Guandu Wharf and Temple Area (關渡碼頭及關渡宮)
Located along the riverfront, this temple dedicated to Mazu, goddess of the sea, and was first built in 1661. Alongside the main temple is a smaller Buddhist chapel dedicated to Guanyin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy, as well as a small food court and the Guandu Wharf, providing ferry services up and down the Tamsui River from as far as Dadaocheng Wharf (大稻埕碼頭) to Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf (淡水漁人碼頭).
Up on the hill behind the temples is a small park that provides great views of the river, Taipei City (including Taipei 101), and the mangrove swamps along the river. Guandu is an excellent place to take a short rest during a stroll or bike trip between Tamsui and Taipei City.
The temple at Guandu is the oldest Mazu temple in northern Taiwan, originally named "Ling-shan Temple" as it is located on top of Mt. Ling.
Guandu Temple is unique in its architecture and design. Filled with traditional Chinese stone lions, dragon pillars, and countless wall sculptures, even the stone gods that serve as guardians to the door of the temple are relief carvings instead of a typical painting. At the centre of the temple sits an image of Mazu, whose expression is in stark contract to those who guard her. This temple is one of the more well-kept and authentic temples in Taipei City.
Alongside the temple is Buddha cave, an 80 meter deep cave lined with 28 devas (a type of Buddhist spirit), and at the rear of the cave is a thousand-armed, thousand-eyed Guanyin (goddess of Mercy) and the cave's river-side exit.
Located close by to the temple is Guandu Nature Park (關渡自然公園), a large eco-park showcasing the unique species of plant and animal life that call the Guandu area home. Admission is NT$50 (children free), and can be purchased at the front gate.
In 1985, three old banyan trees at the temple's entrance suddenly died over the same night. According to legend, locals believed this to be a message from Mazu warning of an impending disaster. Shortly after, the area became occupied by the Japanese.
Guandu Wharf is a fully functioning ferry terminal. Passenger ferry services at Guandu operate at different schedules between Dadaocheng Wharf (大稻埕碼頭), Zhongxiao Wharf, and Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf (淡水漁人碼頭) in Tamsui. For more information, please visit RiverFun.Taipei.gov.tw, or directly visit the pier to check out the numerous packages and tours.
The Guandu Wharf and temple area is located adjacent to the Guandu Nature Reserve, a 57 hectare park home to a Riverside Biological Area and the Guandu Nature Centre.
Guandu Temple may also be known as Kuantu Temple.