Nantian Temple

Top choice in Western Taiwan

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's the scarier of two such places remaining in Taiwan; the other is in Tainan. Using mechanised animatronic dioramas and eerie lighting, the house features scenes from a Buddhist hell that show sinners being fried and disembowelled. This quirky religious kitsch from the '70s is more fun than scary by today's standards.

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.

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