2 single beds, Up to 2 extra person (with extra bed) (more)
Roof Seclusion – Old House
NTD 2,950 ~ 3,800/room
Breakfast included, On the 3rd floor, Indoor 66 m2, In-room bathroom, 1 double bed, 2 single beds, Up to 2 extra person (with extra bed) (more)
A Floor of Freedom – Market．Delicacy
NTD 2,450 ~ 2,950/room
Breakfast included, On the 2nd floor, Indoor 40 m2, In-room bathroom, 1 double bed, 2 single beds, Single-person bathtub, Extra person is not allowed (more)
Solo Trip Tranquility Room
NTD 1,400 ~ 1,400/room
Breakfast included, On the 2nd floor, Shared bathroom outside the room, 1 single bed, Extra person is not allowed (more)
Solo Trip Backpacker Room
NTD 800 ~ 800/room
Breakfast included, On the 1st floor, Shared bathroom outside the room, 1 single bed, Extra person is not allowed (more)
Cancellation and Postponement Policy
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Facilities and Services
No. 1, Gonghou St., West Central Dist., Tainan City, Taiwan
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09:00 - 20:00