Penghu is famous for its drift diving, located on one of the strongest ocean currents. Again, novices beware. Nowhere near as developed as the other dive locations in Taiwan, you need to work a little harder to dive here, but the locals say it’s worth it. The main person to talk about diving in Penghu is is Ahong of island77 (http://www.island77.tw/).
There are plenty of shallow areas in Penghu for some decent soft coral diving. Just east of Shan Shui beach in Penghu’s far south and Jiangjun island are the best places to snorkel off-shore. For diving, intrepid divers will need to rely on local boats to get them where they want to go. But, again, drift diving is for advanced divers.
Shanshui, Shili, and Longmen beaches are the top spots for surfing. The surf scene on Penghu is not as strong as Kenting’s or Fulong’s and that’s one of the reasons why riding the waves here is such a fun experience – you won’t have to fight with dozens of other surfers for a wave.
Wind surfers from all the corners of the world congregate here every fall for the three-day long Penghu Pro-Am windsurfing competition. Penghu has some of the strongest winds in the northern hemisphere, so you won’t be disappointed if you head to the Pescadores with your sail or board. June, July, and August are considered the three best months of the year for entry-level kite surfers / wind surfers when the winds are at their most serene.
Run by windsurfing fanatics Jan and his daughter Karen, the Sunrise in Guoyeh Village is a bona fide B&B with ocean views, fresh morning coffee and English-speaking hosts. Rooms are bright and comfortably furnished, and there’s a communal lounge area with a panoramic view of the ocean. Scooter, bicycle, windsurfing and sea-kayaking equipment are available for rent.
Also check www.liquidsportpenghu.com/english.html for rental equipment and advices.
Kayaks are a great way to go island hopping within the ‘inner sea’ of Penghu’s main horseshoe chain of islands of Magong, Baisha and Xiyu. Going further afield by kayak – to the outer islands – is not recommenced (unless you are really a super-fit kayak enthusiast) – mainly due to the long distances involved. Not to mention the sea conditions during winter, when 30 knots of wind can produce 20 ft waves.
Kayaks for the wetlands can be hired from Liquid Sport B&B, tel: 0911 267 321 www.liquidsportpenghu.com
Cost is NT$ 400 per day for a ‘2 person’ kayak. Windsurfers also available for hire
(The wetlands are also probably the best place to learn to windsurf, due to the year-round flat water. Also available from Liquid Sport – instruction also given)
With over 300 kilometers of coastline, the islands offers not one but several beaches, each with distinctive characteristics. Scooter adventuring is the best way to find an ideal, secluded spot on the beach.
Most popular is Shanshui beach near Makung, which features the elusive, lusted-after feature of white sand. Further exploration reveals beaches made up of shells and your standard-issue off-white sand.
Aimen is the longest beach. Neian is popular for it’s shallow water. It’s possible to walk up to 300 meters away from the shore and only have water up to your chest. Neian is a favorite for beach volleyball.
If you’re interested in cycling around Magong City, or even further out around the islands, Penghu Bike rents out fully equipped 7 speed mountain bikes for 200NTD / 24 hours. Each bike is well maintained and has a helmet, headlight, odometer, small pump, water bottle holder and a bag (suitable for camera, wallet, water, swim gear, suncream, hat etc).
The shop is conveniently located on Zhong Hua Road across from Magong Senior High School and despite limited English, Mr. O, the owner is very friendly and helpful. The store has free maps of the main islands in Chinese, English and Japanese, as well as other cycling equipment for sale.