Guandu (Kuantu) Temple is dedicated to Mazu, the goddess of the sea and one of the most important deities in Taiwan. Built in 1661 into the side of a mountain along the banks of the Tamsui River, Guandu Temple is a grand, multistory complex that also offers great panoramic views over the Tamsui River.
Guandu Temple is known for its ornate and intricate decor and embellishments, and is filled with stone lions, dragon pillars, wall sculptures, and relief carvings on doors, panels, and ceilings. Don’t miss the 262-foot-long (80-meter) cave, to the right of the temple, lined with 28 statues and featuring a thousand-armed, thousand-eyed statue of Guanyin, goddess of mercy, at the back of the cave. Exit behind the statue of Guanyin to wonderful views of the river below. There’s also a lovely garden with pleasant walking paths, covered seating areas, plentiful flowers, and more superb views.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Guandu Temple is a must-see for those with an interest in history, architecture, and religion.
- This is an active place of worship, so please be respectful.
- The temple is free to enter, but donations are accepted.
- At the base of the temple, a riverside food court serves an array of local snacks and delicacies.
How to Get There
Guandu Temple is located in Taipei’s Beitou district. By MRT, take the Red Line to the Guangdu Temple stop, then walk about 15 minutes to the temple. Or take city bus R35 or S23 to the Guandu Temple stop. You can also take a ferry to nearby Guandu Wharf from Dadaocheng (Taipei) or Fisherman’s Wharf (Tamsui).
When to Get There
Guandu Temple is open 6am to 9pm daily. It also hosts numerous festivals during the year. The temple is at its liveliest during the Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival. Sunrise and sunset are the best times for photos of the nearby scenery.
Warning from Mazu
Local legend has it that in 1895, three banyan trees in front of the temple suddenly withered and died overnight. Local residents believed this to be a warning from Mazu that a disaster was imminent. The Japanese invaded shortly after that, but because of the warning from Mazu, a number of local residents were able to escape.