Hero image features Green Island.
Tucked in the Southeast Coast of Asia, in the convergence of the Euro-Asian and Philippine continental plates, an incredible array of islands made from coral, granite, and volcanic lava. These mesmerising formations are Taiwan’s offshore islands. Each island, including these five standouts, has its own rich living history, offering visitors opportunities to connect to nature and experience a new culture.
An island made of coral - indeed the largest of its kind - Little Liuqiu is simply entrancing. The crystal clear waters and hypnotic sunset bring colour to the surroundings of this religious fishing island where temples have been erected for observance and local folk customs and culture reign supreme.
Vase Rock is the centrepiece of the island, although it is steps from a shell-covered beach. But it’s what you’ll find swimming around its base that makes it such a special place. Giant green sea turtles are the real star of the show, as they swim through transparent, aqua blue water.
Photo features Vase Rock on Little Liuqiu
The jagged coastline dotted with sand and pebble beaches, rocky cliffs, and sand dunes make Matsu a dramatic scene. Found in the northwest corner of the Taiwan Straits, Matsu is separated from China by only a small strip of water.
The “Blue Tears” of Matsu Island is a natural phenomenon caused by bioluminescence of marine algae. The effect of glittery blue illuminating the ocean at night is a sight to behold in during summer in Taiwan.
Photo features the Blue Tears of Matsu
Battles over centuries have shaped the culture and geography of the Kinmen Islands. History buffs will love to visit the Guningtou Battle Museum, Hujingtou Battle Museum, and 21 designated historic sites across the small island.
The architecture of Kinmen represents traditional southern Fujianese style. Typically, structures of this style were constructed as forts made from brick or stone with a three-sided courtyard and often a pagoda-like roof.
Photo features the architecture of Kinmen
Ludao, or Green Island
Sharp winds and crashing waters shaped this volcanic island 33 kilometres off the eastern coast of Taiwan. Although Ludao is small in size, it is rich in life - its land is covered in bountiful vegetation and marks of ancient tribes, while its outskirts are hugged by abundant reefs.
On the northwestern coast near the iconic Green Island Lighthouse, the Chaikou Diving Area is a snorkeller’s dream. The gentle current and the diversity of the marine life and colourful reefs actually make it one of the best snorkelling spots in Taiwan and a real hidden gem for East Asia diving.
Photo features Green Island Lighthouse
Lanyu, or Orchid Island
South of Ludao is another stunning volcanic island: Lanyu. Thanks to the coral reefs and the Japan Current propelling fish to the surroundings, Lanyu’s water is a hub for fishermen and divers. Today, the island is still inhabited by Taiwanese primitive Yami (Tao) tribe, an indigenous group who have maintained their culture and lifestyle for 800 years.
The Flying Fish and Boat Launching festivals are two must-see events. Traditionally, women are not allowed to participate in the Flying Fish Festival, but exceptions can be made for visitors. During the spring, the Flying Fish Festival is a coming-of-age ceremony where young men catch as many fish as possible. During July, the Boat Launch Ceremony blesses new boats for the fishing season where participants dress in traditional clothing.
Photo features traditional boat on Orchid Island