10 reasons to visit Xiao Liuqiu, Taiwan’s Hidden Island Gem

Unlike well-trammeled Taiwan scenic spots like Sun Moon Lake, Taroko Gorge and Alishan, Xiao Liuqiu hasn’t gotten much international press. Indeed, outside of a few intrepid international travelers who find their way to the island, most westerner visitors to Xiao Liuqiu are local expats who’d likely prefer that the island remain a secret.

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Three Days on Xiao Liuqiu (were not enough)

Astute readers of my regular weekend column may have noted that there was no column last weekend, and this was because I was off for three days enjoying myself on Xiao Liuqiu island. MyTaiwanTour published a previous article on this barely discovered gem here  a few months back, but this was the first time I’d gotten to experience the place firsthand.

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Guanyin, Snakes & History’s Ghosts: An Afternoon on Turtle Island

Though the form for which the island is named is readily apparent from angles further north and south, from Toucheng pier due west, Turtle Island looks more slug-like than terrapin-shaped. A small and curving rock covered in green, the island – like all points on the horizon – grows larger and more distinctive as our boat draws closer. There are about sixty people on the Blue Whale, all wearing bright orange life jackets and hoping to catch a glimpse of the dolphins sometimes spotted frolicking around the island. The boat takes its time along the island’s southern end, a steep hill dotted with carved outcroppings.

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Xiao Liuqiu Island: Pearl of Taiwan’s Southwest Coast

Coral filled seas, salty air and beautiful beaches as far as the eye can see. All this and more await visitors on Xiao Liuqiu, a charming little island is located about 15 KM west of Taiwan’s southwestern coast in Pingtung county. Looking to get off the beaten path? First, you have to get there.

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Green Island — A Tropical Island of Myriad Scenic, Historic, and Outdoor Fun Attractions

Green Island may be tiny, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in rugged volcanic scenery, startling political history, and a tropical sense of abandon. Its hot springs and teeming coral reefs draw hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, almost all of whom whiz round the island on motor scooters. For those who perhaps want to take things a little slower, the island’s compact size makes exploring by bicycle not just a possibility but a pleasure, and gives you the chance to avoid the irony of a gasoline-fuelled “Green” Island rampage to boot.

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Journey to Another World – Orchid Island

Lanyu (蘭嶼), or Orchid Island, may be on Taiwan’s doorstep – two and a half hours by ferry from Taitung – but it is a world apart. Home to the Tao (達悟; officially, Yami) indigenous people, it has a culture, lifestyle, traditions, cuisine, and sense of time and space that are nothing like those on what the Tao call “the mainland.”

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The Penghu Pearls – Islands Close to Taiwan’s Heart, Yet a World Away

The Penghu Islands (澎湖群島) will be whatever you wish them to be. What is it you desire? Beach-action and water-play tour? Island-hopping tour? History tour? Seafood and fishing tour? On these pages we’re off on a geology/ecology exploration adventure.

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Where Taiwan Is Not Quite Itself The Remote, Rugged, and Very Different Matsu Islands

The answer, yes, is the Matsu Islands. “Taiwan” is of course the name of a great big island, but in the modern political sense “Taiwan” is also a collection of this great big island and scores of smaller ones. Among the latter, two – Kinmen (金門) and Matsu (馬祖) – are archipelagoes so close to mainland China you can see the red stars on People’s Liberation Army caps on the opposite side.

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