The Xiangdong Fairy Cave 仙洞巖 is a one of the many small but interesting attractions in Keelung, Taiwan 台灣基隆. It’s set in the opposite direction form most of the attractions located near Zhongzheng Park, but is well worth a visit on any visit to the port city.
Sandwiched between a sharp bend in the road, the overwhelming Keelung Harbor, and an imposing cliff, the Fairy Cave is easy to miss. If not for the giant golden Buddha statue at the entrance, the cave could easily be mistaken for any average roadside shrine. Inside the cave can be found several shrines to the Buddha and other Buddhist deities, set at the ends of two long, narrow passages. The main chamber is interesting enough with its chandeliers, small shrines, and smaller golden Buddha, but directly behind it is another cave with beautifully carved bodhisattvas and a main shrine dedicated to the Buddha.
Down the long, narrow, wet passage to the left is a small, uninspiring shrine to Guanyin (I think) but the passage is the main attraction for most visitors.
The cave was formed from years of water and wave erosion, as it used to be at the very edge of the ocean. The Japanese were the first to really make record of it. They enjoyed the serenity of listening to the waves break inside so much, that they turned the cave into a Buddhist shrine. No one is really sure when all the other statues were carved and shrines made, but the serenity has endured, despite the waves receding.
Next to the Fairy Cave is another cave worth investigating. The Hand of the Buddha Cave isn’t quite as interesting, but finding the stained roof in the shape of a hand might entertain you for a few minutes.
You could also climb up the stairs next to the Fairy Cave for nice views of the Keelung Harbor and a small park. When I last visited, a new temple was being built on the hill that looked interesting… might be worth some investigation.
How to Get There:
By Public Transportation: Take a train to Keelung then public city bus 301 to “Fairy Cave” 仙洞. The bus stop is to the left of the Keelung Train Station’s entrance (As you exit)
By Car: Take Highway 3 to Keelung, then the Gangxi outer road. Then take Zhongshan 4th Road to Xiandong 中山四路. There are lots of signs in English
Or read more about it and the surrounding area at Taiwan Adventures Online Guide.