Taipei // Guandu Temple
the Guandu Temple is another one of those things on my Taipei bucket list that I've known about for nearly the entire time I've lived in Taiwan, yet somehow never made it to. a few weeks ago our peaceful sunday morning was interrupted by an itchy feeling. not a bug bite or rash - but that itch to get outside and go explore. sometimes it just comes over me and I have to grab my camera and bolt outside, occasionally dragging my Husband with me.
so we hopped on the MRT and made our way to Guandu Station. you can walk to the temple from there [and the nearby wildlife / birdwatching park] or hop on bus 302 or 223 to be dropped off across the street.
Guandu Temple consists of several buildings, all decorated with intricate carvings and swooping orange rooflines topped with dragons. the tallest part of the main structure is currently under renovations / restorations, but the complex is large enough that it's still worth a visit.
the structures are built into the side of a mountain, out by the Tamsui River in the north west corner of Taipei. there are paths leading up the mountain which offer views all the way to downtown on a clear day. but what makes this site really unique is that there is also a path - or tunnel, really - that goes through the mountain.
the tunnel showcases over 2 dozen dieties, leading to a large golden Guanyin and a balcony overlooking the river. and more dragons. obviously. directly below is a parking lot for the Guandu wharf area, but you can see the river all the way to Danshui and Guanyinshan across the water.
[bonus points if you spotted the fish-dragon.]
a lot of people push Longshan as Taipei's must-see temple [it's beautiful and has a lot of history around it] but I think Guandu is more than worth the MRT ride north of downtown. Guandu is bigger, more colorful, and has a better crowd to space ratio.
the weather was beautiful, so we ended our adventure with a to-go order of fried rice, greens and spicy wontons and ate al fresco. not a bad way to cure an itchy sunday.