A trip to Taiwan would not be complete without going to a temple and experiencing what most Taiwanese people do routinely. At these temples, you can light incense in prayer, throw "Poe" (wood blocks used for divination) and draw fortune sticks, have one's frightened spirit retrieved and soothed, and pray for protective amulettes. In a great metropolis like Taipei, temples are one of the few places where one may find peace.

Taiwan religious environment is free and inclusive. For the majority of people, it is difficult to clearly define their religion, which is a blend of Buddhism and Daoism. Furthermore, many Taiwanese also pray to their ancestors. Even presidents and other political and business figures pay homage at prominent temples. During New Year's, it is a tradition for the president of Taiwan to draw a fortune stick that tells the nation's fortune in the coming year.

The best way to gain a more profound understanding of Taiwan's religious culture is to partake in celebratory ceremonies, such as the famous Matsu Holy Pilgrimage. At these ceremonies, one can also try the delicious cuisines prepared by the temples.

"Good Eye Taipei," a new bilingual Taipei city guide, recommends four temples in the city to experience the traditional temple culture of the country.

Xia-Hai City God Temple (霞海城隍廟)

Address: No. 61, Section 1, Dihua St., Taipei City (台北市迪化街一段61號)


Photo Credit: Good Eye Taipei

Come pray for good luck in love and marriage.

Dalongdong Baoan Temple (大龍峒保安宮)

Address: No. 61, Hami St., Taipei City (台北市哈密街61號)
Hours: 6:00 to 22:00.


Photo Credit: Good Eye Taipei

Come pray to Baosheng Dadi for good health.

Lungshan Temple (龍山寺)

Address: No. 211, Guangzhou St, Taipei City (台北市廣州街211號)
Hours: 6:00 to 22:00.


Photo Credit: Good Eye Taipei

Lungshan Temple is home to Guanyin and the equally-famed Yue Lao, a god for relationships.

Xingtian Temple (行天宮)

Address: No. 109, Section 2, Minquan E. Rd., Taipei City (台北市民權東路二段109號)
Hours: 4:00 to 22:00.


Photo Credit: Good Eye Taipei

Come pray to Lord Guan for good fortune in your career.

“Good Eye Taipei” can be purchased at all major bookstores in Taiwan. Check out TNL’s interview with the author here.

Editor: Olivia Yang