Taiwan: Paoan Temple and Confucius Temple

dragon fountain

I have never come across a temple with as many conflicting, alternative spellings as Taipei’s Paoan Temple. Attempting to Google this beautiful structure is a remarkable tour through wildly different philosophies about spelling out Chinese words in English. It’s also called Bao’an, or Baoan, or….you get the idea.

Regardless, you should Google it, because the Paoan Temple is gorgeous, and well worth a special visit and perfectly easy to get to on the MRT.  Taipei’s Confucius Temple is, even more conveniently, right next door.

bao an temple

Like most temples, the Paoan is best enjoyed around sunset, especially if you’re hoping to take photographs. It’s an easy walk from the Yuanshan MRT stop, and as always in Taipei, there are nice English signs for people who are too stupid to read Chinese.

The grounds around the temple are lovely and feature the usual spitting dragon fountain, as well as cement statues of tigers, lions, and other animals, as well as the requisite deities.

taiwan evening

The adjoining neighborhood is nice as well, with small shops (many of them devoted to auto repair) and a busy night food market a few blocks away.

dragon roof background

I am exceedingly fond of Taiwanese temple roof decorations, and I feel strongly that they should be featured in more tract housing. Everywhere.

battling fish people

I would be very grateful if someone could explain this image to me. It looks to me like a traditionally-built warrior woman doing doughty battle with a concerned-looking fish person. Or do I even want to know? Just that summary is good enough for me already.

chinese lantern

The Paoan Temple has been lavishly renovated once and again over the years, and is now a gloriously well-maintained confection of wood, paintings, and paper lanterns. The effect is something out of a half-remembered fantasy of a Chinese temple you might have somewhere in the back of your brain, highly influenced by kung fu movies with very large budgets. It is well-worth seeing.

confucius temple

The Confucius Temple is also worth a quick stroll, through austere grounds befitting the greatest of Chinese scholars. There’s a small museum attached, though it was closed when we visited.


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