Longshan Temple – Taipei, Taiwan

Even if you only have a half day in Taipei make sure you get to the Longshan Temple!  Its a stunning Buddhist temple with regular visitors and local parishoners.  Founded in 1738 as a haven for Chinese immigrants from Fujian the settlers built Longshan in honor of Kuan-in the Buddhist goddess of mercy.

Long Shao Temple

How to get to Longshan Temple
MRT Station: Longshan Station
Hours: 6am to 10pm
Fee: Free

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Longshan (alternately spelled Lungshan) was erected in the Manka district of Taipei.  It was dedicated after the Lungshan temple in their home town and aptly named for the root temple.

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A weekend in Taipei, Taiwan

A weekend is just enough to get a taste of Taiwan and realize you want to go back again before you’ve even left.  Taipei has an excellent public transit system, free wifi and lots of cultural & crazy experiences.  Here’s a quick preview of Ronda and my trip as we met my college buddy Andrew (who flew in from Japan with a few other friends).


Night Markets

If there’s one thing that Taiwan is known for its certainly the diversity of its night markets.  We stopped by at least 3 different markets and although some were “the biggest” or “best” according to a guidebook we found them all to be wonderful.  They sported an assortment of sights and smells including the infamous “stinky tofu” and all the parts of animals that you may not have wanted to sample.  I highly recommend just about anything on a stick and if you can handle the smell, stinky tofu is a delicacy!

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Night markets are easy to find and almost every subway station has *insert Taiwanese name here* Market listed on the exit signs.  We always felt safe but I advise anyone going to a public place like these market be careful with your valuables!

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Wulai

Wulai is a mountain village boasting the largest waterfall in Taiwan, an abundance of natural hot springs and the opportunity for a jungle adventure.  Luckily its only a 45 minute bus ride from Xiandan station at the end of the Green Subway line.  You can take a taxi for about $600NTD ($20USD) or ride the bus like we did for $15 NTD ($.50 USD).  Once there I recommend taking the cable car over the river to see the waterfall.  It was stunning and I can’t wait to share more; enjoy these photos for now. Continue reading

Busan with Seoul Hiking Group – Yonggungsa Temple

Last week I jumped a midnight bus with Seoul Hiking Group and went to Busan for my first time!  Busan is famous for being a wonderful beach town and also historically important since it was the last stronghold the South had before international (aka USA) forces arrived.  Even though the weather was overcast with spots of rain we still had a blast!

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Arriving at 5am we were dead tired and began our mini-vacation with a nap on Haeundae Beach.  Once everyone was settled we could go our separate ways but I opted to stay with Warren and a small group headed for the Yonggungsa Temple._DSC4662 _DSC4659

Approaching the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple we are greeted with an array of authentic Korean food and goods.  Everything from silk worm larvae to ginger root with buddhas in all shapes and sizes among vast quantities of jewelry and knicknacks lines the narrow paved path.  Eventually the vendors are replaced with stoic guardians from the Chinese Zodiac before we pass through a golden gate.

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Soon we can hear the rolling waves of the magnificent Pacific Ocean when all at once the canopy clears and staring right back at you is the Yonggusngsa Temple.  The ocean’s melody brings in a calming feeling even before Buddhist shrines and prayers provide an aura of peace for everyone present.

 

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We relaxed at the temple for a little over an hour before jumping back in the bus and checking into our hostel.  We took a quick shower/nap break before heading to the famous fish market!  Strolling through the fish market can be overwhelming; and I’m not just talking about the half delicious, half ocean, half dead fish smell.  But those pictures are still under development so you’ll have to check back next time!