Cosmo de Bono: April in Taiwan

Visiting a Daosit Shrine at the Lotus Pond

Visiting a Daosit Shrine at the Lotus Pond


這個月我決定了去一趟高雄,因為我還沒去過。高雄是台灣南部最大的城市,以其美麗的建築很有名。這是我期待已久去的地方,所以終於可以去了。幸運的是,從台北到高雄乘坐高鐵只需要大約 2.5 個小時,所以我在周五上午上完課後就離開了台北,下午就到了高雄。我在那裡住了兩個晚上,週日晚上返回台北。


April in Taiwan
A lot has happened since my last monthly report, including an earthquake, but I have chosen to focus this report on my weekend trip to Kaohsiung. As always, I have attached some photos, so I hope that they give you a sense of the places that I’ve been visiting. I will discuss the earthquake properly in my next report!
This month I decided to make a trip to Kaohsiung as I still hadn’t been yet. Kaohsiung is the largest city in the south of Taiwan and is famous for its beautiful architecture. It was somewhere I had wanted to visit for a long time, so it was lovely to finally go. Luckily it only takes about 2.5 hours on the high-speed rail to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung, so I left Taipei after my Friday morning classes and was in Kaohsiung by mid-afternoon. I stayed there for two nights and returned to Taipei on Sunday evening.

lotus pond
Kaohsiung feels like a smaller and more relaxed version of Taipei. There is still a metro but it’s a lot smaller than the one in Taipei. Older people there also speak with stronger Taiwanese accents than in Taipei, but it wasn’t too difficult to understand what they were saying.
I spent Friday afternoon visiting the Lotus Pond in Kaohsiung. This is a large man-made lake in the middle of the city, and it is surrounded by numerous temples and pagodas. I used the free public bikes to cycle around the lake and would then stop at the main temples and shrines. The combination of the beautiful buildings and the calm lake made this one of my favourite places I’ve been to so far in Taiwan.
When visiting one Daoist shrine, a young local man – called Mark (English name) – approached me and explained that he was an amateur tour guide and would love to give me a free tour! Mark showed me around the temple and taught me how to use the shrine for fortune-telling. He also helped me practice my classical Chinese by translating the writing and engravings in the temple. Small experiences like this are what make my time in Taiwan great.
The next day I visited the Fo Guang Shan monastery outside of Kaohsiung. This is an enormous Buddhist monastery and is one of the largest monasteries in the world. There is also a giant golden statue of Buddha in the middle of the site. It took me a whole day to visit the entire monastery and visitor centre, but it was worth it.
Overall, I had a lovely time in Kaohsiung. If I ever come back to Taiwan, then I would love to spend more time there. Its calm atmosphere and tropical climate are a wonderful combination.

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