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6 Beautiful Offshore Islands To Visit Around Taiwan
While Taiwan has plenty of unique sights on the mainland, if you're looking for the real island life experience, you'll need to head to some of the other smaller islands lying off the coast. These offshore islands have some of the most beautiful scenery and beaches in the area.
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6 Beautiful Offshore Islands To Visit Around Taiwan
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An archipelago of 90 beautiful islands, Penghu contains some of the best beaches and snorkeling spots in the country. Just a short journey from the mainland of Taiwan, these islands are full of incredible places to visit, from golden sandy beaches to impressive volcano-shaped rocky coastline. It's one of the most popular offshore islands in Taiwan for a good reason, you'll find some of the most beautiful beaches around Penghu.
For those with a little more time, some of the outlying islands around Penghu offer incredible scenery and rock formations that are well worth exploring. The small island of Jibei also has a long stretch of sandy beach on the south side that's a must for beach enthusiasts.
How to get to Penghu
Flights depart from Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung airports to Magong Airport on the main island of Penghu. Flight time takes between one hour and 30 minutes depending on the airport.
Ferry from Chiayi Budai Port (only from April to October).
If you choose to take a ferry, you can take bus 7209/168 from Chiayi Railway Station or Chiayi High Speed Rail Station to Chiayi Budai Port, and then take a boat from Chiayi Budai Port to Magong, Penghu. The journey takes approximately 80 to 90 minutes.
Lambai Island (Xiaoliuqiu)
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Towards the south of Kaohsiung, Lambai Island or Xiaoliuqiu is one of the most beautiful islands in Taiwan, known for the crystal-clear ocean surrounding its coastline. Apart from just the pristine waters, the island is full of incredibly unique rock formations and beautiful beaches that have propelled Lambai Island to become a popular domestic tourist spot in Taiwan. As the island is still not very well known outside of Taiwan, it means it's hardly ever crowded.
How to get to Xiaoliuqiu/Lambai Island
To get to Xiaoliuqiu, take a ferry from Pingtung Donggang Wharf which takes about 30 minutes. The disembarkation locations of public and private transport vessels are different, from public to Dafu Fishing Port; from private to Baishawei Fishing Port.
To get to Pingtung Donggang Ferry Terminal, you can take the High Speed Rail to Zuoying, and then take the Dapeng Bay Liuqiu Line (9127-D) to the ferry station.
Orchid Island (Lanyu)
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Orchid Island or Lanyu is far towards the south of Taiwan, a short journey from the east coast of Taitung. A different side of Taiwan you won't find on the mainland, the island is full of unique landscapes, fascinating local tribes and a relaxing seaside atmosphere.
For those interested in seeing the aboriginal culture of Taiwan, there's no better place than Orchid Island where the Tao tribe have lived for hundreds of years.
How to get to Orchid Island
Small plane operated by Transair, takes about 25 minutes from Taitung Fengnian Airport to Orchid Island. However, the plane can only carry 19 people at a time so it is recommended that you book a seat well in advance.
Take the ferry from Taitung Fugang Fishing Port or Kenting Houbi Lake, and you will arrive at Orchid Island in about two hours. The Taitung Lanyu route is open all year round, while the Kenting Lanyu route is closed during the winter.
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Another beautiful island off the coast from Taitung, Green Island is slightly closer and a little easier to get to.
Green Island is famous for its coastal outdoor hot springs, one of only three salt-water hot springs in the world. Apart from just relaxing in the healing hot springs, you can also see beautiful views out over the ocean and the island's jagged coastline.
How to get to Green Island
By small plane operated by Transair, about 15 to 20 minutes from Taitung Fengnian Airport to Green Island. Like the flight to Orchid Island, the plan only has limited seating and is best to book well in advance.
Take the ferry from Taitung Fugang Fishing Port, and it will take about 50 minutes to arrive at Ludao Nanliao Fishing Port.
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At over 200 kilometers from the main island of Taiwan, it's no so surprising that Matsu seems vastly different to the mainland. Located just off the coast from China, the Matsu islands might not have beautiful golden beaches like Taiwan's other offshore islands, however the islands are known for some beautiful coastal towns, that make you feel like you've been whisked off to somewhere in the Mediterranean.
How to get to the Matsu Islands
Flights depart daily from Taipei to Matsu Nangan and Beigan Airports, normally taking around 50 minutes.
You can also fly from Taichung to Matsu Nangan Airport which takes just over an hour.
If you choose to take a ferry, you can walk for about one minute from Keelung Railway Station to the West Bank Passenger Wharf, and then take the ferry from Keelung Port to Matsu Nangan or Dongyin Island. It usually takes from eight to ten hours.
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Off the northeast coast of Taiwan, Guishan Island or Turtle Island is a small but beautiful island that's popular as a day trip from the eastern city of Yilan. The island and its surrounding waters are a famous spot for whale and dolphin watching, which can often be seen from boats.
The name of Guishan Island comes from the island's unique appearance of a turtle when viewed from different points around the coastline.
Getting to Guishan Island
While you can't stay on the island, you can book a day tour which leaves from Wushi Harbor, north of Yilan City. The tours usually circle around the island to get the best views along with offering the opportunity for whale watching if there are sightings. You can also opt to visit the island for a short time or just view the island from the boat. Make sure to book the tour in advance however as there is a daily quota of visitors to Guishan Island.