Anping Tree House (安平樹屋) is one of the main attractions in Anping, the old colonial quarter of Tainan, and yet another example of disaster tourism in Taiwan. I only got around to going over the lunar new year break despite having lived in Tainan for several months last year. I suppose the fact that it is an actual tourist attraction kept me from checking it out before, but I’m glad I went. Since a few of the photos turned out well enough to share I figure I may as well add it to my growing catalog of abandoned places around Taiwan.
The history of the place, in short: Anping was one of several new treaty ports opened to foreign during the Second Opium War. Tait & Co. opened shop in 1867, built warehouses to store goods, and prospered until Taiwan became a Japanese colony. Under Japanese rule the merchant house was home to a salt company. After the Japanese were expelled from Taiwan in 1945 the warehouses fell into disuse and were taken over by the banyan trees that remain today.
For decades local people considered the warehouses to be haunted, largely because of its uninviting appearance, but also superstitions about banyan trees. It opened to the public in 2004 after structural reinforcements and several viewing platforms were installed. There is a 50 NT entrance fee, but despite that it can get insanely busy on weekends and holidays.
I did not end up taking many pictures at the Anping Tree House, a consequence of there being too many people around. I also get a bit lazy with my camera whenever I visit popular attractions—more talented photographers with better equipment have already got it covered. And besides, the atmosphere is not even close to what you will find in a truly abandoned place like this famous mansion in Minxiong. It’s still cool and definitely worth a look but there is little magic in Anping Tree House. I highly recommend the ice cream, however—one of my favourite shops in Tainan has an outlet around back.
As a major attraction the Anping Tree House has been written up in English many times. For more photographs and information follow these links: here, here, here, here, here, and here. And again, if you’d like to read about something really cool have a look at my write-up about the Minxiong Ghost House.