As one of the largest Buddhist temples in Taiwan, Fo Guang Shan Monastery is a must-see destination for first-time visitors. Home to a 100-meter (328-foot) statue of a golden Buddha, as well as 500 smaller versions of the religious deity, the complex promises epic photographs and scenic views of the nearby Gaoping River.
The rural location of Fo Guang Shan Monastery and the unreliable nature of the public transport servicing the area means that many travelers opt to visit the monastery as part of a multi-day Taiwan tour. Typically, tours combine the Buddhist complex with visits to the dispersed Taroko Gorge, Sun Moon Lake, Kenting National Park, and the East Coast National Scenic Area. Plus, opting for a multi-day tour means that you’ll skip the hassle of arranging accommodations, transfers, and activities.
Things to Know Before You Go
- If you’re visiting in summer, bring an umbrella and a hat as heat protection.
- This is a must-see for travelers interested in Buddhist architecture and history.
- There are coffee shops and vending machines at the complex.
How to Get There
Fo Guang Shan Monastery, located off of Xingtian Road, is accessible by bus from Kaohsiung Railway Station via the direct bus to Fo Guang Shan Monastery. The shrine is also accessible via train; from Jiuquatang, take a taxi or local bus.
When to Get There
In summer, it’s best to arrive at the monastery in the late afternoon to avoid the midday heat. Plus, arriving later means that you’ll get to catch the sunset and see more than 14,800 lanterns begin to illuminate.
The Fo Guang Shan Movement
Travelers assume that all Buddhist monuments have stood for hundreds of years, and many are surprised to discover that the Fo Guang Shan Monastery is only 50 years old. The Chinese-Buddhist movement, which counts as its headquarters the monastery, is founded in humanistic teachings and has garnered followers throughout the world.