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.
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!
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.