Trip Planning: Kinmen, Penghu & Matsu Islands (金澎马跳岛游) — The Transports
I wrote about my travel objectives in Part I, do read it if you want to find out more on what to do, see and eat on the trip. Nothing gets done if there are no goals, and it applies to this trip as well.
To paint a quick picture, this trip will be an island-hopping journey to the three groups of islands: Kinmen (金门), Penghu (澎湖) and Matsu (马祖) in the Taiwan Straits under the administration of Taiwan.
I will consolidate all the necessary transportation information on getting to, around and out of the islands in this post. Towards the end of this post, I will add a Google map to show all the possible routes.
As Kinmen and Matsu are geographically closer to China than the main island of Taiwan, it will be more accessible to get there via the Little Three Links (小三通) to cross the China-Taiwan border. I will start with the sea route between Xiamen and Kinmen.
✈️ FLIGHT: Singapore ⇄ Xiamen
First of all, Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport (厦门高崎国际机场) is the nearest airport to get to Kinmen island or back. The airport is on Xiamen Island and so is the ferry terminal to Kinmen.
I am interested only in flights between Singapore and Xiamen. There are a number of flights available, taking 4 hours direct flight time in each direction. I will prefer an early flight in the day and reach Xiamen by mid-day and head straight for the ferry terminal if going via this entry point.
Singapore → Xiamen:
- Check SkyScanner for flights
Likewise, if I am coming back to Singapore via Xiamen, I will take an early ferry from Kinmen to Xiamen and then head straight for the airport. I will probably book a late-afternoon flight to be on the safe side. However, this will mean having to pass through China customs 2 times before flying home followed by clearing Singapore customs, which is a real hassle.
Xiamen → Singapore:
- Check SkyScanner for flights
The fare should be around S$250 each way during off-peak season or if booking is done at least 3 months earlier.
🚌 There is airport transfer to Wutong Ferry:
- Schedule: 8:05am to 5:35pm at 30 ~ 60 minutes interval
- Travel Time: 15 mins
- Fare: CNY 10
⛴️ FERRY: Xiamen ⇄ Kinmen (厦门 ⇄ 金门)
Ferry services to Kinmen's Shuitou Commercial Terminal (金门水头商港) are available from Wutong Ferry Terminal in Xiamen (厦门五通码头) and Shijing Ferry Terminal in Quanzhou (泉州石井码头). Quanzhou will not be in my travel plan, so I will not go into it.
Xiamen (Wutong) → Kinmen:
- 8am to 17:30pm at 30-minute interval, 1-hour interval between 11am to 2pm
- CNY 155
Kinmen → Xiamen (Wutong):
- 8am; 9am to 12pm at 30-minute interval; 1pm to 5:30pm at 30-minute interval
Travel time is 30 minutes.
⛴️ FERRY: Kinmen ⇄ Little Kinmen (金门 ⇄ 小金门)
Little Kinmen, also known as Lieyu Township (烈屿乡), is a small habited island near to the larger Kinmen island. Ferries to Little Kinmen's Jiugong Pier (九宫码头) from (Great) Kinmen leave from Shuitou Terminal (yes, it's the same terminal from/to Xiamen).
Kinmen → Little Kinmen:
- 7:00am to 8:00pm at 30-minutes interval; 9:00pm & 10:00pm (daily)
Little Kinmen → Kinmen:
- 6:30am to 7:30pm at 30-minutes interval; 8:30pm & 9:30pm (daily)
The fare is NT$60 (one-way), payable by cash or Taiwan Easycard. Bicycle can be brought onboard free. Travel time is approximately 15 minutes.
Reference: Kinmen Travel - Lieyu Ferry
✈️ FLIGHT: Kinmen ⇄ Taiwan (金门 ⇄ 台湾)
There are many domestic flights between Kinmen and Taiwan (Taipei, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsiung) that are operated by several airlines, such as Uni Air (立荣航空), Far Eastern (远东航空), Mandarin (華信航空), etc. I am not able to list down all their schedules and fares here. Anyway, I am doing an island-hopping trip and the next destination shall be to Penghu, which is nearer to Kinmen than Taiwan.
📌 There is no direct flight between Kinmen and Matsu.
📌 There is no ferry service between Kinmen and Penghu.
✈️ FLIGHT: Kinmen ⇄ Penghu (金门 ⇄ 澎湖)
The only airline that flies between Kinmen and Penghu is Uni Air (立荣航空公司). There are 3 flights a week on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
Kinmen → Penghu (Magong):
- Depart at 11:20am from Shangyi Airport (金门商义机场)
Penghu (Magong) → Kinmen:
- Depart at 12.40pm from Makung Airport (澎湖马公机场)
The fare is around NT$1,420 (one-way) during off-peak season. Travel time is 40 minutes.
Reference: Uni Air Website
Getting to Taiwan Island from Penghu is real easy with both ferry services and flights available to several major cities. Which mode of transportation to choose will depend on budget and the amount of time one has for the journey. And also taking into considerations the connecting transports to Matsu Islands. I will get to that after covering Penghu.
⛴️ FERRY: Around Penghu Islands
I noted that there is only 1 service per day to most of the outer islands around Penghu. Islands nearer to the main island of Penghu may have more services. I will summarise the common routes for travellers here.
South Sea Route:
Penghu (09:30) → Wang'an (10:50) → Qimei (13:30) → Wang'an (14:30) → Penghu:
- Penghu ⇄ Wang'an: NT$272
- Wang'an ⇄ Qimei: NT$167
- Penghu ⇄ Qimei: NT$437
Notice that to go to Qimei Island, the ferry will have to pass through Wang'an Island. It will be a waste of time and money to visit these 2 islands on separate trips.
North Sea Route:
Jibei → Chikan:
- Departs at 07:00 & 14:00 (Sat to Thur), 07:00 & 16:00 on Friday
Chikan → Jibei:
- Departs at 11:15 & 17:00 (Sat to Thur), 11:15 & 17:30 on Friday
- Penghu Travel Guide (English)
⛴️ FERRY: Penghu ⇄ Taiwan (澎湖 ⇄ 台湾)
There are several ferry services to Taiwan Island, calling at different ports at Chiayi (嘉义), Taichung (台中) and Kaohsiung (高雄).
Penghu → Chiayi:
- 3pm to 4:30pm at 30-minute interval; 4:45pm
Chiayi → Penghu:
- 9am to 11am at 30-minute interval
Fare: NT$1,000 (one-way), NT$1,950 (two-way)
Travel Time: 1 hour between Chiayi Budai Port (嘉义布袋港) and Penghu Longmen Port (澎湖龙门港). 1.5 hours between Chiayi and Penghu Makung Port (澎湖马公港).
‼️ During off-peak seasons, ferry services may be reduced. There was even a note on some websites that mentioned "ferry services are from April through October only". After October, ferry services will usually be halted due to the Northeast monsoon bringing in strong winds.
Penghu → Taichung:
- 2pm (Monday, Wednesday & Friday only)
Taichung → Penghu:
- 9am (Wednesday, Friday & Sunday only)
Fare: NT$3,000 (two-way only, requires 4 pax and above to book tickets ‼️)
Travel Time: 2.5 hours
Penghu → Kaohsiung:
- 9:30am & 4pm (daily)
- Fare: NT$1,619
Kaohsiung → Penghu:
- 9:30am & 11pm (daily)
- Fare: NT$1,700
Travel Time: 4.5 hours during daytime, 7 hours during night
Penghu ⇄ Tainan:
Penghu ⇄ Keelung:
Anyway, it is a long 11-hour journey to Keelung Harbour (see the map below). It would have been a great leisurely cruise to Keelung and then change to another ferry for the Matsu Islands if one has a lot of time to spare. But, it's still a long detour...
Reference: Penghu Travel - Ferry Services
🤔 Noted that most of the ferries departing from Penghu are in the afternoon, which makes getting to the next destination within the same day difficult.
✈️ FLIGHT: Penghu ⇄ Taiwan (澎湖 ⇄ 台湾)
In a nutshell, there are over 30 flights between Penghu Makung Airport and 5 major cities (Taipei, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsiung) on Taiwan island, so I will not list out all the flight details. Do check out this website for more details.
Penghu → Songshan Airport
- About 20 flights per day operated by Uni Air, Mandarin and Far Eastern.
- Fare: Around NT$2,000 (one-way). There are early-bird discounts.
Penghu → Taichung Airport
- About 10 flights per day operated by Uni Air, Mandarin and Far Eastern.
- Fare: Around NT$1,600 (one-way). There are early-bird discounts.
Penghu → Kaohsiung Airport
- About 18 flights per day operated by Uni Air, Mandarin and Far Eastern.
- Fare: Around NT$1,700 (one-way). There are early-bird discounts.
Penghu → Tainan Airport
- About 3 flights per day operated by Uni Air
- Fare: Around NT$1,600 (one-way). There are early-bird discounts.
Penghu → Chiayi Airport
- 1 flight per day operated by Uni Air
- Depart at 3:30pm
- Fare: Around NT$1,500 (one-way). There are early-bird discounts.
Note that both Wang'an Township (望安乡) and Qimei Township (七美乡) have an airport each that have flights to Kaohsiung. These flights are mainly operated by Daily Air (德安航空). More info here if you are interested in this route.
FLIGHT / FERRY to the Matsu Islands (马祖列岛)
After the trip to the Matsu Islands in November 2019, I went back again in 2023. As such, I consolidated all information on how to get in / out and around the Matsu Islands in the following post for ease of referencing and updating.
🚌 TOUR BUS: Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Services
Before ending this post, there is another piece of information on the mode of transportation around Taiwan — the Tourist Shuttle Service (台湾好行). During my last 3 trips to Taiwan, I had been using their services to visit most places of interests without having to rent a scooter (requires local driving license) or bicycle. I had also used their services when touring Kinmen 7 years ago. Likewise, I will probably make use of these shuttle services to go around Matsu and Penghu.
Reference: Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Service
Disclaimer: All information above are collected from the Internet and may be subjected to changes. They should be used for reference only. Unfortunately, the websites are mostly in Chinese. Anyway, clarify for more accurate information when on the ground. Or wait until I return from my trip... 😎
It will be a little messy to see all possible routes on one map, so I left out those I am very sure I will not be using (such as the flights from Kinmen to Taiwan). But I will work out how I want to travel and show my intended travel path.