Penghu: The Hawaii of Taiwan?

 

penghuLonely Planet Taiwan calls the Penghu Islands the “Hawaii of Taiwan.” Might Penghu be like an old-time Hawaii? And as a place known for its fishing industry, Penghu seems like a destination far from the tourist trail, a place with a major Matsu festival and therefore a tantalizing prospect for exploration.In search of the festival and the Matsu temples, we set off to a temple and to the Fenggui Blowholes by bus. Several soldiers from Taipei and other cities are onboard but looking for “hot girls in bikinis” at the Shanshui beach. After saying dooh shiah or thank you, and Wan ahhn or good evening, we have to rely on their English; our few measly words in Taiwanese hardly suffice for a conversation.

We plan to get dropped off on Shuli Beach and walk to the next patch of sand at Shanshui, but greatly underestimate the gigantic size of the island. Thank goodness we are traveling by bus and not bicycle! Further adjusting our itinerary, we decide to walk around the grand Matsu temple. The soldiers are no longer nearby but I know they will find us on Facebook.

In the old town, we wander cobblestone streets and find the “first-class historic site” of the Empress of Heaven Temple, the oldest Matsu Temple in all of Taiwan. At this site many people are burning paper money for luck. Searching for the formal pilgrimage, we explore Aimen and Lintong Beaches, both of which are lovely and clean. Everywhere in Taiwan, the locations are spotless and the people friendly and quick to offer assistance if we seem lost; one man even turns his motorbike around in traffic to stop and chat and help us find our way, clearly inconveniencing himself to make sure we are assisted. The people are interested in us as tourists and as English-speaking Americans. They are just plain friendly; this place almost rivals the Bulas of Fijians!

Video: Exploring Penghu Islands in Taiwan

Article first published as Penghu: The Hawaii of Taiwan? on Technorati.

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Lisa Ellen Niver

After exploring 99 countries and sailing for seven years on the high seas, Lisa Niver is ready for more active adventures! Find her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.25 million views on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and YouTube. Her stories include Dutch designer villas for Luxury Magazine, interviewing Fabien Cousteau for Delta Sky, skiing with the blind for Sierra and WWII for Saturday Evening Post and Smithsonian. She is verified on both Twitter and Facebook and is the Adventure Correspondent for The Jet Set TV. Her latest projects are 50 new things before she is 50 and Facebook Live for USA Today 10best. She has run 13 Travel Writing Awards publishing nearly 2000 writers from 75 countries and this summer is the first We Said Go Travel Photo Competition. She was a winner in the 59th annual 2016 Southern California Journalism Awards for her print column in The Jewish Journal. She was invited to the United Nations as a Champions of Humanity ambassador, to the red carpet at the Oscars with United Airlines and to New Orleans with American Express and Starwood Hotels. She also contributes to USA Today, Wharton Business Magazine, the Jewish Journal and was a 2012 nominee for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, a 2014 nominee for the Charles Bronfman Prize and a finalist in two categories for the 59th annual Southern California Journalism Awards.

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