Green Island

Waking up in the morning after our night in Hualien, only one thing was on our mind… Green Island!  Known for its robust coral reefs and stunning topography, Green Island is a real gem of Taiwan.  We’ve been dying to get to Green Island since we came to Taiwan in 2015, and recently got SCUBA certified which only added to the anticipation.  Today was the day, and the only thing that stood between us and paradise was a daunting 4 and a half hour drive… yikes!

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Pit stops a-plenty!

The Drive

From Hualien, driving south along the coast on Provincial Highway 11, it was a straight shot to Faguang, which is the port city for Green Island just north of Taitung.  With 175 kilometers separating the two cities, we knew we had a long day of driving ahead of us.  We packed our bags, chowed some breakfast, got on our scooters and hit the road.  It was our first “long” drive, and we were not enthused about it, only our destination.  Boy, did things change quickly.

This drive might have been both of our favorite drives on the entire trip; it was jaw-dropping!  The moment we got onto the coastal highway, we were stunned by the beauty surrounding us.  A roaring deep blue ocean on our left, towering lush green mountains on our right, winding roads along the ocean cliffs that weaved back into the mountains, sprinkled with tunnels and bridges, it was every driver’s dream.  That drive could have been six hours and we still would’ve been craving more!

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A beautiful drive indeed!

The Ferry

Arriving in Faguang, we went straight to the ferry office and got our tickets.  For just an extra $200 each, we brought our scooters on the ferry with us to use on the Island.  We’ve heard nightmares about the ferry ride to Green Island, a 45-minute journey through some rougher seas.  Surprisingly, it was so smooth and easy that we both fell asleep within five minutes of leaving port!  We arrived, retrieved our scooters, and took a quick zip over to our B&B.

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Sunset just outside of our door

The Hotel

We stayed at Moon’s Diving House, which is just outside of the main strip of town and a stone’s throw away from the ferry docks.  It was a great little B&B with it’s own dive shop, exactly what we were looking for.  Booked a dive for the next day as soon as we checked in, mission accomplished!  The hotel was super-helpful and made Green Island very easy to enjoy.  Really just an awesome place all around.

 

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The Outdoors

Green Island is the diving mecca of Taiwan, with coral reefs surrounding the entire island that are full of life and little surprises.  It was our first dive since finishing our SCUBA certification.  During our training, our instructor couldn’t stop raving about how much she loved the island, and that she could even live there and open her own dive shop.  Needless to say, the hype had been built and expectations were high.  Our dive master Jen was excellent, she knew the reef like the back of her hand and showed us the treasures hidden beneath the waves.  It was magical.  Vibrant sealife, crystal clear water and colorful coral, all were spot on.  We were shocked to have seen a sea turtle so close, and stumbled upon an eel while we snorkeled later! Green Island’s diving is second to none.

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Sea Turtle!
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Just amazing ocean life everywhere you look

DSC_0664Driving around the island is also an amazing experience, with stunning views of the ocean cliffs and beaches along a windy road that circles the whole island in about 30 minutes.  There was one spot that we thought was just incredible called Sleeping Beauty Rock.  We found a small side road and made our own trail to the best spot on the island.  Laying on top of that rock, staring out onto the sea and just taking in the pure silence was an amazing experience.  It was a great moment to reflect on how lucky we are to be able to have moments like these.  The whole island is full of little stops and sights, and we leisured our way around the island taking them all in.

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The view from atop Sleeping Beauty Rock!

The Food

Out of all the places we’ve been to so far, here was the hardest to find a good meal.  We finally found a great seafood rè chǎo 熱炒 on our last night, looking out onto the ocean.  The food was great, beers were cold, and we wish we could’ve eaten here every night!  There was also a little mom&pop shaved ice place down the road, which had great vibes and was the perfect nightcap to a great last meal.

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When a rè chǎo is packed with scooters, it’s always a good sign!
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Peanut shaved ice…yummmmm!

 

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