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  • Writer's pictureRick

Trip Planning: Kinmen, Penghu & Matsu Islands (金澎马跳岛游) — The Route

In this post, I will outline the route that I intend to take for my upcoming trip to Kinmen, Penghu and Matsu.

First of all, the only constraint that I have for this trip is the number of annual leaves that I can apply (even though I have enough leaves to travel for a month). The maximum number of days that I can be absent from work is 12 days. That gives me 2.5 weeks after adding in 3 weekends — a total of 17~18 days.

I miss the old days where I could just quit my job 😈 and travel without any leaves constraint... Yes, I made a 107-day trip to Yunnan, China, followed by Taiwan without much of a plan since I had all the time in the world. I was "forced" to return home due to expiring visas and the looming Chinese Lunar New Year season in 2013 that turned both places into super-peak period that made travelling expensive and inconvenient.

Back to this trip, after taking into considerations the time factors, the transports available, the sight-seeing spots, etc, I have worked out a travel route that covers most of the major islands and, as much as possible, avoided spending too much time on the mainlands. I want to focus more on the islands, not the "touch-and-go" tourist style.

My travel route will be as follows:

Day 1 (Thur | Sun | Tue) * : Xiamen to Kinmen

  • Fly from Singapore to Xiamen Gaoqi Airport (4.5 hrs)

  • Take airport transfer to Wutong Pier (15 mins)

  • Take ferry to Kinmen (30 mins)

  • Check-in accommodation

* See reason for Day 5.

Day 2 ~ 4 : Kinmen & Little Kinmen

  • Cycle around Kinmen, hunt for Wind Lion Gods, see sorghum fields, visit Liangjin Farm, eat the 3 weird food of Kinmen, etc (2 days)

  • Take ferry to Little Kinmen, cycle around the island, hunt for Wind Rooster, etc (1 day)

Day 5 (Mon | Thur | Sat) : Kinmen to Penghu

  • Fly to Penghu Makung Airport at 11:20am (40 mins)

  • Stay 1 night in Makung City

  • Tour Penghu Old Town, try the local food

‼️ Kinmen to Penghu flight is only available on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. So the travel period must be carefully selected to make this happens.

Update 20 Oct 2019:

Due to the super-low peak travel season in November and December, there are only Monday flights to Penghu. All flights on Saturday and Thursday are "unavailable".

Day 6 : Qimei Isle

  • Take ferry to Qimei Isle at 9:30am, (2+ hrs)

  • See Twin-Hearts Stone Weir, etc

  • Stay overnight on Qimei Isle

Day 7 : Wang'an Isle

  • Continue Sight-seeing on Qimei

  • Take 1:30pm ferry to Wang'an Isle (1 hr)

  • See old village, beach, etc

  • Stay overnight on Wang'an Isle

Day 8 : Back to Penghu

  • Continue sight-seeing on Wang'an

  • Take 2:30pm ferry back to Penghu (1 hr)

  • Stay in Makung City again

Day 9 : Penghu

  • Tour Penghu Island

  • See Kuibi Hill splits the Sea in Huxi Township, Daguoye Columnar Basalt in Xiyu Township, etc

Day 10 : Penghu - Taichung - Nangan

  • Fly to Taichung in the morning

  • Fly to Matsu Nangan at 1:35pm

  • Tour Nangan

  • Stay in Nangan

Now, I have 2 options after reaching Matsu Nangan, which is dependent on the mode of transportation to Taipei at the end of the trip.


OPTION 1⃣️ : The Sea Route

This plan will make Dongyin the last island of visit before sailing to Keelung, Taipei, by ferry.

Day 11 ~ 12 : Beigan Isle

  • Take ferry to Beigan (20 mins)

  • Tour Beigan

  • Stay 2 nights at Qinbi Village

Day 13 : Nangan Isle

  • Take ferry back to Nangan

  • Continue to tour Nangan

  • Stay in Nangan... (can't be helped as there is only one ferry a day to Dongyin 🙁)

Day 14 *: Dongyin Isle

  • Take ferry to Dongyin at 8:30am 🚨

  • Visit Dongyong Lighthouse, Taiwan's northern most point

  • Buy ferry ticket to Keelung ‼️

  • Stay overnight in Dongyin

* The sailing day must NOT fall on a Tuesday!

Day 15 : Dongyin - Keelung

  • Take day-time Taiwan-Matsu Star (台马之星) ferry to Keelung 🚨

  • Stay overnight in Keelung or Taipei

  • If this day falls on a Monday, use the overnight Taiwan-Matsu ferry (台马轮) to Keelung, Taipei. There will be no need to stay another night in Keelung.

Day 16 : (Buffer Day)

  • Buffer day for delays or changes in schedule

  • Can stay in Matsu for an extra day or in Taipei

Day 17 : Fly Home

  • Take train to Taipei, then to Taoyuan International Airport

  • Fly to Singapore

🚨 Ferry routes to Dongyin and Keelung interchange on alternate days and service may be halted during bad weather. Any last-minute change in schedule or route may result in missing the flight home on Day 17.

🚨 This option has too many one-night stays at each location within the tight timeline. It will be good if I have longer time to make each location a minimum 2-night stay. Probably for another trip in the near future... 😁


OPTION 2⃣️ : The Air Route

This plan will make Beigan the last island of visit before flying to Taipei.

Day 11 : Around Nangan

  • Continue to tour Nangan

  • Stay for another night

Day 12 : (Buffer Day)

  • Can stay in Nangan for another day, or visit Dongju or Xiju island

  • Subjected to ferry schedule for Dongyin, the trip to Dongyin can be brought forward to this day.

Day 13 *: Dongyin Isle

  • Take ferry to Dongyin at 8:30am 🚨

  • Visit Dongyong Lighthouse, Taiwan's northern most point

  • Stay overnight in Dongyin

* This day must NOT fall on a Tuesday! And also not on a Monday as there may be no ferry service back to Nangan the following day — unless staying on Dongyin for 2 nights.

Day 14 : (Buffer Day)

  • Can stay in Dongyin for another day in case of bad weather

  • Can stay in Matsu for an extra day or in Taipei

  • If I can confirm the ferry schedule till end of the year, I can probably allocate an extra day in Penghu County for Jibei Isle to the north.

Day 15 : Dongyin - Nangan - Beigan

  • Take ferry back to Nangan, then take another ferry to Beigan

  • Stay in Qinbi Village (2 nights)

Day 16 : Beigan Isle

  • Tour Beigan

Day 17 : Fly Home

  • Take flight to Taipei Songshan Airport

  • Transit to Taoyuan International Airport

  • Fly to Singapore

Evidently, I will go for Option 2 due to lesser change of accommodations every day and lesser unknowns from the ferry schedule. In addition, additional buffer days will allow for any change in schedule so as not to miss the flight home.

Note that the above is still a plan and is subjected to changes. I will update this post until I depart for the trip.

I have worked out the following:

  1. The Objectives — what to see, do and eat,

  2. The Transports — how to get in, around and out,

  3. The Route — where and when to go (above),

Next, the "need to know" for the trip:

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