Friday, February 27, 2015

Xiao Liu Qiu (Visiting an island off the coast of Taiwan)

Yesterday a small group of us decided to visit the small island of Liu Qiu, which is off the western coast of Taiwan. We had the day off because it is a holiday here (Peace Memorial Day) and we quickly went from 70º weather to being in the 80's so a trip surrounded by ocean seemed like a great idea.

My friends Linda and Les took their scooter down to the ferry while Wendy, Lee and I took the MRT (subway) to the last stop on the line and then a cab to the ferry station. It's about an hour or so from Kaohsiung doing it this way. The ferry is in this city called Dong Gang and the ferry heads to Liu Qiu several times a day. It only took about 20-25 minutes to get there (the ferry goes really fast) and it's really comfortable. It only cost us $400 NT (about $12) round trip. Crazy cheap! This is a shot of the inside of the ferry - all seated and air conditioned.

The plan was for us to rent scooters on the island (Les and Linda brought theirs) but I admit I was a little nervous about that. I have never driven a scooter and I would have wanted a little practice before driving one around the island. Well, the scooter renters agreed and Lee, Wendy and I ended up renting electric bikes instead. Thank god we had these because it's only about 10 km around the entire island but I'd say close to half of that trip is uphill. To save the battery you have to pedal up those hills but having this little nugget helped A LOT!

So the island Liu Qiu (Xiao means little) is only about 7 square km in size and is a coral island. The road around the island has little tourist spots that you can visit and that's just what we did. Many inhabitants work in the fishing industry or tourism. It was a remarkable island!
We started off at the top of the island (where the ferry terminal is) and made our way counter clockwise around the entire island.

Our first stop was at a temple (from what I read there are about 60 of them on the island). It was a cloudy day but you can still see how beautiful it is here.

Next stop - coral outcroppings and caves in the area. Sorry this picture is sideways but this was the warning at the entrance. OUCHY! It's appropriate - the jagged coral is jutting out everywhere and some of the spaces are tiny.

The beautiful path leads you in and out of these coral and limestone rock sculptures. You have to duck, twirl and wind through these pathways. Extraordinary!

You catch a glimpse of the ocean here and there and there are spots to sit and enjoy the view or rest.

Look at the roots of this tree grabbing onto the side of this mountain of limestone and coral!

 Look at the water! There is great diving and snorkeling here (which I can't wait to do). We saw sea turtles too!

This was the path down toward the water at a different scenic spot along the way.

 We stopped here to have some lunch while enjoying the view and the sounds of the waves hitting the shore.

We headed further around the island to visit a cave and climb up and down to the ocean.

There were food vendors and souvenir stalls at most of the scenic spots.

Upstairs, downstairs and winding around until you get to see the ocean.

 Checking out some cool coral embedded in the limestone.

Two of us ended up crawling through the cave but 3 of us chose to stay up top. It was crowded and seemed a bit claustrophobic. I stayed up top. After my very crowded time in Taipei last week, I didn't have it in me to be surrounded by a lot of people in an itty bitty space.

 I'm not sure what message this sculpture is relaying... 0.o

 I think I'll pass on climbing down this rabbit hole.

After a few hours, we returned to the beginning and dipped our feet into the ocean. I was so hot and sweaty at this point I wish I could have taken a plunge. Next time!

 We dropped off our electric bikes and made our way to a little place for mango smoothies before heading back on the ferry. I had 2 large bottles of water along the journey but needed some serious hydration before heading back. 

Next time I plan to stay overnight so I can do some snorkeling and a bit more exploring. It was the perfect day! Amazing people, beautiful views and ocean air. Life is grand!

No comments:

Post a Comment