Article Date: 26-03-2016
To get to Green Island there are two options. You can either fly there or take the ferry. When we went we decided to take the ferry regardless of what all the locals were telling us about it being rough as hell. They said we would puke, I doubted it very much and in fact told most locals I will be taking a load of beers with me for the boat which seemed like normal standard behaviour.
So how to get there, if you want to take the ferry like us you need to get to Taidung first. Most likely you will arrive at the train station, and from the train station it is best to take a taxi to Taidung Fugang Harbour. This will set you back between 200NT - 350NT depending on how good you are at bargaining with the taxi driver.
Once at the port you can then buy a ticket there for the ferry to Green Island. Tickets can be purchased at the port for 980NT round trip. The port itself is quite interesting to have a look around while you are waiting for the ferry. We saw loads of fishermen dragging in a haul that included sharks among other things.
Once on the ferry we set about cracking open the booze, and funnily enough there was another couple of foreigners on there with some booze too, so natrually we ended up sitting together and having a drink and a good old chinwag.
The warnings about the ferry were true it was mental, and not the calmest of journeys but we weren't bothered about that at all. On the other hand loads of Taiwanese were puking and throwing up all over, good job the ferry provided everyone with puke bags when they got on, and I didn't see many people missing the bag. I enjoyed the ferry ride I thought it was good and generally was fast it only took around 1 hour to get there. The flight is only 15 minutes from Taidung but is quite a bit more expensive at 1480NT each way. It's the reason we plumped for the ferry.
We had prearranged somewhere to stay on Green Island the night before we went there. I would suggest you don't leave this until the day before. There seems to be not much accommodation on the island and we considered ourselves to be quite lucky to find somewhere a bit last minute. As well as this there is only one ATM on the whole island, and 1 petrol station which closed at 5pm. The first night on the island we were unaware it closed so early and had to run around scooter shops begging for petrol. So make sure you are aware of this before you go there, maybe bring enough cash or risk the ATM situation. It's up to you.
There was supposed to be a public bus going around the island too, but we rarely saw it ever. The two options to get around the island seemed to be bicycle or scooter. We were orignally gonna cycle around the island until we seen the state of the bicycles on offer and then decided to get a scooter instead.
Most guesthouses will include a scooter when you book a room with them, but we didn't even consider this because we didn't expect it to be a huge issue. Trust me it would be a huge issue not having a scooter there and we realised this rather quickly and rectified it by renting a scooter as soon as we could.
The island itself is truly beautiful and has a lot to do. They have coral reef and a lot of people go scuba diving but unfortunately due to me being a chicken shit and travelling on a tight budget I decided to give it a miss. As well as scuba diving you can go snorkeling. There are three designated sites on the island to go snorkelling. These are Chai Kou (in the north), Shi Lang (in the west), and Da Bai Sha (in the southwest.)
There is also a big hot spring complex where the heat is generated from the sea, and there are only 3 of these in the world. In Italy, Japan and Taiwan. The hot spring complex is excellent, I loved it and have been wanting to go back just for that. It well set you back only 200NT to get into the hot spring complex and it is well worth it, we went there every evening we were on the island it was that bloody good.
The other thing to do on the island is check out the old jail, which has a small museum inside. This is where they used to send political prisoners back in the day, and the poor bastards had to walk there tied together it seemed. The small museum is interesting and I enjoyed more than I expected. We did try to go into the real jail to begin with. The guards were looking at us quite confused, two fat white blokes rocking up trying to get into the real jail.
Food and drinking wise most of the places to grab something to eat are all small local places. There isn't much in the way of big chain stores or anything like this. There is a seven eleven and thats about it. We just ate locally fresh food. There is a big bbq on the main road which seemed busy but we didn't think that was great, then we ended up in a kareoke having a bit of a sing song and a party, this was a truly great few days away.
I would reccommend Green Island to anyone who is staying in Taiwan for a decent length of time, mainly due to the length of time it takes to get there compared to other places. The scenery on the whole island is worth going there for alone, but the Hot Spring complex, and the coral reef snorkelling/scuba diving make it excellent. The jail was an added bonus which offered a little bit of history about the island to the trip.