Wanhua 萬華

Interesting Facts


Below are some interesting facts about Wanhua!

Fact No. 1

Did you know the district flower is actually Paeonia Suffruticosa (白牡丹)?

This is believed to be attributed to the Chinese song “白牡丹” which used this song to illustrate a young lady’s profound and unpretentious mind. Thus, this has been associated with Wanhua residents’ mentality of strength and determination amidst hardship.

Paeonia Suffruticosa
Chinese song lyrics

白牡丹,笑文文,妖嬌含蕊等親君,無憂愁、無怨恨,單守花園一枝春,啊‥‥‥‥單守花園一枝春。
白牡丹,白花蕊,春風無來花無開,無亂開、無亂美, 不願旋枝出牆圍,啊‥‥‥‥不願旋枝出牆圍。
白牡丹,等君挽,希望惜花頭一層,無嫌早、無嫌慢,甘願乎君插花瓶,啊‥‥‥‥甘願乎君插花瓶。

Fact No. 2


The district’s tree, announced during 2010’s Jia Na Festival (加蚋文化節 ) is Ficus Religiosa (菩提樹). This is also one of the most common trees in the Wanhua District because they are normally found within the vicinity of the numerous temples in the area.

Ficus Religiosa

Fact No. 3

During the SARS period in 2002, it is believed by the locals that the deity in one of the most famous temples in Wanhua, Chin Shan Gong(艋舺青山宮) played a crucial role in eradicating the disease in the estate. To calm the locals’ worries and anxiety over the disease, temple troupes carried out “Chin Shan King” Tour, which involved touring the entire Wanhua District for days. After the various ceremonies and rituals, the anxiety among the residents reduced. More importantly, residents became united to counter the disease together.


Qing Shan Gong

Fact No. 4


Herbal Lane is not opened on Sundays. Do you know why?

Herbal Lane 


This is because the stall owners have come to an unanimous agreement not to operate their business this day!

Fact No. 5


There is only one shop from the old Bopiliao Historic Block that remains operating today. That is Chang Shou Tea Shop operating at Nanning Road.

Tea with traditional rice cakes

Fact No. 6


While Wanhua may be a little old, the district’s health authorities have been promoting a healthy lifestyle through the implementation of various initiatives including smoke-free parks!




Fact No. 7


Wanhua has the greatest proportion of foreign female spouses in Taipei.

Fact No. 8


Due to the large number of temples in the region, it is common to find stores selling Buddhist or Taoist sculptures and related altar equipment. Old stores such as Laomingyu Incense Store (老明玉香鋪 ) is still present in the district and greatly respected by many locals.

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Ching Shui Tsu Shih’s Birthday

Ching Shui Tsu Shih’s Birthday

This celebration has been held annually since the construction of the temple over 100 years ago. In the past, performances known as “Ge Zai Xi” will be presented to the patriarch for a month and locals would cook “Pong Teng Ah”, prepare food such as sugar cake, yam ice, or present items like clayed dolls of Guan Gong. However, such activities are cancelled and today, the festival is significantly less massive.

Temple's Main Chamber

The celebration commences on 6th January of the Lunar Calendar, when people will visit the temple to enjoy the prepared food. Donation will also be encouraged and collected funds will be utilised to garner food ingredients so that food can be prepared for every visitor. The purpose of the celebration is therefore, also to provide food for the people, especially the needy. Other traditional Taoist rituals such as Dipper Worship (禮斗) will also be carried out. During this ritual, a large pale is filled with rice to signify good harvest, then a fan and a sword is inserted into the rice. They are all items to help build prosperity in the future.

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Youth Friendly Tour

Suggested Itinerary

-Arrive at Ximending in the evening
-Explore the Red House and its evening performances
-Shop around the area
-Take the metro to Longshan Station to enjoy an affordable dinner at Huaxi Night Market

Ximending

Ximending gets more entertaining as the evening wears on. As a youth, there is more to see in the evening than the daytime because more stores are open. There is a great variety of merchandise to buy but many stores sell the same product so be sure to compare prices before making a purchase.

Ximending

The Red House

If you want to buy something that is one-of-a-kind then the Red House is the place. After viewing the evening performances, you can head to the back of the Red House where many local designers make handmade goods such as silver jewelry or clothing.

The Red House

Huaxi Night Market

The food at Ximending may be a bit pricier due to its commercialized nature so take one MRT stop to Longshan Temple Station and try out the affordable Huaxi Night Market! There are four night markets in total in the Monga area of which three are interconnected, so you will be sure to find something you like to eat.

Nightmarket

Tips

Shopping at Ximending: As a tourist you may be approached by young high school aged boys asking if you're from Taipei. If you reply no, they will immediately move onto their story about earning money to pay for high school and ask you to buy their product which could be anything from a fan to a pencil. Beware of this situation and walk away because they are simply sales people.

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Food Tour

Suggested Itinerary

-Arrive in mid-afternoon at Ximen Station to visit the Red House to gain a deeper understanding of the building’s architecture and history.
-Visit the Modern Toilet Cafe for tea-break
-Shop along the Ximending Shopping Street for a variety of apparels, shoes, accessories and bags. --Grab some local snacks along the way too.
-Take the MRT to Longshan Temple Station, just a stop away
-Visit the famous Wanhua Night Markets and have your dinner there

Being the oldest district in Taipei, Wanhua can be considered a food paradise, filled with both century-old food outlets selling traditional delicacies and modern outlets that can easily appeal to the young.

Red House 

The Red House is a western-styled architecture built in 1908. It showcases a plethora of performances varying from Jazz to Taiwanese Opera (Yes, you’ll have to pay) and exhibitions displaying not only the history of the Red House but also other interesting art and craft products.



The shopping outlets within the Red House have a whole range of interesting and exquisite merchandises. There’re generally expensive, but if you like designer products (i.e. keychains, accessories, stationery), you may find something you like.

Behind the Red House is a short street of pubs and bars. The locals refer it as the “Gay Bar” (You know what I mean).

Toilet Café

This themed café is located at Ximending Shopping Street. One simply has to walk into the shopping area till you see Starbucks Café on the right side of a junction. Turn left and walk straight towards the end to find the Toilet Café on your right.

Main Course Meal 
Dessert
This Café is a little pricey and small but the food and atmosphere is good. Regardless of your order, each person will have to spend a minimum of NT80 (no sharing).

Ximending Shopping Street

We suggest that you visit Ximending Shopping Street in the evening because that is when the street hawkers along its shopping street operate. The shopping area is extensive, spanning a few streets which sells a variety of apparels, accessories, bags and shoes for both males and females. This street is also famous for its movie theaters. To try out some local delicacies, you can buy the fried chicken nuggets for just NT50 near the MRT entrance. The shop is on the right-hand side and is easily spotted due to the frequent long queues.
 
Shopping Area

Wanhua Night Markets

Wanhua has quite a few nightmarkets that are linked to each other. Simply take Exit 4 from the Longshan Temple Station (one stop away from Ximen Station) and turn left. Walk pass Longshan Temple, across the junction and you’ll soon find the entrance of Huaxi Night Market on your right. Huaxi Night Market is most famous in Wanhua, and also officially the first. Apart from Huaxi Night Market, other night markets in the area also sells seafood and pork parts such as pork trotters, ribs and internal organs.

Entrance of Huaxi Night Market

Some of the famous outlets in the night market:


This dessert stall is famous for its glutinous rice balls sweet soup. With different flavours such as red bean, peanut and sesame, you'll definitely be able to find one that satisfies your taste buds!



You'll be able to find this famous hot glutinous rice ball dessert within Huaxi Night Market, at the traditional stall, "Bei Gang Tian Tang"(北港甜湯).



Tips

Ximending Shopping Area

At Ximending Shopping area, teenagers who claim that they are raising funds for charity may approach you. These youths can be quite persistent and may be from a larger illegal association. Thus, unless you are interested in purchasing their products, try not to respond to them too enthusiastically. They may not be willing to leave you.

Also, there are also restaurants located on the 2nd/ 3rd floors of the various shop houses found at the shopping district. These restaurants usually have good discounts and promotions. Thus, to grab these offers, do look up to spot their advertisement!
Huaxi Night Market

Huaxi Night Market is linked to other night markets in Wanhua. Walk through all the night markets to taste all the delicious local delicacies!

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Temple Tour

Suggested Itinerary

-Arrive in the morning at Longshan Temple
-Grab a snack at Tai Ho Bakery
-Walk to Bopiliao Historic Block to understand not just the culture of Wanhua, but also information regarding Taiwanese Education System and medicinal developments.
-Proceed to Ching Shui Temple, one of the most traditional temples in Taipei
-Finish off with another well-known temple, Chin Shan Gong!

Optional stop: For visitors who are really interested in knowing more about temples, you can consider taking the MRT to Ximen Station, just one stop away from Longshan Temple Station, to visit Mazu Temple. This is one of the most famous temple in Ximending.

Directions via Video

Feeling lost? Watch this YouTube video for the exact directions to lead you through your self-guided tour of Wanhua!


Longshan Temple

Wanhua (萬華), having prospered during the Qing Dynasty, have quite a number of temples within the district. The most famous being Longshan Temple (龍山寺) as it is one of the biggest and oldest in Taipei.

Longshan Temple
Due to its widespread popularity, Longshan Temple is often filled with tourists and other followers. Most people visit the temple to pray, making the ambiance really special. While this temple may not be the grandest or largest in the world (you’ll find many large temples in China), observing the temple’s close affinity with its worshipers has made visiting this place a worthwhile trip.

To further understand the temple’s heritage, there are information boards and brochures near the entrance that gives an in-depth description of the place. Also, for worshippers, you may enjoy walking along the streets surrounding Longshan Temple as it is filled with shop houses selling various incense, Buddhist sculptures and other religion-related merchandise.

Herbal Lane

After visiting the temple, you may want to drop by Herbal Lane, which is right beside Longshan Temple (on the left). Herbal Lane is a small alley selling different medicinal herbs and health products. Otherwise, we would suggest you walk down Guangzhou Street (廣州街) till the next junction where you will see Bopiliao (剝皮寮歷史街區).

Herbal Lane

Tai Ho Bakery (太和)


Bopiliao consists of a row of shop houses that has been preserved for historical and cultural reasons. Before entering Bopiliao, there is a bakery just nearby. This shop is called Tai Ho Bakery.

Taiho Bakery

With at least 60 years of history, the pastries sold here is easily one of the best in Wanhua district. Grab some pastry, such as its mochi first before continuing with the tour. You can always ask the shopkeepers for some samples before buying their pastries as well. They are amicable and will be more than willing to provide you with some samples first.

Bopiliao Historic Block (剝皮寮歷史街區)


Walk back for another 2 minutes to reach Bopiliao. The shop houses are used mainly showcases various exhibitions now. To enter its street, keep walking forward for another 5 minutes till you reach an open area that leads you to the entrance of its old street.

Bopiliao Historic Block
The main attraction of Bopiliao, however, is The Education Center of Taipei City. Admission is free. Nevertheless, do note that it is closed on Mondays and opened till 5pm daily. This education center is family-friendly as it not only provides substantial historical information regarding Wanhua, it also has numerous interactive gadgets and displays for children to play with. Apart from explaining Wanhua’s history, it also has exhibitions displaying Taiwanese traditional and modern education system, as well as the medical developments in Taiwan. We would consider this place to be interesting for those who want to learn more about Wanhua.

Ching Shui Temple (艋舺清水巖祖師廟)

After the education center, take a detour and walk back to the junction near the Tai Ho Bakery. Continue to proceed forward for another 10 minutes and you’ll see another famous temple of Wanhua, known as Ching Shui Temple. This is one of the oldest temples in the area which worships a well-respected monk. While the temple is normally quiet, with little worshippers, one will be able to experience how a traditional temple in Taipei is like by visiting this temple as compared to Longshan Temple which has already been revamped many times.

Ching Shui Temple


Chin Shan Gong Temple (青山宮).

Thereafter, cross the traffic juncture in front of the temple’s main entrance and walk across the small park. Take the left juncture and walk through the shop houses till you reach the next junction. Over there, turn left and you’ll soon see yellow lanterns from afar. Walk towards that direction to find Chin Shan Gong.

Chin Shan Temple

Like Ching Shui Temple, Chin Shan Gong is usually quiet on normal days. Yet, this temple is special as it has three different levels and one will expect to see some large General Deity Figures (see pictures here). The temple’s primary deity is General Chin Shan.

These are the three main temples within the vincity of Longshan Temple MRT. To visit another temple in Wanhua District, one can walk back to the MRT station and take to Ximending Station, one stop away. To find out more about the Mazu Temple (媽祖廟)at Ximending, click here

Mazu Temple

Tips

Metro: 

Going to the temples in Wanhua is easy. One simply has to take Taipei’s MRT to Longshan Temple Station on the Bannan Line (Blue) and exit from Exit 4. The Longshan Temple is just across the street. However, as the traffic can be quite busy, do be careful when crossing the road. You must first walk out of Exit 1 at the MRT station, turn right into the Longshan Underground Mall, walk to the end and ascend up the escalators to leave the mall at Exit 4. There are clear signs hung above along the way.

Walk to discover:

All the temples are within walking distance (with the exception of Mazu Temple). There are many interesting shop houses one will have to pass along the way, so take your time to observe the activities carried out in each shop house. They are unique in their own way!

Visiting Temples: 

There are some temple etiquette one should follow before entering the temple. As a form of respect, one should never point using the finger, as that is considered rude. Instead, to indicate something, use your right hand with palm facing upwards. Also, never enter the temple from its main entrance. It is advisable to enter from the right entrance and leave from the left exit.

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Entire Family Tour

Suggested Itinerary


  • Arrive before lunch at Longshan Temple to walk around with the children before the crowds
  • Grab lunch at a local delicacy
  • Learn more about Taipei and Wanhua’s history at Bopiliao Historic Block with kid-friendly exhibitions
  • Take one MRT stop to Ximending and visit the Red House to look at art and local designer pieces
  • Eat dinner at one of the many themed restaurants
  • Finish off with dessert like the tall ice cream!


Longshan Temple

Longshan Temple is a famous establishment in Taipei. It is said that whatever you pray at this temple, it will come true so do give it a try. However, arrive before lunch hour because as the crowds come later in the day it may not be so safe with small children and dozens of lit joss sticks all around.

Longshan Temple

Local Delicacies

There are many restaurants and local food stalls around the Longshan Temple. A short walk will take you to famous locations like Chen’s Oyster Vermicelli or to Taiho Bakery for a treat.

Chen's Oyster Vermicelli
Taiho Bakery

Bopiliao Historic Block

The Bopiliao Historic Block is located next to a primary school and includes old architectural buildings as well as a culture and heritage museum. The museum is very kid-friendly with fun games for them to experience the way school children their age used to live in Taipei. The building itself is great for photography and many couples use this location to take wedding shots.

Bopiliao

Bopiliao


The Red House

Ximending is only on Metro stop away from Longshan MRT Station. Just take one stop along the Bannan Line toward Ximen MRT Station and depart from Exit 1. The Red House will be on your left.

The Red House

 Ximending

Ximending is popular for youth but is also family friendly because there are cuisines that serve all tastes and street performances to see in the evening. Some fun dining choices for kids include themed restaurants like the Modern Toilet Restaurant. Food stalls along the street also serve fun desserts like tall ice cream which children and parents will love.

Modern Toilet Cafe

Modern Toilet Cafe

Tall ice cream (NT15)

Tips

Metro: The Longshan MRT Station is an easy way to get to Longshan Temple. Exit 4 is a one minute walk from the temple but it is slightly hard to find. You must first walk out of Exit 1 at the MRT station, turn right into the Longshan Underground Mall, walk to the end and ascend up the escalators to leave the mall at Exit 4. There are clear signs hung overhead along the way.

Walk to discover: There is much hustle and bustle around Longshan Temple and Bopiliao that is within walking distance. There is no need to take a bus to visit the other famous temples in the area or to find a playground at the local school for the kids to play. If the kids complain that it is too hot, walk into one of the many convenience stores to buy a cool beverage and sit down until they are ready to explore again.


Character: The area around Longshan is affectionately known as Monga (i.e. Bangka) to the local people. Since Monga was the first developed area of Taipei, it has its own character that visitors should take a moment to understand. Much activity happens outdoors under the sun because the locals enjoy the ability to interact with one another in easy proximity. That is why you will see some restaurants with tables out on the sidewalk.

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Ximending

If you have ever been to Japan or seen Japanese dramas, you will find that Ximending resembles shopping streets in Japan. Ximending is located in the Wanhua district of Taipei and became developed when the Japanese colonized Taiwan, hence its resemblance. Tourists may become attracted by the sights and sounds on the streets and fail to notice that this place fuses modernity and tradition.

Ximending

Modernity

The modern aspects of Ximending are quite evident and thus attracts youth to the area. There are rows of shops, food sold at all price points, movie theatres and many hair salons to fulfill the entertainment and aesthetic market. Yet just around the corner or hidden between clothing stores are pieces of history.

Ximending Map, click to enlarge

Tradition

Ximending’s Mazu Temple is situated between two modern store fronts and without the bright lights at night, a tourist may walk past unaware of such tradition in the stereotypically modern Ximending. So put down those shopping bags for awhile and step in under the temple arch.


Mazu Temple

Location: No. 51, Chengdu Rd., Wanhua District, Taipei 108
Telephone: 02-2331-0421
Hours: Daily from 6:00am to 11:00pm 

Transportation
MRT Station
Ximen Station (Exit 6)

Bus
18, 221, 232, 235, 257, 513, 621, 635 (Shuttle), 635, 637, 640, 659, 835, Blue2 bus to MRT Ximen Station 2.

Parking is available at Emei Parking Garage

Mazu Temple
This is the most famous temple in Ximending (西門町). Unlike other temples such as Longshan Temple (龍山寺), the temple is part of the row of shop houses along Chengdu Road. While this temple may look small and narrow from outside, it is actually pretty well equipped inside. Built in 1746, the construction of the temple was made possible due to donations from merchants from Zhangzhou and Quanzhou in Fujian, China. The principle deity in the temple is Mazu Godness (媽祖), while other deities includes Hongfa Dashi; the only temple in Taiwan that prays to this deity. 

Mazu Godness, Goddess of the Sea, is believed to provide protection to fishermen and sailors. Since Wanhua used to be a busy port along the Tamsui River with people coming and leaving by boat, the goddess is widely prayed to by Wanhua residents since the Qing dynasty. On Mazu’s birthday, the 23rd day of third lunar month of the Chinese calendar, a spectacular and lively ceremony is conducted in celebration of the goddess birthday. Before her birthday incense is burnt to bring her spirit back then during the ceremony there are sacrifice activities to honor Mazu.  

The Red House

Another location that is famous in Ximending and not hidden like the Mazu temple is the Red House. Read more on the Red House from this article. Behind the Red House is a large infusion of modernity with rows of bars and entertainment.

The Red House

Presidential Office Building

Although Ximending is most lively in the evening, if you happen to be in the area earlier in the day then seize the opportunity to learn more about Taipei city at the Presidential Office Building. From Exit 3 of the Ximen MRT Station, it takes less than a 7 minute walk straight until you see the building. The Presidential Office Building is open for viewing before 11:30am on weekdays and on the first Saturday of each month is open from 8am to 4pm. Be sure to wear proper shoes and appropriate attire because people wearing flip flops and sleeveless shirts are not allowed entry.

Presidential Office Building

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