Taipei, aside from its vivacious night scene, is also known for having beautiful temples. Scattered all over the big metropolis, a traveller can spend the whole day “temple running”.
So, if you are leaning towards this type of touristic path, here are a few of the sacred places you can go to:
Songshan Ciyou Temple
This temple is situated near another famed tourist attraction, Raohe Night Market. Located near Songshan Station (green line), this sacred infrastructure gives a new color to Taipei’s night life. It’s vibrant exterior coloring against the lights will surely demand an attention.
How to go there:
Ride the MTR until Songshan Station, terminal for the green line, and walk towards exit 5.
Longshan Temple of Manka
This buddhist temple is the most well-known of all the religious sites in Taipei. What I love about this temple is its location. You can easily immerse yourself with Taiwan’s local scene. One specific thing that I loved were these old men having a great time playing board games. It really tells how much of a sanctuary Longshan has become to the local people of Taipei.
Note that the entrance is free but donations are accepted for the maintenance of the temple.
Address: No. 211, Guangzhou Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10853
How to get there: Take the MRT until Longshan Station (Blue Line), Exit 1 and walk 5 minutes.
Taipei Tian Hou Temple
Also known as Ximending Mazu Temple. It is located in one of the busiest districts in Taipei, Ximending, this temple might have the most elaborate gates I have ever seen in Taipei. The intricate detailing just blew my mind. Although, it is not as enormous as the others in this list, Taipei Tianhou Temple is still worth visiting.
Address: No. 51, Chengdu Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10844
How to get there: Ride the MRT and get off at Ximending Station (Blue and Green Line), take Exit 6.
Dalongdong Baoan Temple
Dalongdong Baoan Temple is located in a much quieter district, Datong. It is next door to Taipei Confucius Temple. What I love about this temple is that it’s very spacious and it looks good against the gritty urban buildings.
Address: No. 61, Hami Street, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan 103
Shandao Temple is the largest buddhist temple in Taipei. It houses three golden buddhas. Taking photographs are somehow prohibited but not really enforced. The architecture is quite modern, too.
What’s good about this temple is that it is located in front of Huashan Market where you can eat a traditional Taiwanese breakfast.
Address: No. 23號, Section 1, Zhongxiao East Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
How to get there: Ride the MRT and alight at Shandao Temple Station (Blue Line), walk towards exit 6.
Taipei Confucius Temple
Probably my favorite of all the temples I have visited here in Taipei. The solemnity of the place plus the birds chirping is always a perfect combination.
Fun Fact: Of all the Confucius Temples in Taiwan, this is the only one with southern Fujian-style ceramic decorations.
Address: No. 275號, Dalong Street, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan 103
How to get there: Take MRT to Yuanshan Station of Tamsui-Xinyi Line, Exit 2, walk for about 10 minutes towards Kulun Street.
It has become an unforgettable experience for me because this group of older men sang classical songs and played harmonica like it was made by the angels in heaven.
One more thing that stood out to me is the free “prayer card” personally written for you by the guy I posted below. He was too aloof at first, shying away from the lenses as I focus on him. But I got his trust in the end and allowed me to thank him and post him here for the whole world to recognize.
These blue, green and red palette is the norm for the temples, I guess. I have seen a few temples in South Korea that resemble this similar coloring. But somehow Taipei Confucius Temple is different. Don’t even get me started with how the ceiling looks like. It is beyond astonishing. How the layers and layers of intricate, symmetric, artistic detailing can make you stop and gaze for a long while.
I am not even close to being a super religious person, but seeing the artistry in these is enough to make me want to visit them.
So whether you’re in Taipei for a short time or a whole week, please make sure to visit these breathtaking religious sites.