Green Island is good for
- Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
Image copyrights belong to authors
Why Green Island is special ?
Green Island is a small volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean about 33 km (21 mi) off the eastern coast of Taiwan. It is 15.092 km2 (5.83 sq mi) at high tide and 17.329 km2 (6.69 sq mi) at low tide, making it the Republic of China's fourth-largest island. The island is administered as Lüdao Township, a rural township of Taitung County and one of the county's two offshore areas (the other being Orchid Island). It is primarily noted for its prisons and penal colonies.
Green Island offers visitors and expats in Taiwan a great getaway option with spectacular snorkeling and diving options. Life here is relaxed and at slow pace.
What to explore at Green Island?
Ride Around Green Island
Green Island is ringed by an 18km road and the best way to get around it is definitely by scooter. Having your own wheels will make it a breeze for you to see all the attractions around the island and give you the chance to stop wherever you want to contemplate the dramatic seascapes.
Snorkeling / Diving
Green island has some excellent coral reefs, tons of tropical fish, as well as other colorful sea creatures and that's one of the main reasons why more and more people visit this little tropical paradise every year.
Nanliao, Tapaisha and Chaikou are the three most popular spots for scuba diving and snorkeling. You can rent equipment and find diving centers in Nanliao Village. Most hotels can also help you organize diving trips around Green Island.
Jhaorih Saltwater Hot Springs
According to many Taiwanese people, the Jhaorih resort on Green Island has the best hot springs in Taiwan! Serious hot spring enthusiasts actually come here from all over the world as saltwater hot springs are very rare. Japan and Italy are the only two other places where saltwater springs can be found.
The Green Island hot springs are open 24h from March to October, and from 6am to 10pm between November and February. 200NT$ per person.
The 33m-high Lyudao Lighthouse is the most beautiful landmark on Green Island. The American government funded the lighthouse's construction in 1938, a year after a US cruise liner (the SS President Hoover) struck a nearby reef and sank. The whole area around the lighthouse is very photogenic. You should visit this attraction just before sunset to get warm light for pictures.
Guanyin (Kuanyin) Cave
Some Taiwanese people travel to Green Island only to pay their respects to the Goddess of Mercy at Guanyin Cave. The underground cavern has a stalagmite that is supposed to look like the deity. You can't miss it, it's wrapped in a red blanket.
Youzihhu Old Dwellings
The sandy area around the old dwellings at Youzihhu is surrounded by some of the most spectacular crags in Taiwan. The first village on Green Island was established here and you can see remnants of old stone houses still standing in the middle of the dazzling scenery.
How to get to Green Island?
Two options are available for those heading to Green Island.
The first option is by boat. The ferry heads from Taitung's Fugang Harbor to Green Island before heading to Orchid Island. Tickets are NT$980 round trip normally, but can be obtained for a significant discount from Green Island guesthouse owners and tour operators. The trip lasts about an hour. Motion-sickness bags are plentiful around the ship and many are used when the sea is choppy. Taxis from Taitung's train station are NT$200-350 each way (depending on your negotiation skills).
The second option is to fly. Daily Air flies three times daily from Taitung Airport to Green Island's small airport. Tickets are NT$1480 one way for adults and NT$460 for children. The flights last 15-20 minutes. Free 1-day bike rental at Ludao Airport upon arrival with proof of boarding pass.
- Fantastic little island
- Lovely day trip from Taitung
- Absolutely beautiful with some history too
- Beautiful place to snorkel and explore
- Ocean Hot springs, Mountains and Ocean views
Green Island, Lüdao Township
Tips for you
Before you go, make sure to bring enough cash for the entirety of your visit. There is a single ATM machine on the island, at the Post Office (window on the right), across the street from 7-11. The machine does not accept international debit cards, and could run out of money, leaving you stranded.What to bring
If you wish to rent a scooter on Green Island you must have a motorcycle license. No exceptions. They are very strict because an American without a license died in an accident last April. Scooters go for around $350NT a day, and bicycles go for around $150 (depends on your haggling skills). The circumference of the island by road is only 12 miles, so cycling is a feasible option.Experience
Accessing this island is pretty easy by ferry or plane from Taitung. The island itself is small enough to be able to see most of it in 2 days but you will still need a mean of transportation (scooter is the main option and there are thousands for rent next to the ferry terminal). On the island, I would recommend trying to get an accommodation a bit away from the ferry terminal/airport as these areas look a bit "industrial". On the island, there are a few very enjoyable hiking trails, just watch for the huge spider webs and of course spiders that are the size of your fist! The view when you reach the end of the hiking trail in the centre of the island is stunning. On a sunny day, driving a scooter around the island on the coastal road is amazing. You can stop along the road to check out beaches, caves, a lighthouse, viewpoints, some abandoned buildings, a jail, a temple... There are a few snorkeling spots on the island. They are ok but not amazing and not that easy to access as they are surrounded by sharp rocks. One of the great attraction on the island are the hot springs located South East. When I went there in November, there were just a couple of people so you do not feel . However, it seems that the hot springs place is not properly maintained so many of the pools, especially the ones on the beach look abandoned. Beaches are not that great (that's a volcanic island so lots of rocks) but they are empty as Taiwanese/Chinese tourists do not sunbath. So you might end up being by yourself on the beach! Overall, a very nice place for a 2 days side trip from Taitung!
Green Island was a BLAST. Stayed July 20 to July 24 2015. Two nights at a hostel on the EAST side of the island for TND750 per night. I just showed up without reservations either place. The hostel guy was standing on the harbor when I arrived holding a sign for hostel. He offered a motor scooter ride around the island which I declined riding with his neighbor who also runs a hostel. She had a very worn 4 door small sedan. Two nights on the Northwest side of the island at the Star and Moon Bed and Breakfast for TND2000 per night. Visitors Center is A+++++ even give out free bicycles. Rented an electric motor bike for I think TND250 for 24 hours from the B and B. Had a group snorkel arranged by the Star/Moon for TND250 and a private snorkel for an hour for I forget maybe TND1000. I went diving with BLUE SAFARI DIVING CENTER - over an hour with WARREN for TND2500. Warren was out of this world patient and wonderful. My first dive experience. Cannot say enough good about the snorkel and dive ...and photos - you will never need another photo in your life - hundreds. LOL. The clientele at the Star and Moon were interesting and rewarding as well - fun people to chat with at breakfast which was an egg, 2 slices of bread, one with butter, a small glass of cold tea prepared by staff. One day i washed my Reebok play dry shorts and hung them out to dry - they blew off - a staff man helped me look for 30 minutes for those shorts - they had blown into the boot of a motor scooter. LOL. But wow what customer service. The rooms at the B and B were super nice as well. Platform wooden floors with a full sized bed, separate bath with stand up wall shower, toilet, sink. Large flat screen with great HBO movies. GOOD a/c which you need. It is super hot on the island this time of year. I was near the airport landing and reception area so had a look see. Felt comfortable - not the Ritz but looked SAFE. So if you are flying I think it looks ok - better than Mount Everest Nepal's airplane offering. The views, sky, air, all are great. Down side WAY WAY WAY too many scooters. The bus was great for a tour of the island - TND100 for full ride. Took a tour of the prison which was super interesting. The museum has done an excellent job of making life like figures engaged in different activities to show prison life - going to the bathroom - number one and two - painting, playing the violin, playing board games, sleeping, in the infirmary sleeping on straw with a bandaged leg and chest. There is a 7-11, lots of souvenir shops, a decent pizza shop, small stores selling noodles and fruits. TND200 I think for entry. DO NOT MISS the hot spring. OMG. It was wonderful. About 6 different sea fed pools. Don't expect much in the way of food at the hot spring. Packaged noodles and a water machine. The hot spring is open like 5am to 2am. Good place to view sunrise and sunset. BUT NOT the premiere visitor center recommendation for sunrise - check with v.c. for that spot. The hike to the top of the mountain located at the hot springs was awesome. I met a man whose dad was a diplomat- he had lived all over the world and was finished up a dive certification. The man who ran the hostel was kind of fun - youngish and he thought it was perfectly fine to take a single woman snorkeling in part of the ocean by his hostel by ourselves - locally I verified his commentary with the Visitor's Center and DID not take him up on his offer - I shared the Visitor Center directive with him - unfortunately he was too young to appreciate my kindness and instead wanted to argue about this -- thinking I suppose that it was a slam on him - LOL - oh well live and learn. Unfortunately, he also invited me to go into town and the driver was using alcohol which also is a BIG no in my book. Do not under any circumstances swim outside of the recommended places on the maps the visitor center freely give out. There is a duty free shop with all kinds of fun stuff - food, clothing, liquor. It is an amazing island catering to the happiness of its tourists. East side of island had a giant hot pot at night with about 75 to 100 guests - I did not partake b/c I do not eat meat and objected to the SIEK deer (the island is filled with these deer and my spelling is not accurate) chained to the wall where guests sat - for God's sake if you are going to terrorize a wild animal do not make it watch people eat from a pot that it will eventually end up in. So the hot pot people are serving chickens, goats, and deer and pig I suppose although I did not see any penned pigs and did see chained goats, caged chickens, chained deer. I saw another chained deer on the other side of the island but he was in a store front. Shout out for the Visitor Center putting comprehensive environmental recommendations on their literature - one of which impressed me - do not pick up shells. If you have shells at home bring them to the island and return them to the water making a wish - the ocean animals are running out of housing b/c all of the tourists are taking their houses (shells). I following this direction and returned my 2 shells on Lanyu Island the following week. This is a tourist friendly island for families and singles. Don't miss it. (Boat out ran about TND2000 each way. Lanyu was TND1130 out and TND1000 to Kending Taiwan harbor).