First: Seven Reasons Why Taipei is Better Than Singapore
Second: I now teach a class in Xinzhu on Wednesdays (HSR and taxi fares are reimbursed in full so this is fine). I mentioned to the class that I've been to the Temple to Chiang Kai Shek (whom I intensely dislike, but it was a cultural thing, like an anthropological interest) in their city and one of the students said: "Yes, I know that one. It's near Qinghua University Night Market. Do you know why he is a god? Because in Chinese culture, if you kill a lot of people or you are a robber, you will become a god when you die. So Chiang Kai Shek is a god now."
He's got a point, I must say.
Third: Saw a dead monk encased in gold the other day. (Link is to a site in Chinese). I didn't take a photo because it's not exactly respectful to do so, and we had to ask someone to open the shrine with the actual monk for us, as it was closed when we went...so a temple representative was there. And yes, it was very kind of them to open the shrine for us when it would otherwise be closed. But I found this online:
In the 1970s the monk under all this gold sat down to meditate and continued meditating, apparently, until he died in that position after taking no food or water and not moving from that position until...well, until it killed him. His devotion caused him to be considered a minor deity and have his gold-covered idol worshipped at Anguo Temple. So yes, that's really him under there.
Anguo Temple also has a well-known vegetarian restaurant that we were too full to eat at, but intend to return to and try. The view looks fantastic but it's hard to see through the trees.
To get there, take the MRT to Beitou Station and turn left after exiting. Take the 小6 bus from there (comes every half hour) - ask to be let off at an1 guo2 si4 - 安國寺. it'll go past a few hilarious storefronts on busy streets (we were quite charmed by Internet Technotronic, Taiwan Buffet New Conception, and Black Magic Rabbit Kitchen.)* Then it'll pass Xin Beitou station before climbing a steep hill. Soon after that you'll be let off - there's no stop, which is why you have to tell the driver in advance.
It's not a long walk back down the hill to Xinbeitou, so it's a good outing to combine with hot springs or something else in the area.
* Almost as good as Chili Lubricants and Cherry Grandfather Cake near Wanlong, Lady Juice on Changchun Road, Oh! God! Ya! near Shuanglian MRT and We Deliver Trust & Dreams on Minzu Road).