Money is not everything, but it solves a lot of problems. Naturally, the money god, Tu-Di-Gong, is very popular in Taiwan. The most popular is Zi Nan Temple in Nantou County. It was our last stop on our trip to Nantou.
Religious affiliation is much more flexible in Taiwan than in the USA and you often see Buddist and Taoist beliefs mixed together. I had been to a few temples before but this was the busiest I have been too. Like everywhere in Nantou there were plenty of places that would charge for parking. We parked in the large free parking lot south west of the temple.
Like most mountains in Taiwan, there was a shuttle, lots of shuttles. The trail up to Wangyou Forest (忘憂森林) is no different. After the Monster Villiage, it was a nice change to be out in nature. We heard “100 to the top” about a dozen times walking from the car to the road up the mountain. Instead up the mountain we went it was a nice steep walk that included switch backs and dodging the shuttles driving fast up and down the mountain.We had already avoided paying for parking by finding one of the few places you could pull a car off the side of the road.
Lots of entrepreneurs having the same idea to make money of a free thing. The entrepreneur I wanted to see, someone selling water bottles half way up the trail, was missing. At the end of the trail was a restaurant, a bathroom you have to pay to use, and someone selling water and ice tea.
Xitou Monster Village in Nantou is a family-friendly tourist trap. That is the best sentence I can sum it up with. The monster themed village gets over 200,000 visitors each month so they are doing something right. I am sure it also helps keep the hotel busy. Either way, it makes a great stop for an hour or two. Fortunately, it was just a short walk from the hotel we were staying in.
The best part of the village is the show, at night (7PM/ 1900). The best part of that show is the drumming. After that, it becomes a children show complete with mascots and that monster watch song. That catchy song gets stuck in your head just like Let it Go and won’t go away.