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Chinese New Year At Zhinan Temple On Monkey Mountain-Taipei, Taiwan

By John Saboe | Taiwan

Feb 02


Taipei, Taiwan becomes unusually quiet for most of the Chinese New Year holiday as many who work and live in the capital visit family in their hometowns around the island.

You’d never believe it though when you visit some of the city’s most prominent temples. Overflowing with visitors getting in their good luck prayers to ensure a healthy and prosperous year for themselves and their family.

Longshan Temple is by far the most visited with the temple so crowded it’s not unusual to get a little poke from someone’s incense stick as you make your way through the throngs of people.

Guandu Temple near the old fishing village river port town of Danshui is another favorite with many making their yearly visit to the big complex and oldest in Northern Taiwan.

Another one of my favorite’s to visit, especially on a sunny day, is Zhinan Temple on Monkey Mountain near the Taipei Zoo. Accessible by stairs that start at National Chengchi University, it’s an approximate 30-40 hike through the forest and jungle to the temple.

If you’re not up for the hike the temple can be accessed via the Maokong Gondola near the zoo.

The views are wonderful and the temple complex as one visitor shared with me has perfect Feng Shui, the Chinese belief of harmony with surroundings.
The main Zhinan complex faces south over a beautiful terrace with views of Taipei City and lots of sunny exposure. The back of the temple is on the mountain side, sheltering it from the inclimate weather of the rainy season and winter.

Next to the main Zhinan Temple is the Daxiong Buddhist Chapel, on many days offering a free vegetarian lunch in it’s bottom level-a delicious selection of tofu, vegetables, rice, and soup.

After lunch I sat in the courtyard of the Daxiong Chapel, listening to the recorded traditional music playing as I gazed out at the hills checkered with small vegetable/produce farms, little tea plantations and the Maokong Gondola transporting people through the hills. Later watching groups paying respects at the temple with offerings and prayers.

Feeling refreshed, alive, and full of chi,(good energy), I made my way down the stairs to complete a perfect way to spend a day in Taipei during the Lunar New Year(Chinese New Year), holiday.

Getting there:Take the MRT “brown line” to Taipei Zoo. Cross the road from the MRT station and take bus 236 and get off at National Chengchi University. There are signs to the trails at the plaza entrance.

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About the Author

I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.