Green Island (Taiwan)

Travel Guide Asia Taiwan Green Island

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Introduction

Green Island (綠島; Lǜ Dǎo) is located off the coast of Taitung County. Several small villages are found around the island, but officially the entire island is considered as Green Island Village.

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Geography

The island is formed of volcanic tholeiite, andesite, and volcanic explosive fragments with an area of 15 km2. The volcano erupted from the Pliocene to Pleistocene eras. It is part of the Luzon Volcanic Arc Magma was formed from underthrusting oceanic crust under compression at a depth of about 25 kilometres. The andesite rock contains some visible crystals of pyroxene or amphibole. The geochemistry of the rock shows it is enriched in potassium, strontium and rubidium and light rare earth elements.

The island is a habitat for deer, goats, chameleons, giant bats, coconut crabs and resident and migratory birds.

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Sights and Activities

Besides one of only 3 saltwater hot springs in the world, Green Island offers great snorkeling and scuba. Over 200 different hard and soft coral species and even more fish species.

Beware the current as it is very strong. There are a few places with little current that novice or beginner divers can use however.

One famous attraction underwater is (claimed by the locals) the oldest and largest living coral head in the world. It is about two stories tall and about 4 meters wide. A very beautiful site but it requires a 300 m round trip swim to visit.

Snorkeling can be done for as cheap as NT$300 for an hour or so if you ask around.

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Events and Festivals

Buddha Bathing Festival

The Buddha bathing festival takes place on April 8 and is a Buddhist religious ceremony celebrating the birth of the Lord Buddha. The faithful bow three times to the Lord Buddha and then pour water and flowers of a statue of the baby Buddha.

Tomb Sweeping Day

Tomb Sweeping Day usually falls in early April and is a public holiday in Taiwan. Taiwanese people pray and tend to the graves of their departed relatives. Willow branches are used to decorate graves and doors in some areas and the flying of kites, carrying of flowers, and burning of incense, paper and joss sticks is common.

Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival is a June public holiday originating from China that is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. The day is celebrated in Taiwan with dragon boat races, eating glutinous rice dumplings, drinking wine and writing spells.

Autumn Moon Festival

The Moon Festival talks place in late September or early October, on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. The festival celebrates harvest time and is characterized by giving and eating moon cakes. Dragon dances, floating lanterns, fireworks and burning incense are also common.

Ghost Festival

September is Ghost Month in Taiwan with the gates of the underworld opening on the first day and closing on the last. Throughout the month, both Buddhist and Taoist religious rituals take place that include to offerings of food, drink and burnt paper money appease the dead. Many Taiwanese avoid moving house or getting married during this month.

Double Ten Day

Double Ten Day falls on the tenth of October and is the Republic of China National Day, celebrating the start of the Wuching uprising in 1911 that resulted in the defeat of the Qing Dynasty. Proceedings begin with the raising of the Republic of China flag and singing of the Republic of China national anthem. There is a Taiwanese presidential speech and celebrations include lion dances, drumming, and fireworks.

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Getting There

Two options are available for those heading to Green Island.

The first option is by boat. The ferry heads from TaiDong's FuGang harbor to Green Island before heading to Orchid Island. Tickets are NT$920 round trip. The trip lasts about an hour. Motion-sickness bags are plentiful around the ship and many are used when the sea is choppy. Taxis from TaiDong's train station are NT$350 each way.

The second option is to fly. Daily Air flies three times daily from TaiDong Airport to Green Island's small airport. Tickets are NT$980 one way for adults and NT$460 for children. The flights last 15-20 minutes.

Unless pressed for money, it is suggested that the flight be taken. The ferry makes many people sick.

Before you go, make sure to bring enough cash for the entirety of your visit. Although the island does have two ATMs (that only accept domestic cards), the machines could run out of money and leave you stranded as only the larger hotels on the island accept credit cards.

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Getting Around

Scooters can be found lining the roads around the harbor on Green Island. Most guesthouses include a scooter rental in their accommodation packages. There is a single gas station on the island near the port open from 8:00am to 5 :00pm.

GreenIslandadventures.com offers packages that include ferry and pick-up from Taitung, accommodation, scooter, snorkeling and hot spring tickets. Scuba diving and scuba courses are offered. Packages start from as low as NT$2,500 per person (in a group).

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Eat

Many small restaurants can be found on the road between the port and the airport. A local specialty is deer meat from the native deer. Some live deer are attached to ropes to the restaurants themselves.

There is a 7-Eleven and Family Mart on the island open 24 hours like on Taiwan, however the prices are inflated and stock may run out more easily due to less frequent restocking.

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This is version 2. Last edited at 15:09 on Mar 11, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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