Two renowned temples in the country were voted the most popular places to visit, according to an online poll for the “New Top 12 Attractions of Taiwan” conducted by the Web portal site Yam.com.
Nearly 1 million people took part in the poll, after tourism experts recommended 32 entries to vie for the top 12 spots, according to the organizer of the survey.
The Chaotien Temple (朝天宮) in Yunlin County’s Beigang (北港) — the nation’s oldest Matsu shrine — and the Daitian Temple (代天府) in Greater Tainan’s Nankunshen (南鯤鯓) — the nation’s largest temple dedicated to the Royal Lords (王爺廟) — shared first place.
Little Town in Lugang (鹿港小鎮), Changhua County, came in second place, followed by Taipei’s Beitou hot springs, known for its scenic geothermal landscape and home to numerous hot spring bathhouses and hotels.
Yam.com public relations manager Chuang Feng-kang (莊峰綱) said the polling began last month. In the first stage, tourism experts came up with 32 recommended sites and places for the online voting, he said.
The 32 entries included Greater Kaohsiung’s Meinong (美濃), a predominantly Hakka town known for preserving the craft of making traditional paper umbrellas; the flying fish season on Orchid Island (蘭嶼); the Buddha Memorial Center of Fo Guang Shan Monastery (佛光山); and the religious shrines at Dharma Drum Mountain (法鼓山).
The list also contained the revitalized tourist area of Pingsi (平溪), the setting for the popular movie You Are the Apple of My Eye (那些年，我們一起追的女孩), Kaohsiung MRT Formosa Boulevard Station, which has been rated by international panels as among the world’s most beautiful subway stations, and the bicycle trail around Sun Moon Lake (日月潭).
Online voting commenced on Oct. 9 and close to 930,000 people cast their ballots over two weeks.
Chaotien Temple and Daitian Temple received 79,276 ballots, about 9 percent of the total vote. Little Town of Lukang garnered 75,000 votes (8 percent) and Beitou hot springs received 66,000 votes (7 percent).
The two temples were bundled together due to their close geographic proximity, similarity in historic and cultural context, and their high stature as the most important temples for the Matsu Goddess and the Royal Lords respectively, he said.
Other places ranked in order were: Hualien County’s Cisingtan (七星潭) and Shihtiping (石梯坪) seashores; Lanyu Island in Taitung County; Greater Tainan’s Confucius Temple (孔廟) and snack foods; Greater Taichung’s Lihpao Land Amusement Park; Dajia Matsu Temple’s (大甲媽祖廟) religious festival; Kaohsiung MRT Formosa Boulevard Station and the bicycle trails around Greater Kaohsiung; Hsinchu City’s Taiwan Pavilion, which was previously at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo; Donggang Harbor, Dapeng Bay (大鵬灣) and Siaoliouciou (小琉球); Dharma Drum Mountain’s (法鼓山) Zen Retreat Center and late Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng’s (鄧麗君) cemetery, both located in New Taipei City (新北市); and the Buddha Memorial Center of Fo Guang Shan Monastery in Greater Kaohsiung.
Meanwhile, Huashan Creative Park (華山文創園區) in Taipei took first place in the “Must-visit place for young culture artists” category. The panel judges’ top award went to the bicycle trails at Taroko National Park (太魯閣) and Sun Moon Lake, while the Seashore Park on Heping Island (和平島) in Keelung, which recently reopened after three-years’ renovation, grabbed the “Refresh New Change” Award.