Fo Guang Shan (佛光山) is a 50-years-young international Chinese Buddhist movement. The headquarters, of which I visited, is the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan.
I took a day trip from Kaohsiung to see what Fo Guang Shan had to offer. If you visit Taiwan, don’t miss Fo Guang Shan!
Getting to Fo Guang Shan from Kaohsiung
The journey to Fo Guang Shan is much easier from Kaohsiung than Google Maps might suggest. You can jump on a public bus from Taiwan High Speed Rail Zuoying Station which leaves every 35 mins. It takes just 30-45 minutes and cost NT$140 (~£3.50) for two people.
You can get a taxi or Uber for NT$800 (~£20) but I found the bus to be cheaper and more fun.
Get yourself on an MRT to Zouying Station. You can catch a direct E02 bus. There are also a slower 8501 bus from there and back via E-DA World. You can also take the 8010/11 bus from Kaohsiung Main station but it stops in many places.
What to bring with you
Fo Guang Shan, a Buddhist complex in the Dashu district of Kaohsiung is well equipped. You will find plenty of vending machines for drinks. There’s also restaurants, cafes, and gift shops. There’s even a Starbucks in the main building. You really can’t escape globalisation, even from within the most impressive Buddhist monastery in Taiwan.
So, there’s no need to bring anything. Just remember your camera!
What to expect
If you go during summer, it will be hot! Don’t forget you will be walking around outside for most of the day. Seriously, we had to buy an umbrella to protect us from the heat.
If you do, consider arriving at around 3pm to avoid the hottest part of the day when the sun is directly above you. If you stay for a few hours, you will also get to see the sunset behind the Big Buddha statue!
I have read other blog posts about Fo Guang Shan of which say it is more catered to the elderly. Some can argue, it isn’t the most exciting place in the world and it is frequented by older generations. However, I really enjoyed myself! It is a fantastic destination to test your photography skills with friendly guides eager to teach you about their religion.
The Big Buddha statue measuring 40 metres tall and sitting 108 metres high from ground level! Comprising of steel and bronze, it is the highest seated bronze Buddha in the world. For me, this was a big enough reason to visit Fo Guang Shan.
The Fo Guang Shan Museum also houses 48 underground palaces closed to the public to preserve human civilisation and record human history.
A final reminder to enjoy yourself! The whole area is an incredible and humbling experience. The staff are all extremely friendly and if you don’t understand what you are doing inside one of the worship rooms, like I did, there’s always someone to guide you.
Soak it all up, take as much photography as your memory card can handle, then share your photos on Instagram using #thattravelblog so I can remember how much fun it was.
Address: Fo Guang Shan (佛光山)
No. 1, Tongling Rd, Dashu District, Kaohsiung City, 840