My time here in Taiwan has quickly come to an end. I’ve been here for over 5 months and still feel like there is so much I haven’t done or seen yet. Fortunately, last weekend I went to the Penghu Islands with five other friends, Julien, Min, Frederic, Anne, and Olivier. Taiwan has this really awesome policy where they encourage tourism to Penghu Islands so they allow free camping on almost all of the beaches around any of the islands.
We decided it would be really fun to do this so we bought tents and flew out of rainy Taipei on Friday to arrive to hot and sunny Penghu weather.
The first night we decided to camp at Aimen Beach, a touristy beach with a lot of trees for shade. Since we flew out late Friday night, we didn’t get to explore much that night but we did have a nice relaxing start to our trip just chilling on the beach.
Luckily we were the only people camping on the beach (I don’t think it’s common for locals to do this…) so it was great to have the place to ourselves.
On Saturday we took a boat to one of the island of Ji Bei (吉貝) which is north of the main island.
We bought a package that included round trip boat ride to the island as well as scooter rentals and unlimited water activities like banana boating, jet skis, and snorkeling. The weather was sunny and amazing.
We spent the day on the island having fun at the beach and we even had time to drive around the island and see what it was all about.
My friend Olivier brought his kite surf and he was able to get some good wind that day!
My friend Frederic has an awesome underwater camera that we took pictures with as well!
Ji Bei Island seemed really vacant and empty. There weren’t many inhabitants on the island and most of the commotion seemed to be centered around the touristy beaches.
It was really interesting to see the places where people actually lived and empty harbors. Very cool perspective.
Later we went to the famous Rainbow Bridge by downtown Magong City to watch the sunset.…
That night we decided to go to an all you can eat BBQ where you grill your own food. I’m starting to think it’s a very big “small island” thing to have all you can eat BBQ’s. I was not mad at all. Everything was delicious and I was stuffed.
They had seafood too like oysters and clams which were pretty delicious. My friend Julien ate so many oysters it reminded me of Happy Hour half off oysters at East End back at home.
On Sunday we decided to explore the main island a little bit more so we drove around on our scooters to find some nice beaches where Olivier could also kite surf. We found a really nice beach at Shan Shui (山水) which had a really cool secluded area that we set up tent at.
There was a part of the beach that no one was really at right by our tent which was awesome. We just hung out there and had a lot of fun. Everything was feeling more and more like a proper vacation.
After a few hours of beach life, Olivier and Frederic stayed behind at the beach and chilled while me, Anne, Julien, and Min did a scooter tour of some of the scenic spots around the island.
We drove across the GREAT Penghu Bridge which basically bridges the main island with some of the other islands like Bai Sha (白沙) but mainly Xi Yu (西嶼). The bridge is pretty big and epic but the coral that are on the ends of the bridge are even cooler.
The things we do with cameras…haha!
We also saw the Basalt Rock formations, which were really cool looking. I have to admit though, they look so much more epic in pictures. They aren’t as tall as I thought but they are very cool.
Next we went to an abandoned/ancient/old village or town called Er Kan (二崁) and saw many abandoned things.
We wrapped up the day with a nice meal back at Shan Shui with Frederic and Olivier and had a great night. I know this is going to be more than cliché but the sky at night with no city lights, it’ll never get old.
Monday was a very chill day where we did a lot of exploring around Shan Shui. We found a really cool trail that led to a cliff that was perfect for many things, one of them being jumping.
One thing about my whole experience in Taiwan in general is that I have tried and done so many things that I’ve wanted to do for so long but haven’t had the opportunity. Cliff jumping is one of them. Don’t get me wrong, standing on the edge looking down at your friends having jumped already is a pretty nerve-wracking situation but THANKS NIKE because I just did it.
And then I did it again.
You all who know me know that of course the waves got the best of me. Hah.
That night we ate awesome food and had what seemed to be the proper ending to a proper vacation: the Penghu Firework Festival!
15 minutes of nice fireworks paired with surprisingly good music! We got so hype so naturally we stayed behind at the festival grounds after everything ended and camped there.
Going home the next morning was one of those “face reality” moments where you realize vacation and relaxation is over and you have to go back to not only rainy Taipei, but also the end of the semester, exams, presentations, and most importantly, the ending of our time here in Taiwan together.
Overall, my trip to Penghu was one of, if not THE, best trip I took in Taiwan. Close friends, great weather, beautiful island, it was overall an amazing vacation. I am so glad I went with the people I went with at the time that I did. Thanks to Frederic and Julien for some of these pictures!!