Temples, Tower and Museum
I sat on a bench, gasping for air as I wipe the sweat from my arms and head. Across from where I sought respite from the humid Taipei heat was the Jian Tan Temple – an 18th century shrine built upon the order of Monk Wanhua. Jian Tan, which means Sword Lake, has an accompanying legend about a Ming loyalist who killed a water sprite using a jeweled sword, thus restoring calmness to the lake.
Jian Tan Temple
Of course, I learned about the story of this temple by googling. I actually messed up my itinerary and stumbled upon Jian Tan by accident. I did not complain. Jian Tan Temple is wonderful. Watching this temple, I could not help but notice how it strongly adhered to the Chinese architecture. The columns, the tiled roofs, the colors and the elements may be similar with the rest of the temples I planned to visit later. This one offered me a piece of stillness and serenity.
For my second day in Taiwan, I visited temples, a museum and the famous tower, Taipei 101.
National Palace Museum
The original plan was to drop by Chiang Kai-Shek (CKS) Memorial again then proceed to Lungshan Temple before visiting the National Palace Museum. I was a bit unaware that I got off at the Jiannan Road Station and realized that I skipped the two sites. At the Jian Tan Temple, I revised my plans, deciding to take the bus for the National Palace Museum.
Main Hall, National Palace Museum
Since NPM is known to have an extensive collection of ancient Chinese artefacts, the museum complex is quite huge. The Main Hall, where most of the 700,000 items are placed, is an elevated building. In front of it is the paifang, a huabiao, and Chinese guardian lions.
National Palace Museum
NPM is heavily visited by tourists. You must make time to see all the exhibits on display. It might take a whole day just to see the artefacts. Decide on whether to do the museum or just go around the palace complex and do photos instead. Entrance fee is TWD 250 for the Exhibition 1 at the Main Hall. It is open daily, although on Sundays, there are portions of NPM which are closed. Best to check their website (https://www.npm.gov.tw/en) for updates.
Admin Building and Library
I decided to just walk in and around the museum complex.
The Paifang and a pair of huabiao
Lung-shan’s outer building
From NPM, it’s a quick hop on a bus to the nearest MRT Station which is Shilin. I swapped my lunch for a visit to the most popular temple in Taipei – the Mengjia Longshan Tample. Longshan is also one of the largest and oldest temples in Taiwan. When I got there, there are renovations being done on the front building.
In Longshan Temple, a mixture of Buddhist and Taoist worship is practiced. It is an 18th century temple built by the Fujians who settled in the area.
For even just once in your life, you must try eating from a toilet bowl and drink iced tea from urinals. This is very much possible if you eat lunch or dinner at Modern Toilet.
Lost for words hahah
Started as a Marton restaurant in 2004, it was rebranded as Modern Toilet 2 years after. Diners get to experience being served food in a toilet bowl or drinks handed out in pee bottle. Almost all the articles and elements in this resto have connection with the comfort rooms.
I visited the themed resto in Ximending. The place is packed. Seats were completely taken by tourists who might have included it in their itinerary. Since I am alone, luckily, they got me a table right away. It’s given that the seats were toilet bowls and the glass table has a ‘poop’ underneath. Anyhoo, bucketlist checked. Note: Modern Toilet is at Wanhua District, Lane 50, Xining S Road. Accessible at Ximen Metro Station Exit 6.
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
The Past and the Future of Taiwan
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
Also a popular site in Taipei, tourists flock to Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall to witness the changing of honor guards of the Republic of China Armed Forces. I got inside the hall in time for the changing of guards, which by the way, happens every hour. The hall is a memorial to Dr. Sun Yat-sen who is the father of Republic of China.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen inside the Memorial Hall
Hsing Tiang Kong Temple
Devoted to Guan Yu, this temple is popular for businessmen. It is a Taoist Temple but they say, Buddhism and Confucianism is also observed here. Hsing Tiang has two other branches (Beitou and Sanxia) but the most popular one is this one.
Main Door and the Guardian Dog
What set this temple apart from the other popular temples is the presence of people dressed in blue robes offering free services and assistance in rituals to eliminate disasters, or pray for protection and good luck.
Hours before sundown, I exited Xiangshan Station (Red Line) and walked a few blocks and looked for the marker.
Start of the Trail
Not for the weak knees
I decided to do the hike despite of the rain. I wanted to find out if the view would still be okay on a gloomy day.
Elephant Trail -this trail is also known as Xiangshan Trail or Nangang District Hiking Trail and may take about 15-20 minutes to reach the viewing deck. The trail was tough on the knees. Everything is a climb of stairs but the reward is a breath-taking view of Taipei 101.
Oppie at the view deck
Silhouettes, Taipei 101
I stayed for about two hours at the view deck. It is a perfect spot to take pics of Taipei 101 both daytime and night time. Be sure to bring mosquito repellent spray though.
Amazing Taipei 101
The world’s tallest in 2004, Taipei 101 is a landmark skyscraper in Taipei. They say this tower served as a symbol of progress for modern Taiwan. The tower design may be in reference to a bamboo which is strong but flexible and resistant.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen & Taipei 101
From Elephant Hill, I walked back to Xiangshan Station and got off to Taipei 101 station. My initial plan is to have dinner at Din Tai Fung. But seeing the very long queue of people wanting to dine at DTF, I decided to eat ramen at the food court. The Xiao Long Bao would have to wait for another time.