Western Taiwan

The Baguashan slopes were for centuries a military observation zone. The area affords views over the whole city and far out to sea. It’s a pleasant place to stroll, especially in the spring, when the snow-white flowers of the Youtong trees are in bloom. At the top of the staircase leading from the entrance, you'll find a 22m-high Great Buddha Statue to your right up some more steps, and, to your left, a large semicircular viewing deck with a wooden walkway. You can see the sunset from there.

The large black Buddha sitting on a golden lotus was built in 1962. You can go inside the 22m-tall structure, which has five floors of fantastical sculptures of phoenixes and elephants, and life-sized exhibits depicting the life and teachings of the Buddha.

The Nine Dragons Pond is really a fountain, and it's situated in a semicircular plaza under the viewing deck. There are nine golden dragons with jaws gaping skyward.

In the southern foothills of Baguashan is the bizarre Nantian Temple and haunted gallery, where Taiwanese parents used to take their kids to scare them into obedience. You'll see gory scenes from a Buddhist inferno enacted by mechanised animatronic dioramas. On the 3rd floor is a temple dedicated to the Monkey King that looks like it belongs to a '70s period movie, like those by director Li Han-hsiang. The top floor houses a new section of the haunted house that's darker, louder and more theme-park-like, but less interesting than the first one.

Look for the green sign that says Nantian Temple (南天宮) directly opposite Baguashan's main entrance. Follow the narrow path downhill. The path is clearly signposted and you'll see advertisements, in Mandarin, for '18 levels of hell fully mechanised' or 'No expense spared in recreating the 18 levels of hell'. You'll arrive at the temple after five minutes.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Western Taiwan attractions

1. Great Buddha Statue


At the top of Baguashan is a large black Buddha statue sitting on a golden lotus. You can go inside the 22m-tall structure which has five floors featuring…

2. Nine Dragons Pond

0.36 MILES

The pond is situated in a semicircular plaza reachable via a flight of stairs to your left when you finish your ascent to the top of Baguashan. Above it…

3. Nantian Temple

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In the southern foothills of Baguashan is this bizarre temple and haunted house where parents used to take their children to scare them into obedience. It…

4. Changhua Arts Museum

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This 1726 beauty ranks as one of the oldest Confucian temples in Taiwan and as a first-class historical relic. Inside the ancestral hall, there's an…

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8. Nanyao Temple

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