Xiaoliuqiu (小琉球) is a tiny, gorgeous coral island located a short ferry ride from Kaohsiung. Often also called Little Liuqiu, Lamay Island, Lambai Island, or Little Ryukyu. Liuqiu is revered for its gorgeous scenery, warm tropical waters, laid-back vibes, tasty seafood, and the chance to see green sea turtles up close. Despite its size of 6.8 km2, the island is home to various interesting sights and activities that will delight any visitor.
The only way to get to Lambai Island is by ferry from Donggang Ferry Terminal in Donggang City, Pingtung County. Before hitting the road, you should also know that Donggang is an hour’s drive from Kaohsiung City. Boats sail roughly every hour between 7:00 and 17:30 and take less than 30 minutes to reach Xiaoliuqiu.
How to get to Donggang Ferry Terminal from Kaohsiung
If you are not in Kaohsiung yet, the first thing you need to do is get there. And the fastest way to do that is to book a seat on the high-speed rail to Zuoying Station.
Once you’re in Kaohsiung, the easiest way to get to Donggang Ferry Terminal is by car or scooter. However, if that is not an option, you must rely on one of these transport modes to get to Xiao Liu Qiu.
A great stress-free way to get to Liuqiu from Kaohsiung is to take a cab or an Uber. But unless you’re traveling in a group, expect to pay between NT$1000-1300.
A much cheaper option to get to Donggang Ferry Terminal from Kaohsiung is to take a private shuttle bus. You can arrange a pickup directly from the HSR Station with this company, 東琉計程車. Or take the red MRT line (adjacent to the HSR Station) towards Siaogang to Kaohsiung Main Train Station (TRA). Then walk to Spring Tourist Rental (春天旅遊汽機車出租, see map here) to grab a shuttle taxi to Donggang Wharf. It’s advisable to phone in advance to book a shuttle unless you travel during peak seasons or weekends. It’s also good to know that you might need to wait for passengers to fill up the taxi. But usually, this doesn’t take very long. Rides cost NT$150 per person.
If you prefer public transport, the Dapeng Bay Liuqiu Express bus (9127D) goes directly to the Donggang Ferry Terminal. The ride takes about an hour, and the first bus leaves at 8:30 am. The ride costs about NT$120, and you can buy a ticket at the Kenting Express ticket booth at Exit 2 of the HSR Station. Although it is cheaper, I do not recommend taking the Kenting Express Bus (#9189) to Dapeng Wan and then transferring to bus #503 to Donggang Ferry Terminal as you’ll be wasting a lot of time. It took me well over 4 hours and a lot of sweat and tears to follow this route!
Interesting things to see and do on Lambai Island:
- Enjoy the Beaches: Lambai Island is known for its beautiful beaches, with crystal clear waters and soft white sand. The island is small enough to explore them all easily. But some of the most popular include Daqiu Beach, Qimei Beach, and Shanyuan Beach.
- Visit the Lighthouse: Built-in 1938, the Lambai Island Lighthouse is one of the island’s most iconic landmarks. It stands at the height of 12.5 meters and offers stunning views of the surrounding sea and coastline.
- Explore the Caves: Lambai Island is home to several sea caves formed by the island’s rocky coastline erosion. The most famous of these is the Penghu Sea Cave, which is said to resemble the shape of a heart.
- Go Snorkeling or Scuba Diving: The waters around Lambai Island are home to various marine life. Including colorful fish, coral reefs, and even sea turtles. Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities, and several dive shops on the island offer equipment rentals and guided tours.
- Hike the Trails: Despite its small size, Lambai Island is home to several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the island’s natural beauty. The most popular is the Daqiu Hiking Trail. Which takes you along the island’s rugged coastline and through its lush forests.
- Try Local Cuisine: Lambai Island is known for its fresh seafood, including crabs and abalone. Several restaurants on the island specialize in these dishes, as well as other local delicacies.
- Attend a Local Festival: Lambai Island has several annual festivals, including Spring and Mid-Autumn festivals. These events are a great way to experience the island’s culture and traditions. With colorful parades, traditional music and dance performances, and delicious food.
In conclusion, Lambai Island may be small, but it has much to offer. Whether relaxing on the beach, or exploring its natural wonders. Or immersing yourself in local culture, there’s something for everyone on this beautiful island.