Taiwan Travel: The Penghu Islands

Fu Dog and Temple

Imagine miles of bare, unspoiled golden beaches. Imagine a place that is unpolluted. No garbage litters the white coral and sand beaches of Penghu Islands. There are no flagrant displays of commercialism or hordes of camera-toting tourists here. In some places, you can still walk down to the water’s edge to search for raw, fresh oysters that are untainted from water pollutants. Yes, there are still places like this left in the world and this gem of a spot has some of the best beaches in Taiwan!

Lonely Planet author, Joshua Samuel Brown, has been bragging about the wiles and charms of Penghu, also known internationally as the Pescadores, for years and he does so with good reason.

Touted as having some of the best beaches in Asia, Penghu is a traveler’s delight. It has brightly colored harbors, crystal-clear waters, quaint buildings and massive temples. Penghu is also famous for its howling winds making it a world-renowned spot for windsurfing.

Little Taiwan

Penghu is an archipelago of 64 islands lying in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China. Less than 20 of the islands are populated. Some of these islands are waiting to be discovered!

The largest city, Makung City, can hardly be called a city. It has the welcoming smiles and charms that most small towns are well-known for. Also known as The City of Matsu, (Matsu, the goddess of the sea), Makung spans Tungpan Island and Huching Island, and is famous for its numerous temples and religious centers of worship.

Tungpan’s National Scenic Area is particularly famous for its eye-catching coastline, which features columns of basalt rock formations which form a magnificent geological landscape. Boat tours can be arranged at the harbor and while you’re at it, you might even want to try your luck fishing for squid!

Penghu attracts nature and beach lovers throughout the year for its warm, sunny gold beaches, beautiful temples, and small-town charm, yet it still remains completely untouched by the long hands of commercialism and the travel industry. I thought that finding a place like Penghu was almost impossible in this day and age. Over the years, I’ve watched some of my favorite places slowly descend into tourist traps. Penghu is a refreshing and most welcome change from the norm.

You can travel to Penghu by plane or by ferry from Taiwan. Visit here for a timetable of ferries that travel between Taiwan and Penghu.

Carrie


Post Author: Carrie Kellenberger

I'm a chronically ill Canadian expat who has been living abroad in Asia since 2003. I moved from China to Taiwan in 2006. My husband and I have owned our own business in Taiwan since 2012. In addition to my own work, I've been writing professionally about Asia, travel and health advocacy since 2007, providing regular content to several publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. Follow Carrie on on Twitter @globetrotteri or on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/carriekellenberger/.

24 thoughts on “Taiwan Travel: The Penghu Islands

    Todd

    (July 20, 2008 - 2:34 pm)

    Carrie – I especially like the first photo. I hope to make it out to Penghu sooner or later.

    Carrie

    (July 20, 2008 - 3:12 pm)

    Hi Todd,

    Yep. It’s one of my favorites too. I can’t even tell you which temple I was at because there’s a massive temple every mile apart.

    Krzysztof

    (July 20, 2008 - 3:32 pm)

    First photo makes an incredible impression. I like it. Every time I see your photos I envy you those beautiful views which you can see.

    Carrie

    (July 20, 2008 - 3:48 pm)

    Thanks K. There are amazing views everywhere. Sometimes I get anxious for home because I know how much I’m missing there. I guess it’s hard to appreciate a place when you’ve spent your life there.

    Krzysztof

    (July 20, 2008 - 4:25 pm)

    Yes, it’s true. You can see amazing views everywhere. These beautiful places which I can see on your photos are very exotic for me. Sometimes I wonder what kind of view can be exotic for example for Taiwanese People.

    michelle G

    (July 22, 2008 - 2:51 am)

    amazing views and you look great!

    Carrie

    (July 22, 2008 - 4:13 pm)

    Hi K,
    I don’t know. I guess it would be the same thing for us, only what we find ordinary, they find extraordinary. For example, I remember when one of my Chinese friends saw a cathedral for the first time. She thought it was simple amazing and I wasn’t all that impressed. I also exclaim over exotic fruits and flowers or interesting architecture, and I think people from all around the world would be the same. What kind of things to you think would stick out in your town?

    Jeff

    (July 22, 2008 - 5:21 pm)

    Hi Carrie ! It’s been a while ! I’ve been very busy these last times… But I’ve always kept an eye on your blog. Hey, the first picture in this post is really great !
    Finaly, I have started a Flickr album : http://www.flickr.com/photos/n4ff ! It is not fullfilled yet but I started last week-end and I don’t get much time actually : I’m preparing to travel once again to Japan next monday (july, 28th). I’ll try to publish shots from over there if I can (and if some are good enough to be shown)! See you soon on myseveralworlds !

    Farra

    (July 23, 2008 - 12:18 am)

    Yes, me too. Very agree about first photo. Aaaaawesome !!

    Second photo – Ok !

    Last photo – Sorry for being too honest, but no worries, yourself is cute actually (and your stuff – outfit, sunglasses, hat – are wonderful, too), just bad position, not middle of person and your feet cropped. It’s an advise that I ever read on so many photography website.

    Thanks

    Carrie

    (July 23, 2008 - 3:33 am)

    Hi Farra,

    Thanks for your thoughts. The first one is my favorite too. The difference between the first two and the last one is that I took the first two, and the last one was taken by a friend, but I still like it. It’s not often you can pose on a beach with an empty beach behind you and no people! Penghu really is great!

    Kim

    (July 23, 2008 - 9:20 am)

    Penghu sounds (and looks) like a dream! I had to look twice at the first picture, I thought it was a postcard! I love the light there.

    Steve

    (July 23, 2008 - 9:53 am)

    Cartie: Your photos are getting better and better! The first is simply amazing. An award winner, a postcard as another commenter said.

    I’ve never thought much about going to Taiwan, but you’re changing my mind.

    Carrie

    (July 23, 2008 - 3:56 pm)

    Jeff!

    Wow. It’s so great to see you drop by for another visit. I just added you as a contact on Flickr and made a few comments of my own on your photography. Great photos! Thanks very very much for deciding to share with me. I’m looking forward to those Japan pix! Happy globetrotting!

    Carrie

    (July 23, 2008 - 3:58 pm)

    Hi Kim,

    Thank you thank you thank you! That’s the nicest compliment I’ve had in a long time. I’m a bit obsessed with Fu Dogs and I love temples, so I was extra-excited to frame the two together. Penghu was nothing but blue skies and golden beaches. It was a great trip. I wish I had had more time to explore, but we’re thinking of heading back in October for a few days. It’s photo heaven!

    Carrie

    (July 23, 2008 - 4:02 pm)

    Steve,

    First off, thanks for your awesome compliment. That means a lot coming from you!

    It amazes me how many people mention that they’ve never thought much about coming to Taiwan. When we asked our friends to visit, most of them have replied that they’re not all that interested in visiting Taiwan. At first I might have agreed with them, but now that I’ve lived here and seen how much is crammed on this tiny island, I’m absolutely stunned that it has retained this reputation. For a small island, Taiwan has everything a larger country has to offer. It’s an amazing place to live and visit. I’m constantly surprised by the diversity of the landscape and the beauty of its people.

    Mia

    (July 23, 2008 - 5:56 pm)

    The islands sound like a wonderful place to visit. Unspoiled nature is always a treat. And you needed this brak.

    Jeff

    (July 24, 2008 - 6:41 am)

    Thanks a lot Carrie ! I’ve just added you as a contact on my Flickr too ! Happy to share pix with you !I’m gonna do the best I can to take good photos in Japan ! 🙂

    Krzysztof

    (July 24, 2008 - 12:15 pm)

    I thought about your question. I can’t say which thing could be unusual for other people. I hazard a guess that everything what we see very first time can be unusual.

    Carrie

    (July 24, 2008 - 3:36 pm)

    Hi Mia,

    I did need a break and it was fantastic. I just wish I could have shared it with John.

    Carrie

    (July 24, 2008 - 3:38 pm)

    Hi Jeff,

    I was very excited to see you in Flickr. Thanks for stopping by again and happy shutterbugging!

    Carrie

    (July 24, 2008 - 3:40 pm)

    You’re right K. I always find something extraordinary in the most ordinary things. For example: I have a photographer friend who takes the most amazing photos of traffic, and another who takes photos of locks and you wouldn’t believe how interesting their photos are.

    I’m sure your hometown would prove to be quite exotic to folks from abroad. I know mine would!

    Joanna

    (July 24, 2008 - 6:14 pm)

    Wow the photographs are incredible Carrie. The first photo is so beautifully framed and the composition is incredible. Moreover, I love the hat you are wearing! Glad to hear your vacation went well and that you had a fantastic time.

    Carrie

    (July 26, 2008 - 7:30 am)

    Hi Jo,

    It was much too short. I’m tired already and I’ve only been back at work for a week! Thanks for your compliments. I’ve been waiting to nab a photo like this for awhile. I’ve been to countless temples with a specific idea in mind and just about fell over when I found what I wanted in Penghu.

    Szu-ting Yi

    (November 3, 2010 - 6:25 pm)

    Hi Carrie,
    I wonder whether you still live in Taiwan. I’m happy to see another westerner make Taiwan their home. I’ve known quite a few so far. I came across this blog because I was searching for Penghu because I want to promote adventure travel in Penghu for my start-up adventure travel business, LittlePo Adventures. My dream is to bring more people to get to know where I grew up!! 🙂

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