Planning a trip to Penghu and wondering what to do? This guide unpacks the best things to do in Penghu and includes handy tips to help you plan the perfect Penghu trip.
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 interested in exploring a unique part of Taiwan, look no further! This gorgeous archipelago offers fantastic ocean views and is rich in history and culture. With inviting turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and ‘oh so delicious’ seafood, Penghu is a great add-on to any Taiwan itinerary!
Read along to find the very BEST things to do in Penghu!
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Penghu Itinerary Pre-Travel Tips
Before we dive into this Penghu travel guide, here are a few quick tips for planning the perfect Penghu itinerary.
- Penghu can only be accessed via plane or ferry. Grab your return ferry ticket via Chiayi here, and read my guide on getting to Penghu for more in-depth tips.
- Search the best hotel deals for Penghu well in advance as rooms fill up quickly, especially during the warmer months. Since boats could easily be canceled on short notice due to weather conditions, make sure you book a room with a free cancelation policy.
- Taiwan is very safe country to visit, but it’s always best to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances. Grab travel insurance here with World Nomads.
- Download Google Translate and Google Maps so that you can access maps, plan your stops, and translate Chinese menus on the go.
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11 of the BEST things to do in Penghu
In this guide, I’ll cover the best things to do in Penghu. Whether you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or planning a more extended stay, there’s plenty to keep you busy for a few days.
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. For centuries local fishers have come here to pray to the sea goddess, Mazu, for safe seafaring. It’s a cool place to stroll around, and you’ll find some prized arts and relics dating back to the Ming dynasty on display inside.
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’ve explored Tianhou Temple, make your way to the harbor where you will find the last remnant of Magong’s City Walls, Shuncheng Gate, also known as the Small West Gate.
Follow the small stairway (just to the right) to the top for gorgeous views over the port. If you walk along the wall, you will also find some ruins of the old fort.
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. In fact, Penghu is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Taiwan!
Here are the best beaches in Penghu.
- Shanshui Beach (山水沙灘) is the most popular swimming spot in Penghu. Moreover, no matter which season you go, the beach is likely to be pretty deserted!
- If you love water sports, Aimen Beach (隘門沙灘) is a cool spot where you can enjoy everything fro jet skiing and banana boat rides to kayaking and SUP.
- 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 want to get your feet wet but still want to enjoy the ocean breeze, head over to White Beach. This beautiful Italian restaurant offers a great beachfront view (which is quite uncommon in Taiwan) and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a great place to kick back, swing in the hanging chairs, indulge in the fantastic food or enjoy the gorgeous view. For more details, check out their Facebook page here.
Travel Tip: Coral fragments line the beaches in Penghu, so don’t forget your flip-flops! A hat, high SPF sunscreen,
Penghu is home to fantastic snorkeling spots. The best way to find these is to ask your hostel, minsu, or hotel for more information and options. Most tours include the standard gear, but if you prefer to come prepared, check out this guide on best snorkels.
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 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 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 visit in 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 being dried in the sun.
Enjoy ‘oh so delicious’ treats
When you visit Penghu, you will have no problem finding some fantastic local delicacies to try. The most popular snacks to eat in Penghu 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. Make sure to try local favorites such as fresh oysters, abalone, and squid!
Squid is quite famous in Penghu, and 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 pizza, I highly recommend Mercato Pizza 瑪咖朵披薩 (formerly known as Fish Market). The restaurant is just a short walk from the Tianhou Temple, and the interior is super cool! The pizza is delicious and the prickly pear cactus drink is a huge must! Added to that, the staff are welcoming and speak excellent English. For more details, check out their Facebook page here.
Try Squid Fishing
From June to September, another popular activity in Penghu is squid or octopus fishing. 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.
Go Island hopping in Penghu Islands
Island hopping is a popular activity in Penghu and a great way to get a closer look at the area’s unique beauty. Best of all, most of the archipelago’s outer islands 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). Other amazing day trips from Penghu include Jibei Island (吉貝嶼), home to a stunning stretch of ivory-white sand and Wang’an Island (望安鄉) that offers a cool peek into the past.
See the Blowholes & the Massive Basalt Columns
The Whale Cave isn’t the only geological attraction in Penghu. And if you have a bit more time, it’s worth checking out the Fenggui Blowholes (風櫃洞), Tongpanyu (桶盤嶼), and Daguoye Columnar Basalt (池東大菓葉玄武岩).
The blowholes are in the southwestern corners of Penghu near the Fongguei Cave. It’s a cool place to see (and hear) water spouting out of a basalt blowhole. Climb up the odd-looking UFO-like tower for scenic views over the entire bay!
Tongpanyu, also known as the Penghu Yellowstone Park, is an island home to fascinating (and huge) basalt columns. Sadly you can’t visit here, but you can spot this attraction on a boat trip en route to the other islands.
Daguoye Columnar Basalt in Xiyu Township is another set of awesome basalt-column formations, which you can actually visit and see up close! If you still have time, head northwest on Country Road 5 where you’ll find Chixi Rock Waterfall (池西岩瀑) – another popular place formed by cooling lava that resembles a waterfall!
Where to Stay in Penghu
Penghu has loads of amazing places to stay. Whether you want to be right in the heart of Magong, near the beach, or looking for a hidden retreat – Penghu has something for every kind of traveler.
Most of the accommodation lies within Magong City (馬公市), the main metropolis hub in Penghu. However, if you’re looking for something more secluded away from the city’s bustle, Baisha (白沙鄉), Huxi (湖西鄉), and Xiyu (西嶼鄉) townships offer loads of excellent options.
Here are the best places to stay in Penghu:
LUXURY: Discovery Hotel is conveniently located near the Penghu South Sea Visitor Centre, the main tourist harbor in Magong City, making it the ideal base for those looking to explore the nearby islands. The 5-star hotel features beautifully decorated rooms with harbor views and loads of space. The outdoor pool is just an added bonus and the perfect spot to watch the sun melt away over the boats docked in the harbor. Check rates and availability here.
AFFORDABLE LUXURY: The aptly named Oasis Hotel is located in the northern corners of Magong, away from the city’s bustling downtown area but close enough to all the action. The hotel features large, comfortable rooms and the most amazing rooftop pool under the sun! Check rates and availability here.
MID-RANGE: Practically brand-new, Color Coral Hostel has gorgeous modern rooms offering picture-perfect views over the harborfront. The glimmering rooftop jacuzzi is the perfect spot to relax after a day out exploring all of Penghu’s top attractions. Check rates and availability here.
BUDGET: Bayhouse Hostel is a cool beachfront hostel mere steps from Shanshui beach – one of the best swimming beaches in Penghu. The hostel features simple yet clean dorm-style rooms and private rooms for those who value their privacy. Besides the excellent location, perhaps the best part about staying here are the awesome owners! Damon and Frank will go out of their way to make you feel right at home, pick you up at the airport and introduce all the best spots to check out in Penghu! Check rates and availability here.
How to Get Around in Penghu
Magong is a huge city, and you’ll definitely want to see more than just downtown. The easiest way to get around Penghu is to rent a scooter. Most hotels and hostels can help you organize this, but you can also book one here via Klook. If you’re traveling in a group, it might be better to rent a car (which your accommodation can also arrange for you.) Whether you’re renting a car or a scooter, it’s important to know that you need an international driver’s license or a local license to do so. Make sure you’ve got the right license because you won’t be able to rent a scooter or car without it.
If that’s not an option for you, rent a driver for the day to help you get around stress-free. My friends recently used The Dragon Taxi Company and couldn’t recommend them more. Their driver, Philip Ou, spoke perfect English and was super helpful. You can get in touch with him on (+886) 091 0268 487. Rates start at TWD 1200 for a day depending on your itinerary.
Best Time to Visit Penghu
Penghu is the perfect tropical escape during Taiwan’s warmer months, April through September. The weather is mostly sunny during these months, with average high temperatures ranging between 26°C and 32 °C. July and August are the hottest and also the busiest months in Penghu. Expect accommodation prices to be higher and don’t rule out torrential rain.
Winter is not a great time to visit Penghu, with January and February being the coldest months. During these months, it’s extremely windy and not uncommon to see average temperatures dipping below 15°C.
What to Pack for Penghu
Great, now that you have the inside scoop on what to do in Penghu, let’s talk about what you need to pack. Along with tips you’ll find in my Taiwan packing list, here are a few more essentials you’ll need for a seamless Penghu trip.
- Eco-friendly Sunscreen: Make sure to pack a reef-safe sunscreen that won’t harm the environment.
- Travel towel: If you’re going to spend time at the beach or go island hopping, pack a lightweight towel, like this Dock & Bay microfiber beach towel that dries in a jiffy and won’t weigh you down.
- Waterproof Cellphone Case & Drybag: If you’re looking to join some of the fun water activities on offer in Penghu, pack a waterproof cellphone case and a dry bag to keep your belongings dry.
- Camera: The Penghu islands are absolutely breathtaking! Don’t forget your camera so that you can capture all your favorite bits! I always travel with my Olympus Mirrorless Camera, but a Go Pro is a great alternative if you prefer something more lightweight. Of course, you can never go wrong with DJI Mavic Mini Drone either!
- Mosquito repellant: Don’t forget bug spray when visiting Penghu (and practically everywhere else in Taiwan)! I recommend this DEET-free eco-friendly bug repellant.
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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