Escape to Paradise: Your Ultimate Guide to Xiaoliuqiu

Scenic view of Xiaoliuqiu island.

Escape the hustle and bustle of Taipei and discover Xiaoliuqiu, a hidden paradise in southwest Taiwan. Known by various names such as Little LiuqiuLamay IslandLambai Island, or Little Ryukyu, this coral island is a treasure trove of stunning scenery, warm tropical waters, relaxed vibes, delectable seafood, and the unique opportunity to encounter green sea turtles up close! Despite its compact size of just 6.8 km², Xiaoliuqiu is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs, offering a plethora of activities and historical sites.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to craft the perfect Xiaoliuqiu adventure, whether a day trip, a weekend escape, or an extended beach vacation. We’ve got you covered, from transportation tips, the best times to visit, and accommodation options to must-see attractions. Plus, we’ve included a host of information to help you navigate the island at your own pace!

Table of Contents

  1. Pre-Travel Tips
  2. How to Get to Xiaoliuqiu
  3. Lambai Island Essentials
  4. Best Things to Do in Xiaoliuqiu
  5. Planning Your Return

Pre-Travel Tips

Before you embark on your Lambai Island adventure, here are some essential tips to ensure a smooth journey:

  • Book Accommodation Early: Xiaoliuqiu accommodations tend to fill up quickly, especially during weekends.
  • Travel via High-Speed Rail: To reach Xiaoliuqiu from Taipei or other parts of Taiwan, you must first travel to Kaohsiung. The quickest way to do this is via Taiwan’s ultra-efficient High-Speed Rail. Secure a seat in advance to arrive at Zuoying Station without a hitch.
  • Purchase Discounted Ferry Tickets: If you’re planning a day trip, it’s wise to grab a discounted return ferry ticket online.
  • Consider Guided Tours: If you need more confidence about exploring the underwater world, consider joining a guided snorkeling or scuba diving tour.

High-speed rail from Kaohsiung to Donggang

Lambai Island Essentials 

Ensure a hassle-free Xiaoliuqiu trip by packing these essential items:

  • Cash: A few ATMs are on the island, but they only accept local bank cards. If you have an international bank card, make sure to withdraw some cash before boarding the ferry.
  • Environmentally Friendly Sunscreen: Liuqiu is a conservation area, so regular sunscreens are a no-go. Pack a reef-safe sunscreen that won’t harm the ecosystem.
  • Quick-Drying Towel: Bring a lightweight, quick-drying towel, like a Turkish beach towel.
  • Water-Resistant Phone Cover & Waterproof Bag: If you spend a lot of time near water, it’s advisable to carry a water-resistant phone case and a waterproof bag to keep your belongings dry.
  • Snorkel Gear: Rent gear at one of the local dive shops or bring your own to avoid the hassle.
  • Camera: Don’t forget your GoPro!
  • Mosquito Repellent: The jungles of Xiao Liu Qiu are home to many mosquitoes. Pack an eco-friendly bug repellent to stay protected.

How to Get to Xiaoliuqiu

The only way to reach Lambai Island is by ferry from the Donggang Ferry Terminal in Donggang City, Pingtung County. It’s important to note that Donggang is about an hour’s drive from Kaohsiung City. Ferries run approximately every hour between 7:00 and 17:30, and the trip to Xiaoliuqiu takes less than 30 minutes.

Getting to Donggang Ferry Terminal from Kaohsiung 

Step 1: Get to Kaohsiung Your adventure begins by traveling to Kaohsiung. The beauty of this journey lies in the ease of access to this quaint island. The fastest and most convenient transportation mode is the high-speed train to Zuoying Station. The trip from Taipei to Kaohsiung takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Easy peasy!

Step 2: Kaohsiung to Donggang Ferry Terminal Once you’ve arrived in Kaohsiung, you’re almost there! You have several options to reach the Donggang Ferry Terminal and, ultimately, Xiao Liu Qiu:

  • Taxi or Uber: This is the most straightforward and convenient option, especially if you are not traveling in a group. The fare typically ranges from NT$1000-1300.
  • Private Shuttle Bus: A more economical choice is the private shuttle bus. You can add a transfer from the HSR Station or Kaohsiung Train Station when purchasing your ferry ticket online via Klook. Alternatively, you can organize a pickup directly from the HSR Station with 東琉計程車.

Travel Tip: The return journey to Kaohsiung from the Donggang Ferry is a breeze! Upon exiting the ferry, you will encounter several taxi drivers holding signs for shuttle services—no need to haggle as the prices are consistent across all companies. A shuttle to the Kaohsiung Train Station costs NT$150, while a trip to the Zuoying HSR Station is NT$200. If you miss the shuttle, don’t worry! There is a taxi shuttle company located next to the Family Mart.

Ferry and Baisha Tourist Harbor

Xiaoliuqiu Ferry Guide 

Three private ferry operators depart from Donggang Ferry Terminal: TF Express, Dongliu, and Leuco Sapphire. The prices and departure times are similar across all companies. For a comfortable and smooth ride, consider TF Express. It’s advisable to purchase a return ticket as it is more cost-effective. A return ticket costs NT$450, while a single journey is NT$230. The return ticket is valid for seven days, allowing you to spend up to a week on the island.

A public ferry is also available at a lower price (NT$200 one way), but it has fewer departing times. Private ferries sail to Baisha Tourist Harbor, whereas the public ferry goes to Liuqiu Dafu Fishing Harbor. Baisha Tourist Harbor is the main harbor on Lambai Island.

Departure Times From Donggang to Xiaoliuqiu:

  • Private Boats: 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 9:00, 10:30, 10:45, 12:00, 12:36, 13:30, 14:00, 15:30, 17:00
  • Public Boats: 8:00, 11:00, 14:00, 16:30, 18:45

From Xiaoliuqiu to Donggang:

  • Private Boats: 7:40, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 10:30, 11:30, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 14:30, 15:00, 16:30, 17:00, 17:30
  • Public Boats: 7:00, 9:30, 13:00, 15:00, 18:00

Travel Tips:

  • The prices and timings mentioned were accurate at the time of writing but may change, so use them as a guideline.
  • Arrive at the ferry terminal 30 minutes before the sailing time.
  • Carry your ID card or passport to purchase a ticket.
  • If you are prone to seasickness, remember to pack medication.

Discover the Magic of Xiaoliuqiu! 

Are you dreaming of the perfect island escape? Xiaoliuqiu, also known as Lamay Island, is a paradise that beckons all year round, offering the ideal mix of adventure, relaxation, and natural beauty. Whether you’re a keen snorkeler, a sun worshipper, or a nature lover, Xiaoliuqiu has something for everyone.

For a seamless and luxurious journey from the bustling streets of Taipei right to the pristine white sands of the island, entrust your plans with Ray. Offering top-notch professional services that cater to every detail of your trip, Ray ensures an exquisite experience tailored just for you. Discover more at Xiaoliuqiu Guide

Seasonal Highlights:

  • Spring (Mar-May): This is a favored time to visit as the temperatures are agreeable with minimal rainfall. Expect average highs in the upper twenties; temperatures rarely fall below 21°C.
  • Summer (June-Aug): Although this is the low season due to hot and humid conditions, the temperatures are ideal for water activities. However, typhoons are common, so watch the weather forecast.
  • Fall (Sept-Nov): Enjoy pleasant temperatures between 25°C – 30°C. It’s a popular time for an island getaway, so accommodations fill up quickly.
  • Winter (Dec-Feb): Experience agreeable weather with average highs between 22°C – 25°C. If you prefer fewer crowds, this is the perfect time to visit.

Scenic view of Xiaoliuqiu

Explore the Island

While a day trip from Kaohsiung is doable, we highly recommend spending at least 2-3 days on the island to immerse yourself in all that Xiaoliuqiu has to offer fully. From the vibrant buildings of Baisha Harbor to the tranquil waters of Shanfu Fishing Harbor, there is no shortage of sights to see and activities to partake in.

Getting Around

The most convenient way to explore the island is by renting a scooter or electric bike. Remember to bring your local license or an International Driving Permit (IDP) for a motorcycle. If you prefer walking or taking the bus, be prepared for a more limited island exploration.

Scooter or electric bike, and Baisha Harbor.

Top Attractions

  • Hit the Beaches: Unwind on the pristine beaches of Xiaoliuqiu, including Vase Rock, Secret Beach, Zhongao Beach, Beauty Beach, and Geban Bay.
  • Take a Freediving Course: Xiaoliuqiu is not just a paradise for those searching for relaxation and natural beauty; it’s also a haven for water sports enthusiasts, especially those fascinated by freediving. Recognized as the leading freediving destination in Taiwan, it offers the perfect chance to enroll in a freediving course and explore the captivating underwater world. With its crystal-clear waters, rich marine life, and the opportunity to swim alongside green sea turtles, it’s no surprise that Xiaoliuqiu is a favorite among freediving enthusiasts in Taiwan and is on its way to becoming a world-class destination for freedivers worldwide. We are proud to be one of the top Freediving schools in Taiwan. Contact us if you want to start your freediving journey or dive deeper! We offer courses from beginner to instructor levels (AIDA and Molchanovs), and we are one of the only schools with the Molchanovs Wave 4 certification if you’re interested in competing. So, what are you waiting for? Dive into a world of adventure with us!

Freediving course with VD Freediving Taiwan
  • Snorkeling with Green Sea Turtles: Join a guided snorkeling tour or explore the underwater world on your own. Remember to respect the wildlife and use reef-safe sunscreen.
  • Semi-Submarine Cruise: Uncover the underwater treasures without getting wet on a glass-bottom boat cruise.
  • Explore Natural Wonders: Visit iconic landmarks like Vase Rock, Beauty Cave, Black Devil Cave, and the Houshi Fringing Reef.
  • Hiking Trails: Traverse the Wild Boar Trench Trail and the Sanfu Ecological Path for stunning vistas and lush vegetation.
  • Capture the Sunrise and Sunset: Begin your day at the Sunrise Pavilion and end it at the Sunset Pavilion for breathtaking views.
  • Indulge in Tranquility and Rejuvenation: Begin your day with the magical touch of Taiwan’s finest Thai massage specialist. Find your sanctuary of skill and serenity at Stretchology Asia, where you can revitalize your body and soul amidst unmatched Sheila’s expertise.

sea turtle in Xiaoliuqiu

Accommodation on Liuqiu

The island features a variety of accommodation options, including hostels, hotels, and quaint bed and breakfasts, each with its own distinct charm. Reservations for hotels can be made online through platforms such as Hotels.com or Agoda or by directly visiting the websites of the accommodations (although, be aware that most of them will be in Chinese).

Beautiful hotel in Xiaoliuqiu

Discover the Culinary Gems of Xiaoliuqiu Island: A Food Lover’s Paradise

Looking to satiate your taste buds while soaking in the beautiful vibes of Xiaoliuqiu Island? Here’s your golden ticket to a gastronomic adventure you won’t soon forget. From soul-stirring coffee concoctions to mouth-watering delicacies, I’ve got you covered with my top picks:

Gourmet Feasts Awaiting Your Palate

  • 1. Chu Xin A haven for flavor enthusiasts, Chu Xin is my personal favorite, offering an array of delectable dishes that promise a burst of flavor with every bite. A must-try here is their pumpkin taro beignets, a unique culinary delight. And if you are a durian aficionado like me, you are in for a treat, as they occasionally serve it with a generous portion of this ‘king of fruits’. Check out their Facebook page for more tantalizing options.
  • 2. Benntouu If health and taste are your priorities, then Benntouu has got you covered. This place is a treasure trove offering delicious boxed meals that pack a punch in both flavor and nutrition. Ready to dive in? Visit their Instagram to explore their offerings.
  • 3. Myroll Myroll stands as a beacon for those seeking a vibrant hangout spot. Not only does it offer a cozy environment to meet new friends, but it also tempts with mouth-watering chicken rolls and arguably the best french fries on the island. Dive into their vibrant world through their Instagram.

Coffee Havens to Elevate Your Experience

  • 1. Coffee n’ Fins Attention all coffee aficionados! Your pilgrimage isn’t complete without a visit to Coffee ‘n Fins. DaChi, the mastermind behind this paradise, offers artistry in a cup, personalizing your coffee experience down to the finest detail. Moreover, he is renowned as one of the finest scuba instructors around, adding a unique flavor to your coffee experience. You can reach him at his email: spporchyi@gmail.com. Get ready for a bespoke coffee journey at their website: Coffee ‘n Fins.
  • 2. Tiao Cafe Imagine sipping on a freshly brewed cup of coffee while absorbing a splendid ocean view. Sounds heavenly, right? At Tiao Cafe, this is a reality. Offering an array of homemade bakery delights to accompany your coffee, the friendly owners make sure your visit is a pleasant one. Don’t miss this captivating experience; check them out on Instagram now.

Embark on this culinary journey and let Xiaoliuqiu treat your taste buds to an unforgettable experience!

sesame twister, street food in Xiaoliuqiu

Conclusion

 In a world that never seems to slow down, taking a moment to breathe, relax, and immerse yourself in nature is more important than ever. Xiaoliuqiu is not just a destination; it’s an experience that will stay with you long after you’ve left its shores. Conveniently accessible from the mainland, it offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. From the thrill of freediving to the serenity of a sunset, every moment spent on this island is a memory in the making. So why wait? Pack your bags, book your tickets, and embark on an adventure that will rejuvenate your spirit and ignite your passion for the wonders of the natural world. Your ultimate escape to paradise, just a stone’s throw from the mainland, awaits in Xiaoliuqiu!

Connect with Us and Explore More!

Are you ready to embark on an underwater adventure of a lifetime? We’re just a message away to assist you on this transformative journey.

Follow us on Instagram to keep up with our latest expeditions, stories, and breathtaking photographs that will inspire you to take the plunge: VD Freediving on Instagram

Got questions or need more information? Feel free to reach out to us directly at our inbox, and we’ll be more than happy to guide you: 📧 hello@vdfreediving.com

If you’re curious about the allure of freediving and why I passionately advocate for more people to immerse themselves in this transformative experience, I invite you to delve into my personal insights in this article. Discover the profound reasons “Why I Freedive” and why I believe you should too. Jetez un œil (take a peek) at this enriching piece here: Why I Freedive.