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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Taiwan Matsu Islands: Issues to do in Beigan 北竿

Taiwan‘s Matsu Islands consists of a cluster of islands – Nangan and Beigan are its two primary islands as a result of they’ve airports that join them to Taiwan’s primary land. Beigan feels to me just like the quieter of the 2 islands – right here’s my listing of issues to do in Beigan and what to see while you go to.

This text is a information to Beigan, you may as well take a look at my Nangan information, or take a look at my general Matsu Islands information in case you are planning a visit to those Taiwan offshore islands. I like to recommend coming through the Blue Tears season for those who can, it’s an actual magical sight.

Matsu Beigan Map
Matsu Tourism’s map of Beigan

How a lot time do you’ll want to discover Beigan?

I spent 2 nights in Beigan – I took a ferry over from Nangan on Sunday which stopped over at Daqiu island alongside the way in which, after which flew out of Beigan airport to Taipei on Tuesday morning.

Day 1: Daqiu Island (2 hours) – Beigan (round midday) – Qinbi Village – Bishan – Tanqi Village, Conflict and Peace Memorial – Luoshan Nature Path – Blue Tears Boat Experience (night time)

Day 2: Broadcast Station – Banli – No 6 Stronghold – Qinbi

Day 3: Morning flight to Taipei Songshan

I feel Beigan has much less issues to do in contrast with Nangan, so 2 nights was undoubtedly sufficient time for a leisurely go to. I used to be a bit drained so I didn’t hike as a lot as I might have, however I feel 2 days was about the correct amount of time to spend in Beigan, which included a 2 hour visit Daqiu Island.

Once more I had my very own transport so getting round shortly was fairly simple. Like Nangan, there are spherical island buses for individuals who don’t trip scooters or lease a automobile, however you may have to buffer extra time for that.

Can you are taking a day journey to Matsu Island’s Beigan?

Like Nangan, there may be an early morning flight round 620/645am relying on the day which lets you attain Nangan good and early about 730/8am. The newest flight departing Beigan leaves at about 510pm and reaches Taipei Songshan at round 6pm.

So the reply is sure, you’ll be able to take a day journey to Beigan from Taipei, however it’s a must to hope that there aren’t any delays (fog and climate can imply cancellation/delays) and that the final flight out doesn’t get cancelled. I’d suggest staying at the very least 1 night time in Beigan.

See extra particulars about easy methods to get to the Matsu Islands in my Matsu Islands planning submit.

Necessary locations in Beigan

Beigan Airport 北竿機場 (MFK)

Whereas Nangan Airport is busier, Beigan Airport was really the first airport to be constructed within the Matsu Islands in 1994 and the one airport till Nangan Airport was inbuilt 2003. It’s a cute tiny airport which sees simply three flights a day.

Matsu Beigan Airport
Matsu Beigan Airport

One factor you’ll discover concerning the Matsu Islands is how rattling hilly the place is. With slopes and steep inclines in every single place, the unique airport might solely service very small planes, so that they needed to relocate the airport once more in 2005, reclaimed some land and blew up some hills to constructed the airport as we see it at this time.

Avid aircraft spotters can head to the best level of Beigan (Bishan), Duanpo or the pavilion on Luoshan Nature Path to look at the planes flying out and in of Beigan Airport.

Matsu Beigan Bishan Airport View
Beigan airport from Bishan Viewpoint

The Beigan Airport is situated in Tangqi Village. Location on Google Maps

Baisha Harbour 白沙港

Baisha Harbour on the south western shore of Beigan is way smaller and fewer busy than Nangan’s Fu’ao Harbour as the one route it serves is the Nangan-Beigan connection. You’ll have to pop over to Nangan if you wish to take a ferry to some other island in Matsu.

If you wish to go to Daqiu Island, you’ll have to go to Qiaozi Village as an alternative within the northern a part of the island, proper throughout the water from Daqiu. That is additionally the place you’ll be able to take the blue tears boat trip from.

Location on Google maps

Beigan Customer Centre 北竿遊客中心

The Beigan Customer Centre is situated in Banli not removed from the temple and what you’ll be able to charitably name Banli Village’s primary road. Cease by in case you are coming from Baisha Harbour and decide up some maps right here to kickstart your exploration of Beigan.

Open each day 830am – 5pm. Location on Google maps

I’ve categorised issues to do in Beigan in accordance with the principle areas they are often discovered that can assist you plan your itinerary for the day, however actually this island is kind of small.

Banli Village 坂里聚落

Banli is the closest primary village to the Baisha Harbour and the place the Tourism Centre is situated together with different facilities.

Banli Breakfast Store 坂里早餐店

This literal gap within the wall store is the place you’ll be able to decide up some Taiwanese breakfast and the local-style Jiguang Hamburger. I bought mine with just a few fried egg inside, however you’ll be able to add in meat as effectively.

Matsu Beigan Banli Breakfast Shop Food
Yup the place that man is standing is the place the store is! It doesn’t even look open…

Banli Breakfast Store 坂里早餐店 is open from 7am – 11am on a regular basis and closed on Tuesdays. [Google Maps location]

Banli Tianhou Temple 坂里天后宮

Matsu Tourism calls this temple the world’s smallest Mazu temple and whereas it’s certainly very compact, it’s been effectively taken care of and is a brilliant addition to Banli Seaside’s shoreline. Proper behind the temple is a small and vibrant flower area, and you may spend a while strolling alongside the boardwalks right here. The seaside is kind of expansive and I feel can be highly regarded in the summertime time.

Matsu Beigan Banli Tianhou Temple
Vibrant Banli Tianhou Temple
Matsu Beigan Banli Beach
Banli Seaside stretches alongside the coast with Wusha within the distance

Location on Google maps

Totoro Tunnel (Mount Nigu Stronghold 42) 龍貓隧道 (尼姑山42據點)

I used to be interested by what was on the southern tip of Beigan Island as a result of whereas there was a highway that lead there, Google didn’t have some other info in any respect. Indicators indicated this space was Mount Nigu or Stronghold 42, and a little bit Googling turned up a spot the locals used to name Totoro Tunnel as a result of it regarded fairly mysterious.

Extra data at Taiwan Hikes. There’s additionally a hyperlink to previous pix of the stairway earlier than renovation which individuals say killed the unique allure.

Matsu Beigan Totoro Stairs
The useful however ugly stairway

It most likely is safer I suppose. This stronghold may be very a lot deserted and overrun by vegetation however has a stunning coastal view.

Matsu Beigan Totoro House
Like a mysterious seaside home
Matsu Beigan Totoro Flower
Some fairly purple flowers have been blooming

There’s one other smaller, steeper stairway that it’s a must to squeeze via some foliage to entry, and this one leads you all the way down to the rocks by the ocean.

Matsu Beigan Totoro Stairs House
This stairway leads all the way down to the rocks by the coast for a stunning view
Matsu Beigan Totoro Coast View
Only a good quiet spot for a sea view – the island to the left is the jap level of Nangan
Matsu Beigan Totoro Rock Glass
Look out for glass when on rocks by the ocean – this was an previous technique to cease enemy frogmen from simply climbing up over the rocks

This Totoro Tunnel isn’t formally named or listed on the map neither is there any signage, however there’s a highway that leads there and a small space to park your automobile/bike. Right here’s a pin to it on Google Maps. It’s situated within the far southern tip of Beigan island (Take the proper fork, the left was blocked once I visited).

Qinbi Village 芹壁聚落

Qinbi Village is the place I stayed and likewise one of many prettiest villages in Beigan. Much like Jinsha Village in Nangan, there are many unique Matsu-style stone homes right here in Qinbi that make it highly regarded for photographers, particularly throughout sundown.

Matsu Beigan Qinbi Village Coast View
Qinbi Village alongside the coast. Qiaozi is additional up the highway and that’s Daqiu Island on the left
Matsu Beigan Qinbi Blue Tears Day
Qinbi has a little bit islet known as Turtle Island right here. All that crimson within the water is what the Blue Tears appears to be like like through the day!

Qinbi Village is constructed alongside the hillside so count on to climb a number of stone steps as you discover the slim alleyways. In case you are actually intrepid, two staircases lead you to the highest finish of the village through the Anning Path 安寧步道 and Qinbi Path 芹壁步道.

I stayed at Qinbi Qingnian Homestay 芹壁青年民宿 [booking.com affiliate link] which is a conventional guesthouse – learn extra in my Matsu Islands planning submit.

Qinwo Bakery 芹沃咖啡烘焙館

There are a selection of eateries in Qinbi value trying out. Qinwo Bakery 芹沃咖啡烘焙館 is a extremely cool hipster eatery situated with an incredible view of the bay and Turtle Island. Not low cost by Taiwan requirements – it’s like Singapore cafe costs, however I actually loved my time right here and ate right here twice.

Matsu Beigan Qinbi Village Qinwo Bakery Interior
A small cute eatery
Matsu Beigan Qinbi Village Qinwo Bakery Bread Prawns
Freshly cooked prawns finished Spanish gambas model with a tasty oil to dip the house made bread with bacon and leeks into!
Matsu Beigan Qinbi Village Qinwo Bakery Pizza
Pizza Matsu model with Purple Yeast sauce
Matsu Beigan Qinbi Village Qinwo Bakery Sunset View
Sundown vibes from the outside seats

Open 10am – 130pm, 3pm – 630pm. Closed on Wednesdays. Qinwo Bakery’s Fb Web page. Location on Google Maps.

Yunji Ice Store 雲記冰店

If you need one thing a little bit lighter, Yunji Ice Store 雲記冰店 sells a Matsu Island basic known as Golden Dumpling which is mostly a fried candy potato dumpling 地瓜餃 and whereas I’m not often a fan, this was fairly yummy. It was a sizzling day so I bought a pleasant shaved ice dessert with extra candy potato, inexperienced bean and crimson bean to chill down.

Matsu Beigan Qinbi Village Yunji Golden Dumpling
Matsu Beigan Qinbi Village Yunji Golden Dumpling

Open 10am – 6pm. Location on Google maps

Qinbi Wanghailou 芹壁望海樓

I additionally had the well-known Laojiu Noodles on the Qinbi Wanghailou 芹壁望海樓 which has beautiful views of the bay. It’s a guesthouse but in addition a restaurant and eatery too. Laojiu is the native liquor that’s put into a number of meals for flavour, however most popularly seen within the vermicelli soup.

Matsu Beigan Qinbi Village Wanghailou Laojiu Noodle
Laojiu Noodles
Matsu Beigan Qinbi Village Wanghailou Noodle Drying
One thing you’ll see a whole lot of round Matsu Islands – noodles being dried out within the solar

Matsu Broadcast Station 馬祖播音站

For those who’ve been to Kinmen Island which is one other of Taiwan’s offshore islands that’s nearer to China than Taiwan’s mainland, you is perhaps acquainted with the usage of the published station throughout warfare time, the place the international locations fought psychological warfare with one another by broadcasting propaganda messages and music at one another through loudspeakers.

Matsu Beigan Broadcast Station Loudhailer
Cute picture spots
Matsu Beigan Broadcast Station Message
This was the message that was broadcast for 17 years. It loosely interprets into one thing like ‘fellow compatriots, Taiwan has democracy and freedom and life is nice right here, we wish to share this with you so stand up comrades!’
Matsu Beigan Broadcast Station Building
Holes for 47 audio system

Beigan’s broadcast station was inbuilt 1979 and utilized in an identical manner, and whilst you can’t climb the construction, you’ll be able to see it from under and inside and it’s additionally a terrific place to get a pleasant aerial picture of the close by Qinbi Village.

Matsu Beigan Broadcast Station Interior
From the within – the stairway is blocked
Matsu Beigan Qinbi Village Coast View
Qinbi Village simply down the hill

Location on Google maps

Bishan 壁山

The perfect viewpoint on Beigan is after all at its highest level Bi Shan. 298m tall, Bi shan is not only Beigan’s highest peak but in addition the tallest in all the Matsu Islands.

The view right here isn’t fairly 360 however it’s the excellent lookout level eastwards with a terrific view of the airport, Tangqi Village in addition to the Luoshan Nature Path. Like I discussed earlier, this can be a great place for aircraft spotters as a result of the airport is correct under.

Matsu Beigan Bishan Sign
Bishan lookout level
Matsu Beigan Bishan View Lion
These lions on Bishan are gold plated, however for those who go to Nangan’s peak Yuntai, you’ll discover the lions there are stone!
Matsu Beigan Bishan View Signboard
A number of the landmarks you’ll be able to see from up right here

Location on Google maps

Qiaozi Village 橋仔聚落

Qiaozi Village (or Qiaozai – that individual character 仔 might be both zai or zi) is Beigan’s northernmost village. There are some temples right here which you could take a look at, nevertheless it’s largely a small quiet village.

Matsu Beigan Qiaozai Village
Qiaozi Village from a distance

This explicit village was as soon as the most important village in Beigan from its industrial fishing exercise with close by China and bought its title from the numerous bridges crisscrossing it. At the moment it’s a lot quieter however recognized for having numerous temples (8!) regardless of its small measurement.

Matsu Beigan Qiaozai Temple
1 of the 8 temples present in Qiaozi. This one is close to the port.

My largest reminiscence of Qiaozi was having a completely unimaginable night time trying on the Blue Tears alongside the seaside right here, and taking the boat trip out to see extra of the Blue Tears. The SO LOHAS B&B [booking.com affiliate link] that my pals stayed at bought tickets for the Blue Tears Boat Experience, however you’ll be able to learn extra about this in my Matsu Islands Blue Tears submit – I feel I’d like to remain right here if I ever come again to Beigan!

Matsu Beigan Qiaozai Blue Tears Beach Wave Boat
Qiaozi Seaside aglow with Blue Tears at night time. The boats go away from the port on the proper

Tangqi Village 塘岐聚落

Tangqi Village might be thought of Beigan’s primary village as a result of it’s proper subsequent to the airport, the island’s sole submit workplace (and ATM which doesn’t settle for international playing cards) is situated right here together with not one however two entire 7-11 retailers.

Matsu Beigan Tangqi Village Main Street
Have a look at that bustling primary road

A Po Fish Noodles 阿婆魚麵店

One other well-known Matsu meals to strive is the fish noodle, and this noodle soup dish doesn’t simply have fish in it, however the noodles itself are made out of fish. Fish after all is plentiful within the Matsu Islands, so through the winter season once they wanted a method to protect the fish, makig fish noodles was one of many methods to take action.

Matsu Beigan Tangqi Village Ah Po Fish Noodle
Tucking into A Po Fish Noodle

A Po Fish Noodle is kind of well-known as a result of their noodles are all handmade, so I popped in at a barely odd time to seize a meal. Very hearty bowl of noodle soup – the fish noodle is thicker and extra springy than regular rice noodles nevertheless it wasn’t overly fishy, general a satisfying meal.

Matsu Beigan Tangqi Village Ah Po Fish Noodle Shop
A Po Fish Noodles store entrance
Matsu Beigan Tangqi Village Ah Po Fish Noodle Drying
The fish noodles drying in entrance of the store. THe small signal to the proper behind says ‘No solar in solar biscuits (Taiyang bing, a preferred Taiwanese snack) however there may be fish in fish noodles’

Open 11am – 130pm on a regular basis and 5pm – 7pm on Fri, Sat and Solar. A Po Fish Noodles web site. Google maps location.

Contemporary Jianbing Store 鮮美廉餅店

Jianbing which is mainly bread with sesame seeds is a really fundamental bread however right here in Matsu they name them Jiguang Biscuits or 繼光餅 named for the final who used these as military rations again within the day. I purchased these on the day I used to be very low in money as a result of they have been tremendous low cost – simply 15 NTD (60 cents) for 1. I purchased two simply in case as snack backups.

Matsu Jianbing Viewpoint
Consuming jiguang bing whereas having fun with the view
Matsu Beigan Tangqi Village Jianbing Shop
right here’s the store for those who’re curious

Since Tangqi’s Foremost Avenue is a brief stroll away from the airport, I popped out for a fast breakfast and final minute memento procuring right here earlier than checking in on the airport.

Duanpo 短坡

As with many of the spots in Matsu Island, this stronghold on Mount Duanpo was additionally a navy base that was transformed right into a scenic viewing space.

Matsu Beigan Duanpo Slope Sign
Duanpo aka Quick Slope. It’s fairly slopey although put together your legs

This spot offers you even nearer views of Beigan Airport as it’s decrease than Bishan, they usually’ve additionally stored among the artillery weapons used previously intact right here so you’ll be able to see for your self what the gunners life might need been like again within the day.

Matsu Beigan Duanpo Gun
You may really sit in it and it turns!
Matsu Beigan Duanpo View Airport
A superb take a look at the airport runway with Houao and Luoshan Nature Stroll within the distance

The opening hours are a bit erratic because it’s nonetheless in use by the navy. Open 8am – 11am (830am in winter), 2pm – 5pm (430pm in winter). Closed final week of each month and through main coaching classes. Google Maps Location

Mabiwan 馬鼻灣

This space connects the Beigan island to Houao is product of reclaimed land. It’s suposed to be a great place for Blue Tears relying on the present, however we didn’t see any whereas we eere there. It’s title interprets into ‘Horse Nostril’ due to its form!

Matsu Beigan Mabiwan Coast
Mabiwan by day
Matsu Beigan Mabiwan Night
And at night time

Houao 后沃

Houao really was a separate island till they constructed the brand new Beigan airport in between the islands and related them. The village right here may be very tiny and most of the people pop by due to the Conflict and Peace Memorial and Luoshan Nature Path.

Conflict and Peace Memorial Memorial Centre 戰爭和平紀念公園主題館

This little museum is a good place to be taught concerning the Matsu Island’s historical past and why it had such a robust navy presence for over 4 a long time, together with the numerous occasions that formed its previous. The museum is just not very massive however the house is effectively curated and there are panels in each English and Chinese language so you’ll be able to be taught extra about Matsu’s historical past.

Matsu Beigan War Peace Memorial Entrance
Getting into the memorial

For those who’re beginning off your Matsu Island tour with Beigan, visiting this museum first may offer you extra context to the issues that you simply see across the islands. Additionally be certain to go as much as the roof the place there’s a good viewing platform for some surroundings.

Matsu Beigan War Peace Memorial Exhibits
Searching the reveals
Matsu Beigan War Peace Memorial Exhibits 2
The navy stays a key a part of Matsu’s previous and current

Open 830am – 1230pm, 130pm – 530pm. Closed on Wednesdays. Google Maps Location

Luoshan Nature Path 螺山自然步道

Proper subsequent to the Museum is a path that results in the Luoshan Nature Path. Simply 700m lengthy, the slim path was the trail locals used to take to go fishing or selecting oysters, however for guests it’s a reasonably brief hike and a pleasant method to see Beigan’s scenic magnificence.

Matsu Beigan Luoshan Trail Overview
Luoshan Nature Path from above

You don’t must be an skilled hiker for this, however be ready for a good bit of stair climbing and uneven floor. The paths are actually slim and there’s one spot you kinda must clamber over a small rocky space, however general I’d say it’s fairly doable. Right here’s a greater take a look at the path on this video clip on my IG.

Matsu Beigan Luoshan Trail Map
The map of the path
Matsu Beigan Luoshan Trail Dirt Path
Rocky bits of path

There’s a viewing pavilion right here you’ll be able to catch the planes flying out and in of Beigan Airport, and I additionally noticed a number of crimson tide on the day that I visited. Not many bushes as this place will get actually windswept – you need to keep away from it when its gusting as a result of there’s no room for error with these slim paths!

Matsu Beigan Luoshan Trail Uphill Pavilion
Climbing as much as the pavilion

Confucius on the Sea 海上孔子像

The Luoshan Nature Path ends with a view of two islands – Luoshan and Bangshan. It regarded such as you may be capable of stroll over to Luoshan if the tide is low, however I wouldn’t threat it! Right here you’ll be able to see a somewhat uncommon rock often called the Confucius Rock.

Matsu Beigan Luoshan Trail End
Finish of the path
Matsu Beigan Luoshan Trail Confucius Rock
Confucius? It does a little bit however wants a whole lot of creativeness…

The doorway to the Luoshan nature path is simply subsequent to the cafe on the Conflict and Peace Memorial Centre. Google map location

No. 6 Stronghold 06聚點

Wanting on the map of Beigan, Google didn’t have a lot data for the highway that went northwards however on the Beigan Tourism Map it confirmed No. 6 and No. 8 strongholds listed, so off to see extra deserted navy constructions!

The highway to No. 8 was closed, so I headed all the way in which to the northern tip of Houao Island to see No.6 Stronghold. This explicit stronghold faces northwards to different uninhabited islands just like the Lion Islets (Shiyu), Daqiu Island and Gaodeng Island.

Matsu Beigan No 6 Stronghold Entrance
Entrance to No. 6 Stronghold

It entails a little bit of a stair climb down the slope however has beautiful coastal and island views. You may pop right into a tunnel or two, in addition to climb a little bit bit nearer to the rocky coast by the water.

Matsu Beigan No 6 Stronghold Lookout
Midway down, take a look at Shiyu islands within the background
Matsu Beigan No 6 Stronghold Tunnel
tunnels dug out of rock
Matsu Beigan No 6 Stronghold Window View
Home windows that time in direction of the islands
Matsu Beigan No 6 Stronghold Coast Stairs
Look out slim that staircase is!

Head north up the highway from the Conflict and Peace Memorial Centre. It’s situated previous the 06 Collect Level Guesthouse [booking.com affiliate link]. Google Maps location

On the lookout for extra concerning the Matsu Islands? Go to neighbouring Nangan or take a look at my Matsu Island Information to plan your journey or easy methods to see the Blue Tears within the Matsu Islands.

Or take a look at extra about Taiwan’s offshore islands under:

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