When I discovered that the world’s largest outdoor seated Buddha was in Taiwan I knew we had to make the trek south to see it! Fo Guang Shan is a bit of a journey to get to from Taipei but absolutely worth the travel. The actual Buddha is located within a large temple complex just outside of Kaohsiung City. It makes a perfect half day trip from Kaohsiung City, or a full day trip from Taipei. Remember the worlds second largest outdoor sitting Buddha (Tian Tan Big Buddha Travel Guide) is not far away in Hong Kong. Continue reading below for our travel guide!
About the Founder of Fo Guang Shan
Master Hsing Yun, an advocate for ‘Humanistic Buddhism’ founded this Buddhist monastery and temple. The Fo Guang Shan belief system was created to bring peace, faith, hope, joy and love into the real world. Hsing Yun promoted the finding of enlightenment in the here and now, in this life we live. Rather than waiting for the afterlife, we should realize our true nature in this life. This Humanistic Hinduism was taught to bring purification to both people’s hearts and minds fostering peace and harmony among all people.
About the Monastery Complex
Taiwan’s largest monastery overlooks the Gaoping River Basin. The grounds are massive and include several different museums, schools, libraries, restaurants, cafes, gift shops, etc .
Upon walking through the main entrance gate there is a nice garden area and the visitor welcome area. The visitor center and Front Hall has restaurants, shops, a Starbucks, a 7-11, etc. Here wheelchairs and baby strollers can be borrowed.
After walking through through the visitor center, eight Pagodas line the pathway to Taiwan’s biggest Buddha. Each pagoda represents different ideas or precepts. The grounds are absolutely beautiful and very peaceful.
On the eastern side of Fo Guang Shan is a completely separate complex called the Great Buddha Land. Here you will find the highest standing Buddha in Southeast Asia as well as fantastic views of the main Monastery Complex below. This Golden Buddha measures 36 meters in height. 480 smaller golden Buddhas surround it with one hand up giving forth light to guide individuals in the dark world. Beneath the Great Buddha’s lotus stand is the Thousand Buddha Land.
Hours of Operation
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9am-7pm
**CLOSED EVERY TUESDAY**
Saturday & Sunday 9am-8pm
Free to visit
How to get to Fo Guang Shan
The Buddha and Monastery complex make an easy day trip from Kaohsiung City, or a full day trip from Taipei.
From Kaohsiung City the total travel time is about half an hour. In my opinion it is easiest to just taxi to the Monastery. The ride is about 25-30 minutes and cost about $15 USD, making this a great option if you will be splitting the fare with others. The bus is another albeit slower option but costs only $2 USD per person. Beware of the winding roads, especially if you have motion sickness!
From Taipei the total travel time is about 2.5 hours one way, making this a full day excursion. At Taipei Main Station take the high speed rail to Zuoying Station. This takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes and cost about $50 USD one way. From there it is easiest to grab a taxi to the Monastery. The ride is about 25-30 minutes and cost about $15 USD. The bus is another option, costing $2 USD per person, but taking twice as long.
Thanks for reading our travel guide!