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Set sail on an epic trip around the Taiwanese islands

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Put all those tired gap year stories to shame by visiting one of the world’s most up and coming cultural destinations; the stunning outlying islands of Taiwan.

Being more accessible than ever, with one-way tickets for under £180, Taiwan's outlying islands are quickly establishing themselves as some of the top locations for unforgettable landscapes and rich cultural experiences.

This summer prepare yourself for hopping between unique islands, taking in beautiful local cultures and witnessing incredible wildlife in their natural habitat. 

Penghu

Accumulating a hefty 194 miles of white sandy beaches, The Penghu Islands presents visitors with the best opportunity to forget about university assignments and relax in the glorious sun. Be prepared to pick up your snorkel and flippers, as Penghu is home to a myriad of fish, marine plants, and coral reefs.

After you’ve finished kitesurfing Penghu’s pristine blue waves, visit the Zhongshe Historical Village. Home to beautiful stone buildings that have stood for centuries, you can dive headfirst into lessons about the local fishing traditions that have been in use for over 700 years.

Lanyu

Living up to its nickname, the Orchid Islands are home to some of the most abundant collection flowers and plants in the world. Not only is the mountainous island home to the stunning plant life, it also houses an incredibly rare collection of birds such as the Lanyu Scope Owl and the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher.

If birdwatching doesn’t tickle your fancy, then take a step into the culture of the indigenous Tao tribe. With its traditional cultures and traditions remaining largely unchanged, the Tao people offer visitors a unique opportunity to learn of Taiwan’s local traditions and historic past.

Kinmen

Located just 2km from mainland China, Kinmen is the perfect destination for history buffs. Famed for its quaint villages and rich military history, Kinmen is known as ‘the battlefield island’ for its struggles with during both the Cold War and the Chinese Civil War. 

With the government designating Kinmen with 21 historic sites, Kinmen is the perfect day trip for those keen on an insider's view of the history of East-Asia.

Luado

Just a twelve-minute flight from the hustle and bustle of Taiwan, Luado (the Green Island) is the perfect place for divers and snorkelers. The island boasts a lavish marine life and ample opportunities to witness it firsthand. Once you’re done snorkelling, take the perfect Instagram picture atop of the world’s largest living coral head (at just under two stories high!) and watch the likes pour in.

Luado is a volcanic island and is home to the Zhaori Hot Springs; one of only two natural hot springs in the world. Forget your troubles and relax in the crystalline blue waters.

Matsu

Embedded deep in the island of Matsu is a long military history. The former military base looks out on the islands breath-taking scenery; truly a terrain like no other. Beautiful Fujian villages built into the mountainsides, pebble beaches, and sand dunes offer the perfect opportunity for visitors to get lost in Matsu’s beautiful scenery.

Visit the island between May and September to witness an incredible natural phenomenon. ‘The blue tears’ are the islands glistening natural algae that cast a beautiful glow over Matsu’s shoreline.

Guishan and Liuqiu

Fly over Guishan island and you’ll see first-hand why it’s earned its name as the ‘Turtle Island’. Looking like a peaceful turtle partially submerged in the sea, the volcanic island is known for its spectacular dolphin and whale tours. To avoid disappointment, book well in advance to avoid missing out, due to the islands strict measures on the protection of local vegetation.

With its local people fishing the seas for years, Liuqiu is the perfect spot to count over 300 different species of fish and 20 different kinds of coral. Liuqiu is the best-located island to see a postcard crushing sunset.

Images courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau. 

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