Unbeknown to most travellers, Taiwan is actually more than just the one small, sweet potato-shaped island. Taiwan actually consists of over a hundred smaller islands and islets, all uniquely different from the Taiwanese mainland as well as from one another. The Republic of China’s sovereignty actually expands far further than the shores of Taiwan proper, stretching all the way down to Taiping Island (太平島) in the South China Sea, and as far north as Dongyin (東引) off the coast of Fujian in neighbouring China.

Kinmen and Matsu, both lying in the Taiwan Strait, are home to some of Taiwan’s oldest towns and villages dating back centuries, as well as legacies of the Chinese Civil War. Whilst Orchid Island, Taiwan’s most distant island, combines a lush volcanic landscape with some of Taiwan’s most welcoming people. Green Island on the other hand holds a much darker past, previously serving as an island prison for Chiang Kai-shek’s political prisoners.

Penghu, located on to the west of the main island of Taiwan, is where the Taiwanese themselves go to enjoy some of the country’s finest beaches and popular water sports such as windsurfing, snorkelling, and scuba diving. Pristine beaches, coral reefs, and golden sands make them the ideal getaway destination to rest and recharge. With such diversity, making the effort to explore Taiwan’s outer islands offers a rich reward for the more adventurous traveller to the island nation.

In the first of this two-part post we look more closely at Penghu, also known as “The Pescadores”, and at Orchid Island (Lanyu).

The News Lens has been authorized to repost this article. The full piece is published on Ketagalan Media here: Discovering Taiwan’s Offshore Islands: Part 1

First Editor: Olivia Yang