Taiwan Guides: Penghu + island hopping (4D3N itinerary)

Penghu is a beautiful place. It is an island just a short flight away from Taiwan mainland.

Penghu is also surrounded by many islands each with their own unique geological landscape and attractions.

Penghu
Penghu Great Bridge

I’ve found Penghu to be kid-friendly and suitable for all ages.

Penghu
Xiyu West Fort

Here I’ll share what attractions you can expect to see in Penghu on your first visit here.

Penghu
Playgrounds at Guanyin Pavilion Leisure Park

Penghu in 5 key points

1. Penghu island is the main island that many people go to first, before exploring the surrounding islands such as Qimei, Jibei, Tongpan etc.

Penghu
Xitou Fake Cannon and lookout

2. You can fly to Penghu, or take a ferry.

You can purchase air tickets from Taipei (Songshan), Taichung, Chiayi and Kaohsiung. It will take less than an hour to reach Magong Airport in Penghu.

Penghu
Leaving Chiayi airport to Penghu

Alternatively you can take a ferry, duration varies e.g. 90 minutes from Budai Harbour, Chiayi, to 4–5 hours from Kaohsiung. I recommend flying because it is the most convenient option.

Penghu
Arriving in Penghu airport

This website is useful for transport options to/fro and within Penghu.

3. Magong City is the most happening place in Penghu. There are many eateries, shops, hotels, activities and vehicle rentals located in Magong City.

Penghu
Mazu religious procession through Magong City

On your first trip, it is more convenient to stay in Magong City. However you can choose to stay in other places if you have your own transport.

4. You can purchase island-hopping trips from the South Sea and North Sea visitor centres on Penghu by various tour operators.

There are half day, one day and multiple day trips available.

Penghu
Island hopping tours (Credit: Penghu County Government)

Book your trip at least the day before to secure your seat, or ask your hotel to help you.

5. You can also explore the main attractions Penghu island in a day via public shuttle bus, tour bus or self-drive. I prefer self-drive because you can choose where you want to go, when you like.

Penghu
Soya bean and youtiao stall, Wenkang Street, Magong City

Suggested Penghu 4D3N itinerary

If you come to Penghu, I recommend you stay at least 3 nights here.

You can even extend your stay to a week if you like as there are quite a few island-hopping tours and various activities you can do on Penghu island itself.

Day 1: Magong City

Arrive in Penghu (typically in the afternoon).

Check into your hotel. Purchase your island hopping trip on Day 2 (or 3 if you couldn’t get a seat on Day 2). You can ask your hotel to book in advance as tickets sell out fast especially on weekends.

In the evening, go on a walking tour of Magong City to check out attractions such as the Mazu temple, Zhongyang Old Street, crooners at Sanmin Road (in front of a big ship turned into a shopping mall), nightlife along Zhongzheng Road.

Penghy
Crooners at Sanmin Road, Penghu
Penghu
Penghu nightlife

Have dinner, dessert and shop.

Penghu
Chicken rice and pork chop rice dinner at 讚哥燒肉飯/麵攤, Penghu
Penghu
Mango ice blended drink at Panda Café

Rest early.

Day 2: Full day island-hopping

Have breakfast at one of the restaurants at Wenkang Street, Magong City. There is a wide selection from fish noodles, pork meat bun, sandwiches, soya bean and youtiao, etc.

Penghu
Penghu fish noodles
Penghu
Penghu pork buns and sandwiches
Penghu
Penghu youtiao shop

If you’re going on an island-hopping tour, remember to put in sunblock, wear a hat and cover your arms.

Take along travel sickness medicine such as Blackmore’s Travel Calm Ginger as the ferry ride can be really choppy.

You can lie down and rest inside the air-conditioned cabin during the various trips to and fro the various islands.

One of the more popular island-hopping tour packages include Qimei island, Blue Hole and Dongji island.

Penghu
South Sea island hopping (Credit: Penghu County Government)

Qimei island: Ensure your operator has included transport by tour bus in your ticket, or be prepared to rent a motorcycle to travel around the island.

Penghu Qimei
Qimei coast — dragon flat and eagle head
Penghu Qimei
Qimei lion head — Da Shi Scenic Area
Penghu Qimei
Qimei coast — figure of a lady

It’ll take about 1 hour plus to cover the main sights, including Da Shi Scenic area, the Twin Hearts Stone Weir and the Tomb of the Seven Beauties (a fee applies but you can take photos from the entrance).

Penghu Qimei
Qimei Twin Hearts Stone Weir
Penghu Qimei
Cactus ice blended drink at Qimei Twin Hearts Stone Weir

Blue Hole: The boat will only stop near the hole to let you take photos/videos. It can be choppy here so hold on tightly to your valuables.

Penghu
Blue hole

Dongji island: The tour guide may show you the route to walk around the island (ours did).

Penghu Dongji
Dongji island map (Credit: Marine National Park)

You can climb up the hill to see the grasslands and the abandoned Japanese barracks from afar, before walking to the lighthouse.

Penghu Dongji
Dongji grassland
Penghu Dongji
Dongji lighthouse

Then you can walk down to the Visitor Centre to watch a short show.

Penghu Dongji
Dongji harbour

Lastly, you can walk up to the hill which provides a good view of the harbour and the surrounding islands. You can also see the lone Chunghwa Telecom building in the distance.

Full day island-hopping trips usually end about 430–5pm.

Penghu
Penghu island hopping with De Yi company

We took the full day trip by 得以 (De Yi), and found the boss (who looks like a Chinese Laurence Fishburne) to be informative. He also played the role of a tour guide on Dongji Island and pointed out interesting facts to the tour group which we appreciated.

Upon coming back Penghu island, you can rest before going out for dinner.

Penghu
Pork cutlet vermicelli soup dinner, Magong City

However, if you choose to start renting your own car or motorcycle in the evening, you can explore these two beach areas: Shanshui beach and Fenggui Cave.

Shanshui beach: There is a boardwalk and a hilly area called 山水吼洞 which used to be under the military that you can climb to for great photos of the beach. There are also cafés nearby for dinner.

Penghu Shanshui
Shanshui beach
Penghu Shanshui
Shanshui beach lookout point at 山水吼洞
Penghu
Military lookout at 山水吼洞

Fenggui Cave: There’s a small blowhole here, and many families like to come to explore the small rocky beach area.

Penghu
Fenggui blowhole
Penghu
Fishermen at Fenggui
Penghu
Fenggui beach

Day 3: Penghu Island Tour

After breakfast, visit Kui Bishan for a morning of beach side exploring a rocky path exposed by the low tide. You can see many hermit crabs, shrimp and other sea creatures here.

Penghu
Kui Bishan

Take photos of wind turbines at Zhongtun, see oysters being processed by hand (you can also buy to cook).

Penghu
Zhongtun wind turbines
Penghu
Locals processing freshly harvested oysters

Appreciate the 300+ year old Tongliang Great Banyan tree at Bao An Temple, and marvel at the scenery along the Penghu Great Bridge

Penghu
Bao An Temple
Penghu
View along Penghu Great Bridge
Penghu
Recreation Area at Xiyu side of Penghu Great Bridge

On Xiyu island, there is a natural formation called a Whale Cave which is near the Xiaomen Geological Gallery (free entry) that explains the geological formations of Xiaomenyu and other parts of Penghu.

Penghu
Whale Cave
Penghu
Lookout point near Whale Cave

The nearby stalls sell delicacies such as sea urchin omelette and cactus ice cream.

Penghu
Cactus ice cream

There are two places to take photos with the columnar basalt formed from cooled lava: Chixi and Daguoye.

Penghu
Chixi Columnar Basalt
Penghu
Daguoye Columnar Basalt

Walk around Erkan Ancient Residences where coral is used in the walls of houses.

Penghu
Erkan Ancient Residences
Penghu
Erkan Ancient Residences cow sculptures

Relax at the cosy Shepherd’s café nearby which operates from a refurbished old house.

Penghu
Shepherd’s café near Erkan Ancient Residences
Penghu
Lemon Sorbet and cheesecake at Shepherd’s Café

The 牛心山 aka Cow’s Heart Mountain is along the way to the Xiyu East Fort, which I think isn’t very well maintained with poor signages and overgrown plants.

Penghu
Cow heart mountain
Penghu
Xiyu East Fort

In contrast, Xiyu West Fort has its own visitor centre and ticket booth (NT60/adult).

Penghu
Xiyu West Fort

The Xitai Fake Cannon is next to a lookout point that’s worth a quick stop, before you reach the end of the road where Yuwengdao lighthouse is located behind army barracks.

Penghu
Xitai Fake Cannon
Penghu
Yuwengdao Lighthouse

Enjoy the sunset at the romantic Guanyin Pavilion Leisure Park where you can walk to the 西瀛虹橋 bridge, swim within the bay area (that has a small beach) and let your kids play at the playgrounds.

Penghu
Guanyin Pavilion Park
Penghu
Bridge at Guanyin Pavilion Park

Have a good BBQ buffet dinner for NT350 onwards (depending which BBQ stall you go to). You can find a couple near the leisure park along Minzu Road.

Penghu
BBQ dinner

There are also more expensive stalls at the front and top of the ship which has been converted to 菊島之星 shopping mall

Day 4: Jibei island / Lintou beach area

Take a half day island-hopping tour to Jibei island to walk along the Jibei sand tail and see the 觀景涼亭 stone weirs.

Penghu
Jibei Island tour (Credit: Penghu County Government)

Alternatively you can explore Lintou Park, Lintou beach and Aimen Beach for a relaxing chill out by the sea before you prepare to leave Penghu Island.

At Penghu airport, there is a 7–11 if you need food, a playground on the second floor before you enter the waiting area and shops inside the waiting area also.

Try to have lunch before you go to the airport though.

Penghu is one of Taiwan’s best kept secrets. With a short plane ride and a good hotel or minsu who can help you plan your trip, your Penghu holiday can be a great one!

Special thanks to Happiness B&B for providing one of the best B&B services we’ve ever experienced, from airport and ferry terminal pick-ups, to arranging our island-hopping tickets, to booking our vehicle for self-drive, to recommending the best places to eat, and always cheerfully answering our queries on WhatsApp.


Originally published at Jules of Singapore.

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