Longshan Temple 龍山寺
The most well known temple in Taiwan, the Mengjia Longshan Temple was built in 1738 by settlers from Fujian as a gathering place for Chinese settlers. Located in the old village part of Taipei, Wanhua District, this temple has stood the test of time and lasted through several natural disasters and wars.
During World War II, the temple was badly damaged by American bombers during the Raid on Taipei after an accusation the Japanese were hiding arms inside the temple.
Since the construction of the temple, Taipei residents have continuously renovated and improved the temple and the surrounding grounds, with the temple coming to represent the pride of Taiwanese temples and worship houses, worshipping a mixture of Buddhist, Taoist, and deities like Mazu.
Located one block to the east of the temple is the historic Bopiliao (剝皮寮), a walking street with Qing Dynasty architecture and a museum.
Longshan Temple is one of largest and oldest temples in Taiwan. Entrance is free, but donations to maintain the upkeep of the temple are accepted.
Visit Guangzhou Night Market, and make sure to try the snake soup at snake alley, Huaxi Night Market both located just west of the temple. Snake soup is exactly what it sounds like, and this experience is not one to be forgotten.
In the bazaar area surrounding Longshan Temple, fortune tellers set up shop with small stands and booths. If you can speak Chinese or have a Chinese-speaking friend with you, give it a shot! The experience is far different from a typical western-style fortune telling session.
The name Mengjia is a reference to the old name of Wanhua District before the Republic of China moved to Taiwan, with the name 艋舺 being pronounced in Taiwanese as Báng-kah.
Don't forget to visit Bangka [Wanhua] Qingshan Temple (艋舺青山宮), located a few blocks north of Longshan and a quick walk.
Longshan may also be spelled Lungshan Temple.