Liuqiu, also called Xiao Liuqiu or Little Liuqiu (小琉球), is a beautiful island with abundant coral reefs that abounds with natural beauty. It is approximately 15 kilometers off the west coast of Southern Taiwan’s Pingtung County (屏東縣) and is easily accessible by ferry boat from Tongkang (東港).
Please watch the following video about Liuqiu island.
As soon as visitors arrive at Liuqiu, they find themselves immersed in a different environment. Except for Kenting National Park, it is hard to find a similar tourist destination in Taiwan.
As part of the Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area (大鵬灣風景區), Liuqiu was formed by rising coastal coral reefs. With an area of 6.8 square kilometers, it is Taiwan’s only large coral island. The island is 4 kilometers long from north to south, and 2 kilometers wide from east to west, with a coastal road of 18 kilometers.
Liuqiu has a population of about 12,300 and most make their living by fishing. As fishing is a dangerous occupation, the vast majority of the residents are devout believers in various religions, especially Taoism. There are over 80 temples on this tiny island, among them are Biyun Temple (碧雲寺), Sanlung Temple (三隆宮), and Lingshan Temple (靈山寺).
Additionally, there are five large Groundskeeper God Temples (Local Guardian God Temples福德正神廟) in Liuqiu’s eight villages, representing the four major local forces on the island. Since the number of deity statues in Liuqiu outnumbers the population, many residents joke that each of them is guarded by at least one statue.
As the island’s shores are mostly composed of eroded coral reefs, there are many interesting coral reef formations and caves along the shore. Standing approximately nine meters above sea level, Vase Rock (花瓶石) has a large head with plants growing on the top and a narrow body due to sea erosion. It is the iconic landmark of Liuqiu, and is often the first destination for visitors.
Beauty Cave (美人洞風景區) is located in the northeast corner of the island. In addition to numerous reef rocks of various sizes, it has a unique 4-kilometer-long walkway.
Visitors are often amazed by the gorgeous attractions along the walkway, including Qu-jing-tan-you (曲徑探幽), the Sky Out of the Sky (天外天), Bats Cave (蝙蝠洞), Lover Plain (蝙蝠洞), Immortal’s Cave (仙人洞), Immortal’s Spring (仙人泉), Pleasant Garden (怡然園), Enchanted Array (迷人陣), One-lined Sky (一線天), Ocean-view Pavilion (望海亭), and Beauty Cave (美人洞). The scenery at each turning point on the walkway is especially enchanting.
Black Dwarf Cave (烏鬼洞風景區) is another popular spot that can’t be missed. Located in the southwestern part of the island, the most intriguing part of this cave is its narrow passageway that penetrates lava rock formations. The passageway is so narrow that only one person can squeeze through it at a time, so it usually has a long line at the entrance.
Not only is the passageway very narrow and steep, but it’s also dark and damp, and rather exciting to explore this passageway. However, it also scares away some timid visitors from time to time. Still, there are picturesque walking trails and it’s great to take in the magnificent view from the pavilion.
Liuqiu is also a popular destination for scuba diving and snorkeling due to its crystal clear waters and fabulous underwater scenes.
Another activity often favored by visitors is a night tour by scooter or car which is readily available for rent. It is exciting to explore nocturnal creatures, plants, and the night view of the main island and the myriad of stars in the night sky.