It was our first time visiting this island and in all honesty, if not for a travel company we found online, we wouldn’t even know Penghu existed! They arranged every single part of the trip so we were so happy discovering a new place with the company of locals. Here’s our Penghu Travel Guide.
HOW TO REACH PENGHU
There is no direct overseas flight to Penghu. From Manila, we flew to Taipei for 3 hours via Airasia, and then to Penghu for an hour, via Mandarin Airlines. The flight was a full but I feel we were barely 100 passengers as the airplane was really small.
Magong Island is the main island of Penghu, where Magong Airport is located. Magong City is relatively small, making you reach places in mere minutes. I remember we were still touring around the city an hour before the flight as we only needed 10 mins to reach the airport, and was perfectly checked in 30 mins before our departure. For more information such as ferry rides to Penghu and taxi rides to and from Magong Airport, you can check out this website.
WHERE TO GO
Penghu is an archipelago, interconnected by bridges. It is a must that you get a tour or rent a car to bring you around sightseeing spots because you are unable to do that via local public transport.
1. AIMEN BEACH
Clear blues and white sand, it’s almost shocking to see this beach empty. Relax on the beach or stroll around Lintou Park, which is just right beside. If you get hungry, there is a popular cafe called Gilly Primavera that serves western food.
2. 22 ALLEYS CULTURAL AND CREATIVE HOTEL
Inside 22 Alleys Cultural and Creative Hotel, you will find hotel rooms you can stay in, refreshments and food, and old alleyways and sculptures perfect for photography. Also in the estate is Duxingshi Village, which is the oldest military housing in Taiwan, Chang Yu Shen’s memorial hall, and a museum dedicated to Pan An Bang, a famous singer in Taiwan who rose to fame in the 70’s because of his hit song, “Grandma’s Penghu Bay.”
3. ERKAN HISTORIC VILLAGE
You would need to cross over to another island from Magong Island via a long bridge to reach Erkan Historic Village, which situated in Xiyu Island, Penghu. This village is included in the Top 100 important historic and cultural buildings throughout Taiwan.
Predominantly made of stone, the houses in this village is inspired by the architecture of Fujian, China, and were built in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.
4. YUWENGDAO LIGHTHOUSE
Built in the late 1700’s, Yuwengdao Lighthouse is a popular tourist destination in Penghu. You can freely enter because there are no entrance tickets but make sure you don’t visit on a Monday when the area is closed. While you’re here, take photos not only of the lighthouse but also the views around it as it is situated on a cliff, looking out to the sea.
5. DAGUOYE COLUMNAR BASALT
Located in the eastern area of Penghu’s West Isle lies Daguoye, a large group of hexagonal basalt columns that were formed from molten lava, thousands of years ago. Photographers and tourists are suggested to visit in the morning to get the best and clearest views.
6. PENGHU GREAT BRIDGE
Bridges in Penghu are a popular attraction in themselves. One of the longest bridges you will ever find in the county is the Penghu Great Bridge, which connects Xiyu and Baisha Islets, 2 of Penghu’s main islands. It is currently 13 metres wide and spans 2.5 kilometres, which is the largest of its kind in east Asia.
7. ZHoNGZHeNG ROAD
This road is the busiest in all of Magong City, Penghu’s capital city. Streets are filled with food places, drink stands, arcades, and shopping areas which are all walking distance from each other. If you’re lucky, you’ll find 茶汤会 (Cha Tang Hui), our favorite milk tea shop. Order a cup of Tie Guan Yin milk tea for us when you get a chance.
8. XIYING RAINBOW BRIDGE
Just a few minutes walk from Zhongzheng Road, you’ll reach Xiying Rainbow Bridge. This is the most perfect spot to watch spectacular sunsets in Magong. We easily spent an hour observing the locals and watching the sun set with them. What a perfect ending to a long day of touring around.
WHAT TO DO
There are surprisingly a lot of activities to fill up even a week’s tour in Penghu. Here’s what we did given the 3 short days we stayed in the county.
1. EQUULEUS HOMESTAY
Fancy riding horses? Look no further than Equuleus Homestay. Not only can you ride them but you can feed the horses as well! The trainer will guide you every step of the way, especially if you are a first timer like us.
One of the things we were really looking forward to was waterskiing, which we did at a place called Penghu Leisure Workshop. Ian had so much fun trying different skis but I had the most fun taking photos of him falling down. 😀
Protip : Do you have a drone? Goodness this area is drone-genic!
3. LANTERN FESTIVAL ACTIVITIES
It was perfect timing that our visit coincided with the lantern festival. What happens here is that temples become the main attraction of the festivities, with performances, snacks, arcades and shops surrounding them. The locals enjoy playing games such as the one pictured above.
4. TEMPLE HOPPING
Is Taichung a part of your travel plans in Taiwan? Check out this article to read everything you need to know about Taichung.
WHAT TO EAT
Penghu’s cuisine to me is pretty similar with that of Taiwan main island. I would say around 90% similar but because Penghu is made up of tiny islets, the food here is mainly seafood.
1. CACTUS ICE CREAM
What? A cactus? Yep, that’s right! I ate cactus ice cream! The pink shade is almost exactly the same as a pink dragonfruit or beetroot. And not only does cacti in Penghu come in the form of ice cream but they are also made into pastries. You might be wondering what the flavor is like, well, I would say it’s a bit tasteless BUT it looks so nice in photos. #millenial
2. TIE GUAN YIN MILK TEA
Now now, we know that Tie Guan Yin milk tea (铁观音奶茶）is served all throughout Taiwan but it won’t hurt to say that you’ve tried one in Penghu. Get a cup from 茶汤会 (read as Cha Tang Hui) because for us, they serve the best in all of Taiwan!
Seafood sauces such as scallops and shrimp pastes, seafood snacks such as dried mini crabs are widely available everywhere in Penghu as these are their specialty. We visited some shops and tried their specialties, click each link to be redirected to their websites:
4. 马路益烧肉饭 Ma Lu e RESTAURANT
We ate here for 2 consecutive days because it’s just. so.
GOOD! The prices don’t hurt either! I would say order the fried chicken because the seasoning is to die for. <3
5. TRADITIONAL BREAKFAST
To tell you honestly, I have no idea where to buy these because Mona just brings them for us everyday. She says these are available on the road every morning and are easy to spot. My personal favourite would be the fried fish nuggets in steamed bun paired with a cup of fresh local milk tea. Ahh, what a perfect way to start the day!
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodations in Penghu are pretty easy to find but you would need to book them in advance. We found 3 hotels that are owned by one local couple, and booking a stay with them offers complete services such as tours and airport pick ups.
Hotel # 1 – Murraya paniculata Villa
Hotel # 2 – GREEK FRONTIER VILLA
Hotel # 3 – RAID GARDEN HOTEL
Morocco all the way, down to every last bit of detail.
What we found pretty unique about Penghu is their love for turtles. Wherever you go in the county, you will surely find turtles, and in all forms at that — Dessert turtles, rice turtles, bread turtles, chocolate turtles, cabbage turtles, and all else! And to add to that, eating turtle-shaped food means well wishes and luck will be with you. When we asked our guide why, Mona said the main reason is that the Chinese words “龜“, meaning turtle, and “歸“, meaning to return or come back, are both read exactly the same — GŪI. For the locals, turtles symbolize returning to land safely, just as when fishermen come home after dangerously fishing at sea. Hence, the tradition of making turtle shaped things came about as early as two hundred years ago.
WATCH OUR VIDEO
Here’s a short video of our trip. Subscribe to our Youtube channel if you liked what you saw, we’ll appreciate it very much.
Our trip was sponsored by Save Money in Taiwan, in cooperation with Sunscape Cultural and Creative 山水文創有限公司 and Penghu County Government Economic Affairs Department 澎湖縣政府建設處.
We took part in the international tourism promotion of Penghu, in a campaign run by Penghu County Government and did not receive any payment as part of the cooperation. All photos and words are our own.
What do you think of Penghu? The county is a lesser known tourist destination in Taiwan but it has so much to offer. Would you agree?