Also known as the Pescadores Islands, Penghu is an archipelago of 64 islands and islets off mainland Taiwan, covering an area of 141 square kilometers. The name Pescadores, comes from the Portuguese name Ilhas dos Pescadores ("Fishermen Islands").
Our flight over from Tainan was on a propeller plane, which was an experience in itself. The Uni Air flight was noisy but quick - we got into Magong, the largest city in Penghu, in 30 minutes.
Being an archipelago, each island is fairly remote and has a peaceful and calm vibe to it. We were lucky that the International Fireworks Festival was on during the days of our stay and coincided with Adan's birthday as well! That made for a super celebration for which we had not planned.
We booked a driver for a round island tour of Penghu, and tried out some of the local delights. One of the interesting sights on Penghu included the Crab Museum - honestly I had no idea the number of crab species that existed.
Qimei and Wang'An
We took a day trip to some of the islands off the main island, namely Qimei/Cimei (pronounced Chi-May, and meaning "Seven Beauties") - the smallest township of Penghu; and Wang'An, the second smallest township. This is where our trip became extremely memorable, but for the wrong reasons!
Due to the typhoon that had passed through a few days earlier, the waves were extremely choppy - this was honestly the strongest waves we had ever experienced. As we sat in the ferry for over 3 hours, the waves hurled us up and down so hard that we literally were tossed up and off our seats, over and over.
Summer and Anais were of course terrified and terribly sick. At one point, Summer gripped my arm and said, "Mama, why did we sign up for this? I'll go with you to tell the boat captain to go back to Taiwan, PLEASE!!!"
Of course, that was not an option and I held back my own nausea as best I could while keeping bags handy for the girls; Dany was holding on to Adan who was silent (an unusual state for him), and also feeling ragged.
Once we docked (FINALLY), we stumbled out of the ferry, and boarded a bus for an island tour. Unfortunately, the girls and I were too ill to leave the bus to view the various places, including the Twin Hearts Stone Weir.
We had to board another boat to Wang'An, and thankfully there was very little protest despite the ordeal earlier that morning. Wang'an is a charming little town with beautiful architecture. Their traditional stone houses, seen in the main photo of this post and below, were really intriguing.
We spent the remainder of the afternoon soaking in the sun and sea at Aimen ("Love gate") beach on Wang'an, before heading back to Penghu. Little do many know, but this beautiful beach was once a hill of garbage some time ago due to illegal gravel mining. According to website Round Taiwan Round:
"an elder village chief came to change all these. He picked up garbage with his own hands, moved nearby shell sands to the beach basket after basket, and erected silt fences with simple devices such as wood sticks and broken nets. Thanks to his efforts, after several years the beach finally recovered its former beauty. Serene and charming, Aimen Beach has a past that is almost forgotten."
Thanks to that village elder, we got to spend a lovely afternoon on that beautiful beach.
We'd highly recommend Penghu if you're in Taiwan, not in a rush, and want to enjoy some old fashioned peace and relaxation.