Kaohsuing, Taiwan, April 2016. Fo Guang Shan is a Buddhist monastery of sizable proportions and is well worth a visit, according to the top ten things to do list I have seen. A quick look on Wikipedia reveals the place itself actually has no historic value but the Buddhist movement of course is centuries old. Just an hour from the city by Metro and bus I’d say lets go and explore the place. Google Map.
How to get to Fo Guang Shan: Get to the Kaohsuing High Speed Train Station – its on the red Metro line Northbound, about T$30 from Central Park. On exiting the Metro, walk ahead a few meters and on the left are waiting buses. The first bus in the 2nd bay is for Fo Guang Shan – its a shuttle bus so they are pretty frequent. Pay the driver T$65. Ignore taxi drivers saying the next bus is in 40 minutes time! The bus line ends at the tourist gate to the monastery but get off 1 stop before that and climb the steps to the monks entrance. This way avoids tourist tack shops and Chinese tour groups. The place is free to explore for as long as on likes.
What to see at Fo Guang Shan: Shrines, pagodas, gardens, frogs and wild exotic birds.Despite the place being on the Chinese tourist trail its remarkably peaceful. A calm and serene atmosphere exists and since the sky is blue, a good place for photographers to capture some pretty nice and unique architecture . A museum of art for when it rains and a coffee shop to cool down in, and actually reasonably priced.
So, lets explore ….
First, on the way there, one can’t miss this remarkable structure. A Ferris wheel on top of a giant shopping mall – smacks of Las Vegas to me!
Next, Fo Guang Shan the monks entrance…
And inside the complex – mystical architecture with breathtaking views.
There is a place called the Buddhist Memorial Hall, but I didn’t see it. Might have been at the tourist gate but since I arrived via the Monks gate then that explains it! Overall, worth an afternoon visit if just to get some peace from the city!. The bus is waiting for the return trip, another T$65. Although if there is energy left, why not get out at the giant shopping mall.