Nestled near a sleepy sea side community on the northern end of Taipei is the magnificent Guandu Temple. Taiwan is known for a lot of beautiful Chinese temples, and Guandu Temple is no exception. Little is known about this temple in the various guide books, however I was glad I took the chance to visit it. The minute I step foot into the Guandu Temple, I was simply taken away by its remarkable architecture and beauty. Out of all the temples I have visited in Taipei, I consider Guandu Temple one of the best.
Guandu Temple dates back to the 1600′s and is built for Matzu, the goddess of the sea. It is a remarkable complex with multi-levels and an elaborate ceramic tiled Chinese styled roof. It is located near the sea side that offers awesome views of Taipei’s country side. It is very obvious to spot this temple, as the entrance you will see a very striking blue portrait on the front depicting scenes from Chinese folklore.
A dam that regulates the flow of water from the ocean. It is located right in front of Guandu Temple.
Series of small boats docked in front of Guandu Temple.
Views of the country side.
Front entrance of Guandu Temple.
A very striking blue portrait on the front of the temple.
View of the larger complex in the back. Noticed the numerous floors and the awesome Chinese styled roofs.
Close up view of the complex in the back.
The inner complex of the Guandu Temple.
When you enter the temple complex, you will notice like many other temples in Taipei, the intricate carvings crafted into the beams of the building. That day I went it was a perfect day, with bright blue skies. The crowds in the temple have not seem to pick up yet, so I was able to enjoy my exploration of the temple without being squished around like how it was at the Longshan temple. From what I hear, during Matzu’s birthday, Guandu temple will come alive and will be jam packed with people.
As with many other temples in Taiwan, there was a very close attention to detail in its design.
Devotees lining up to pay homage to the various Chinese deities.
Elderly praying to the skies in heaven.
Cool looking latern.
Intricate dragon fountain. Pretty awesome!
The upper floors of Guandu Temple.
One of the hidden gems of the Guandu Temple was that from the outside you couldn’t really tell how really big the complex was. In fact as you walk deeper and deeper into the temple grounds, you will be pleasantly surprised how big it really is. There is actually a small tunnel that will lead you to the back of the temple. From there you will be greeted with an awesome view of the mountains and sea in the back. This was a very unexpected surprise, and I was glad I managed to discover this! I probably would assume the way they laid out this temple had a lot to do with feng shui, as the view from the back of the temple was simply serene and peaceful.
Carvings of Chinese goddesses in the tunnel leading to the back of the temple.
Stunning view of the mountains and sea at the back of Guandu Temple.
It was a very nice day!
One of the many rock lions guarding the back of the temple.
Another rock lion with the mountain view in the background.
The rear entrance of the temple, from where the tunnel opened up to.
The intricate roof with colourful ceramic figurines.
Smokey incense urn.
More lions…this time a bigger version.
Look at the teeth on this lion! Wouldn’t want to mess around with that!
After I finished exploring the rear of the temple, it was time to explore the upper levels. Similarly how I was surprised how wide the entire temple grounds were, I was also surprised how high the temple was. On the upper grounds there was a nice garden, and also a nice view of the overall temple grounds. From the top you can get a very good view of the intricate ceramic art that is on top of the temple roof. I was quite impressed at the level of detail and quality of workmanship that went into the construction of this temple.
Overall view of the temple grounds from above.
Another mural, similar to the large blue mural in the very front of the temple, but depicting another story.
Impressive ceramic phoenix’s on one of the many roofs of the temple.
Ceramic crane on top of some flowers.
Of course you cannot forget the dragons too!
So there you have it, my detailed photo tour of the Guandu Temple in the northern end of Taipei. To me this is by far my favourite temple out of all the ones I visited in Taipei. It is something unique as it is a little bit off the tourist trail, and to simply put it, it was a very beautiful looking temple!
Visitor’s Information to Guandu Temple:
Nearest MRT subway: Get off at Guandu Temple MRT station, and take exit 1. From there catch bus 35 or 23 (there will be signs pointing to the bus stop). Alight at Guandu Temple.
Address: 360 Zhīxíng Road, Beitou District Taipei City, Taiwan