Since Taiwan was formed approximately 4 to 5 million years ago at a complex convergent boundary between the Philippine Sea Plate and the Eurasian Plate, there are in total of 166 islands including the main one “Formosa”. On Taiwan’s little-known and under-promoted outlying islands, the seafood is freshly caught, the quaint fishing villages are peaceful and history runs deep. There are several islands of Taiwan that are always tourist attractions in Taiwan and we highly recommend you to add them in your Taiwan tour packages! (Read more: Green Island, so much more to learn than just beauty!)
Guishan Island, also called “Turtle Island” (“gui” in Mandarin is “turtle”), is the only active volcano in Taiwan. Located in Yilan, Guishan Island got the iconic name by its shape similar to turtle. Guishan Island is also the only active volcano in Taiwan, before 1997, it had more than 700 residents on this island. Due to military purpose, the island was controlled by the government, and was not opening to public until 2000. An application is required to visit Guishan Island, daily limited entry is 1800 person.
What to See in Guishan Island?
- Milk Sea
Milk Sea is recently going viral during Taiwan’s “Revenge Outings” and has swept through social media just like Matcha Mountain. The name came from the color difference, “God has spilt the milk” are the phrase referring to this dreamlike scene. It is caused by the combination of seawater and a saltwater hot spring and the white color is actually sulfur. Milk Sea contains rich bacteria that efficiently facilitate carbon fixation, forming a special hydrothermal ecosystem.
- Military Tunnel
Most of the outlying islands of Taiwan are old army site, including Guishan Island.
- 8 Scenes of Turtle Island
1. The first one is “Turtle Wearing a Hat”. The residents noticed that when the clouds are above the island, there will be a change in the weather: mostly getting humid and wet.
2. The sea cliffs on the southwestern part of the island were formed due to the sulfuric rock being eroded by the waves and the frequently earthquakes.
3. Lighter colored rocks and sulfur can be found in the photo below. As we mentioned before, Guishan Island is an active volcano, there are still rich volcanic activities around this area. The third wonder should be “Turtle Island Sulfur”, but the smoke cannot be seen nowadays since the volcanic with fumaroles are collapsed.
4. There are several eyes (or glasses) look alike sea caves around Guishan Island.
5. The Milk Sea is actually located at the front of the turtle’s head, the beautiful colour is result from an undersea hot spring spewing sulfur into the ocean.
6. Appreciating the sun rise over Turtle Island, in fact you are able to see the scene from Yilan.
7. Here is the sand bar that looks like a turtle’s tail on the north side of the island. The tail will be moved by the monsoon, the coolest thing is, it can use for predicting the typhoon! When there will be typhoon hitting, the tail will break into two parts.
8. During the low tide, there are two turtle egg shaped rocks can be seen but not anymore after a loud noise in 1943. It is widely believed that the mine has destroyed during the WWII.
What to do in Guishan Island?
- Dolphin & Whale Watching
A total of 17 species of dolphins and whales can be spotted surrounding Guishan Island, mostly spinner dolphins, common bottlenose dolphins, pygmy killer whales, and false killer whales. The best time of a year for appreciating them is from April to September. Please check the weather before you book, if there are strong winds, the tour might be canceled. Even not cancelled, you will probably get really sick on the ferry.
- Stand Up Paddle (SUP)
The North Coast of Taiwan is a great water sport playground, Guishan Island, is paradise of SUP. Just like surfing, SUP originated from Hawaii. There are similarities between those two, stand up paddleboarders have a larger board to keep their balance and stand on comparing to the surfers.