Liuqiu or Xiaoliuqiu (小琉球嶼) is a small island of about 7sqkm in the southwest of Taiwan. Surrounded by corals, covered in limestone, hollowed out by caves and only a 30 min ferry ride from Donggang – and thus about an hour away from Taiwan’s second-biggest city Kaohsiung – it is no surprise the island is popular with tourists.
We traveled to Xiaoliuqiu in May with friends. It is famous for its green sea turtles that swim lasciviously between the corals, grazing algae like ocean’s sheep. Xiaoliuqiu’s beaches are of a fine white sand. Cliffs offer shade against the sun that sets straight over the sea in the evening. It is paradisiac, especially for someone coming from Taiwan’s north where beaches are often more untended and crowded.
An idyllic island a few hours outside a major metropolis, you could expect mass tourism or overpriced exclusive resorts. (Or both, if you look at Europe’s island-gems). Yet you’d find neither. Xiaoliuqiu is friendly and laid-back. There are no Luis Vuitton bags or Porsche sports cars, few cars at all. Time flows slower here. Visitors are often young, of a devil-may-care attitude quite rare in Taipei.
Let’s travel the island together for the next two weeks!