I am thinking about going to Penghu the beginning of April. Has anyone ever been there? Is it worth 3 or 4 days? What should I expect to spend on plane tickets from Taipei? Also, any suggestions as to where to stay, what to do, things to see? Thanks for the help.
Rent a motorbike and drive around the central islands all the way to Xiyu. Lots to see and do. Banyan-Tree Temple, Erkan Village, Xiyu Lighthouse, Qing Dynasty Fort. Historic sites/sights in Magong: temples, four-eyes well, etc. When in the north of Xiyu, try the prickly pear ice cream.
I might be there mid-April
Regarding the price of plane tickets, when I was on the website of the domestic carriers I recall it was about 1800TWD one way. I just dont know if I need to book a ticket in advance, or turn up to the ticket counter when I want to leave as there appears to be a lot of flights leaving for Penghu each day.
try staying in a homestay, you get a better feel for the place. also, the best way to go around is by scooter, probably get one from the homestay for a few hundred NT per day. hope you like fish!
It’s best to book a couple days in advance though you don’t need to pay so no penalty for cancelling.
Homestays are best and there are dozens around now. One of the best is still Sunrise B&B. The owners speak English and are avid windsurfers.
Penghu is great because the volcanic landscape is ever varied and fascinating to explore. The sandy beaches are excellent and nicely backed by trad villages not big resorts. Everywhere you go are little stone villages that you can’t see anywhere else (the style is unique) and the walls the line the roads through these villages are made with coral again giving a unique feel and look to the place. There are also more temples per square km than one could imagine. The Matsu Temple in Magong is one of Taiwan’s oldest and best and the streets around the temple are all narrow old fashioned lanes restored lovingly.
There are also lots of small and large museums dotting the islands as well as old forts. The new Living Museum in Magong is a massive structure highlighting every aspect of island life and well worth seeing.
Oh, and traffic: for some reason people on Penghu drive normally.
Massive traffic police presence and strict enforcement of the laws… at least when I visited.
We drove down a one-way street the wrong way and were stopped by the cops. We saw a triangle painted on the street with the apex pointing in what we thought was the way to drive. Turns out it points the way not to drive… :loco: (Ah, Taiwan!)
Penghu is beautiful; I can’t wait to return someday. Nice to hear there are lots of homestays up and running now; it’s always nice to have someone to guide you in the right direction re. sightseeing. When I was there last (eight years ago) the hotel scene was pretty dismal; has that changed any?
I think it’s supposed to be a yield sign; that used to confuse the hell out of me, as well.
Hotels scene is just okay. The B&Bs are where it’s at. There are a couple lovely ones right on the old lanes beside the Matsu Temple, and a row of rooms in Erkun Village in a trad house. The owners had restored the building trying to encourage the clan to come back but none did so they opened them to the public. Wifi too.
Lots more scattered around but I would stay at Sunrise, Erkun, on Magong’s old street, or out at Shanshui Beach.
[quote=“Mucha Man”]Hotels scene is just okay. The B&Bs are where it’s at. There are a couple lovely ones right on the old lanes beside the Mazu Temple, and a row of rooms in Erkun Village in a trad house. The owners had restored the building trying to encourage the clan to come back but none did so they opened them to the public. Wifi too.
Lots more scattered around but I would stay at Sunrise, Erkun, on Magong’s old street, or out at Shanshui Beach.[/quote]
Do you have the names of the ones near the Mazu temple in Magong?
Sunrise B&B looks good but since I detest driving and do not know how to ride a motorcycle or scooter so I was thinking something more central would be easier to walk, ride a bicycle around or find a taxi.
There is also a bus system in Penghu. I remember seeing a bus station in Magong.
You can’t walk around Penghu, it’s 40km from one end to the other on the main islands. If you aren’t going to drive a scooter or a car there is little reason to go as outside the old streets in Magung you need to get off the main roads to see things.
Biking is okay but the place is very windy. VERY WINDY.
If you hate driving I suggest going to Kinmen which has a great bus system that also ties in with bike rentals (free in most cases) at many scenic areas.
Thanks for all the suggestions so far. We were thinking of camping. Anyone know of any good places to camp or can we just set up anywhere on the beach?
Sorry Packers, I dont want to hijack your thread (again) but I’ve got one more quick question.
Cheers for your help again Mucho Man - it’s helping me plan my travels a bit earlier than I usually do. I suppose I was thinking about catching a taxi to where ever I wanted to go, but it does sound easier to get around on the island with my own personal transport if it is too windy for cycling.
Suppose I have an International Driving Permit but no experience on a scooter. Would anyone be willing to rent me a scooter?
And would I be a bit crazy learning to ride a scooter on the roads on Penghu Island (not something I’d want to try in Taipei. If it’s of any relevance I consider myself to be competent riding a bike)?
Might be easier to just rent a car (I dislike driving as I do about 400km to and from work each week on horrible and frequently congested roads).
Probably can get a scooter through the Mingshu owners, it would be better if you drove one before but Penghu will be an easy place to learn how to ride one. Guess who will be in Penghu tomorrow to give the low-down…
Yes, no problem. But you might want to tell them you want to learn.
Having a bit of craziness seems to be a prerequisite for riding a scooter in Taiwan. Really, if you’re going to learn to ride a scooter (which is easy), Penghu is as good a place to do so as any. Few people on the roads (esp. if you’re not there on a weekend or during high season). Lots of empty areas.
You shouldn’t let all of your defenses down; but overall the driving situation on Penghu is nothing like that in Taipei. (See my previous paragraph.)
Also, the taxi situation there is nothing like that in Taipei. You shouldn’t go there expecting to quickly grab a cab at whatever place you might be visiting. You could get a driver for the day; but that could get expensive.
Enjoy Penghu! It’s one of my favorite places.
Actually, when I first came to Taiwan, that’s exactly what I did - the first time I drove a scooter was a rental in Penghu, and it was a great place to learn. Less traffic, saner driving, pretty good roads. A way better place for a first scooter ride than any of the main cities of Taiwan.
There are also ferries to Penghu.
No problem jayjay, this is helpful for me too. I’m still wondering about camping, though. If anyone knows anything about that then let me know.
There are no official campgrounds on the main island group and you’d be ill advised to camp on the beach. Did I mention it’s windy there? World class windsurfing windy. Windiest place in northern hemisphere during the fall windy.
I have read of people camping out in quiet areas but if your time is limited you should just accept staying at a hotel or B&B unless you really want to spend half the first day driving around looking for a place to camp.
We rented a car in Penghu, and I agree: it’s an easy place to drive. A true pleasure. When we were there, there was precious little traffic (perhaps due to being the tourism low season), and what traffic there was was very orderly. Perhaps the orderliness was due to the ubiquitous traffic cops both in town and on the highways. (This was 5 years ago; Feb or March, IIRC.)
And yes, it’s a very windy place. It was so windy when we were there that none of the ferries to the outer islands were operating during our stay.