Postcards From Penghu, With Love

I promised a full update on my adventures in Penghu and since we are hunkered down on a typhoon day here in Taipei, I figured this afternoon would be the perfect time to catch up on my blog to-do list. As I am looking at my travel notes and photos though, I’m realizing that I’m going to have to break this up into two or three posts. There’s just too much to include!

A week and a half ago, I joined some of my Taiwanese friends on vacation on the islands of Penghu County, located in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and mainland China. This was my first time traveling without John in four years and co-incidentally, my first time traveling with an Asian group of friends. Before I met John, I was and still am, a huge advocate of solo travel. I discovered that traveling without John just isn’t as fun as it used to be. Being able to share my thoughts and special moments with my best friend are what make these journeys complete for me nowadays.

The other thing I discovered is that I am not a group travel kinda gal. I had a great time, but I far prefer to be on my own schedule and in control of my own journey. John and I are so in-tune with each other that we very rarely disagree on places to go.

Despite these revelations, this was an eye-opening experience for me and one that I am very appreciative of. Although some of the things we did were ‘not my cup of tea’, my hosts were wonderful, and spending this time with my friends has allowed me to see a side of them that I otherwise wouldn’t have known.

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Our journey to Penghu was a short one. It was under an hour on a bumpy little prop plane, which rivals the plane John and I took on our journey to Luang Prabang. Gavin and Carol arranged for us to spend our nights on Makung Island. Because of the size of our group, we were unable to stay in the same hotel, which resulted in a lot of awkwardness and extra traveling time. Nevertheless, the hotels on Makung are beautiful. I believe I’ve seen all the amazing ones, as our driver graciously stopped for us to hop out and snap pictures whenever we pleased.

Greek Villa in Penghu

This Greek villa was one of my favorites and it’s also were Carol, Gavin, Sam and Una spent their first night. One thing John and I have noticed about traveling with Asian friends are the differences we have in sight-seeing. Our friends immensely enjoy looking at hotels they are not staying at. John and I find this a little odd, but with views like these, who cares! Plus, it gives us an idea of where to stay the next time we go to Penghu.

Our first afternoon in Penghu was spent on a floating oyster farm, which, apparently, is famous for its BBQ and fishing. Although I wasn’t all that impressed with the food, I thought the scenery was amazing and I enjoyed watching everyone fish from the pens provided at the front of the restaurant. The concept of catching your own meal from giant fish pens seems to be a popular one in Taiwan, but I think it takes the fun out of fishing. Anyone can catch their own dinner if it’s put right in front of you, right?

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Penned Sting Rays

Later that afternoon, we rented a mini-van and headed to the scenic fishing village of Fenggui, which is famous for the sound of its waves and the sound of the wind whistling through the caves and sucking water back from the numerous blowholes in the area.


Our second day found us on a small 21-person yacht headed out to sea. Our first stop was at small village of 400 people on the island of Hu Jin, where we slipped down to the waterfront to try those delectable oysters I mentioned earlier. The village is picturesque, with charming architecture and with unique back alleys that offer a glimpse of the day-to-day life of the locals. I would have loved to spend more time there, but the squid were waiting for us and we had some deep sea fishing to do.

Hu Jin Village

After a quick tour around Penghu’s famous basalt rock formations, we headed for deep water. We put down anchor shortly before 4pm and got our hooks in the water. The setting sunset was incredible. We enjoyed a BBQ meal on the boat and managed to catch one little squid between 10 of us.

I don’t think anyone really minded though. After the heat and an exciting day, we were all more than ready for bed. Our best day in Penghu was just around the corner.


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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

14 thoughts on “Postcards From Penghu, With Love


    (July 28, 2008 - 10:24 am)

    It seems your fishing techniques improved after all this..
    “Our best day in Penghu was just around the corner.” .. I’m hooked, can’t wait to read! 🙂

    michelle G

    (July 28, 2008 - 10:54 am)

    oh, I can’t wait to read more. I enjoyed the pictures


    (July 28, 2008 - 12:10 pm)

    These shots are magnificent, your photography is getting better every trip you take!


    (July 28, 2008 - 1:50 pm)


    LOL. Good things come to those who wait! I’ve got so many photos to go through and so much wedding planning to do that I’m bogged down. Expect the final update in a day or two. 🙂


    (July 28, 2008 - 1:52 pm)

    Michelle and Todd,
    Thanks. I like the way these turned out. Now I have to wait for my next trip. We’re hoping to get out of Banciao for a few days next month.


    (July 29, 2008 - 10:28 am)

    I’ve never liked to travel alone. During the journey I like share my state of mind with someone else.

    I’m dying to see rest of your story 🙂 Please don’t let us wait too long. 🙂


    (July 29, 2008 - 12:03 pm)

    I was blown away by your photographs – how did you get such incredible resolution? (the content is clear – you’re a fabulous photographer!) But I’d be really keen to know more about the technical side of things – my photos are great in 35mm but horrible online. Yet yours load so quickly I can’t imagine they’re that huge… or are they?

    Thanks for shedding some light – and you’ve got a new fan!


    (July 29, 2008 - 12:52 pm)

    Hmm, the proxy server at work seems to have eaten my comment – but apologies if this turns out to be a double-post, feel free to delete.

    I think I commented on a solo travel post here a long time ago. I have never really travelled alone (yet?). Earlier this year I had a “travel companions” experience similar to yours though. For my 25th birthday my parents treated my to a weekend in Paris, and of course they (and my aunt) joined me there. It was a bit odd, as I had been travelling with my boyfriend for years, who’s taste is similar to mine, but my parents have a different take on things. In one way this was actually a good thing, since I’ve seen things I’d otherwise wouldn’t have been bothered to stop by. On the other hand, I missed sharing my thoughts and experiences with someone who I know would completely understand them. And also shared my passion for decadent French pastries.

    I really like the pictures again. The first one (ever since the Bushman did that photography speed course here I keep noticing 1/3 layout in images), the one in Fenggui and the last one (sucker for sunsets) are my favourites!


    (July 29, 2008 - 4:23 pm)

    Will do K! Give me a couple of days. I’ll have it up by the end of the week.


    (July 29, 2008 - 4:25 pm)


    Thank you for your compliments and for stopping by! The photos are clear for two reasons. I don’t reduce the size and I upload everything to Flickr and link from there.


    (July 29, 2008 - 4:33 pm)

    Hi Kim,

    Sometimes I miss solo travel. I traveled to South America on my own over 14 years ago and it was an amazing experience. I loved hanging with the locals and meeting new friends along the way. Now that I’ve met John, we tend to experience things just between the two of us and we don’t meet others on the road as much as I did before when it was just me.

    And I agree. There’s a world of difference between traveling with your parents and traveling with your boyfriend and I imagine both have their pros and cons. My family have always enjoyed long road trips. My Dad drives everywhere, and I mean, EVERYWHERE! I think that’s why I love road trips so much, and in many aspects, John and I have continued in this fashion with our own travels. We would far rather drive (motorcycle or car) than fly. I often think of my Dad whenever we’re driving long distances.

    This winter is going to be especially interesting for John and I, as we will be returning home for awhile and then both his and my family are heading to Mexico for the wedding. John’s family hasn’t been on a family vacation in ages and I’ve never traveled with my family outside of North America. It should be a real eye-opener!

    Also, thanks very much for being specific about which photos you like. It makes a world of difference when I hear exactly what people like and dislike. I’m sure The Bushman would be pleased to note that you remember his advice!

    Postcards From Penghu, With Love

    (August 1, 2008 - 11:03 pm)

    […] Original The Fix […]


    (August 2, 2008 - 9:45 pm)

    Your photographs are beautiful Carrie. I love the saturated colours and the blue of the ocean. You have done a great job of capturing the moment. Take care and can’t wait to see you soon,


    (August 3, 2008 - 10:54 am)

    Thanks Jo! I’m happy with the way this set turned out too. Your support, advice and encouragement mean a lot to me!

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