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3-Day Trip to Penghu / 澎湖三日之旅

3-Day Trip to Penghu

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Last summer we went to the islands of Penghu. It was a nice trip and we did enjoy it.

Following are some pictures and info you might find useful when planning a trip to Penghu.

If you want to know more about traveling in Taiwan:

Read our mag online at http://www.tit.com.tw/

Download the Travel in Taiwan iPad app from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/travel-in-taiwan/id588665954?mt=8

Visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/taiwantravelmag

Watch our videos on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/user/twellimann

Getting to Penghu

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Penghu is located west of Taiwan’s main island in the Taiwan Straits. It’s an archipelago consisting of a large number of bigger and smaller islands. On this trip we visited the three main islands of Penghu, Baisha, and Xiyu. Those three are connected by bridges. On the third day we took the ferry to the island of Wang’an south of Penghu Island. The trip was great and we enjoyed it a lot, I especially liked Wang’an. For general information about Penghu, visit the website of the Penghu National Scenic Area at http://www.penghu-nsa.gov.tw.

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To get to Penghu from Taiwan main island, you have two options. Plane or ferry. From Taipei’s SongshanAirport there are about 20 flights a day to Magong, Penghu’s airport. Flights take less than an hour, ikt takes about 50 minutes to get there and return tickets cost about NT$1875. There are also flights between Magong and Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Kinmen. And planes also fly from Kaohsiung and Magong to the island of Qimei, which we didn’t visit this time. If you want to take a ferry from mainland Taiwan to Penghu you can do so from Keelung, Taichung, Chiayi, and Kaohisung. So, you can see, there are quite a few options for getting to Penghu. But in any case, especially when you plan to go during peak season in the summer, make reservations early, not only for flights, but also for accommodation. For info about flights to from Taipei to Penghu, go to the Taipei Songshan Airport website at http://www.tsa.gov.tw/.

Day 1

So we took the plane from Taipei’s Songshan Airport. And in no time we were in Magong. If the weather is good and you fly during the day time make sure to look out the window when approaching the islands. They look very nice from up there.

Once you are in Magong you have a few options to get around. There is a public bus service, but I don’t think it’s very convenient. You can take a taxi to get to the place you want to stay, or hire a taxi driver for a full day. Most people, though, will rent a motor scooter. You can do so right in the arrival hall of the airport. You just need to present your ID and a valid driver’s license. We did that. They took us to the scooters by car, a few hundred meters from the airport, where we got our rides and soon we were on the road. Penghu’s roads are pretty easy to follow, they are mostly straight and there is not much traffic, so it’s pretty safe. Make sure to protect yourself against the sun, though. There is hardly any shade on the island.

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We first headed east from the airport to the village of Longmen, where our guesthouse is located. We chose that guesthouse, called Longmen House, because it’s in a lovely traditional Penghu house.

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The guesthouse itself is nice, small, very simple, but unfortunately the location is not really that good. Longmen is a very ordinary village, and there is nothing to do or to see. Just a bunch of old houses. I did walk around a bit, saw some typical walls made with coral stone, some peanut fields, some cats, and that was about it.

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Alley in Longmen Village

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Typical houses of Longmen

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Longmen street cat

The guesthouse itself is very interesting. You can sit in the small courtyard, and chat with the friendly owner and pet her sausage dog, who seems to sleep a lot. You can even go on the roof, but not much to see from there.

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Old-style guestroom of Longmen House

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Small courtyard

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Dog who likes to sleep a lot

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Interesting traditional architecture

Longmen House (龍門舊社)

Add: 95, Longmen Village, Huxi Township, Penghu County (澎湖縣湖西鄉龍門村95號)

Tel: 0956-345-655 / (06) 992-2930, 926-0065

Website:http://www.wretch.cc/blog/mimiandbb (Chinese)

(Rooms start at NT$1,500; no credit cards accepted.)

The only good thing about the location is, that it is close to the Guoye Sunrise Observatory, from where you can see the sunrise in the morning. It’s about 10 minutes by scooter from Longmen Village. As we expected cloudy weather the next day, we decided to got there after checking in at Longmen House.

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There is a sandy beach there, but it’s not a swimming beach, because there are rocks in the water, which were exposed during our visit. It was low tide. We looked around on the rocks and saw some crabs and other little creatures.

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Beach at Guoye

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On the rocks

Close to the beach is an interesting temple, which has a large red gate in front of it. Haven’t seen that before.

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Temple at Guoye

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There are actually two temples side by side

From Guoye, we followed the main road north on our way to the Kuibishan Geopark.

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Before we got there, we saw some cute brown cows, a mother with her calf, very adorable. Penghu is know for its brown cows and you can see them in different locations.

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We also saw some wind turbines. Penghu is mostly flat and windy, especially in the winter.

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Kuibishan Geopark has a fine sand beach, which is connected to a small island by a rocky pathway, exposed during low tide. We walked from the beach to the island. Was not the best time to visit. It looks much better when the tide comes in and leaves just a narrow corridor to the island.

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You can climb up the small hill of the island, which consists of basalt rock.

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There we saw a guy with a Mexican wrestler mask, funny.

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We also looked around in the puddles there and examined rocks and tiny creatures.

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At the beach there were some freshly graduated students who were happy to be photographed by us.

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Beach at Kuibishan (they actually looked at their smartphones, not at the scenery, ha, ha…)

Then it was getting late and we rode our scooters to the west side of Penghu Island. There we had dinner at a restaurant, named Chao Xi Lu, northeast of Magong city.

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They serve traditional Penghu cuisine. We had steamed abalone and noodles with oysters. Not bad.

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Oyster noodles

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Steamed abalone

Behind the restaurant there is a nice garden with lots of firewheel flowers, which bloom all over Penghu in the summer.

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Chao Xi Lu (朝昔盧懷舊餐廳)

Add: 200, Anzhai Borough, Magong City, Penghu County (澎湖縣馬公市安宅里200號)

Tel: (06) 921-0750

Website: http://www.chaoxilu.com.tw

From there we headed to Magong, because we wanted to see the fireworks at the harbor there. The government organizes the Penghu Ocean Fireworks Festival (http://www.penghu-nsa.gov.tw/user/Article.aspx?Lang=2&SNo=02002704) twice a week during the summer months close to a temple called Guanyin Pavilion. The show was great. It lasted about 20 minutes and was accompanied by live music from a stage nearby. This picture is a photo montage, the fireworks are not exactly over the bridge, the Rainbow Bridge, but further to the right.

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At Magong, we also had cactus ice, a must-eat when visiting Penghu. Refreshing and not too sweet.

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Than it was time to head back to our guesthouse, the ride from Magong  to Longmen takes about 20 minutes.

Day 2

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The next day we had the pleasure to meet a friendly lady of the Penghu National Scenic Area Administration, who would drive us around for the day. So we rode back to the scooter rental to return our ride and switched to the comforts of an air-conditioned van.

On the second day we wanted to check out two guesthouses, which are quite well known to travelers who know a bit about Penghu. The first one is the Mermaid Hill Villa, located in the southern part of Penghu Island, facing the bay south of Magong.

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It has an iconic tower-like shape and is very popular with young travelers. It’s quite small and there are only a few rooms, so if you want to stay there, you have to make reservations way in advance.

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On the first floor is a dining area with a swimming pool, half inside, half outside.

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From the rooms you have great views across the bay, and it’s supposed to be very romantic in the evening.

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Cute architecture

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Spiral staircase

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Room with view

Mermaid Hill Villa (人魚之丘民宿)

Add: 130, Jimuwu Borough, Magong City, Penghu County (澎湖縣馬公市雞母塢里130號)

Tel: 0931-887-733 / (06) 921-5000

Website: http://penghu.in (also the website for Riad Garden Boutique Hotel and Greek Frontier Villa)

(Rooms start at NT$2,500.)

The location is not the best, but if you have a motor scooter, any location on Penghu is easy to get to. Then we visited another guesthouse, run by the same owner as the Mermaid Hill Villa.

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This, the Riad Garden Boutique Hotel, has a distinct North Africa theme and is much bigger than the Mermaid Hill Villa.

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You find Arabic looking elements all over the place, some of them imported from Morocco.

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The guesthouse has a very warm feel, and if you stay in the top floor suite, you have good views over the island and a Jacuzzi for relaxation.

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Jacuzzi on the rooftop

I also liked the style of the bathrooms.

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But again, the location is not really that great. It’s a bit north of the Mermaid Hill Villa.

Riad Garden Boutique Hotel (北非花園旅店)

(Same website as Mermaid Hill Villa)

(RiadGarden rooms start at NT$3,000)

From there we went further south to Shanshui Beach, a beach that impressed me with its fine golden sand.

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This beach is quite popular and right next to it is a small village with guesthouses, eateries, and surf board rental shop.

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Not sure if it is a great beach for surfing, I didn’t see any big waves. Maybe it’s great for beginners.

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One of the guesthouses in the village is the Greek Frontier Villa, also run by the same owner as the previous two guesthouses. This is a very well known place. It has a Greek theme and is located close to the beach. We didn’t have time to go in there, so we just stopped briefly to make some photos.

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Greek Frontier Villa  (希臘邊境Villa)

(Same website as Mermaid Hill Villa)

(Frontier Villa rooms at NT$2,000.)

From there we went all the way to the southwestern end of the Penghu Island, to visit the Fenggui Blowholes.

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The basalt rock cliffs there have holes in it, and when you come at the right time, the water will shoot up through the holes, as if they were blowholes of whales. We didn’t see that while there, though. Maybe bad timing. It is not really a very impressive sight.

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Waiting (in vain) for some blowhole action

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Flying saucer pavilion at Fenggui

Then we headed back east and made a brief stop at a cactus park. You can find cactus all over the islands of Penghu, but be careful, those spines are really pointy.

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Cactus on the left

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Testing cactus

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Bad idea…

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Also saw some more firewheels

Then it was time for lunch. For that we chose a restaurant named Cauliflower close to Magong.

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The restaurant is located in an old traditional house and has all sorts of nostalgic items collected by the owner.

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Lots of old stuff

The food is traditional Penghu fare, including fried cauliflowers, tiny octopus served with pork strips, and sweet-potato pancakes.

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Traditional Penghu meal

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Cauliflower

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 Yummy omelet

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Sweet-potato pancakes

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Some fish with roe and everything

Cauliflower (花菜干傳統式飲食堂)

Add: 4-2, Dongwen Borough, Magong City, Penghu County (澎湖縣馬公市東文里4之2號)

Tel: (06) 921-6245 / 0952-416-711

Then it was back on the road. We headed north of Magong to Baisha Island where we made a brief stop at the Tongliang Great Banyan, a huge tree, 300 years old, whose branches create a huge foliage canopy.

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Tongliang banyan tree

From there, we went further on, across the famous cross-sea bridge to the island of Xiyu. There we wanted to visit three different spots with columnar basalt rock. These rocks can be found in many locations on the islands of Penghu. Maybe the best known, and most accessible, spot is at Daguoye. It’s right beside a minor road and many visitors come here to take pictures.

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There is a small pond in front and a lawn before that.

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Then, our guide drove us to another columnar basalt site, which not many people know about, the Secret Three Stone Walls. To get there you have to follow some very small roads through open fields. The walls are not as pretty as the one at Daguoye, but interesting still. There is also water in front of them. The place felt a bit like a location which could be spooky at night, so I wouldn’t go there after dark.

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The final columnar basalt site, and, for me, the best scenic attraction we saw on this trip, was the Chixi Rock Waterfall.

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These are coastal cliffs on the west side of Xiyu island. We came there just before sunset during perfect weather. You have to walk for a few minutes across a lot of huge black rocks before you see the “waterfall”, a great wall, about 10, 15 meters high looking a bit like a waterfall frozen in stone.

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There are some disused fish ponds in front of the cliffs, nice for photo shooting, cause you get nice reflections on the still water. But be careful, both the black rocks and the walls of the ponds are razor-sharp, I had scratches all over my legs after climbing across the rocks. We made some photos at the ponds and close to the wall.

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Then we went up on top of the wall, there is a path up there, to take in a marvelous sunset. That was the perfect ending to the day.

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The night we spend at a private house so we didn’t make any pictures there.

Day 3

The next day, we took a taxi to the harbor of Magong, cause we wanted to take the ferry to the island of Wang’an, south of Penghu.

29 Penghu Island

Here is Penghu’s ferry schedule, unfortunately only in Chinese:

http://www.e-penghu.com.tw/tour/ph_ocean1/1.htm

The ticket costs NT$168 for one trip and it takes about 50 minutes to get to the small island of Wang’an.

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There we went straight to a motor scooter rental place right at the harbor to rent scooters for the day.

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There is almost no traffic on Wang’an, so it’s pretty safe. But make sure you protect yourself against the strong sunshine. There is only little tree shade on the island.

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Then we headed north to our first stop, the Green Turtle Tourism and Conservation Center. There you can learn about the green turtle conservation efforts on Wang’an Island and see one of those big turtles swimming in a tank.

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From there we went further north; we were circling the island counter-clockwise, and made a stop at a nice coral stone beach.

31 Penghu Island

 

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It was really hot that day, and we needed all the protection we had against the strong sunshine.

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There were only a few other visitors on the beach who scraped oysters from rocks in the shallow water.

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The water is shallow for about 100 meters out, so you can walk in there and cool off.

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Right beside the beach is also a field of firewheel flowers.

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Further up the coast we made a brief stop at another, more rocky beach.

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There is a historic site, caves used by the Japanese during WWII. Not really much to see, just some holes in the ground.

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Back on the scooters, we came across a heard of cows. Interestingly, the farmer rode a motor bike to herd the cattle. Maybe he was a Mongolian?

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Then we came to the highest point of the island, Tiantai Hill.

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From there you have a great 360-degree view of the whole island.

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There we also saw lots of cactus and I couldn’t resist the temptation to pick some cactus fruit and taste it. Bad decision. My lips, tongue and fingers were covered in tiny cactus spines that were hard to get rid off.

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From there we went to an interesting old village, Zhongshe, where you can see some nice old architecture.

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They also have a few stalls selling refreshments, including cactus fruit, this time without spines.

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We also had a brief look at the sea there.

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Then it was back on the road. We completed the loop and came back to the harbor just in time to catch the ferry back to Magong.

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On the way back the ferry stopped off the coast of another well-known island of Penghu, Tongpan. We could clearly see the famous columnar basalt rock of the island.

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Back in Magong we did some shopping for souvenirs, Penghu is known for peanuts and black sugar cakes.

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Then we did take the taxi to the airport, and from there we took the flight back to Taipei.

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Leaving Penghu we saw the islands in the late afternoon sun like pearls in the sea.

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Overall, the trip was nice, I especially liked the columnar basalt rock and the island of Wang’an.

Hope this little blog has given you some idea of what it’s like to visit the islands of Penghu in the summer. We enjoyed the trip, though it was really hot, especially on the third day.

[Photos by Jen Guo-Chen (Ah-Guo) and Twelli]

If you want to know more about traveling in Taiwan:

Read our mag online at: http://www.tit.com.tw/

Download the Travel in Taiwan iPad app from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/travel-in-taiwan/id588665954?mt=8

Visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/taiwantravelmag

Watch our videos on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/user/twellimann

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2 thoughts on “3-Day Trip to Penghu / 澎湖三日之旅

  1. Reblogged this on FXHQ.

  2. Reblogged this on Latest hightech, entertainment news for you and commented:
    Worth to visit if you are in Taiwan

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