Matsu Islands Travel Guide - How to go, Tips and Tricks | Travel in Asia

Matsu Islands Travel Guide - How to go, Tips and Tricks

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Matsu Islands. A territory of Taiwan that is so close to Mainland China. Rich with military history, thrilling views and the deep blue sea. It is often ignored by visitors in Taiwan. But an exciting world that is worth to explore! The luomujie blog made a trip to this archipelago to discover what it has to offer and try to understand it's public transportation system for the benefit of future travellers to the Matsu Islands.


The Matsu Islands archipelago.  It is territory of Taiwan off the cosat of Mainland China and composed of five major islands: Nangan, Beigan, Dongyin, Xiju and Dongju.
Questions and Answers about travelling to Matsu Islands

When is the best time to visit Matsu?

The best time is from September to October when the weather on the islands is already stable. It's rainy during summer months of June, July and August. Not to mention the 4 to 6 typhoons that visit Taiwan every year. February to May is the fog season and ferry trips can be cancelled. Though Sept. to Oct. is considered as the best time to be here in Matsu, more people come to the archipelago during summer because of the "Blue Tears" phenomenon.

Do I need to bring my passport when I visit Matsu Islands?

Yes, that is a must. When buying a ferry ticket to any of the islands, a passport is always asked. If you're a foreigner with an ARC card (that is expected as a substitute for a passport in Taiwan!), it's better to bring your passport with you. I was asked once by the coast guard at Nangan Harbor after showing my ARC. It was a good thing that I brought it with me. Or else, I would have been in great trouble and missed my ferry.

Is there a tour bus on Matsu Islands?

No. If you're looking for the classic Taiwan Tour Bus that will take you to the island's famous attractions, then you will not find one here. However, two of the major islands, Beigan and Nangan have a public bus that you can hop-on and hop-off. Sad to say the islands of Dongju, Xiju and Dongyin don't have such buses, so you will need to ride a scooter, board a taxi or walk to visit the tourist attractions.

You mentioned about scooters. But I don't know how to ride one! Will walking be ok?

It will be ok but you will need to focus on the important tourist attractions because walking will eat your time and energy. Just carry a light backpack so it won't be difficult to go sightseeing. The islands of Dongju, Xiju and Dongyin are not that big and it is possible to see most of the attractions. With a little help of boarding a taxi to the farthest point of the island and walking back, will help you save a lot of time.

I want to know more about the bus of Nangan and Beigan Island? Are there dedicated bus stops?

Yes of course! You can even track the bus through the Google Maps app. There is a so-called Mountain Line and Ocean Line but that wouldn't matter. Just use the Google Map app. Remember that all buses start their trip at Jieshou town in the morning with the exception of one route. If your chosen hotel is located on that area, that will be great for you. Last departure of the buses at Jieshou is at 17:40.

Nangan Island bus routes: 1)Jieshou to Magang, 2) Nangan to Magang. Once the bus has reached the Magang town, it will continue running until it reaches the town of Jieshou. So there is no need to get off the bus at Magang stop and wait for another one if you're going to Nangan Harbor. It's like a circular route. The same buses from Jieshou will also pass by the Nangan Airport. The Google Maps app will show you the entire bus routes making it easy to go around the island of Nangan.

For Beigan Island, there is a bus stop just beside the wharf and another dedicated bus stop for Baisha. The most important tourist attraction in Beigan Island is Qinbi Village. You can ride the bus to go to "Qinbi" and and just walk if there is no bus that is coming back to Baisha Harbor. Another reminder: the last ferry from Beigan to Nangan is at 5:30 pm. Don't forget this if your hostel is located on Nangan Island.

Where did you stay at Matsu Islands?

I stayed at the No. 55 Hostel when I went to Matsu this month of June. [Reserve here]. It is located on the town of Jinsha on Nangan Island and the rate per night is very cheap for a price of NTD 700. If you're going to stay at the town of center of Nangan and Beigan, then you would have to pay more than NTD 1,000 per night. What's nice about the No. 55 Hostel is that, it has a rooftop, where you can watch the "Blue Tears".

How do I go to the deer island and are there regular trips?

The are regular trips every summer season. Just register for the Daqiu boat at the Nangang-Beigan counter of the Matsu Visitor Information Center and pay the NTD 350 ticket. The earliest boat leaves at 9:50 am. Upon arriving at the Daqiu Island, ask the boatmen on what time will be the departure time. Based on my experience, the owners of the ferry are in a hurry to take passengers back. They don't follow the supposed schedule. Worst-case scenario: you will be able to board the 3:00 pm boat back to Beigan or Nangan.

How to go to Matsu Islands?

To go to Matsu Islands, you can either fly via Uni Air or board the Taima ferry. I prefer the second one because it is cheaper and it gives a different kind of feeling. It feels adventurous to cross the Taiwan Strait rather than flying for less than 1 hour.

To book a ferry ticket, just go to the ematsu website. I have put the link on the transportation options table of this Matsu Travel Guide. On the booking platform, choose the date of your travel, the Chinese characters for Keelung (基隆) as your origin and for your destination, it can be either Dongyin (東引) or Nangan (南竿). If you are successful in getting a slot, you can choose either an economy bed (經濟艙單人床) or a business class (商務艙) type of bed. See the pictures below.

Step 1: Select date of travel, origin and destination.  If you are going to Matsu from Taipei, choose the Chinese characters for Keelung as your origin.  Your destination can be the island of Dongyin or Nangan.  If you want to see most of Matsu, then choose Nangan.

Step 2:  Double check your selected origin, destination and date of travel before confirming your selection.  The departure time at Keelung port is 10:00 pm but boarding time starts at 9:00 pm. 


Step 2a. If you choose the economy class single bed, put how many beds you want to reserve. Then select the left black button at the bottom portion of this image to move to the next page.  You will then be asked to confirm something (in Chinese).


Step 3. Fill in your personal information like full name, birthday, passport number and whether you are a male (男) or a female (女). The info you give must match those of your passport or Taiwan ARC.   Don't forget your e-mail address.  The $1050 refers on this photo, refers to the NTD 1,050 cost of a single economy bed.  You can pay using your debit card and a text message will be sent on your smartphone during the payment process.

To book a return ferry trip to Keelung, just repeat the process but you will have to choose from either Dongyin or Nangan as your origin. If you have already booked and paid online, you can get your tickets at the Nangan-Dongyin counter of the Matsu Visitor Information Center if your chosen origin is in Nangan. For Dongyin Island, you will have to get the physical ticket at Laoye Hotel the day before your trip between 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

A Uni Air airplane preparing to fly from Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA)

If you have a budget of at least NTD 4,000, then you can fly via Uni Air from Taipei or Taichung. For residents of Taipei, there is a ferry and plane option. If you're living in Taichung, then you have to travel to Keelung first, to ride the ferry or just fly directly to Matsu Islands.





If you're not prone to seasickness and want to try something different, I suggest sailing across the Taiwan Strait.

Transportation options to Matsu Islands from Taipei and Taichung
Mode of transportationRouteTerminalWhere to buy tickets onlineTicket priceNotes/Comments
via Taima ferryKeelung to Matsu
(Nangan Island or Dongyin Island)
Keelung West Passenger Terminal


Taima ferry ticket office
ematsu website
(in Chinese)
Select date,
origin and
destination
to book a trip.
[Reserve here]
NTD 1,050
(economy single bed)
8 to 10 hours travel time

To claim your ticket: TRA Keelung Station->walk->West Passenger Terminal
->Go to the 2nd floor->
Present your ARC/passport at the Taima ferry
ticket office.
If you can't speak Chinese,
just show them the e-mail
that you have received
after booking from
the ematsu website.

Odd-numbered dates:
Keelung->Nangan->Dongyin

Even-numbered dates (ex. June 10):
Keelung->Dongyin->Nangan
by plane via Uni AirTaipei to Matsu
(Nangan Island or Beigan Island)
Taipei Songshan Airport

[to Nangan Airport (LZN) or Beigan Airport (MFK)]
Uni Air website
[Reserve here]
~NTD 2,00055 minutes travel time
Taichung to Matsu (Nangan Island)
Taichung International Airport

(to Nangan Airport (LZN) only)
~NTD 2,50065 minutes travel time
How to go to the other islands of Matsu by ferry
Matsu inter-island transportation system. Where to buy tickets, ferry schedules and prices
RouteTicket priceFerry scheduleWhere to buy ticketsTicket buying timeWhere to board the ferry
Nangan to BeiganNTD 160first ferry at 7:00
last ferry at 17:00
Matsu Tourist
Information Center
(馬祖旅遊服務中心)
[Google Map]
At least 15 minutes before departure Nangan Fuaogang
Harbor
(南竿福澳港)
[Google Map]
Beigan to Nangan
first ferry at 7:30
last ferry at 17:30
連江縣北竿港務大樓[Google Map]Beigan
Baisha Harbor
(北竿白沙港)
[Google Map]
Nangan to Dongju
(Nangan->Dongju->Xiju)
NTD 20007:00
11:00
14:30
Matsu Tourist
Information Center
(馬祖旅遊服務中心)
[Google Map]
Buy your tickets on the same day preferably
at least an hour before the departure time.

But you can still buy tickets
at least 15 minutes before the trip as long as there are seats available.

Odd-numbered month:
Nangan->Xiju->Dongju


Even-numbered month (ex. June):
Nangan->Dongju->Xiju
Nangan Fuaogang
Harbor
(南竿福澳港)
[Google Map]
Nangan to Xiju
(Nangan->Dongju->Xiju)
NTD 200
Dongju to Xiju
(Nangan->Dongju->Xiju)
NTD 10007:50
11:50
15:20
Dongju wharf
Xiju to Nangan
(Xiju->Dongju->Nangan)
NTD 20008:10
12:10
15:40
Xiju wharf
Dongju to Nangan
(Xiju->Dongju->Nangan)
07:50
11:50
15:20
Dongju wharf
Nangan to Dongju
(Nangan->Xiju->Dongju)
07:00
11:00
14:30
Matsu Tourist
Information Center
(馬祖旅遊服務中心)
[Google Map]
Nangan to Xiju
(Nangan->Xiju->Dongju)
Xiju to Donghu
(Nangan->Xiju->Dongju)
NTD 10007:50
11:50
15:20
Xiju wharf
Xiju to Nangan
(Dongju->Xiju->Nangan)
NTD 20007:50
11:50
15:20
Xiju wharf
Dongju to Nangan
(Dongju->Xiju->Nangan)
08:10
12:10
15:40
Dongju wharf
Nangan to Dongyin
NTD 3507:00 (even numbered date)Matsu Tourist
Information Center
(馬祖旅遊服務中心)
[Google Map]
07:30 to 08:30
Dongyin to Nangan07:00 (odd numbered date)Laoye Hotel
(located near
the post office)
[Google Map]
The day before the trip
from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
連江縣港務處東引站[Google Map]
Nangan to
Daqiu (The deer island of Taiwan)
NTD 35009:50
13:20
Matsu Tourist
Information Center
(馬祖旅遊服務中心)
[Google Map]
Must register first
at the Nangan-Beigan ferry counter
The earlier, the better
Nangan Fuaogang
Harbor
(南竿福澳港)
[Google Map]


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