Day Trippin

12 Oct

Due to my recent VISA complications I will be making the most of the rest of my exchange right here on the beautiful island of Taiwan. I had come here thinking that I could change from a single entry to multiple entry VISA at any time… you can if you are staying for a year or if you go and re-apply in another country, like Hong Kong. So I could risk it, but I really don’t want to be stuck out of the country, so instead I will be embracing Taiwan with all it has to offer. Bye bye to the trips I had planned to Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippians. The great thing is that there is so much to see here in Taiwan, that it really isn’t a big of a deal at all.

Saturday: Foguangshan Buddhist Monastery – About 50 min out side of Kaohsiung City by bus, it is free and open to the public from 8 in the morning to 5 at night.

The Great Buddha Land

There are nuns and monks walking around to assist you and if you call in advance they will even give you a tour. This place is home to the Great Buddha Land where 480 miniature statues rest at the feet of a 36m Amitabha Buddha.  One of the very first things you can do is take a tour through the caves, which reminded me of ‘It’s a Small World’ ride at Disneyland, except full of the history of Buddhism. There was sooo much to see so it was worth the day for sure. A new section of the monastery is almost finished being built to house the shrine of the tooth of Buddha. In the new area that was opened also had a full restaurant where the people who also serve the Master of the monastery serve you. The food was all vegetarian, but I swear some of the tofu tasted exactly like chicken! At the end of the meal, you choose what you want to pay by donation, if you feel really happy and full show it in your donation. If I remember correctly I think my roommate has told me about a restaurant in Victoria, BC that is also vegetarian and you pay what you feel at the end of the meal as well. I will have to remember to check that out when I get home! All in all the day was wonderful, the hospitality of the nuns and monks was amazing, they are always portrayed as such happy people and that portrayal is 100% accurate.

Sunday: Lotus Pond – 10 min walk from Zouying Train Station in Kaohsiung it is free and open to the public 24/7.

Dragon and Tiger Pagoda

We arrived just before the sun set to find crowds of people gathered at the Lotus Pond for the Kaohsiung Folklore Festival.  We had seen pictures of the pond at night so we thought it would be a good time to go, however it was a bit rainy but we still managed to enjoy ourselves. The pond is surrounded with many temples and is dotted with Pagodas. Earlier in the day I was skyping with family back home for Canadian Thanksgiving and my cousin had asked if I had seen any coy fish, so I had to try and take some pictures for him but it was hard it the dark. His favorite is the white one with black spots and a red dot on the head. I will be sure to go back in the daytime to get some good pictures!

Monday: Taiwan’s 100th Birthday Fireworks in Lukang – 3 hour train ride from Kaohsiung City for about $20 CDN.

Fireworks way in the background…

In honor of the 100th Birthday of Taiwan there were 3 different celebrations in 3 different cities. Taipei, Thaichung, and Lukang were the cities featuring the celebration and at the last stop there was to be amazing fireworks. We arrived in the city with a few hours to spare and figured we would get a bite to eat and then find a good place to sit and watch. TURNS OUT, people had been staking their space since early morning and they were now bussing people to the fireworks destination where about 20,000 people would be watching. We were tight for time and knew that we could get to the fireworks, but did not think we would make it back for our train home. So we started to ask people if they thought we would be able to watch them from where we were. They thought it was only about 3 km away, so yes. We found a building that had stairs with access to the roof, jumped through a window and found a good ledge to sit on, watch and take pictures. The fireworks lasted 45 min long and were amazing, I wish I had a better camera so that I could share with you how magnificent they were.


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