Taiwan #2: Old and New Taipei

I was allowed to roam by myself one morning while the family caught up on sleep. So I grabbed the camera and went walkabouts. Here are some spots (fairly touristy really) that show the new and old sides of Taipei.

Longshan Temple

I arrived at Longshan in the middle of a massive worship service. Wasn’t quite sure what to do but I decided to go in anyway and try to be unobtrusive. Longshan Temple is one of the oldest temples in Taipei (or possibly even the oldest). While nominally a Buddhist temple dedicated primarily to Guanyin, I found it interesting that it also serves as a worship centre for Taoist gods such as Matsu. Even good old Guangong (Guan Yu from Three Kingdoms) has a statue here somewhere. I didn’t go in further than the main worship courtyard (a sweaty kid with a big coat and a DSLR with obviously no clue about temple protocols probably stands out like a sore thumb).

So apparently Longshan Temple is done in classical Southern Chinese temple style (which is different from a more minimalist Northern style). I might be completely wrong here, but I take it to mean that the southern style boasts the the colourful characters decorated on the roofs, pillars and such. This is definitely the dominant temple style in Taiwan. Obviously we still can’t resist the advancement of technology, the entrance gate comes complete with an LED announcement system!

Longshan Temple Taipei

Here is the outer courtyard. I found on some information panel that entrance is on the right, and you exit on the left.

Longshan Temple Taipei

Ximending

In my quest for modern Taipei, Lonely Planet suggested that I check out Ximending. Obviously night time would have been better, but we had our itinerary packed with other stuff at nights, so I decided to just check it out on the way back from Longshan. It started raining, and there was hardly a soul about. But the Ximending intersection kind of reminds me of the neon lights at Picadilly Circus, except maybe more futuristic (kind of Tokyoesque, except I’ve never been to Tokyo).

Managed to get more shots of blurry people and vehicles… my favourite feature in cityscapes 🙂

Ximending

Check out my other posts in the Taiwan series here!

Taiwan #1: Old Streets of Beitou
Taiwan Bonus: Geothermal Valley, Beitou
Taiwan #2: Old and New Taipei
Taiwan #3: Tale of Two Leaders
Taiwan #4: Maokong
Taiwan #5: East Coast Taiwan
Taiwan #6: Taroko National Park
Taiwan #7: Kaohsiung
Taiwan Bonus: Kaohsiung Dome of Light
Taiwan #8: Tainan
Taiwan Bonus: Transport
Taiwan Bonus: People
Taiwan Bonus: Blur

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