Idyllic in its towns, green grass as its tapestry, and showcasing almost everything that an island could offer, Taiwan is one of the most underrated gems for a tropical destination. Earlier this year, we went with my parents, sister, and brother-in-law to this incredible country. I’ve visited Taiwan twice before, but was too young to appreciate and savor it. During our adventure there, we stayed in Taipei, visited the Juifen district, circled around Sun Moon Lake, became mesmerized by Tarako National Park, and then indulged in some incredible food in Taitung before taking the ferry to the enchanting Green Island, one of the four main islands of Taiwan. But more on those other places later.
Green Island is only a 45 minute ferry ride from the harbors of Taitung, and is a place where you feel taken away several decades past. Electric mopeds traverse on the main road that winds around the island’s coast, a mere 5 miles in distance total. The seaside inns are sleepy and quaint, and the places to eat are mom and pop shops brimming with fresh catches of the day.
Once an island that housed exiled political prisoners, and has the Lutao Lighthouse commemorating American and British shipwreck survivors, Green Island is now a breathtaking, affordable tropical getaway, seemingly becoming more and more noticeable to the common traveler. With an abundance of outdoor activities across the island, there is something for everyone. Scenic driving aboard a moped, snorkeling in the calm and glassy waters, soaking in the Zhaori saltwater hot springs, or hiking the leafy Ameishan trail, Green Island captivates you when you least expect it.
We stayed at Green Island for a few days, with a couple nights at the Love in Sanasai bed and breakfast. Love in Sanasai alluded to the beach white exteriors of Santorini, but with a more down to earth feel. Taiwanese style breakfast was complimentary, as well as electric mopeds, and a snorkeling guided tour. Our first day in Green Island consisted utilizing all those benefits, combined with a tranquil ride around the island to see the infamous Sleeping Beauty and the Pekingese Dog rock formations, and an unbelievable sunset west of the now abandoned prison of the politically exiled.
We jump started the next day by soaking in the Zhaori saltwater springs while the sun rose above the horizon. It was exhilarating to be surrounded by volcanic ranges while relishing in one of the only three natural saltwater hot springs in the world. A short, but steep and beautiful hike up Ameishan (Amei mountain) was next. Splendorous views greeted us as we ascended and the 360 degree scenery only allowed us to continue marveling at the lush beauty that Green Island embodied. Visiting the historic Lutao Lighthouse was not to be missed, nor the jade hued water holes that neighbored it. All of this accomplished by riding mopeds, of course. Lastly, we capped off our summer-like visit to Green Island with shaved iced desserts in conch shells, before heading back across the sea to Taitung. As Green Island slowly faded into the distance while our ferry carried us away, we knew that would not be the last time we would see the spectacular and note worthy Green Island.