Lung Shan Temple is one of the oldest temples in Taiwan. Because of the age of the buildings, it does not look like the other colorful temples in Taiwan. However you still can see that the artitectures are still well decorated in the traditional style. Most of the buildings are under the maintaince now to extend the life of these historical buildings.
Fuhai Temple (Fuhai Gong) (福海宮) is a beautiful and large temple in Wanggong. This was one of my favorite temples in Taiwan. The temple's main deity is Matsu, Goddess of the Sea, but many others are honored. This temple is odd in the way that it honors both Daoist and Buddhist deities; it is also rather large, considering it has many halls and three floors. True, this temple is not quite as beautiful as some others, but it is more of a local temple. The first floor and main hall honors the goddess Matsu, with an ashen-faced statue of her. From the first hall, walk back and you'll enter a small courtyard where another statue of Matsu stands above the sea (a fountain). You'll find stairs to your right and your left; go to the second floor. The hall on the second floor honors Guanyin, a Buddhist goddess. If you walk back towards the front of the temple, you can get close to the roof and actually see the roof designs close-up; quite an experience. Continue to the third floor, which honors the Jade Emperor (Yu-huang da-di), who, in Daoism, is the emperor of everything. Notice the ornate columns, ceilings, and walls.
Wanggong Fisherman's Harbour is the sight that most people come to this small town for. On weekends, there are a considerable amount of crowds, and there are parking fees everywhere; during the week, this place is basically deserted and parking is free. The main attraction is a small harbour for fishing boats, a lighthouse, and an arch bridge. There are views of the nearby Strait of Taiwan. If there are any fishermen in the harbor, you'll probably see them with their day's catch; around Wanggong, the most prized seafood is o-a (oysters). Notice how small many of the fishing boats are.
A half-hour south from Lugang via route 17, the coastal highway, is Wanggong, a tiny fishing hamlet beside the Strait of Taiwan. Along the way you'll pass through numerous ponds used to raise shrimp and fish, as well as plenty of temples and small towns. If you drive the narrow streets of the Wanggong, you can find locals selling O-a (hao) (oysters) and their day's catches; compared with most of the other areas I visited, Wanggong has a lot character. It also has two major sights that attract a handful of tourists every now and then: Wanggong Fisherman's Harbour, and Fuhai Temple.
Wenwu Temple (Wenwu Miao) (文武廟) is a relatively large and not often visited temple. There are a few other Wenwu Temples in Taiwan, the most famous being at Sun Moon Lake; comparatively, the one at Sun Moon Lake is more beautiful. All Wenwu Temples honor two figures, Confucius and Guangong (Wen stands for Confucius, and Wu for Guangong). Confucius is the most venerated teacher in China, whose philosophy has ruled China for almost 2,500 years; Guangong (Guanyunchan) (Guanyu) is the famed red-faced long-beard general from the Three Kingdoms Era (220-280 AD). At the time of my visit, the hall honoring Guangong was open but the one honoring Confucius was not; there are three seperate halls, which oddly are not linked. There is also a small shrine to Guanyin. The architecture here is simple compared to Tianhou Temple, but the simplicity makes it very beautiful. Also notice that unlike most other temples, the doors of Guangong's hall have no door guardians "men-shen" to protect him from demons; that is because in China, Guangong's fighting skill is considered unrivaled in the world and he therefore doesn't need protection.
Bintan Temple (本壇宮) is a small, unknown, typical Lugang temple honoring Guangong. Like most of Lugang's other numerous temples, this one has a bit of history; however, I've forgotten quite how old it was. The interior of the temple is very small and not immensely interesting; 15 minutes is enough to see the whole thing. Guangong, the deity honored here, was an actual general during the Three Kingdoms Era (220-280 AD), who fought for the kingdom of Shu and became known as the bravest and most skilled warrior in China's history (he is often called "Wusheng," the god of war).
Longshan Temple (Longshan Si) (龍山寺) is one of Lukang's most famous and historic temples; because of its age, the temple is not very ornate. Thie Buddhist temple is only one of the many Longshan Temples in Taiwan, some of the others being in Danshui and Taipei. The Jiji earthquake of September 21, 1999 caused conisderable damage to the temple, so the temple is now under going a major renovation; at the time of my visit, it was impossible to enter the main hall, and the entire area was covered with scaffolding. Hopefully, the temple will soon be restorted and visitation will once again be allowed.
Fengshan Temple (Phoenix Mountain Temple) (鳳山寺) is one of Lugang's lesser known and smaller temples. The temple honors Guangzhezhuenwang, a relatively unknown person/deity. He was a human that meditated and found dao, and somehow became a popular figure in a small part of China... the temple is small but still ornate, and considering it was built in 1822, is also rather historic. Since Longshan Temple is currently under renovation, this is the best temple still in the area.
An interesting sight in Lugang is the Narrow Alley (Touching breast alley) (Mo-ru Alley) (摸乳巷), a very narrow alley only as wide as a person's regular body width. It's name comes from the fact that two people can not walk abreast in the alley without running into each other. This is the narrowest of Lugang's complex of narrow lanes and alleys; walking it only takes two minutes, so it doesn't take long. The alley connects two major roads.
One of my favorite little temples in Lugang, Dizangwang Temple (地藏王廟) is a Buddhist temple honoring the Dizangwang Pu-sah. In Chinese Buddhism, there are two levels levels of highest deities, fo and pu-sah. Amita is a fo along with some others; Guanyin is a pu-sah. One of the less well known pu-sahs (to foreigners) is the Dizangwang pu-sah. Pu-sahs can be upgraded to fo, and Dizangwang Pu-sah is eligible for the upgrade, but he has always refused. Why? Dizangwang's mission in Buddhism is to help everyone in hell to correct their sins and rise to a better life. Dizangwang swore an oath that until the halls of hell were empty of souls and all had gone to a better life, he would never become a fo. This is why he is so loved and honored by many Buddhists.
This temple is rather small and generally uncrowded and also quite nice. Notice the door decorations and the statue of Dizangwang inside. Overall, this is a must-see in Lugang.
There are many halls in Tianhou Temple which invite endless exploration. The main hall has a series of Matsu statues; in the back hall, various deities are honored (there are at least 30 statues of deities in that large hall). There are even more worship areas up a flight of stairs. Before heading out to sea, fishermen would often come to temples honoring Matsu like Tianhou Temple to pray for her to protect them on the rough waters of the sea. Matsu is highly honored on the west coast of Taiwan, as well as the coast of Southwest China.
Built in 1683, Tianhou Temple (Heavenly Goddess Temple) (天后宮) is Lugang's most popular and famous temple. This massive temple honors Matsu, the Goddess of the Sea. There is a large gate in front of the temple; after entering, you'll find plenty of places and small worshipping areas to explore. The main hall has an ashen-faced statue of Matsu; you'll find more deities in the back hall. You'll probably also see many worshippers here.
Built in 1919, it was the houses of the Ku's family. Ku's family owns China Trust Group now and they are a properous family in Taiwan for more than hundred years. It became the folks museum in 1973. Inside the museum, they introduce the town and many traditional stuffs used at the old times.
Because the town was developed around 1684, some historical houses were built along the narrow alley in continous curves. Walking on these alleys, you will find some interesting views and the beauty of the some old houses.