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Newer Page 338 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
Taiwan Kaohsiung Fo Guang Shan Buddha

18 March 2017

So many gift shops

A day trip to the enormous Fo Guang Shan

Today I went to the buddha theme world amusement park extravaganza. It is at a place called Fo Guang Shan, and of course, its out in the middle of nowhere, where land is cheap.
However it is very popular, so there are lots of buses that will take you there, the information about this on the internet is outdated.
The only way I could actually get there was to take the MTR (Taiwanese subway) to a station far from the city centre and transfer to a bus.
The internet told me to go to a bus station in the city centre, which I did, and take bus 8005, which no longer exists.
I walked into the bus station office and the lady at the counter already had the instructions on where to get the bus to Fo Guang Shan ready in her hand, she did not look up from her phone streaming a Korean soap opera.

Once on the bus, I was crammed into lounge style seats facing each other, with 3 middle aged women. We had a grand old chat for the 30 minute journey, in broken Chinese.
They were fascinated why I would go to the buddhist monastery, why I would come to Kaohsiung, why I would come to Taiwan 4 times. So many questions! They were on the edge of their seats with excitement.
Then they wanted to know how I learnt to speak basic Chinese, so I showed them the app on my phone and how it speaks to me in Chinese and displays flash cards. They were genuinely amazed, and asked if everyone in Australia is forced to install this application on their phone and study for a set period each day or face consequences? Yes, yes we are.

Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - Heading to bus station failure departure point, I passed a building constructed in my honor.

Heading to bus station failure departure point, I passed a building constructed in my honor.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - In no time flat I left my new bus friends and was at the entrance gate, theres many parts to this complex, the only part with other people is the gift

In no time flat I left my new bus friends and was at the entrance gate, theres many parts to this complex, the only part with other people is the gift shop and bus parking area as you will see.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - For my mother, heres the toilets. Its an old converted bus. They have removed a central strip of the bus floor and installed a grate you squat over, a

For my mother, heres the toilets. Its an old converted bus. They have removed a central strip of the bus floor and installed a grate you squat over, along with some convenient poles to balance yourself either side.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - Buddhist temple gift shop has a starbucks. Matcha tea latte time!

Buddhist temple gift shop has a starbucks. Matcha tea latte time!


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - As you can now see, 95% of people get off the bus, enjoy the view from the gift shop / mall, sit and have lunch, then leave. I found this very weird.

As you can now see, 95% of people get off the bus, enjoy the view from the gift shop / mall, sit and have lunch, then leave. I found this very weird.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - Getting closer to the main temple area, note the lack of people.

Getting closer to the main temple area, note the lack of people.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - Looking back, better picture of that direction later.

Looking back, better picture of that direction later.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - Under the big gold statue is the museum, which has 4 large very high quality galleries. They are not at all serious, they are modern 3d kid friendly a

Under the big gold statue is the museum, which has 4 large very high quality galleries. They are not at all serious, they are modern 3d kid friendly and funny.
This is a talking laughing buddha statue. They project a moving mouth onto his golden head whilst the characters from the peanuts climb over him.
There is an unusual fascination with peanuts characters in both Taiwan and mainland China dating back a very long time, I remember reading about it, must research for future photo comments.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - There is a 4D theater. An old lady was spraying the 3D glasses (whats the 4th D?) with what smelt like petrol.

There is a 4D theater. An old lady was spraying the 3D glasses (whats the 4th D?) with what smelt like petrol.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - There are also halls of mirrors with projections on curved walls, it was quite the weird sensation. No doubt designed to subliminally message me to sp

There are also halls of mirrors with projections on curved walls, it was quite the weird sensation. No doubt designed to subliminally message me to spend big in the gift shops, there were at least 30 gift shops all over the place.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - The museum is very comprehensive. Here we can see a representation of people travelling to visit the museum.

The museum is very comprehensive. Here we can see a representation of people travelling to visit the museum.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - And here is a wax figure of a guy telling me that I will be reincarnated as a dung beatle unless I spend at the gift shop.

And here is a wax figure of a guy telling me that I will be reincarnated as a dung beatle unless I spend at the gift shop.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - Someone carved a thousand buddhas on this hunk of wood.

Someone carved a thousand buddhas on this hunk of wood.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - Once I walked around the back, there was absolutely no one at all. I could have removed my shorts.

Once I walked around the back, there was absolutely no one at all. I could have removed my shorts.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - Looking back towards the starbucks.

Looking back towards the starbucks.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - There is also a garden telling the buddhist story of creation. The Dalai Lama woke up drunk after a dream and thought of all kinds of magnificent crea

There is also a garden telling the buddhist story of creation. The Dalai Lama woke up drunk after a dream and thought of all kinds of magnificent creatures and commanded the monkeys and pigs to procreate until such time as new creatures were resurrected.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - They have also recreated the Kyoto golden shrine. Two of them.

They have also recreated the Kyoto golden shrine. Two of them.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - At first I thought that was it, day over. But no, there is a much larger monastery up and around this steep road featuring cartoon characters and budd

At first I thought that was it, day over. But no, there is a much larger monastery up and around this steep road featuring cartoon characters and buddhist messages.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - I did not see another person. I had read there was a free lunch here for 5000 people! As it turns out, not on weekends. The monks are out partying on

I did not see another person. I had read there was a free lunch here for 5000 people! As it turns out, not on weekends. The monks are out partying on weekends.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - They have created a forest of minions out of old tyres to amuse themselves.

They have created a forest of minions out of old tyres to amuse themselves.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - There is no way into that structure, from what I can tell it is where visiting monks get to stay. They are known for having wild parties with cocaine

There is no way into that structure, from what I can tell it is where visiting monks get to stay. They are known for having wild parties with cocaine and hookers. I am not kidding, google it. It was a big global scandal a couple of years ago when one of the worlds highest ranking monks killed a hooker in a hotel in Korea. They had booked out the entire hotel!


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - Inside the monastery there were many gardens, looked after by employed gardeners, not the monks themselves.

Inside the monastery there were many gardens, looked after by employed gardeners, not the monks themselves.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - Also, more pagodas.

Also, more pagodas.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - And just when I thought this was a serious monastery, yet more gift shops appeared, lots of them!

And just when I thought this was a serious monastery, yet more gift shops appeared, lots of them!


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - This is the main hall in the real monastery area. No photos inside buildings like this. Actually even inside the museum building there were 2 places t

This is the main hall in the real monastery area. No photos inside buildings like this. Actually even inside the museum building there were 2 places they were very serious about no photos. Also, take shoes off!


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - I still managed to get a free lunch! As it turns out, I ate in the gardeners and other workers canteen. They have a donation box... free lunch!

I still managed to get a free lunch! As it turns out, I ate in the gardeners and other workers canteen. They have a donation box... free lunch!


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - Now we move into the world of thousands of statues.

Now we move into the world of thousands of statues.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - I worked out now that I had come in a back entrance and made my way to the front. Oh well.

I worked out now that I had come in a back entrance and made my way to the front. Oh well.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - Note the hundreds of gold statues surrounding enormous gold statue.

Note the hundreds of gold statues surrounding enormous gold statue.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - As I said at the top, the whole place is located on cheap land. This is the view, of nothing except pollution.

As I said at the top, the whole place is located on cheap land. This is the view, of nothing except pollution.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - Look how happy these kids are to find a public toilet! This one is a shared hole in a wooden plank, with a rope suspended from the roof to hang onto.

Look how happy these kids are to find a public toilet! This one is a shared hole in a wooden plank, with a rope suspended from the roof to hang onto.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - Bonus view of monastery area.

Bonus view of monastery area.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - I went back the way I came and prayed to pokemon go for a while.

I went back the way I came and prayed to pokemon go for a while.


Taiwan-Kaohsiung-Fo Guang Shan-Buddha - Final photo for the day, I snuck up through a fire exit into the front of the visiting special monks hotel. I still couldnt figure out how to get insi

Final photo for the day, I snuck up through a fire exit into the front of the visiting special monks hotel. I still couldnt figure out how to get inside, but I really could hear a party going on, with Katy Perry playing, and then someone was revving a Harley Davidson!
....daisy dukes, bikinis on top...


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