If you want a look at Taoism unique to Taipei and the Fujian province of China, plan to visit Guandu (Kuantu) Temple. This particular Taoist temple, located just north of Taipei, dates back to the 17th century and is dedicated to the Goddess Matsu, arguably the most important deity in Taiwan.
Since Taiwan is surrounded by ocean, it should come as no surprise that Matsu, Protector of Seafarers, is so highly esteemed. The temple houses a statue of the goddess that sits overlooking the Tamsui River, and visitors enter the temple through a long tunnel passing through Mt Ling on the riverbanks. Emerging from the tunnel, guests see the statue and several walking paths leading up the mountain for panoramic views of the area.
Travelers should pay special attention to the temple’s ornately carved and brightly painted roof and consider combining the trip to the temple with visits to the Kuantu Nature Preserve and the Tamsui River Mangrove Preserve, both located nearby.
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau