Actually, where exactly do you get the ferry from Kao/hsiung or Kee/lung to Penghu? My wife and I are thinking about taking the family there at the end of the month.
Actually, where exactly do you get the ferry from Kao/hsiung or Kee/lung to Penghu? My wife and I are thinking about taking the family there at the end of the month.
to take a ferry from kaohsiung to penghu, you need to go to the harbor very near Hsi-tzi Wang, where you take the little ferry to go to Chi-ching island from kaohsiung. do you know where that is? it’s not that easy to find but you can ask around. The ferry from kaohsiung to penghu takes about 4 hours and it’s not that much fun…it’s better to take the flight.
I’m new to this Forum, and to answer the question of the islands around Taiwan…i recommand ‘Orchid Island’…it’s by far the most beautiful island i’ve been to among Penghu, Green island, Little Liu-chiu, and Orchid island. Orchid island is commercial free, i mean, you won’t find any business there…there are not many people living there and it’s really beautiful.
you should be able to find out more info on the internet.
[quote=“Hartzell”]I have heard that many members of the current DPP administration, as well as many DPP legislators, formerly lived on Green Island.
Perhaps they would be able to provide more detailed commentary on the situation there. I imagine that you could get their mailing addresses, or emailing address, off the internet.[/quote]
Ha-ha, Richard this is the first post I have seen you let down your hair and make public with a wisecrack! Very nice, but please keep pounding the LY and supplying that critical information we all love you for.
The best beaches I’ve found have been in Penghu, but not the main beach that you see advertised (can’t remember the name)… where you have to pay an entrance fee. Go north, to the remote islands, and you’ll see plenty of small, deserted beaches. At most of these islands you can rent a scooter, so all you need to do is take a ride and look around.
Matsu has some amazing scenery - including beaches - but it’s really hard to find a place where it’s ok to swim.
Kera, could you tell me a little more about your trip to Orchid Island? What was the accommodation like? How long would you recommend for a trip? I’ve been told that 2 days is enough for Green Island, but what of Orchid?
The Big Babou
Penghu is a nice break from Taiwan because it’s topography is unlike the main island: it’s flat, with volanic rock and lots of cacti / aloe vera / etc. After a day of touring around, if you feel like having a beer or two, check out Sunny Colony in downtown Makung. Had some good fun there.
i’m trying to remember some information as i went to orchid island last year because i don’t have the info with me at the moment.
if you rent a scooter (usually when you try to book the boat, they will ask you if you want to rent a scooter, and they will have the scooter ready for you by the harbour once you get off), it’s best to do it that way, otherwise the closest village to the harbour will take you at least one hour by walking. before you go to Lanyu, make sure you check with the weather forecast, if it’s bad, don’t go, cos the airport usually shuts down when the wind is strong, most people take the boat which is about 3.5 hours, prepare for boat sick…no kidding, the ride back from Lanyu to Taidong was just like rollercoaster as the waves were so huge due to the storm last time…
there is only one pub/bar there i think that’s good, it’s in Hong-tou village(southwest of the island)…i don’t think you can find other pubs in lanyu…it takes you about 3 hours to go around the whole island by scooter (that’s because i stopped and took photos of some amazing rocks and caves all over the island)…the you can find a little road that takes you all the way up to the lighthouse…the road is very steep but the view is amazing, must see…
if you like hiking, you should visit ‘Tien-Tzi’ (spelling) it’s the forest, but usually you need to ask the locals to take you in otherwise you will get lost…also scuba diving/snorkeling is very good in Lanyu…
i would recommend at least 2 days in order to see Lanyu all…most people stay in Hong-tou village…last time i stayed in Dong-Ching village which is on the east side of the island…there are about 3 or 4 family hotels in that village (traditional underground houses)…very interesting to see and perhaps to live once in a life time.
i hope the info is clear.
Hey, thanks Kera. That’s a great post.
I didn’t know much about the underground houses, so I’ll definitely have to try them. I’m looking forward to a motorbike tour around the island, and the forest sounds pretty good. Didn’t know they had scuba diving there…
I’m not yet sure if I’ll take the boat there, as I’d like to get a Taipei direct flight if they have them.
Were you worried about the nuclear waste dump that’s at the end of the island?
The Big Babou
no, i wasn’t worried at the nuclear waste dump at all.
i heard from a friend that she took the fight to lanyu, it’s the type of plane that only has fans, and it’s small enough for only 15-20 passengers. sounds funny…but i think it’s much better than the boat.
Maybe I’m being a little paranoid… but I can’t help but think about the safety of a toxic waste dump that was constructed in this country (probably contractors)… :shock:
We just found out about some airfare specials that end this month, so we’re trying to organise a trip to Taidung and Orchid Island tomorrow(!). If we can’t get a seat then we’ll try again next month (maybe go to Hualien or Kinmen instead).
I’ve been on small planes before… they’re bloody scarey when you encounter some turbulence (thrown around like a rag doll), but fortunately it’s just a short trip. As my girlfriend’s prone to seasickness, I think we’ll opt for the flight and take our chances!
The Big Babou
Thanks Kera for all the tips, but… it looks like we’re actually heading to Kinmen: couldn’t get a flight to TaiDung on such short notice, so we’re heading west instead!
The Big Babou
Double Ten’s Day is fast approaching, and I figure this will be my last chance to venture out to Orchid Island for the year. We’re going to get the overnight train down to Taidung and then the boat across to the island. I recently heard there’s a fast boat that takes about 90 minutes, so with a bit of anti-seasickness medication, my gf should be alright.
Any more advice would be appreciated!
The Big Babou.
Make sure you check and see that the boat is running as scheduled. We’ve had many a diving trip out there cancelled not from bad weather but from a lack of passengers!
I saw a previous post about the rough seas, they weren’t kidding! 15-18 foot swells are the norm out there in the winter months and if the pitching boat doesn’t make you puke, the stench of vomit from every other passenger (and I mean EVERY passenger) will. Don’t set near anyone if you can help it and remember to take your seasick medication hours before getting on the boat.
We’ve also heard about a boat running from a harbor near Kending, which would cut the distance nearly in half. Orchid Island is a long haul by boat from Taidong and I think 90 minutes by boat is pretty euphimistic. But so far, only rumor…
Again check to make sure your boat is sailing…we found out the hard way after an 7 hour drive!
Thanks for the tip. We’ve actually opted to fly from Taidung to Lanyu.
My gf called the boat companies today and decided that they were way too unreliable, not to mention expensive ($1000 each way from Taidung). If worse comes to worse, we might even try to get a chopper!
Lanyu…where to start?
Lots of cool stuff to see and do:
Tian Chi: Located on the south side of the island. Park across from the trash dump and follow the narrow trail up. You’ll eventually reach a dry canyon; turn right, and you’ll see a rope about 20 yards down. Follow the trail to the lake.
Lefga’s Jiu Bar: This is the pub Kera was talking about in Hongtou-cun, run by a great friend named Lefga. He speaks English, but doesn’t push it on you. His GF Chih-chieh (Zhijie) makes a mean seafood chao-fan. Lefga’s going to be opening a hostel sometime this year in Hongtou-cun, and is more than happy to tell you about all the cool stuff to do on the island.
The Cave of Batshit: heading around the island counter clockwise, pass the KMT Nuclear Waste Dump (thanks, you fuckers!) and you’ll eventually see a paved road shoot off the right. Follow that, be careful not to hit the goats at the end. There you’ll see a big-assed hole in a big-assed rock where you can see Battleship Rock. To the left you’ll see a cave enterance that you can climb into. Stay to the left once you climb over the large rocks inside cuz there’s a deep dark hole you don’t want to fall into. Climb through to the light (don’t mind the bat guano) and you’ll emerge onto a giant outcropping of volcanic rock with good views of Battleship Rock. Directly above and behind you’ll see the road, and Lover Cavern (which smells like piss).
Weather Station: Great ride/hike to see a panorama of the island and talk to the weather guy there; he’s lonely and if he feels like it he’ll show you where the Japanese baths used to be back when it was a military garrison in WWII, and where American planes bombed the shit out of the place.
Yeyou-cun: Not much here but more than a few Da’woo tribal canoes to look at any given time. Also the home of Puyuma pop-star/Lanyu sheriff Chen Chien-nien (Purdur). If you’re lucky you’ll see him driving around in his busted up VW Vanagan or fishing.
Swimming/diving is fantastic when the weather permits. The East coast by Yeyou-cun has a beach where the body surfing is choice. Great diving on the west coast where its a bit calmer.
The meadow: Located just south of Hongtou-cun, it’s the location of the first Da-woo village built hundreds of years ago (no sign of it now, just pottery shards). Heading out to the end you’ll see a big-assed cliff where you can look out on Hsiao Lanyu (aka Old Target for the Taiwan Airforce).
If you take the boat out: Do NOT eat breakfast before embarking, and pack some Dramamine. When I went over a Lunar New Year, everyone ended up throwing up their doujiang breakfasts up in the clear plastic bags hanging around the ship. When we got up to leave people were stumbling into the aisles, and stepping on the bags, making them explode all over their legs. Oh yeah…GOOOOOD TIMES!
Food: Pack at least 2 days of foodstuffs with you. We found over multiple visits that we were mostly surviving off of those yummy sugar cookies they sell in the store. The is a Mei-er-Mei breakfast joint in the village north of the airport.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Repsect the aborigines and fight the urge to judge them by the way they live. After years of getting dumped on, bombed, converted, and patronized by mainland Taiwanese tourists, these people just want to be respected and go about their business. Don’t get me wrong, they’re friendly and will gladly help you out in a bind, but the last thing you as a foreigner needs to do is make life harder for them by acting like its a weekend out at Carnegies and/ or pointing. That being said, these people have a quiet laid-back attitude toward everything and everyone they see. Kick back and enjoy it!
Green island is beautiful - best way to see it is to rent a scooter in front of the airport and in 45 minutes you can see the whole periphery of the island.
An interesting island (if you can get a permit to go there) is Pan Cha Yu about 4 hours north of Kee Lung by boat. They have a couple of light house people and a coast guard detachment. All of them very friendly. 2 small temples there, one to give fishermen lots of fish and no storms, the other for souls of 230 Japanese soldiers who drowned after their ship was bombed there.
Without a doubt, the best trip I took in Taiwan, was to Lanyu (Orchid Island). If you can survive the cluture-shock - and, after living in Taiwan for an extended period of time, who couldn’t? - I’m sure you’ll find it’s a wonderful place.
BotelTobago’s post pretty much says it all, but I’d also have to recommend staying in one of the underground houses (Aboriginal “homestays”) for a night. The traditional food might be a bit of a struggle for some (eating dried flying fish is a bit like eating a bony sandal), but it’s all part of the experience… In any case, it would be a good idea to prepare yourself with some food, including fruit, brought from Taidong.
You’ll get your best travel advice from the people who run the cafe/bar that’s mentioned in the previous posts. The place is pretty easy to find, as it’s the only modern-looking building on the island that has the slightest bit of character. Sorry, but I can’t remember the names… The woman who runs the place is from Taipei, and she went to Lanyu some years ago, met a local guy, fell in love, got married, and then opened the cafe/bar. Check out her photo album while you’re there!
If you’re not into scuba diving, then you must at least try snorkelling around the boat docks, where, instead of boats, there will be lots of local kids goading you to jump off the dock and into the crytal-clear water. You can rent gear off some of the local shops in the village near the airport.
We flew from Taidong to Lanyu, and it was a flight I’ll never forget (a tiny, shaking, propeller-driven shell flapping along a windy runway…), but at least I didn’t have to worry about seasickness. Oh yeah, definitely sneak out to the airport in the evening. There’s no planes but the runway is a cool place for a walk!
Bring some little snacks or gifts for the local kids and you’ll be transformed to celebrity status. A Polaroid camera would be a great idea, too! If you’re lucky, you might see some of the kids washing their hair (they perform a little “dance”, kinda like headbanging to music).
Take your hiking shoes and be prepared to explore, as there’s plenty of places worth checking out, including jungles, lakes and wicked little beaches (e.g. the one at the bottom of the cliff beside “Goat’s Head Rock”). It’s bloody humid and the treks are always overgrown, so bring lots of water and wear pants. We tried to find a guide for some of the hikes, but couldn’t, and so did them unassisted, which involved a little bit of guesswork but was still ok.
Another option for the guided tour experience is in the nuclear waste dump. However, my healthy fear of Taiwan’s “accident waiting to happen” culture kept us away from that place… It’d be a better experience to charter a boat and venture out to some of the rocky outcrops around the island instead.
All in all, Orchid Island’s a great place to visit. We allowed 4 days, and crammed in as many activities as we could, but another day r two would have been nice.
The Big Babou
Good reading all the posts. Great info. A few questions about travel to Green Island and Orchid Island:
Seasonal Influence: It seems that most of the interesting things to do there are outdoors. If so, any idea what weather to expect between January and the end of February there?
a. Will either place be busy during Chinese New Year week?
b. Do you believe it would be the same (busy / not busy) the week before Chinese New Year week?
a. Are all flights from Taidong or do any depart from Taipei?
b. What fares did you get and what is the easiest way to find a reservation for these islands? Agency? Direct call to ______ airline?
c. All descriptions of the boat rides to the islands make them sound like “puke and stench fests”. If they are that bad, normally, what major flaw exists with the method of taking an airline that makes 90% of the travelers endure the boat trips?
Thanks for any info.
If you don’t purchase your tickets in the next few days, you might as well stay home…That goes for both air and sea.
Green Island gets pretty crowded during the Chinese New Year, but has better transport options. Orchid Island has a limited number of flights and boats and once they’re booked you are SOL.
The week before Chinese New Year both places will be brilliant/empty. We spent 8 days on Green Island during the 1998 Chinese New Year holiday, and watched with horror as the place turned into a swamp of seasick daytripping tourists. My wife was so disgusted she refuses to go back. Our hotel room also doubled in cost overnight from 1,200NT to 2,500NT. You can escape the crowds though, and I imagine that Orchid Island will be more laid back.
The weather for the entire area is very iffy during Chinese New Year. Our trip that year consisted of three days of wind/rain and five of hot, brilliant sunshine. Expect rough water crossings if you go by boat.
If you are a diver than the crowds won’t be an issue in either place. You’ll be too flabbergasted with the awsome visibility and marine life to notice.
Virtually all flights to both places leave from Taidong. There was a direct flight from Taipei years ago, but don’t know if it’s still going. It only flew once a week on a 20 passenger Dornier 228 prop plane.
I think I’d go to Orchid Island if I could chose between the two now. Green Island is too easy to get to. During Chinese New Year, distance and travel hassles can be a good thing…
Book your junk early…
During my stay in Taiwan, I managed to travel to all the island groups (Orchid, Penghu, Matsu, Green, Kinmen, Guishan, etc), but the trip to Orchid Island was by far the best… I owe a lot to KERA’s post way back in 2003.
Seeker4, it’s in yer best interest to consider MJB’s advice about the crowds, accommodation & transport. The flight over was a bit of an experience, but certainly much more pleasant than the vomit-boat-ride -from-hell (it was a laugh to see people gingerly getting off the boat at Lanyu). You’ll need to book WELL in advance, as the plane only seats about 19 people. To my knowledge, you’ll have to fly from Taidong, as I believe the direct flight from Taipei was cancelled a couple of years ago. If you’re more than 1.5m tall, then I’d suggest you fly from Taipei rather than take the train.
You can find out about the underground “homestay” accommodation through a Taiwanese website that’s dedicated to aboriginal culture. I can’t remember the name, but I found it without too much trouble (just look for Lanyu homestays). You’ll defintely need to book in advance, as availability is limited. Likewise, there’s plenty of concrete-box buldings to accommodate visitors who want the normal experience, but beware, they might not be to the same standard that you’re accustomed to… Oh yeah, there’s also a couple of dormitories that are kept pretty clean.
If you don’t try the underground thing, you can still try their food (I think we paid about $200 each for the privalege of stuffing as much “hairy land crab” and 6-month-old dried flying fish as we wanted…).
It’s definitely necessary to rent a scooter in Lanyu (you should be able to negotiate down to about $400-500/day), and I’d suggest you bring some snorkelling gear (mask + snorkel) and head around to the boat docks for a bit of a swim. Bring yer hiking shoes, too!
Also, an evening walk along the airport runway is highly recommended!
I’d love to post more info about Lanyu, but I’m a little out of time. There’s plenty to see and do…
Just came back from two days in Lanyu. I lucked out with really nice weather, but I’m kicking myself because I didn’t take nearly as many photographs as I wanted to. What I have to contribute:
1.) I love Dramamine. I’m a terrible wuss when it comes to motion sickness. I’ve puked over 30 minute boat rides. I’m terrified of turbulence. I can’t even sit in the back seat of a car when going down a curvy mountain road. But I bought some generic Dramamine from a Taiwanese pharmacy and had absolutely no problems for the three hour boat ride out (in the summer at least) while plenty of other people were puking.
2.) Do not bother hiking up to Tianchi. It’s a short but rough hike on a poorly maintained trail. But even more important, the tiny muddy lake at the top pales in comparison to the coastal scenery. A terrible waste of a fine morning.
3.) The friend I went with arranged it through a travel agent. At first, I was a little taken aback by the cost (about 10000NT for two people and two days) but factor in that that included boat tickets (4000NT), scooter rental (1000NT), six meals (1000-1500NT) and two nights at the Lanyu Villa Hotel, I guess that was a reasonable deal. I’d either suggest going with some sort of package like that or completely roughing it (packing all of your food and tent, camping out somewhere on the relatively less windy west side.) I have a feeling that my original plan of bootstrapping it (just showing up at the dock, buying tickets, looking for a homestay when I arrived) would have been a disaster during this holiday weekend.
4.) If you’re lucky and get really sunny weather, watch out for the direction of the sun taking pictures. Check out the east coast heading north (counterclockwise) in the morning and the north coast heading east (clockwise) in the afternoon. The colors will come out best with the sun a bit at your back. The view from the weather station I think would be best in the early afternoon (1-2PM) looking east (it certainly was no good for a sunset.)
The best place for sunset pics looks like Mantou Shan and somewhere on the mountain road connecting Hongtou Cun and Yeyin Buluo. I think the best place for a sunrise would be at the Submarine Rock on the northeast side, but I say I think because my piece of crap rental scooter wouldn’t start up at 4AM. Sunrise pictures could be problematic since the winds were very strong on the east side and could knock over all but the sturdiest tripod, and I wasn’t looking forward to a helmetless scooter ride at 4AM on poorly maintained roads with no lights in such a strong wind.
5.) Enjoy it. Even though it was the big holiday weekend, it felt secluded enough (perhaps everyone there was scuba diving?). Nothing like riding a scooter along the southeast part of island with those huge rocks, the deep blue Pacific all around you, the wind whipping your hair around, and your only company a couple of goats.