The Old Town in Lukang may be just a small part of this Taiwanese township, but it’s bursting with heritage sites. Weave your way along hundred-year-old lanes, dipping into tiny old fan and lantern shops. Pick up sweet pastries, such as ‘phoenix eye’ cakes. Then get ready for the main event and Lukang’s masterpieces – its temples.
Temple town on the sea in northwest Taiwan.
Things to do
18th-century Longshan Temple is one of the biggest draws to Lukang. Aside from the number of impressive dragon and phoenix carvings, its sheer size means you’ll want to dedicate a whole morning (or afternoon) here. Pencil in Matsu Temple for a weekend visit instead. This is when local crowds swell, and incense swirls around the red lanterns and ‘Black Face Goddess’. Buy paper money as you go in and you can light some yourself.
HISTORY & CULTURE
Soak up the town’s heritage by wandering Lukang Old Street. The wonderfully named lanes that branch off it are narrow, lined with beautifully carved doorways and bustling with life. At the end of Old Street you’ll come across Half-Sided Well. If your legs are up to it, walk a bit further to the Folk Arts Museum, where a fascinating array of local artefacts are housed in a grand mansion.
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
As well as temples, Lukang’s heritage shines through its vibrant festivals. If you’re lucky enough to be in town for the Lukang Dragon Boat Festival, you’re in for a particular treat. Matsu’s Birthday is another highlight, when locals pay tribute to the mystical sea goddess.
Lukang is the place to sample street food, Taiwanese style. Trawl night markets for fried shrimp on sticks, steaming buns and sweet ‘cow tongue’ cakes.