Monday, February 03, 2014

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Longtan, Taoyuan's picturesque little town

2/03/2014 Taiwan Explorer

Longtan 龍潭鄉, lit. Dragon Lake Township, is a picturesque little town in the southern part of Taoyuan County, located close to Daxi and Zhongli, and the famous Shimen Reservoir, one of Taiwan's biggest artificial lakes. I visited Longtan, because I wanted to go on a day trip not too far from Taipei, and see a place I have not seen before. When I checked Google Maps, I saw that Longtan has a nice lake in the center, and there's even a temple in the middle of the lake. "Not bad", I thought to myself, and asked my wife, if she had interest to go. And so we went the next day, and it was quite nice, because the weather was very sunny and warm.

The good thing about Longtan's location is that it's very well connected with Taipei with the National Highway 3. You'll need around 30 minutes drive from Taipei's suburbs, if there's no high traffic perhaps even less. Our trip included some interesting places in Longtan's hinterland such as the Sankeng Old Street, so we didn't have that much time to explore the central part of the town. We just went to area around the Longtan Lake 龍潭大池, and visited the Nantian Temple 南天宮.

Houses near the Longtan Lake.

The main entrance to the temple.

Lunar New Year decoration was aplenty.

The temple is quite big. It was built in 1972, and is today Longtan's main attraction.

A view from the side.

The main incense burner.

A lot of locals brought their children to the temple.

This was taken from the other side of the lake.

This is the longest bridge, but it was closed to public.

On the way out we spotted Longtan's Crazy House 龍潭怪怪屋, known as 葉山樓.

The house is today in bad condition, and mostly plastered with ads.

Longtan is definitely worth a stopover, but if you visit the town, don't just stay in the center, explore the surrounding areas, and you can have a very nice day trip. The area is predominantly Hakka, so there's an abundance of great restaurants that serve traditional Hakka food. And if you're into photography, the temple and the lake are really beautiful, I think a sunrise or sunset must offer some magical images.

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