This is the eighth of eleven posts on Taiwan. Check out our other posts here:
- Time for Taiwan: An Introduction
- 5 Nights at the Haunted Grand Hyatt Taipei
- Sweating to Taipei’s National Sites
- Taking it to the Streets: Taipei’s Night Markets
- Hiking Elephant Mountain
- Taipei’s Cheap Eats: Savory Edition
- Taipei’s Cheap Eats: Sweets Edition
- Heading to Green Island
- Green Island’s Sites
- Hiking Taroko Gorge, Part 1
- Hiking Taroko Gorge, Part 2
After 4 days in Taipei, Mrs. Selfish and I packed our things and boarded a train bound for Taiwan’s Green Island. Located 21 miles off of the South Eastern coast of Taiwan, Green Island is a tiny island with a driving circumference of roughly 19 kilometers.
It’s a remote, beautiful island that’s pretty difficult to get to. Green Island has an airstrip with a few daily flights and a ferry which leaves from the main island a few times a day depending on the season.
It’s also a huge tourist trap, with few businesses, save those that cater to Taiwanese tourists. Despite these problems, however, it is beautiful and well worth a visit if just for a day trip.
Getting to Green Island
The easiest way to get to Green Island is to take a train to Taitung Station and then catch a cab to Fugang Fishery Harbor. From there you board a 50 minute ferry bound for Green Island.
Round trip tickets cost $800 TWD per person (~$27), which is pretty cheap. Be sure to hang on to your return ticket. I made the mistake of misplacing ours in another pair of pants and the guards would not let us on the boat. Fortunately, Mrs. Selfish had taken a picture of our tickets and managed to convince them to let us on the return ferry, otherwise we’d still be stuck on Green Island!
The ferry itself is pretty standard for Asia. It was air conditioned with movies playing for the short trip over. Ours ended up being pretty crowded since our trip overlapped with a Taiwanese holiday.
Getting Around Green Island
Even though Green Island is only 19 kilometers in circumference, there are surprisingly few options available to the transportationally-incompetent. You basically have three choices: take the bus, ride a scooter, or ride a bike.
We normally opt for public transportation in these circumstances, but after some online research we determined a bus was out of the question. Apparently they come infrequently and are pretty slow. I also couldn’t determine whether or not they were air-conditioned, which was an issue since Green Island was swelteringly hot.
So my first thought was to try the scooter option. I’d never ridden a scooter before, but I’ve seen thousands of people do it in Asia. It can’t be too hard, right?
Mrs. Selfish managed to snap this picture mere moments before I nearly went buckling over the handlebars. Somehow my brain couldn’t figure out how to start and stop the dang thing with handlebars. So much for video games helping your hand-eye coordination.
Fortunately, only my pride was wounded, so we moved on to option #3 – the electric bicycle. I haven’t ridden a bike in over 16 years, the last time being when I was hit by a car, but how hard could it be?
This was a little more comfortable. Apparently the saying about riding bikes and forgetting holds true. Unfortunately, Mrs. Selfish DOES NOT know how to ride a bike and the electric bike likely couldn’t handle our weight load up steep hills, so this option was out.
It was at this point that our hotel guide stepped in and mentioned a 4th option: RENTING A CAR. But from where pray tell? Hertz? Avis? A Taiwanese company?
Turns out they have no car rentals on Green Island. Or businesses that take credit cards. Plus they only have one ATM, which is constantly out of money. Which brings me to pro tip #1 on Green Island: BRING LOTS OF TAIWANESE DOLLARS.
As far as I could tell we were renting a car from the hotel owner’s friend for the princely sum of $80 USD a day. Fortunately we only needed it for one day. Plus it had A/C. Phew.
There is a ton to see in Green Island, so you will need some form of transportation should you decide to go. Here’s a map of the sites:
We decided to jump in the car and drive counter clockwise. Here’s some shots of the Cape of Gueiwang.
And the famous sleeping beauty rock and Pekinese dog rock.
From there we got out of the car to ascend the “Little Great Wall” and take a stroll on the beach.
Lastly we stopped by the lighthouse, which was next to a popular warm springs water hole.
Join us tomorrow where I’ll go over what we actually ended up doing on Green Island.