There is something absolutely magical about Little Liuchiu Island, a short day trip from Kaohsiung, that keeps me coming back again and again.
Each time I visit this little island of natural wonders, I pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. It’s surreal to think that I live just a short hour and a half away from one of Taiwan’s largest coral islands – made up of stunning shell beaches with warm, glimmering turquoise waters.
But, what makes this island truly special – a paradise, is what swims within its warm, glimmering turquoise waters.
Home to over 200 enormous, green sea turtles, along with approximately 300 other species of fish, Little Liuchiu is one of the best snorkelling sites in the entire country. Snorkelling is easy and accessible. Within just a few feet from shore, you’ll be swimming above deep trenches of coral, admiring all of the electric blue fish and slithering eels weaving through them. But, don’t become too fixated on these little guys, or you might find yourself bumping heads with a gigantic sea turtle. I’ve been lucky to swim with sea turtles each time I’ve visited the island.
Photo by Jeremy Scudder
Photo by Caelan Crerar
Photo by Jeremy Scudder
If snorkelling isn’t your thing, don’t fret! There are various points along the coastline where sea turtles can be observed right from the shoreline. Be patient and keep your eyes open!
As its name suggests, Little Liuchiu is in fact little at only 6.8 square kilometres. In just 30 minutes, you can circle the entire island by scooter. Unless you are making a visit to the island on a busy weekend or a holiday (which can be an absolute nightmare), I suggest going without a concrete plan. Each time I’ve gone, I’ve found that my luck changes with different snorkel spots. So, you may have to zip around until you find the right one on that particular day. As the island is so small, it is incredibly easy to explore and more than doable as just a day trip.
If you are making a trip through Southern Taiwan, Little Liuchiu is an absolute must to add to your itinerary!
Bring water shoes and snorkel gear. The beaches are made of coral and it’s a painful walk into the water. Snorkel equipment is available on the island, but can be pricey.
Don’t worry about packing food! Restaurants and cafes can be found throughout the island, with most of them being along the main roads close to the ferry terminal.
When planning your trip back to main land, keep in mind that the last ferry leaves at 5:30 PM. Make sure you get there a bit earlier, especially on a busy day, or you may find yourself checking into a hotel on the island. Roundtrip ferry tickets cost $400 NT. Bringing a scooter on to the ferry will set you back another $100 NT each way.
To view the complete ferry schedule between main land, Donggang, and the island, Liuchiu, click here.
How to get there:
To get to the island you must take a ferry from Donggang (Tonggang) Port. The ferry ride takes about twenty minutes.
To get to Donggang, you can take a bus from Kaohsiung Railway Station. Take the Kaohsiung Bus-Kenting Line to Xinzhuang in Donggang. Or, you can take the train to Pingtung Railway Station, then take the Pingtung Bus to Donggang.
But, of course, if you have access to a scooter, a road trip is definitely the way to go!