How to Get to Penghu: The Best Transport Methods
Wondering how to get to Penghu? This quick guide sets out the easiest ways to get to Penghu, plus pro tips to reach the islands faster and hassle-free.
Penghu (澎湖) is the collective name for nearly 90 islands and islets located just off the western coast of Taiwan. This small group of islands is the perfect getaway for those looking to explore gorgeous white beaches or simply need a change of scenery from the bustle of Taiwan’s city life.
Penghu is easily accessed by either plane or ferry from various areas across Taiwan. And, even if you can’t speak Chinese, planning a trip here is pretty straightforward. But, unlike traveling on the mainland, you would need to put in a bit more effort to plan your trip, especially the logistics. In this guide I’ll show you the easiest ways to get to Penghu. I’ve also included lots of tips to help you plan the perfect short getaway.
Before you head out to Penghu, make sure to read my detailed guide on top things to do on the main island for more tips.
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How to get to Penghu
Penghu is easily accessible by plane or ferry. However, if you are pressed for time and want to maximize your time here, flying is the fastest way to reach these gorgeous islands. Especially seeing that most flights take less than one hour to Magong Airport. Alternatively, you could take a ferry, which can be an adventure in itself. Ferry rides generally take about 1.5 – 4 hours, depending on the port you sail from.
Getting to Penghu by Plane
If you’re spending two weeks or more in Taiwan, Penghu is a massive must on your Taiwan itinerary!
There are only two airlines that fly to Magong Airport (also spelled Makung, MZG) from various main hubs across Taiwan daily. Domestic flights take less than an hour and depart from Taipei, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Kinmen. (See flight details below).
Both Mandarin Airlines and Uni Air have English booking platforms allowing easy online booking. You could also pop into any local travel agency, such as Lion Air or EZ Travel, to make bookings and buy tickets if you aren’t comfortable booking tickets online. On average, prices range between NT$3,000 – NT$5,000 depending on your travel dates.
Flights to Magong Airport (MZG)
|TPE Songshan ↔ Penghu||10+ daily||±1h||√||√|
|Taichung ↔ Penghu||9 daily||±40m||√||√|
|Chiayi ↔ Penghu||2 daily||±30m||√|
|Tainan ↔ Penghu||4 daily||±30m||√|
|Kaohsiung ↔ Penghu||10+ daily||±40m||√||√|
|Kinmen ↔ Penghu||6 per week||±45m||√|
Just a heads-up, though, if you are using the Mandarin Airlines online booking platform, you might find that the name input field is not long enough – especially if you have a middle name or a longer surname. But don’t worry, there is still a way to get around this. You’ll need to phone their Customer Services on +886 2412 8008 to make a direct booking. Afterward, login to the website again to make the payment electronically, or collect your tickets at an Ibon machine in any 7-11 nationwide.
If you can’t read Chinese, I recommend asking the 7-11 staff for help – they are usually super friendly and helpful. Most of them can speak some basic English, too. However, it’s always a good idea to have the Google Translate app ready on your phone if you need a bit of help communicating.
Oh, and remember to take your passport, flight numbers and booking number with you. Without these, you would not be able to redeem your tickets. Redeeming your tickets at 7-11 is super easy and only takes about 10 minutes.
Getting to Penghu by Ferry
If you want to take a more adventurous route, you might want to consider getting to Penghu via ferry.
Ferry rides are considerably cheaper than flying and expect to pay less than NT$1000 depending on when and where you sail. Several ferries travel to Magong Port (the main port in Penghu) daily, with more frequent ferries during the summer (June – Aug). But keep in mind that schedules are totally dependant on the weather. Know that your plans could change, especially during summer, when Taiwan is prone to rain and typhoons. It’s also important to know that if you suffer from motion sickness, you might want to take some medication beforehand as the ride can get quite choppy.
Taking the ferry from Kaohsiung or Chiayi
The two easiest ferry rides to reach Penghu are from Kaohsiung (4 hours) and Chiayi (1.5 hours). Note, though, that if you want to travel from Kaohsiung, you’ll need to buy tickets directly from the harbor, where English ability might be limited. Therefore, unless you really want to take the four-hour ferry journey, I recommend taking the ferry from Chiayi as it will save much traveling time and ultimately allow more time at the beach! Win, win, win!
If you are based in Kaohsiung, simply hop on the high-speed rail (THSR, also referred to as HSR) at Zuoying to Chiayi from where you can transfer to Baidu Port and finally embark to Penghu. There are frequent THSR trains that run along the west coast of Taiwan, and the journey between Kaohsiung and Chiayi only takes about 35 minutes.
If you are coming from Taipei, simply hop on a southbound train or THSR train to Chiayi. The high-speed rail from Taipei to Chiayi takes about 1.5 hours. Then, take the transfer bus to Budai Port (less than 1 hour).
Buying Chiayi Ferry Tickets
If you plan to stay longer than 3 days (or less than 3 days – although I highly recommend staying longer), the best option to grab would be a One-Way Ferry Ticket from Chiayi to/from Penghu. By doing so, you can easily explore the main island and outer islands at your own pace. However, if your Taiwan itinerary is fixed and you only have three days available, the Round Trip Ferry Ticket from Chiayi to Penghu is undoubtedly your best bet.
No matter which option you choose, it is crucial that you purchase a ticket that includes a transfer between Chiayi (either from the train station of the HSR station) and Budai Port. Make sure to check the options carefully. Alternatively, you would need to grab a taxi to Budai Port, which could add unnecessary travel costs.
Sailing Times from/to Chiayi
10:00am from Chiayi
4:00pm from Penghu
Tips for taking a ferry to Penghu
- If you are prone to seasickness, remember to take some medication beforehand.
- Remember to bring your passport or ID card.
- Keep an eye on the weather forecast, as ferry trips might be canceled in severe weather conditions.
- If you book tickets directly and not through this link, prices tend to increase a bit over weekends, holidays, and festivals, such as the Penghu International Fireworks Festival.
When to visit
The best time to visit Penghu is during spring (Mar – May) or autumn (Sept – Nov) when temperatures are milder. Expect hot and humid weather during summer (June – Aug) with showers and possibly a few typhoons. Penghu is not great during the winter months (Dec – Feb) unless you want to try your hand at windsurfing. During spring and winter, droves of windsurfers head here to enjoy Penghu’s windy weather.
What to do
There are many cool things to do in Penghu, and chances are that any short trip here will leave you wanting to come back for more.
Penghu is home to stunning geological sites, glorious white beaches, great seafood, and some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in Taiwan. Besides these, Penghu also won’t disappoint culture seekers – drop by Taiwan’s oldest Mazu temple, Tianhou Temple, or explore the centuries-old Erkan Village.
Finally, don’t forget to grab your World Nomads travel insurance before going on any adventure. Although I’ve yet to make a claim, it’s always great to know that you are covered for any losses, injuries or cancellations.
Have you visited Penghu yet? What tips do you have for fellow travelers planning a Penghu trip?If you have any other suggestions on getting to Penghu quickly, let me know in the comments below.
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