Tue, Oct 29, 2013 - Page 12 News List

Destination Penghu

Biking, swimming, windsurfing and birdwatching are some of the outdoor activities that have made Penghu one of Taiwan’s ideal travel destinations

By Jerome Keating  /  Contributing reporter

With so many scenic islands, beaches and fishing towns, and over 180 temples, “photographic shots” are available most anywhere. Magong city offers old town walking tours, a temple that dates back to Shi Lang’s victory and its colorful Xiying Rainbow Bridge replete with summer fireworks, but time should also be made to take trips to the many outer islands with their famous fish trap stone weirs and villages where time has stood still.

Surprisingly, though Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan now allows gambling on the offshore islands, Penghu’s citizens still voted to forego that choice in a referendum in September 2009. Perhaps they prize a quiet serenity at the end of the day; the subsequent three-year moratorium has passed with no large cry yet for a second vote. Penghu’s advantage is that it offers all the above at one spacious destination without the hustle and bustle of large crowds and it is only an hour’s flight from numerous cities in Taiwan. That may be why Taiwanese are not the only ones to appreciate Penghu. Using single person entry visas, visitors from China now also come with direct flights from Xiamen.

GETTING THERE:

■ Daily flights leave Taipei’s Songshan Airport on Uni Air, Mandarin Airlines, TransAsia Airways and Far Eastern Air Transport

SCOOTER AND BICYCLE RENTAL:

■ There are many shops in Makung City offering scooters and bicycles for rent. A 125cc scooter rents for NT$400 per day. Two helmets are provided but tourists must pay to fill the gas tank themselves.

ISLAND INFORMATION AND TOURS:

■ The South Sea Tourist Service Center in Makung City provides information and tickets for tours of the many islands south of Makung. The North Seas Tourist Service Center at the northeast tip of Baisha Island provides information and tickets for tours of Jibei and Mutou islands. Penghu Walker is a well-illustrated map that includes some of the more popular tourist attractions and destinations. The Beauties of Penghu is a detailed brochure explaining Penghu’s culture and environment. There are Chinese and English versions of each.

WHERE TO STAY:

■ Camping is possible on most public property. Just pitch your tent or unroll your sleeping bag. A complete list of hotels and homestays on all of Penghu’s main islands can be found at: tour.penghu.gov.tw.

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