We were finally going on a trip again!
This side-trip to 小琉球 Xiao Liu Qiu Island was definitely one of the highlights of our Kaohsiung trip, and we were so looking forward to it!
We had decided to stay overnight at 小琉球 Xiao Liu Qiu Island as we could only reach the island past noon and wanted to spend more time here in 小琉球 Xiao Liu Qiu Island.
Our flight was scheduled to touch down 高雄 Kaohsiung at 10:40am, and it would take more than an hour to reach 東港码头 Donggang Ferry Terminal (entrance to 小琉球 Xiao Liu Qiu Island) by bus, and we wanted to do the 潮间带 inter-tidal zone tour (scheduled to take place at 1 pm) so it meant that we must make it for the 12noon (or earlier) 25-minute ferry ride. We figured that the timeline would be rather tight, so we decided to hire a driver to bring us to the ferry terminal instead and arrived at the ferry terminal within 45 minutes! After obtaining our return ferry tickets, we made it just in time for the additional ferry service at 11:30am.
We found seats at the upper deck, and proceeded to have a 25-minute mini Pirate’s Boat adventure ride, with kids squealing in delight each time the huge waves came along, while we felt mildly giddy, haha! After getting off the ferry, we made our way to the meeting point at a motorbike rental place just outside the ferry terminal, where we waited for the 民宿 minsu (aka bed-and-breakfast) owner to pick us up.
We had originally booked the minsu with a sea view, but due to the recent typhoon, the place was wrecked up and we were assigned to another branch instead 😦 The good thing was that the shop where the 浮潜 snorkelling activity was booked with, was directly across this branch.
After dropping our bags in the room, we grabbed a quick lunch before the minsu lady picked us up for the 潮间带 inter-tidal zone tour. Due to the poor weather, she also provided us with disposable rain coats for this activity.
Guess most of the minsu guests in the island were all gathered for this tour. Many of the minsu owners would be the guides for this tour. We were split up into groups based on our lodging, and were brought into the area where the guides would do the explanations and also showed us the various living creatures. We had the opportunity to touch the non-poisonous ones. It was very fun despite the light rain. This was certainly an interesting experience!
Next up was 浮潜 snorkelling at 3pm. Because our electric scooters were not yet available and since we were staying so near, we merely had to change into our swim wear before strolling over to the shop 😛
Snorkelling equipment, wet suits and life vests were provided, so there was no need to worry about anything. Most of the participants already had their own transport, so there were only 5 of us who needed the free pick-up service to bring us to the destination.
First, we were given a quick briefing and were told to clean our goggles with toothpaste 😮 Then, we got a bit of practice on how to breathe in the shallow waters. Soon, we were split into small groups and followed the guides into the sea! It was relatively easy because we only had to hold on to the floats and the guides would bring us to see the various sea creatures. However, we were unfortunate enough to be hit with sudden huge waves the minute we stepped into the sea 😮 I swallowed a lot of sea water and felt really giddy with the tidal movements, and almost lost my grip on the float. Water entered my goggles and I had difficulty breathing. I almost freaked out when I couldn’t find hubby! Turned out that he was washed away by the waves 😮 Luckily he was a pretty strong swimmer and manage to eventually catch up. One of the guides saw me struggling and helped me with the adjustment of the goggles. Took me a while before I could finally relax and enjoy myself.
While the water was not as clear due to the typhoon, we still managed to see corals, fishes and that huge sea turtle 😀 The guides also helped everyone take pictures and we received the complimentary photos in a CD after the activity.
Once we were back to the minsu, we contacted the owners gave us a ride the to scooter rental shop. They picked us up in their scooters, thus giving us a taste of what to expect in riding our 電动自行车 electric scooters. We spent the evening and night getting used to our rides and finding dinner. There was supposed to be a complimentary night tour as part of the package, but it was unfortunately cancelled due to the poor weather. Nonetheless, we had a great time just riding on our own.
We wanted to catch the sunrise the next morning, but it was already raining heavily when we woke up at 5am, so we continued to snooze till 7am when the rain finally stopped. It was around 8:30am when we finally left the minsu, and the roads were mostly dry with some puddles of water. We rode slowly and once we got used to riding the electric scooter, it was a very enjoyable ride! Basically, one could complete a round-island ride in 30 minutes without stopping. To me, it felt like go-kart in a super huge circuit, and I totally enjoyed the sea view and light breeze as I rode.
I had a moment of panic when I fell while going up-slope! My leg was pinned down and I was unable to get up by myself. Thankfully, a helpful traveller stopped by to help us lift the scooter, and I was lucky to suffer only minor bruises. Despite this, I totally enjoyed the exhilarating experience as a non-driver, and would love to do it again! However, I think hubby could not wait to ship me off the island after my fall… Haha… Maybe I was having too much fun with the ride 😛
We almost completed a round trip around the island in 1.5 hours, including stopping at various sights and getting lost. We had to cut short our ride, as we needed to check out by 10:30am. We decided to return our electric scooters and catch the 11:30am ferry to 東港Donggang. It was perfect timing, as the free transport from the rental company to the ferry terminal was leaving. It was a quick ride to the terminal, and once again, we managed to catch the additional ferry departure at 11am.
Food in 小琉球 Xiao Liu Qiu Island
|阿莉雞肉飯 A Li Chicken Rice:
|鄭記琉球香腸 Zheng’s Sausage:
|小琉球飛魚卵起司烤餅 Flying Fish Roe Cheese Pizza:
|牛排店 Night Beef Steak Stall (opposite Minsu):
悠遊民宿 – 馬鞍館 Yoyo Bed & Breakfast – Ma An Branch
There are more than 100 minsus on the island, and prices ranged from very cheap to very expensive. However, as we would be spending very little time inside the minsu, we opted for a cheaper accommodation, and our priority was location and having activities thrown in as part of the package, to save the hassle of figuring out the logistics, e.g. where to rent transport, and where to find a reputable company for 浮潜 snorkelling. So we basically read a few blog reviews, shortlisted and contacted one minsu via LINE, made a full PayPal payment, and got ourselves our accommodation.
It was unfortunate that we did not manage to get the minsu of our choice due to the typhoon, but this branch had a good location with the snorkelling shop and good food just opposite the road. Our room was relatively clean and decent. It was more of on-our-own as the owners were hardly in this minsu. However, we could always keep in contact via Line.
永春浮潛 Yung Chuen Snorkelling
This was the shop that provided the snorkelling services as part of our minsu package. We liked that everything was all-in, and we did not have to worry about equipment, transport or pictures. Staff were friendly and the guides really took care to provide explanations and ensured that everyone had the chance to see the various sea creatures. Not too sure of the ala-carte prices though.
乙順小琉球-中華e-moving電動機車 YSRT Electric Scooters
This was the shop that provided the electric scooters as part of our minsu package, and the minsu owner brought us to pick up our rides. A test drive was required prior to renting the electric scooter, as the rental company would assess if you would be able to manage the ride. Basically, if you can cycle, it should not be an issue, as the way to balance and brake is similar. It took me a while to overcome my fear of riding, but the staff was very patient and encouraging. At the counter, the staff explained a long list of rules and regulations… not too sure if all rental companies use the same list. We had to go twice, once for the test drive, and a second time to pick up the e-scooters because the previous renters had extended their rides.
Changing of batteries is free-of-charge if you do the exchange at the shop during office hours, but there would be a surcharge if you call for service after office hours. We did not have to change ours though.
We had initially thought that 電动自行车 referred to electric bicycle, but it actually resembles more like a scooter with a maximum speed of 25 kmph, though my e-scooter did go beyond 30 kmph, especially when going down-slope.
While most minsu offer scooter rental as part of the package, you need to have motorcycle license to ride it. Just check with the minsu for the option to switch to 電动自行车 electric scooter instead. You might need to top up as the e-scooter only allow for single rider, compared to 2 riders for scooters. At the rental company, we were also told that if we had a valid car license, we could opt for a bigger version of e-scooter for 2 riders, but we felt it would be safer and easier to maneuver the smaller version.
Frankly, it could get a little stressful when there were more riders on the road, especially at junctions. Being a non-driver with rather poor motor skills, I had to be mindful to use the rear mirror, watch left and right, etc. Of course, it helped that there were no traffic lights on the island, and most people had licenses and were riding scooters, so they could overtake / avoid us while we concentrate on balancing and enjoying the views.
- While there were fixed ferry timings, we encountered additional ferry departures for both days. Perhaps because it was Taiwan summer holidays? Do arrive 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled timing, as the ferry could depart earlier if it was full.
- If you do not take well to ferry rides, consider finding a seat at the back of the lower deck. We did this upon advice of the electric scooter rental company staff who accompanied us on the transport to the ferry, and found the ferry ride to be much smoother, despite supposedly stronger waves.
- Travelling from 高雄国际機場 Kaohsiung International Airport to 東港 Donggang: We felt that the NT800 to hire a driver was well-spent, for it would have cost us almost the same if we were to take a cab for the 45-minute ride, and it would have taken twice the travelling time if we were to opt for bus. It was a very smooth ride to 東港码头 Donggang Ferry Terminal, and our friendly and experienced driver, 許大哥, also gave us some advice on other places to visit during our visit. Unfortunately, he had a last-minute assignment and could not rush back in time for our day trip to 屏東 Ping Tung. He did find an alternative driver for us, but we could not help but feel a little disappointed 😦
- Travelling from 東港 Donggang to 高雄市 Kaohsiung City: To do car pool from 東港 Donggang to 高雄火車站/高雄捷運站 Kaohsiung Station (NT150) or 左營高鐵站/台鐵新左營站/高雄捷運高鐵站 Zuoying Station (NT200), keep a look out for the vendors holding signboard advertisement after you disembark from the ferry. We had to wait a while as there were no ferries scheduled to arrive yet when we were done with lunch. However, there was also another group of 3 pax looking for transport to Zuoying shortly after us, and the 5 of us took a comfortable 9-seater mini van together. The ride to Kaohsiung Station was about 50 minutes, and just slightly more expensive than taking public transport. As we spotted our hotel 頭等艙飯店高雄‧站前館 Airline Inn – Kaoshiung Station before we actually reached the station, the driver was kind enough to let us drop just opposite it.
- Remember to check the tide timings while planning your trip to 小琉球 Xiao Liu Qiu Island; the 潮间带 inter-tidal zone tour is available only during low tides, and the tour may be unavailable on certain days and months. Also, the tour might be cancelled, subject to weather.
- Do remember not to use sunblock when going for the 潮间带 inter-tidal zone tour and 浮潜 snorkelling, as it would be harmful to the sea animals.
- If you would like to take things slow and do all the activities, plus try out the different foods on the island, you might want to consider staying 2 nights instead.