Some are humongous and grandiose.
Others are teeny tiny.
There are Buddhist, Taoist and Confucius temples in Taiwan.
Depending on which kind of temple you discover, you will notice differences in structure and artwork.
This is Hsinchu's City God Temple, also known as the Cheng Huang Temple.
It is a Taoist temple smashed in between a busy night market and even busier down town Hsinchu.
It was built in 1748 and is considered the highest ranking city god temple in all of Taiwan due to the superior power of the spirits that protect the city.
Cheng Huang, the city god of justice, is responsible for determining the fate of all spirits in Hsinchu.
Due to the temple's Taoist nature, it is bright and colorful.
Its roof is broad and sweeping and includes figures that represent good luck such as the dragon.
Inside, there is a large oven where money is burned as an offering to the spirits.
Taoist temples are very busy places, and even though there are no resident monks or nuns, locals use these temples for ceremonies that include loud music, fragrant incense and booming firecrackers.
As an outsider, I no longer feel awkward exploring a temple in Taiwan.
At first I did.
I felt like an intruder because Taiwanese people actually use their temples all the time.
You would actually be hard pressed to visit a temple that was not being used by someone, even if it was in the mountains.
But so far, after more than two years living in Taiwan, I can say that I have never once been looked at funny or dismissed or spoken to/gestured at rudely for being curious about these intriguing religious structures.
For the most part, this is the one place locals ignore me.
They do their thing, I do my thing.
And every time I visit a temple, whether it be big or small or Buddhist or Taoist or Confucius, I am simply blown away by its beauty and buzz of activity and sometimes very odd placement.
After all, Taiwan has grown explosively in the last few decades.
As cities and towns boomed, old temples became dwarfed by towering apartment buildings and flashy shopping malls and sometimes even western restaurants.
It's a bizarre juxtaposition at times, like when The Outback Steakhouse is next door neighbors with a 300 year old Buddhist temple.