Discover Taiwan’s Beautiful Offshore Islands

Discover Taiwan’s Beautiful Offshore Islands

Hop on the boat and set foot on Taiwan’s offshore islands, some of which offer beautiful beaches while the rest brim with culture and history.

Did you know that Taiwan is more than just the large potato-shaped island? In fact, Taiwan has many smaller offshore islands that are still little-known to tourists. In these islands, you can enjoy an entire beach to yourself or bike for an hour or two without a car blocking your way.

Let me give you a quick tour of those beautiful offshore islands.

Penghu

Image credit: billy1125

The Penghu archipelago consists of 90 small isles, of which only 20 are inhabited. In the main town Magong, you’ll find the finest and oldest temple of them all: Tian Hou Gong (meaning “Temple of the Queen of Heaven”), built all the way back in 1592.  For centuries, fishermen come and pray to the Goddess of the Sea Matsu for safe fishing, while families pray for the sound return of those at sea. But that’s not all – spread across all 97 towns and villages are a total of 183 temples!

Image credit: sheldon0531

Something I’d recommend doing in Penghu is island hopping: hop on a ship and head towards Qimei, another tourist icon of Penghu. It’s well-known for its “Twin-hearts Stone Weir”, which were originally traditional fish traps built from coral reefs. Couples love taking pictures here, with the two hearts side by side as a symbol of forever love.

Orchid Island (Lanyu Island)

Image credit: Jared Yeh

Lying off the southeast coast of Taiwan, Orchid Island is a volcanic island that’s surrounded by countless unpolluted coral reefs and is home to green sea turtles. If you love the colourful underwater world, then you shouldn’t miss this island. It’s certainly a paradise for scuba divers.

Image credit: othree

The island’s isolated location has allowed it to retain a strong aboriginal Yami culture, which is yet another reason for you to visit. Depending mostly on the sea for their livelihood, the Yami aboriginals wear narrow loincloths when fishing or hunting. On top of that, they go out in beautifully-painted canoes and perform huge ceremonies to start off the annual flying fish season. I promise it’s worth the visit!

Xiaoliuqiu

Xiaoliuqiu, or Little Liuqiu, is the only outlying island composed of coral. This small island makes an easy day trip from Kaohsiung – 30 minutes away by car is Dong Gang Harbour and from there, the ferry ride to Xiaoliuqiu takes just 20 minutes!

You can rent a scooter and go around the island within an hour while checking out the fascinating rock formations along the coast. Water activities such as swimming and diving with sea turtles are also very popular here.

taiwan offshore islands

Image credit: 國禎吳 

If you’re visiting Taiwan around April, one special event not to miss is the largest Taiwanese festival to honour Matzu, the Goddess of the Sea.

Kinmen and Matsu

Near Fujian Province of China are two other islands: Kinmen and Matsu.

taiwan offshore islands

Image credit: Photos By 夏天

Kinmen is quite different from the other outlying islands. It isn’t known for its scenic views but is without a doubt the finest destination for those who are into culture and architecture. Once one of the most fortified places on Earth, the island is home to a remarkable concentration of historic structures: ancient military sites, memorial arches from the Ming dynasty, and countless more.

Matsu is also historically and culturally distinct from mainland Taiwan. As the inhabitants’ ancestors were originally immigrants from northern Fujian, most of the islanders kept their fishing tradition and speak the Minbei dialect.

Every year between April and September, local Taiwanese and tourists come all the way to Matsu to spot the magical “Blue Tears” at night. Those are actually algae that swarm in the water along the coast; when distributed by waves or splashes, they emit a surreal blue glow and it’s absolutely breathtaking.

Green Island

taiwan offshore islands

Image credit: Blowing Puffer Fish

Green Island is probably the most popular outlying island and it’s always overwhelmed with tourists throughout the whole summer. Although the beaches aren’t especially remarkable, it is the perfect place for underwater activities such as snorkelling and freediving. Above water, there are a few cross-island trails with nice scenery and great wildlife-watching opportunities. Keep an eye out for sika deer, Green Island’s most popular animal residents!

About Author

Skye Hsiao
Skye Hsiao

From a small beautiful island called Taiwan, Skye is a 23 years old full-time travel addict and sucker for anything blue. She grew up in 4 different countries and have been to more than 30 so far, still chasing stories to tell when she’s old. Follow her steps on Instagram @ballerina12111

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