My favorite Taiwanese film is The Great Buddha + , and in it there is a scene where the main characters go to pray in a temple dedicated to former Taiwanese dictator Chiang Kai-shek. Apparently the scene was filmed in a real temple which has been (mostly) abandoned. Knowing that I like this kind of place, my wife found out where it is (thank you honey) and last weekend we decided to go check it out.
The temple is in rural Miaoli, close to a small village called Baishatun, and is actually marked on Google Maps. The place is completely open so anyone can just walk in, no need to be some kind of hardcore urban explorer. I don’t really have much more to say about the place itself, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:
The main courtyard
Some random stuff in various small rooms around the main courtyard
The dust covered altar
Rusty old incense burner
There wasn’t much more to see in the abandoned temple but since we had time we checked out a few other places in the area. There are several (not abandoned) temples nearby. Two of them house famous statuettes of the goddess Mazu that get carried from one temple to the next during certain festivals. This could be fun to see but we came at the wrong time. We only visited the smaller of them and the temple itself wasn’t particularly impressive. We did however stumble on a third, less famous, temple that was much bigger and had a giant statue of the goddess Mazu behind it. This was very impressive especially since we didn’t expect it.
The Mazu statue in all its glory
Except for temples there’s also a a set of old railway tunnels that have been turned into a kind of park called Guogang Tunnel. It’s not super exciting if you’re interested in urban exploration but a nice place to go for a stroll.
I really liked exploring the abandoned Chiang Kai-shek temple; abandoned temples are pretty rare and the fact that it’s dedicated to Chiang Kai-shek makes it even cooler. This place is really worht a visit if you enjoy urban exploration. The Mazu temples and the old train tunnel were nice but not something I would drive a long distance to go see. However, if you’re in the area and have some time over it can be worth checking them out.