10 Amazing Things To Do In The Penghu Islands
The Penghu Islands (澎湖) are a cluster of 90 small islands and islets in the Taiwan Strait just off the west coast of Taiwan. If you are looking for a relaxing getaway or just interested in exploring a unique part of Taiwan, look no further! This gorgeous archipelago offers amazing ocean views and is rich in history and culture. With inviting turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, not to mention, ‘oh so delicious’ seafood, Penghu is simply the perfect getaway!
The islands are also easily accessed by plane from all major Taiwan city airports and even by boat. For more info on how to get to Penghu, have a look at this handy guide I wrote on the best transport methods to reach the main island.
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10 BEST things to do in Penghu
In this guide, I’ll cover the best things to do in Penghu. Whether you are planning a quick weekend getaway or a more extended stay, there’s plenty to keep you busy for a few days stay.
If it’s your first visit to Penghu, this guide on how to get to Penghu by plane or ferry will also come in handy.
Discover the temples
It’s pretty hard to walk around Taiwan without spotting a few temples on your way. The Penghu Islands are no different. Many temples are dotted across the islands, which means you’ll have no problem finding a temple to admire.
One of my favorite temples in Penghu is the Magong City God Temple. Come here to marvel at the temple’s gorgeous and colorful architecture.
Then wander through the old quarter of Magong City, and follow the crowds to the oldest temple in Taiwan, Tianhou Temple (澎湖天后宮). Tianhou Temple, also known as the “Palace of the Queen of Heaven” is the most famous temple in Penghu. Local fishermen have come here for centuries to pray to the sea goddess, Mazu for safe seafaring. If you fancy having a peek inside the temple, there are some prized arts and relics dating back to the Ming dynasty on display.
Wander through Zhongyang Old Street
Zhongyang Street (中央老街) lies in the historical heart of Magong City. Here you can wander around beautiful little alleyways lined with red lanterns. Then duck into hidden gems such as DIY shops, local delicacy stores, and quaint traditional tea houses. The old street is also one of the best places to pick up souvenirs.
Explore Shuncheng Gate (小門地質館)
Once you pass Tianhou Temple, head down to the harbor. Within a couple of minutes, you will find the last remnant of Magong’s City Walls, Shuncheng Gate. Shuncheng Gate is also commonly known as the Small West Gate. Head up the stairs to the right of the gate where you’ll be greeted with a gorgeous view of the city and Magong port. If you walk along the wall, you will find some ruins of the old fort, too.
Relax by the beach
Whether you fancy water sports, sunbathing or swimming in the crystal clear waters, there are plenty of great beaches to choose from in Penghu. Shanshui Beach (山水沙灘) is the most popular swimming spot in Penghu. Added bonus, no matter which season you go, the beach is likely to be pretty deserted. If you love water sports, head over to Aimen Beach (隘門沙灘) where you can enjoy jet skiing and banana boat rides. Penghu also offers some amazing snorkeling spots. The best way to find these is to ask your hostel, minsu or hotel for more information and options.
If you’d like to come prepared, check out this comprehensive guide to the best snorkels on the market.
Lintou Beach (林投海灘) is one of the longest white beaches in Penghu and a personal favorite of mine. If you don’t fancy getting your feet wet, but still want to enjoy the ocean breeze, head over to White Beach. This beautiful Italian restaurant offers a great beach front view (which is quite uncommon in Taiwan) and a relaxed atmosphere. Here, time literally stands still. Swing in the hanging chairs, indulge in the amazing food or just enjoy the gorgeous view. For more details, check out their Facebook page, here.
Coral fragments line the beaches in Penghu, so don’t forget your flip flops! A hat, high SPF sunscreen,
andsunglasses are also a must.
Explore the geological sites at the Whale Cave (鯨魚洞)
If you are interested in geology, the Whale Cave in Xiyu Township is a must. The cave is most probably one of the best examples of sea erosion in Penghu, making it a popular tourist spot. Years of erosion from the intense monsoons and sea waves have hollowed out a cave, forming a sea arch. While here, stop by the Xiaomen Geology Museum (小門地質館) to learn more about Penghu’s unique geology.
Admire the Tongliang Great Banyan (通樑古榕)
One of the coolest places to explore when visiting Penghu is Boa’an Temple. The temple lies at the western tip of Baisha Island, and although it is not very big, it is considered a sacred place. Apart from the locals who come here to pray for the safety of loved ones, the temple is a popular tourist spot. And, for an excellent reason. What sets this temple apart from others you might have already seen in Taiwan, is the massive 200-year-old banyan tree in front of it. At first glance, you might think that the Banyan is formed from different trees. When, in fact, it is not. The Banyan has shaped so many subsidiary roots over the years, that it has created a massive canopy over the courtyard covering 660 square meters. It’s quite a sight to see!
Wander around Erkan Old Village (二崁村聚落協進會)
The Erkan Old Village on Xiyu Island is another favorite of mine. The century-old residential complex is rustic yet simple. Enjoy ice-cold almond milk and sun-dried squid as you wander through the maze-like streets and marvel at the unique architecture built from stone and coral. Erkan is also famous for Chuanxiang incense, which wards off evil. Surprisingly, it also acts as a mosquito repellant. As you enter the complex, you will see rows of baskets filled with incense sticks that are being dried in the sun.
Enjoy ‘oh so delishious’ treats
When you visit Penghu, you will have no problem finding some fantastic local delicacies to try. Great treats include cactus ice cream (仙人掌冰), brown sugar cake (黑糖糕), onion pancake (蔥油餅), snowflake shaved ice (雪花冰), shaved ice (剉冰) and of course, fresh seafood. Enjoy fresh oysters, abalone and squid, which are famous here. Luckily, you will have no trouble finding something with squid around every corner. Whether it’s deep-fried or coupled with vermicelli, the squid here is fantastic! Interestingly enough, it tastes a little different from the squid found in Taiwan.
For fantastic seafood, I highly recommend Fish Market. The restaurant is just a short walk from the Tianhou Temple, and the interior is super cool! Enjoy their famous ‘Freaking awesome mixed fried seafood sandwich,’ while sipping on an ice-cold ‘Tipsy cactus drink’ or the alcohol-free version, ‘Prickly Pear Cactus Soft Drink’! The staff is also super friendly and speak English. For more details on this excellent little restaurant, check out their Facebook page, here.
Try Squid Fishing
If you’ve tried your hand at fishing, you’d be delighted to learn that squid or octopus fishing is a popular tourist attraction in Penghu. During the month of June leading up to about the Mid-Autumn festival, night squid or octopus fishing is one activity not to miss. Tours usually last two hours and you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor afterward. Although there are many packages available, this fishing and sunset dinner cruise is very popular.
Island hop to a few of the Penghu Islands
There is plenty to do and see in the Penghu Islands. Best of all, most of the outer islands in the archipelago are just a short(-ish) boat ride away. Finding the right day trip to suit your pocket and interests isn’t hard either. I highly recommend taking a trip to Qimei Island (七美鄉), home to Taiwan’s most iconic sight, the Twin Heart Stone Weir (七美雙心石滬). For more information on what to do and see in Qimei, keep an eye on the blog as I’ll be posting everything you need to know about the island, soon. To see the prettiest white sandy beach with bluer than blue water, Jibei Island (吉貝嶼) is your answer. Wang’an Island (望安鄉) is also a good option as it is rich in culture and history.
For other great things to do don’t miss these Penghu Attractions.
Have you been to Penghu yet? What tips do you have for fellow travelers planning a Penghu trip? Got any suggestions on things to do on the Penghu Islands? Drop your comments below.
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