Wuji Tianyuan Temple (無極天元宮) is a stunning Taoist temple located at the foothills of Datun Mountain in Danshui (often also spelled Tamsui) just on the outskirts of Taipei City.
If you’re spending a bit of time in Taipei and want to get out of the city to experience one of the most beautiful settings imaginable, visiting Tianyuan Temple is a great add-on to any itinerary in Taipei.
Here’s a quick guide covering everything you need to know about visiting Wuji Tianyuan Temple during cherry blossom season in Taiwan.
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Why is Wuji Tianyuan Temple so Famous
While Wuji Tianyuan Temple is an important religious site, people tend to visit here for a completely different reason. And that’s for its charming scenery.
Just behind the temple, in the middle of the sprawling grounds, you’ll find the star attractions – an ornate 5-tiered pagoda (also called the Altar of Heaven) and dozens of little romantic lanes lined with Yoshino cherry trees and tricolored sakura. It’s an incredibly photogenic place to visit and arguably one of the best places to see sakura in Taiwan.
Insider’s tip: You won’t be able to see the pagoda or the cherry blossoms from Beixin Road. That’s because they are actually located behind the temple. Once you get to the pagoda, you’ll find several trails leading off behind it. Here you can wander among dozens of gorgeous cherry trees. For the best views and picture-perfect frames, head to the pavilion behind the pagoda!
Best time to visit Wuji Tianyuan Temple
Wuji Tianyuan temple is a cool place to visit year-round. But for a truly incredible experience, come during cherry blossom season. (But judge for yourself by the pictures included in this guide).
Cherry blossoms at Wuji Tianyuan Temple usually start blossoming during winter in Taiwan towards the beginning of February and, in some cases, even a bit earlier. They only last a few fleeting weeks, so timing is essential if you want to visit during cherry blossom season in Taiwan.
Since Taiwan doesn’t have an official cherry blossom forecast like Japan or South Korea, it can make planning your trip around this annual phenomenon a bit harder. With that said, though, you should be able to see cherry blossoms here from late January to early February, and then again in early March when a different cherry blossom tree blooms.
You should however know that Wuji Tianyuan Temple is a real hot spot. As a result, it can get crowded very quickly during cherry blossom season in Taiwan. If you want to skip most of the crowds, it’s a good idea to come before 11 am. Also (if you can), avoid coming during the Lunar New Year celebrations as this is usually the busiest time.
Late January to early March in Taiwan is still quite cold, especially in the island’s northern parts. So don’t forget to pack something warm like a light down jacket. (See my Taiwan packing list if you’re unsure what to bring along on your trip).
It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast before your trip and bring an umbrella (just in case) as it can rain for days in Taipei. However, most days are pleasant, with temperatures ranging between 19-24 degrees Celsius.
Tianyuan Temple Opening Hours
The official opening hours for Wuji Tianyuan Temple are from 6 am to 10 pm daily. For the best photography, make sure to visit earlier before the crowds set in (around noon). Alternatively, come to watch the sun melt away over the horizon at sunset! The temple also set up lighting for nighttime viewing for the first round of cherry blossoms this year (Jan 25 – Feb 6). Hopefully, they’ll do it again for the second round in March!
Wuji Tianyuan Temple Entrance Fee
Taiwan has no shortage of interesting temples, and Wuji Tianyuan Temple is no exception. The best part about visiting this temple is that the entrance is free.
It’s a great place to spend a few hours strolling through the sublime gardens, pop into the temple’s incense-filled halls, and admire the enormous buddha statues within the pagoda.
Unfortunately, entry to the pagoda’s upper floors was not permitted on our visit, but apparently, each floor is dedicated to a different deity. If you happen to find the stairway open when you go to Wuji Tianyuan Temple, it will surely make for some interesting browsing and offer the perfect vantage point to snap some gorgeous photos.
How to get to Wuji Tianyuan Temple from Taipei
Wuji Tianyuan Temple is in Tamsui, a beautiful riverside district just along the edges of Taipei City.
If you do not have your own set of wheels, the easiest way to get to Wuji Tianyuan Temple from Taipei is by using the city’s highly efficient public transport.
First, you’ll need to take the subway and then a bus. Don’t worry; it’s all very easy, so the chances of getting lost are slim. For clarity’s sake, I’ve made Taipei Main Station the starting point, as this is the easiest place to kick-start any day trip from Taipei.
Step 1: Getting to Danshui from Taipei Main Station
From Taipei Main Station, take the MRT Red Line to Tamsui (the terminal station). The journey takes about 44 minutes and costs NT$50. (Pay with cash or an Easy Card). Once you’re at Tamsui MRT Station, you can catch a bus directly to the temple or simply hop in a taxi.
Step 2: Taking the Bus from Tamsui Station
Bus 875 (towards Beixinzhuang) is the cheapest and most direct way to get to Tianyuan Temple. The bus stops right in front of the temple (Tianyuan Temple bus stop), so you won’t need to walk far. A few other buses go here too, but these often include a transfer or don’t stop right in front of the temple. So the most convenient option is bus 875.
The bus leaves every 30 minutes from Tamsui Station, located just to the right of Exit 2. Buses run from 5 am – 9 pm, and a one-way ticket costs NT$15. The journey takes about 17 minutes or so. (Pay with cash or an Easy Card).
Insider’s tip: Make sure you have an Easy Card to avoid wasting time buying tokens or tickets. The Easy Card is a handy transit card that allows you to tap-on-and-off on Taiwan’s public transport. You can recharge the card at any convenience store across the island or at kiosks in stations.
Optional: Taking a Taxi from Tamsui Station
If you’ve missed the bus or simply want to shave off a bit of traveling time, another option is to take a taxi. There are usually loads of taxis waiting outside the station, but Uber is always another option if there aren’t any.
A yellow taxi to Tianyuan Temple costs between NT$230-260, and the ride takes about 10-15 minutes, depending on the traffic. Expect to pay roughly the same price or even slightly more for an Uber.
It’s always best to show taxi drivers your destination’s address in Chinese as they often don’t know the English names. Here you go: 251新北市淡水區北新路三段36號
Address: No. 36, Section 3, Beixin Road, Tamsui District, New Taipei City, 251 (see on Google Maps).
Insider’s tip: We tried to get an Uber back to Danshui but could not do so. If you find yourself in the same boat, there is a 7-11 right at the temple’s entrance, where you can order a yellow taxi through the iBon machine. The service is only in Chinese, but usually, the staff is happy to assist.
Where to Stay Near Wuji Tianyuan Temple
If you’re only visiting Danshui to see Tianyuan Temple, you probably already have accommodation booked in Taipei. (Here’s my super detailed guide on exactly where to stay in Taipei). But if you feel like changing things up a bit, it’s worth spending a night here as there are loads to see and do in the area. Here are some recommendations on where to stay near Tianyuan Temple.
Budget – Happiness.Danshui
Located only a 4-minute walk away from the Tamsui metro station, this little hotel is a great place to spend a night in Danshui. With the promenade and the old street practically on your doorstep, you’ll have easy access to gorgeous riverside views and lots of shops and restaurants. Check rates and availability here.
Mid-Range – Bayview Tamsui Hotel
This 3-star hotel features clean rooms with comfy beds at very affordable rates. The best part? It’s only a 1-minute walk to the MRT Station! Check rates and availability here.
Luxury – The Gaia Hotel
The Gaia Hotel is actually not in Danshui but one stop down the Taipei metro (MRT) in Beitou – Danshui’s neighbor.
It’s a cool area to check out, especially if you fancy soaking in Taipei’s most famous hot spring or want to check out the Hell Valley. The Gaia is the most luxurious hot spring hotel in Beitou and features exquisite rooms and a great library filled with ceiling-high bookshelves. Check rates and availability here.
Well, that’s all I’ve got on Wuji Tianyuan Temple. If you think I’ve missed anything or have any questions about visiting this gorgeous Taipei temple, let me know in the comments below!
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