The Penghu Archipelago Taiwan

I love exploring new places. The more remote the better. These are the Penghu Islands off the westcoast of Taiwan. Geographically not remote but for a setting, they feel like it. I hired a motor bike for the day to explore this archipelago. Penghu is made up of 64 small islands and islets all part of Taiwan. The main four I saw are connected by bridges so it’s an easy day of riding.

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There’s so much to see here. Beaches, old Fujian villages, with beautifully maintained houses, rocky coasts and interesting sites. A full day will give you enough time to travel the full 37 kilometers to the very end of the archipelago, see the main sites and head back to the main town of Makung before dark.

This is one of the windiest places in the western hemisphere. A windmill farm in Jhongtun Village harnessing some of the energy with the latest in wind technology. Penghu is also a mecca for windsurfers. In the winter and spring they come from all over the world to sail the waves.

This is the Baoan Temple in Tongliang village with the oldest tree on the islands. A Banyan that extends 95 ariel feet and wraps itself around a canopy over the temple. Depending on which legend you believe it’s anywhere from two hundred to three hundred years old. Regardless, it’s a great stop with a beautiful temple and lots of shade from the heat.

The Penghu Great bridge connecting Baisha and Xiyu islands. The current underneath the bridge is estimated to move as fast as 3 meters per second. At over 2400 meters it is the longest span in the archipelago.

A visit to the Hsiaomen Geology museum to learn about the volcanic creation of the islands with their stunning basalt rock formations. The whale cave. A sea eroded cave that resembles a whale, just use your imagination a bit. It’s also an example of the basaltic cliffs found here. A quick stop for lunch and some local specialities. The tiny spicy squid were super tasty.

One of my favorite spots on the islands, the Erkan Village. A small village of residences with a mix of eastern, western and Japanese architecture. The houses on the main street open their front doors to the public. Local snacks are offered and the smiles are everywhere. Beautiful walls made of coral. Fishing floats, driftwood, and other beach findings used to make sculptures and practical household items. I found the combination of creative energy, beauty and hospitality made for an unforgettable experience.

One of mother natures masterpieces. The Basalt cliffs that formed when the lava from volcanic activity gave birth to Penghu. The scenery here is quiet different than the big island of Taiwan. Riding my motorbike along highway 203 here I got a chance to take in the beautiful surroundings.Mostly low bush and grass give it the feel of a far off place. A nice change of landscape and a different pace of life.

Part of the Siyu Fort complex built in the 19th century. 5000 soldiers were stationed here at one time.

The final stop, Yuwongdao Lighthouse. Constructed during the Xing Dynasty it was one of the first western style lighthouses built on Penghu and Taiwan. The stone cross of the grave of Nellie O’Driscol, one of the lighthouse keepers daughters.

An amazing day of exploring. Honestly it was a true adventure. I loved riding my motorbike over the bridges. The interesting stops along the way. The sense that I was far away from anything I was used to. For this is John Saboe from Penghu, Taiwan.

Flights to the Penghu Islands are available from Taipei and Kaohsiung daily. Makong is the largest town on the islands and a great place to have as a base. Most hotels and B&B’s can help you arrange a scooter or motorbike rental.

About the Author John Saboe

I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.

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