This is the start of a new series I am doing. Every Monday I will be heading into Taipei for some sight-seeing. I adjusted my teaching schedule at school for a Chinese Mandarin class I wanted to take. I went to the first class and it’s not for me. Instead of switching my schedule back I am going to take advantage of having a day off and go sight-seeing. This post was really long and I have split it into two parts. Let me know if you like this type of post and would like more like them. You can read Part 1 here. Here is part 2:
To jog your memory here is the last section of Part 1:
Are we there yet?
I am walking through the city looking for the Longshan Temple. I see signs and I follow them. Then I get to an intersection that does not have a sign of what way to go. Oh oh. It’s a 5 way intersection, in the photo below I came from the street on the right (where the white car is). I am thinking I just have to go ‘straight’ since no signs are telling me otherwise. I continue to follow the straightest road and hope that I don’t get lost. I start to wonder where the nearest MRT station is. I am not sure how I would get back if I had too.
Yeah, see that photo above? There is a sign for the Bopilian Historical District. I am not sure what that is as I’m walking down the street but I assume the Temple must be close to that, since they are both tourist sites. Right? I come to this old brick building. It is closed, but there are still people, who look like tourist milling about. It must be something interesting. I check it out. There is a sign with a description telling me that this is the Historical Bopolian District.
At the Bopiliao Historic District, visitors can see well-preserved streets and traditional shop homes from the Qing period, as well as buildings from the Japanese occupation and early post-war periods. These buildings have witnessed the development of the Mengjia area (Wanhua District) over the years and form an important part of Taipei’s historic urban landscape. Wikipedia
I am getting tired and wish I would find the Temple soon. The clouds are rolling in and it will rain soon. I don’t have my jacket just my umbrella. I carry on. There are a lot of food street vendors here. I don’t see this too often where I live. They are just getting set up. I make a mental note ‘when I come back to visit the Historical District come when the street food will be ready.
Mengjia Longshan Temple (Chinese: 艋舺龍山寺; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Báng-kah Liông-san-sī) was built in Taipei in 1738 by settlers from Fujian, China. It served as a place of worship and a gathering place for the Chinese settlers. The temple has been destroyed either in full or in part on numerous earthquakes and fires.
During World War II, on 31 May 1945 it was hit by American bombers during the Raid on Taipei, who claimed the Japanese were hiding armaments inside. The main building and the left corridor were damaged and many precious artifacts and artworks were lost in the ensuing fire.
Taipei residents have nevertheless consistently rebuilt and renovated it, and did so again after the end of the Second World War a few months later. Longshan is seen as an emblematic example of Taiwanese classical architecture, with southern Chinese influences commonly seen in older buildings.
Like most temples in Taiwan, the Temple worships a mixture of Buddhist, Taoist, and folk deities such as Matsu. Wikipedia
I follow a group of younger kids into the gates. There is a nice waterfall off to the side. It is very smokey and smells like incense. I step inside the Temple. Other people in front of me stop. There are two counters on either side. Could there be a charge to go in? I start looking for signs. I don’t see any. I wait and see what other people do. Other people are just going in. Then I figure it out, the counters are selling offerings-flowers, incense sticks and such. Ok. I walk in and see a lot of people standing in front of large caultrons and in front of rooms with images of different gods. I stand in the back and soak up the scene.
Leaving the Temple
I see what I want to see at the Temple. I step outside and see the Longshan MRT station. Yay! I know how to get home. With that knowledge I am feeling a bit more comfortable exploring a bit. I decide to skip Snake Alley and just explore this area a bit. I wander down a back alley of the temple and get to what looks like an inside mall… except bikes drive down the walkways.
Tourist Night Market
I get to a crossroad and see a sign that says “Huaxi Street Tourist Night Market”. I think to myself, wow, the prices must be inflated and why would any tourist go to a night market that is clearly labeled tourist. I turned the corner and didn’t even enter in. I walked around the block and decided it was time to head back. Later I learned that Huaxi Street Tourist Night Market is actually the Snake Alley I had wanted to go to. Had I known that I might have taken a stroll down there.
I catch the MRT to where I get the bus back. Waiting for the bus they skies are getting really dark. A bus pulls up, but he is not in service. There are a few other locals waiting for the same bus, I figure I will just go with them. A second bus pulls up and again… not in service. A third pulls up, again, really, not in service. There are now three buses parked in front of the bus stop. None of them are leaving. *sigh*
Finally the 2nd bus driver motions that he is leaving. I hop on. But… none of the other locals got on. The bus is completely empty except for one other young female, myself and the driver. I start to worry that this bus is not going to where I need it to go. And why did the others not get on? Then it starts to down pour. I mean really it raining hard. The bus makes a few stops and other people get on. I am feeling a bit better. After the bus is full we start down the highway that takes me home. I finally sit back and relax. Whew! It’s been a long day, but it was a lot of fun. I can’t wait until next Monday!If you enjoyed this post please consider sharing it! Thank you