• Nitten Gokhaley

You must have never heard about these offshore Taiwanese Islands!

Besides mainland Taiwan, the country consists of several other offshore islands. Each chain of isles has its own set of characteristics and cultural heritage. Here's a quick look at crucial aspects about five of them.

Kinmen County

Kinmen County is a chain of islands that are governed by the Taiwanese Government. People in this county are also referred to as Taiwanese, but some consider themselves closer to Chinese culture. Kinmen is famous as Taiwan's military base.

During the 16th century, Kinmen witnessed several attacks from Japanese pirates. This is the reason that the Government decided to equip Kinmen with arms and defense forces. Later, Kinmen also witnessed a lot of battles between Chinese communists and Kuomintang party members.

You can meet several former soldiers who served at one of the country's military bases at Kinmen County. Soldiers often prefer to take a boat to visit the mainland instead of taking a flight.

Not just soldiers, but even tourists who stay in Kinmen County for a long time, develop the habit of drinking liquor. The county is famous for Kaoliang liquor's production. Besides alcohol, it is renowned for its livestock industry, agriculture products, fishery industry, and Kinmen knife production.

The county is home to several historical buildings, museums, parks, and areas with wonderful natural surroundings. The Kinmen National Park attracts hundreds of tourists daily. They prefer eating fried seafood and Guangdong porridge whenever they visit Kinmen.

Penghu County

Penghu is a chain of islands and is considered the second largest county governed by Taiwan. All islands in this county can be accessed by plane and by boat from Taiwan. The life of people living in Penghu is as good as that of people living in mainland Taiwan. The county has developed a lot during the last few years because of tourism.

Some of the most popular tourist attractions are the Qimei Lighthouse, the Central Street, Penghu Living Museum, Ocean Resources Museum, Double-Heart of Stacked Stones, and Penghu National Scenic Area. Tourists should surely taste cactus ice-cream while in this county.

Kota Island

Kota Island is located towards the southeast of Taiwan (mainland) and is also known as Loaita Island. It is home to the Philippine soldiers' base station. People on this isle cannot cultivate crops due to a lack of fertile soil. Thus, most of the food supplies come from mainland Taiwan. The island attracts many tourists from Taiwan due to its picturesque surroundings and several bird species. Certain parts of this region are also occupied by China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia.

Matsu Islands

Matsu Islands together make the smallest county governed by the Taiwanese Government. Matsu is a Chinese Goddess that protects sailors and fishers from evil powers. This chain of islands is named after the same Goddess, and is also often referred to as Lienchiang County.

There are several military stations here, just like in Kinmen County. Certain isles from Matsu Islands are also under the control of the Chinese Government.

These isles attract hundreds of tourists due to their beautiful natural surroundings and historical sites. Nangan's Iron Fort and Beihai Tunnel, the Matsu Folk Culture Museum, Mazu Temple, and the Dongyong Lighthouse are some of the most popular attractions. Matsu is home to several tourist-friendly beaches as well.

Several ornithologists and bird lovers visit Matsu Islands every year as it offers a closer look into certain bird species. The climate here is cooler than the temperature on mainland Taiwan.

Tourists love eating seafood, fish noodles, and Jiguang pastry while on Matsu Islands.

Hsiao Liuchiu Island

Hsiao Liuchiu is also known as Xiaoliuqiu Island. You can take a boat from mainland Taiwan and reach Hsiao Liuchiu in about forty minutes. Star photographers from around the world love this region, as it offers the best sunset view possible.

If you love exploring caves, you may find Xiaoliuqiu Island as heaven because there are many ancient caves to explore. The isle is also home to a small forest area and some incredible coral formations.

Venice Beach, Houshih Rock Formations, Piyun Temple, and Black Dwarf Cave are popular tourist attractions.

Do you wish to explore the aquatic life on this island? If so, you should visit Chung Au Beach. It shelters several species of sea turtles and more than 170 types of fish. Chung Au Beach can help you take a closer look at the area's aquatic life.

Until the end of the 90s, the island used to attract just a few visitors every day, and the overall environment was tourist-friendly. However, these days, the area is always full of tourists. You should be ready to wait for several hours to get a boat for Hsiao Liuchiu Island.

Blue skies, transparent sea-water, family-friendly restaurants, and tourist-friendly people are common factors in all Taiwanese Islands. You can also enjoy adventure sports and water sports on some of these islands.

If you wish to visit all these five islands while on Taiwan's tour, you must do proper planning with your tour operator. As per the US CDC, travelers to Taiwan face the lowest risk of getting COVID-19 infection. But the Taiwan Tourism Bureau has made it clear that its borders won't open for tourists until the end of 2021.

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