Dear 小琉球 Xiao Liu Qiu island,
It has been some months now since I ventured around your shores, but I think the time has come to unveil some of your hidden beauties to the rest of the world, if you’d be so obliging.
Xiao Liu Qiu is a teeny, tiny coral island off the South-West coast of Taiwan. It is most famous for this cool rock formation, jutting out from the ocean. It’s called Vase Rock and I think it looks a little like the map of Africa (if Tanzania was all pointy and sticking out…).
It’s pretty cool, and I really wanted to sit up on top and eat lunch. When you first arrive at the harbour (pictured below) that’s one of the things you’ll want to check out once you’ve picked up your rental scooter for the day, or given your feet a little pep-talk for the miles upon miles they are about to endure.
Let’s cover the essentials:
How do you get there?
* It’s very simple. I did it as a day trip from Kaohsiung, so first I took a bus from Kaohsiung Main Station to Donggang, which took around 1 hour. Once I arrived in Donggang I hopped in a taxi to the ferry terminal as supposedly it’s quite a walk and I was in a rush. Once at the terminal, I grabbed some essentials from the oh-so-handy 7/11 (just incase the island didn’t have chocolate…) and proceeded to buy my return ferry ticket. There were a lot of people outside trying to sell special packages that included return ferry, scooter rental etc. Seeing as my friend and I weren’t sure how easy it would be to organise when we arrived on the island, we bought a package deal. I think it worked out at around 300NT each which was pretty good.
*The ferry takes around 25 minutes and it was very smooth, infact I slept sweetly the whole way. When you arrive- if you’ve pre-booked your scooter rental, you’ll be given a sticker- there are lots of people waiting around to offer you scooters, and if like us, you already booked, just hope that the right person finds you and ushers you off to get your ride for the day.
*I definitely recommend scootering if you can, however I do believe the laws have been tightened in Taiwan and you will need the proper paperwork and licenses etc. Come prepared, or say hello to blisters and tired legs!
*The journey back is simple- and once you’re back in Donggang, either hop in a taxi to the bus station, or if you’re lucky there will be mini buses waiting and you can whip out your Chinese skills and bargain with the driver and share with other tourists, and get yourself back to Kaohsiung or wherever you’re headed.
What is there to see and do?
*There is a whole lot of colorful fun stuff to see and do. You can check out the island’s official site here for more information on the actual touristy stuff, as what I did and saw is a bit more random. I do know that you can go diving and see some cute turtles and there are a whole load of cool rocks and caves to explore.
*I recommend turning right once you arrive and doing a whole day of going anti-clockwise around the island. Arrive early so that you have at least 8 hours for exploring. When I was there the weather was just OK, but I imagine that if there’d been pretty blue skies, I probably would have wanted to stay there and wake up and explore some more.
*Don’t have a check list, don’t try and see and do ALL the sights on the island or you’ll miss out on the quirks that make it so unique.
*Do frolic around the coral rocks and visit a temple or two.
*Do eat some delicious seafood and some freshly-baked red bean treats from a random old lady selling them.
*Do buy some star-shaped sand from the cutest woman on the island.
*Do explore and take photos and sit on the beach and ponder life. If you notice a mysterious little path- TAKE THAT PATH. Don’t let any sneaky elements of the island slip away from you.
*Have fun being an island baby for the day. Don’t wear shoes. Actually, wear shoes. That coral can be rough!
Have you been to Xiao Liu Qiu before? Did you have fun? Feel free to share your comments in the space below.
a few ALOT of photos from my trip…
flowers grow out of the walls here
yup. that is a snake.
stories of fairy maidens haunt the island
me and my best friends are totally going to live here one day
cutest little cafe/ ice-cream shop that was closed…
hello there, blue blue ocean
my little friend
boats that float, on rainbows
i’d like to live here
tiniest bar ever
the waterfront area
If you are living or traveling in Taiwan, and fancy something a little different- an island where you can explore to your heart’s delight and discover it’s eccentricities and pretty caves and coves, I suggest dancing on down to 小琉球 Xiao Liu Qiu and basking in all it’s coral glory!