Off to the Islands!
Go off the grid and discover the beauty of Taiwan’s lesser known outlying islands
Unknown to many travellers to Taiwan, the country is surrounded by several outlying islands. Relatively untouched by mass tourism, these islands offer plenty to discover, from secluded beaches and crystal clear waters to charming fishing villages and wondrous hiking trails.
Located off the west coast of Taiwan near Chiayi, the Penghu islands (also known as Pescadores) are famous for golden sand beaches, pristine waters and naturally, fresh seafood. The archipelago is actually made up of 90 small islands, so there are plenty of gorgeous beaches to discover. While you’re here, keep your eyes peeled for its many basalt columns and coral formations — some are visible from the shore. Diving enthusiasts will have a whale of a time exploring its waters, while others will enjoy long walks, both along the sand as well as through the towns, exploring Penghu’s unique coral stone houses. Penghu is also a hotspot for windsurfing.
About 30km east of Taitung, this small volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is also home to one of only three seawater hot springs in the world. There is plenty to do for sea and land lovers, be it hiking Guoshan Gu Dao trail or up the Little Great Wall (Xiao Chang Cheng) to enjoy sweeping views of the bay, snorkelling in clear waters and of course, enjoying a soak in the rare saltwater hot springs at Chaojih Hot Springs. To really take your time and explore the place, rent a scooter and ride along the road that hugs the island — it’s less than 20km!
Xiao Liu Qiu
Just a short 25-minute ferry ride from Kaohsiung, Xiao Liu Qiu makes a fun day trip if you’re pressed for time yet still want to get out of the city to enjoy some fresh air. The pace of life is very leisurely here, so forgo planning and instead, kick back and go with the flow. You could rent a bicycle to travel around the island and check out the rock formations along the coastline, snack your day along the many food stalls lining the old street, and visit the many temples dedicated to Matsu, the goddess of the sea.