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New Taipei City Travel

Once upon a time there was a walled city — Exploring Fangqiao City and the four temples

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Exploring Fangqiao City

When it comes to walled cities in Taiwan, the first places most people think of are Tainan City, Taipei City, and Hengchun Township. The gates of these cities, which were built by officials, still have their gates and even some of their walls, and some of them have had MRT stops named after them (Beimen [north gate] Station, Ximen [west gate] Station or the Taipei MRT line), and are a shared memory among present-day Taiwanese people. But did you know that there is also a walled city in Banqiao, the prime district of New Taipei City?
When going from the MRT Fuzhong Station to the Lin Family Mansion and Garden, perceptive travelers will notice that the streetlights in this area are particularly old fashioned, and that they are labelled “Fangqiao Walled City.” On top of that, when looking down, you can see the words “City Border” on the street tiles. The ancient Fangqiao Walled City had five city gates, just like Taipei; additionally, its history is even better known than that of Taipei, primarily due to two major factors that led to the establishment of the city: the Lin family of Banqiao and the Zhang-Quan fighting.
Back in the Qing Dynasty, there were frequent fights between Zhangzhou and Quanzhou immigrants; in order to defend themselves from the Quanzhou immigrants, the Banqiao Lin family, who originally came from Zhangzhou, built the Fangqiao Walled City in 1855, stretching out to present-day Ximen [west gate] Street, Beimen [north gate] Street, Nanmen [south gate] Street, and Guanqian West Road. However, during the Japanese occupation, the city was demolished to make place for traffic. Nevertheless, the temples located in the area still show traces of the old city.枋橋古城地圖 
Cihui Mazu temple
Located at the east side of the Fangqiao Walled City is the most popular Mazu temple in the Banqiao District. The temple is decorated on both the inside and the outside with fragmented ceramic art, sculptures, and color paintings, and the highly refined temple buildings are richly ornamented. In addition, the temple is a popular place for people to pray for prosperity, and local business magnates such as the Banqiao Lin family are all frequent visitors. If you look carefully, you can even find a dragon pillar bearing the business name of the Lin family.
Banqiao Jieyun Temple
The Jieyun Temple and the Xinzhuang Dizang Temple, both located near the west gate of Fangqiao Walled City, are historically related to the Zhang-Quan fights; the Dizang Temple was built by the Banqiao gentry to commemorate the Zhangzhou people who died in the altercations. The Jieyun Temple, which is on the other side, was formerly known as the Zhonghe Ciyunyan Temple, but was destroyed during the armed struggles, and its remains were taken over by the Banqiao Jieyun Temple. Its collection contains many precious ancient plaques and scrolls, and there are many wood carvings of flying immortals wrapped in gold foil on both sides of the roof as well as in the main hall, which are very spectacular. The caisson ceiling has a special long oval design, and is of great historical and religious value.
Banqiao Diyi Temple
The only one of the four temples to have been a city-designated temple, the Diyi Temple, was built by the Banqiao Lin family to commemorate the people who died fighting; it is also known as the Yuanshuai Temple. In 2021, after it was restored, the temple opened up for the public by appointment. The paintings of the Door Gods and the Qilin murals inside are all made by master painter Mr. Cai Longjin, the winner of the New Taipei Cultural Award. Next time you are in Banqiao, on your way to the Lin Family Mansion and Garden, slow down and closely follow the inscriptions on the ground to explore the former Walled City, and enter the temples to admire the exquisite paintings and craftmanship, and explore the past life of the city!


New Taipei City’s Happy Waterfront Line: Offering a number of activities that satisfy your needs at once!
The colorful urban life is often accompanied by tension that is hard to relax. Don't want to travel far or be in crowded places. Let's traverse the riverbank and pass through the water gate to access New Taipei City's Happy Waterfront Line, where you can relish the fresh air and scenic riverside environment! Developed along the Tamsui River, Dahan River, Xindian River, and Keelung River, New Taipei City's Happy Waterfront Line boasts well-designed cycling routes, numerous recreational parks, sports facilities, and scenic bridges. This article offers a variety of riverside activities for you, including options for family fun, discovering secret spots, romantic dates, taking selfies, as well as leisurely strolling in scenic spots. Join us in exploring the riverside to rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit!”Family fun: The Bear Monkey Forest of New Taipei City Metropolitan Park, Sunshine Sports Park in Xindian, and Bitan Scenic Area.Featuring a vast expanse of over 400 hectares, the New Taipei City Metropolitan Park is a seldom-seen green corridor within the city. In recent years, both the MRT Zhonghe-Xinlu Line and the MRT Taoyuan Airport Line have established a station here (Sanchong Station), greatly enhancing the region's accessibility. The largest inclusive park in the country, “Bear Monkey Forest”, is also located within the metropolitan park. With slides inspired by the images of over 31 species endemic to Taiwan, more than a hundred recreational facilities, and an inclusive playground that seamlessly integrates with the natural terrain and ecology, Bear Monkey Forest is undoubtedly the ideal place for family fun. The “Sea World Water Park” was opened in the summer of 2022. Featuring seven aquatic facilities shaped like Taiwan's unique aquatic creatures, it has enriched the diversity of the metropolitan park!Sunshine Sports Park is Situated on the left bank of the Xindian River and spans approximately 20 hectares. Designed on the theme of “Sunshine Oasis”, the park has seamlessly integrated inclusive play equipment into the existing natural hills and pebble beaches. The park is designed with six major zones: the Adventure Zone, Tree Neighbor Play Zone, Sandbox Experience Zone, Green Shade Forest Zone, Green Picnic Zone, and Butterfly-Shaped Waterway Zone.It also features a roller-skating track, a 400-meter running track, a beach volleyball court, and a soccer field, making it one of the top sports leisure parks in Xindian.The 2023 Ankeng Light Rail, launched in February 2023, also set up the K07 Sunshine Sports Park Station here. By transferring from Shisizhang Station on the MRT Circular Line to the Ankeng Light Rail, it only takes a two-station ride to easily arrive at Sunshine Sports Park, allowing visitors to enjoy the beautiful riverside scenery upon arrival.👉Recommended Itinerary:Following the launch of Ankeng Light Rail: A new travel tip that connects Ankeng and XindianBitan, nestled amidst picturesque mountains and a serene lake, stands as a celebrated gem of northern Taiwan, steeped in both history and natural splendor. A must-do when visiting Bitan is to embark on a tranquil boat ride across the lake. Collaborate with your family members as you paddle together on a pedal boat, fostering stronger bonds while soaking in the enchanting riverside vistas and the captivating allure of Bitan's Little Red Cliff from up close. While holding your children's hands, walk across the long-standing Bitan Suspension Bridge to enjoy a high vantage point overlooking the scenic view of the emerald lake waters and Hemeishan. Afterward, head to the East Coast Food Square to savor delicious dishes while enjoying the gentle breeze.When the spring transits to summer each year, the Bitan’s water dance and Hemeishan’s fireflies make their appearance simultaneously. The magnificent water dance takes place in the center of Bitan, painting the night sky of Xindian with its vibrant display. The forest of Hemeishan, on the other hand, is full of fireflies flying around as it is the most active time for fireflies, brimming with vitality and energy.Discovering secret spots: Xizhi Wudu Cycling Route and Yingge Central River Sunset Trail Amidst the changing lights and shadows, the arched space of the old brick tunnel felt like a time machine, transporting you back to when it was built during the Japanese era. After undergoing restoration and revival, the TRA's Old Wudu Tunnel, now equipped with lighting fixtures and a cycling route, has emerged as the most captivating stretch along the Keelung River cycling routes, once again showcasing its rich historical charm.👉Related Articles:The Xingfu Waterfront – Exploring New Taipei by cyclingThe calm and waveless river reflects the silhouette of Yuanshan (Yuan Mountain), creating a picturesque rural scene. Located at the boundary between New Taipei and Taoyuan, the Yingge Central River Sunset Trail is part of the Dahan River Cycling Route. Nestled amidst the mountain and lake views crafted by Yuanshan and Yuanshan Weir, it is a hidden gem away from the urban hustle and bustle. Let's ascend to the observation platform perched on a small hill, and savor the splendid scenery of mountains and waters in solitude.Romantic dates and taking selfies: Bali Left Bank and Tamsui Golden AnchorWhile strolling along the from the Bali ferry terminal to the Bali Left Bank Strolling Square, you will discover several beautiful photo spots. Bali Left Bank is a great place for loved ones to visit! The “Bali Landmark” that exudes exotic charm, the heart-shaped “Mirror of Happiness” sculpture, and the dreamy “European-Style Domed Pavilion” - let's capture the romantic and picturesque moments with your mobile phone! Select an outdoor café to enjoy a leisurely afternoon coffee break and savor the stunning sunset over the Tamsui River.Tamsui Golden Anchor is located on the outer edge of Tamsui Old Street. It features a shaded promenade along the Tamsui River, waterfront areas, fishing spaces, a waterside stage, coffee seating, and a tidal observation bay. Strolling along the Tamsui River while gazing into the distance at Guanyinshan (Guanyin Mountain) on the opposite bank and the wide estuary of the Tamsui River brings a sense of tranquility to one's heart and mind. Along the Golden Anchor, you can leisurely explore renowned historic relics of Tamsui, such as Tamsui Customs Wharf and Fort San Domingo. These historic landmarks bear a unique blend of Eastern and Western influences in Tamsui.Leisurely strolling in scenic spots: Xindian’s Sunshine Bridge, Xinzhuang’s Crescent Bridge, Xizhi’s Starlight Bridge, Sanchong’s Sunlight Bridge, and Yingge’s Longyao (Dragon Kiln) Bridge. Although the Tamsui River and its tributaries have brought abundant resources to New Taipei City , they have also divided the Taipei Basin. To enhance the convenience of land transportation, New Taipei City has constructed dozens of bridges along the riverbanks. Among them, there are five beautifully designed scenic bridges specifically built for pedestrians and cyclists, collectively known as the “Sun, Moon, Stars, and Dragon”, forming the most beautiful architectural landscape along New Taipei City's Happy Waterfront Line. Each of these scenic bridges is designed with a beautiful projection mapping light show that captivates people's attention during the day and at night!Launched at the end of 2011, the Sunshine Bridge that connects Sunshine Sports Park with Zhongyang New Village is the first people-oriented river-crossing scenic bridge in New Taipei City. Not only is it specially designed for pedestrians and bicycles, but also it features a night projection mapping show, making it the “big brother” among the five scenic bridges. The Sunshine Bridge is a single-rib steel arch suspension bridge that supports the bridge deck with steel cables resembling violin strings and five arches. This elegant bridge of simplicity has already become a significant landmark in the Xindian area.The surface of the Dahan River reflects the double-arch bridge, creating a stunning riverside night scene with the distant crescent moon. The Crescent Bridge spans the Dahan River, connecting Banqiao 435 Art Zone with Xinzhuang Old Street. The total length of the Crescent Bridge and its approach is 1,133 m, making it the longest twin span steel arch bridge in Taiwan and the longest and most magnificent among the five scenic bridges. The Crescent Bridge has four scenic resting platforms with different features, along with the immensely popular skywalk. As you walk on the 60-meter transparent pathway, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Dahan River below and the opportunity for a thrilling visual experience!Featuring an erect giant microphone pointing towards the sky, this 270-meter Starlight Bridge in Xizhi has adopted a unique design with a “single-span cable-stay bridge” structure. Spanning the Keelung River, the bridge is situated next to the Wudu Railway Station and its white pillars and a bridge structure are adorned with point light sources, creating a sparkling and eye-catching starry night.The Sunlight Bridge, located in the New Taipei City Metropolitan Park, connects the two banks of the Erchong Floodway. Its two-tier, double-curved bridge tower structure creates an observation platform; and the winding bridge deck that resembles a galaxy symbolizes the path of the Cowherd and Weaver Girl's reunion. The Sunlight Bridge is surrounded by various facilities such as a scenic stream, a water play area, a light dining and relaxation plaza, green beautification, and nighttime constellation light sculptures. These amenities enable residents to enjoy different urban landscapes, including the New Taipei City Metropolitan Park, Xinbei Bridge, and the MRT Taoyuan Airport Line, from a distance.“Wind riding on clouds, dragons spewing pearls, light forming shadows, and land connecting together.” The Longyao Bridge spanning across the Yingge River is like an auspicious dragon soars above the river. The bridge, adorned with wood sculptures, represents local history, humanities, and culture. It also leads the way to the New Taipei City Art Museum, Sanying Heart Space Arts, and Yingge Ceramics Museum, allowing visitors to experience the artistic atmosphere of the Yingge village.
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