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“Amazing statues of Buddha”
Review of Fo Guang Shan

Fo Guang Shan
Ranked #2 of 375 things to do in Kaohsiung
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: At the north-east point of Dashu Township in Kaohsiung county, South Taiwan, Fo Guang Shan Monastery (literally translated as Buddha’s Light Mountain Monastery) sits on a bamboo hill on the left bank of the Gaoping river. Here you will find the headquarters of a prominent Buddhist order, established by Master Hsing Yun and his disciples. The architecture of the buildings within the monastery complex is characteristic of the traditional Buddhist monastery, but one may be pleasantly surprised with the array of visitor-friendly amenities on offer. The southeastern face of Fo Guang Shan Monastery features the prominent Great Buddha Land, which is home to a standing Buddha image of 48 metres in height, and 480 smaller Buddha images that surround it. English-speaking visitors may find information and maps in English at the Reception, and prior contact via email can be made to discuss free tour options.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access, Stairs / elevator
Reviewed July 17, 2013

This is a monastery located on a hill, with a huge statue (25 m) of Buddha on its top. Painted in gold, there're also hundreds smaller Buddha statues on the ground floor yard..just amazing.
They have a prayer room on the upper floor ( just in front of a small souvenir shop). If you tend to go inside don't try to take any photo or even comb your hair because the nun will grumble upon you with harsh words. I recommend you to buy some souvenirs from the shop, they sell beautiful things at affordable price, and buying from them means contributing to this establishment.

2  Thank Renny F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"main shrine"
in 14 reviews
"fo guang"
in 43 reviews
"buddha memorial"
in 17 reviews
"pure land"
in 4 reviews
"great buddha"
in 8 reviews
"monastery complex"
in 3 reviews
"taxi fare"
in 3 reviews
"hot shower"
in 3 reviews
"memorial centre"
in 10 reviews
"an amazing experience"
in 3 reviews
"bus or taxi"
in 3 reviews
"vegetarian meals"
in 5 reviews
"peaceful place"
in 5 reviews
"zuoying station"
in 10 reviews
"art gallery"
in 5 reviews
"wander around"
in 3 reviews
"souvenir shops"
in 6 reviews
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Reviewed June 25, 2013

Most of the people who goes to Kaohsiung for a reason which is to visit Fo Guang Shan Monastery. There is nothing much to see in Kaohsiung except Fo Guang Shan and Cijin.

There are not many tips on how to get there and what to check out when you get to Go Guang Shan Monastery therefore I am going to give you a clear picture of what to expect and what to see on your trip to Fo Guang Shan Monastery.

Tip 1: How to get there? There are two ways, its either you buy a coach bus ticket from the random coach bus companies at Kaohsiung Railway Station or you can get to Zuo Ying HSR station and go to coach bus platform 5 to get a coach to Fo Guang Shan. It takes only about 45 mins to 1 hour to get there. Bus fare is about 50 to 60 Taiwan dollar one way.

Tip 2: The coach bus will normally have two stops at the Fo Guang Shan area, one at the Fo Guang Shan Temple and the final stop at Fo Guang Shan memorial centre. I suggest you stop at the Fo Guang Shan Temple first because it is not that crowded in the morning and it is a picture perfect place to take photos.

Tip 3: Just to warn you, as you enter the Chinese temples and exhibition museum in the first stop, there will be a lot of nuns asking for donations to upkeep the estate. You are free to donate or choose not to donate. There is no obligation.

Tip 4: Walk around and enjoy the scenery and if you are hungry, you can stop for a quick bite. When you are ready, you can hop on the mini jeep near the main square and the driver will drive you to Fo Guang Shan Memorial Centre which is about 20 minutes walk away. And yes, you have to pay about 10 Taiwan dollar to the driver for each person (if I am not wrong).

Tip 5: when you get to the memorial centre, this is where all the actions are. There are tonnes and tonnes of Buddhist ornaments, statues, displays and exhibitions in the centre. There are also a few restaurants. We wanted to try the local fried vermicelli (Bee Hoon in Hokkien dialect) at the back of the building (outside) but the stallowner told us that they have sold out their fried vermicelli for the day. Boy, it must be good!

Tip 6: Once you are done with the exhibition in the memorial centre, walk outside and you will be greeted with few different pagoda. They were not fully furnished when we were there but it sure looks very pretty from outside and worth taking photos to keep it as a memory.

Tip 7: We left the monastery after 4 hours tour by taking the purple color coach bus back to Zuoying Station. And from there we headed to Cijin. Bundle in your day tour to Cijin because it will be worth visiting Cijin in the late afternoon.

Tip 8: It is such a shame that Fo Guang Shan Monastery is such a well-kept hidden gem of Taiwan but yet its free for all to visit. You do not have to pay a single cent to visit the estate and food sold in the premise are quit cheap too. And guess what? They even have a 7-eleven in the memorial centre and always easy to find a clean washroom if you need it urgently.

Tip 9: One last thing to mention is because this is a Buddhist area so all of the shops sell vegetarian food. There is a food court upstairs in the memorial centre that opens until 2pm for lunch but we missed it. We heard that its pretty good!

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117  Thank TravelQueenie365
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2013

This is a must see! Such a beautiful place with nice architecture and a breathtaking giant buddha-statue. I really recommend to visit this place!

Thank Dominic A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2013

Fo Guan Shan Monastery should be a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Taiwan. This magnificent monastery of international standard leaves any visitor overwhelmed by a great sense of awe and amazement as one tracks through the well-developed and ancient attractions and shrines such as the towering Great Buddha situated at the Great Buddha Land, the mysterious Pure Land Cave, the absolutely beautiful Main Shrine which is called Da Siong Bao Dian etc.

FGS Monastery is primarily divided into two parts, the old part and the new part. Most of the tourists who travel with their respective tour agency will miss out the old part due to a lack of time to see everything in it. Hence, the advice is to plan your travel to FGS without any tour agency as it is not difficult to navigate around with the presence of numerous maps and signs everywhere in the monastery. We also managed to see about 90% of the attractions within a day, but with intensive walking and good time management.

About 3 months before my travel to FGS, I emailed to them via their website asking for a tour guide so that we can see the best within a day. They replied about 1 month later saying they will provide one free-of-charge. On the actual day, we received a Caucasian layman from Czech Republic who has been staying at the monastery for about 1 month to guide us.

We were well received by everyone in the monastery. Everyone in the monastery is genuine, sincere and very nice. Free vegetarian lunch and dinner at 12 noon and 6pm are provided to everyone at a room. If it is your first-time visit, you may ask for direction to the place. Due to time constraint, we only managed to take the lunch, and it was simple, very healthy and delicious. Porridge, soup, vegetables, noodles etc. There were not many people lunching on our day of visit, but the room is near to packed. Alternatively, you may also eat in the restaurants at the new part of the monastery, but you would have to pay for it. Nevertheless, do take note of the opening hours of those restaurants.

We traveled to FGS via High Speed Railway from Taipei to Zuoying, which takes about 1 hour 45 mins to reach. The price per trip per person costs NT1490. Depending on which time slot you travel, some trips actually take slightly lesser time. We bought the ticket at 07:30 and reach there at 09:06. HSR is very fast and efficient, hence, there is no delay. From Zuoying, take the purple colour EDA bus right outside Zuoying Station (you would have to take an escalator down). The bus ride takes 45 mins to reach. The bus driver will ask you whether you want to depart at the new part or the old part of the monastery. The new part is the last stop of the ride and is also where most tourists will drop off. The bus ride costs NT65 per person per trip. You may wish to take note of the schedule for the last trip when you return from FGS to Zuoying.

It is highly recommended that you visit the old part of the monastery before the new one especially the Main Shrine as it is where most of their culture and traditions are retained, and it is less touristic and more authentic than the new part of the monastery. You may wish to stay in the monastery as lodging is provided. But, you would have to check out for vacancy and the rates before going.

14  Thank LoveTravelling1116
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 25, 2013

This is my second time visiting this Monastery - my first visit brought me to knowing two nice Taiwan people who volunteered to bring me around Fo Guang Shan and brought me lunch/ souvenirs with no ill-intention (That was history).

The reason of my second visit to Fo Guang Shan is that the Buddha Memorial Center is still not opened during my first visit. This time round, I tried to spend more time at the Buddha Memorial Center. You can either walk around max 20 minutes from the Fo Guang Shan main entrance or take the tramp at a minimal fee (if I do not remember wrongly, its NT10 for as single trip - they encourage young people to walk to the place though, however they will not deny anyone from taking the tramps) - lunch is served free (with donations at any amount) at specific timings and the food served is good :)

The Buddhist Memorial Centre is more touristy and business oriented which shops, restaurants at the entrance - a further walk will bring you to the entrance of the pathway leading to the Great Buddha Statue. The exhibitions in the Memorial Centre may be seasonal. I went in December 2012 and was able to view some wood carvings of characters from the 4 great novels of China (The Journey to the West, Water Margin, etc).

To travel to Fo Guang Shan
- you can either take a cab which could be very expensive, depending on your location
- take a train to JiuQuTang Station (the nearest train station to Fo Guang Shan), from this train station, take a cab or a bus (I suggest taking a cab as the buses are very irregular - I waited 2 hours for the only bus that travels to FGS)
- take a bus from E-Da at Zuoying KRT Station

To travel back from Fo Guang Shan
- rather than taking the train route, its easier to take the bus back to E-Da (Zuoying KRT Station)

In the memorial centre - for a donation of NT1000, you are able to light a candle for a whole year of blessings and a vase to take home some holy water - it was very fascinating to see the transfer of holy water from the Goddess of Mercy's vase to your vase (you have to be there to witness it as videography is not allowed, hence was not able to take a video or photographs)

As there still some places which have yet to be opened or under construction, my next visit may bring new surprises, hopefully :)

5  Thank seijinm82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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