Courtney Donovan Smith
Step off the propeller plane at the Makung airport and
the sense of space is overwhelming. Partly it is the low
flat grassy landscape, unencumbered with the natural and
unnatural obstructions that crowd Taiwan proper. No mountains
loom in the distance, no factories, no skyscrapers. But
mostly it is the air that lends Penghu (¼ê´ò)
the sense of space - so clean, crisp and clear that your
vision telescopes out and reaches to distances that are
impossible on Taiwan. The disorientation is exhilarating;
the feeling is of setting out on an adventure in a faraway
For a quick, exciting trip out of Taichung, it is hard
to beat Makung. A 30 minute flight out of the Taichung Shui
Nan domestic airport (¤ôÙõ¾÷³õ)
and you'll find yourself on a paradise of sun, beaches,
history, relaxation and really good seafood.
Whether you plan to just get away alone to clear
your head (and lungs) or you want a romantic place
to take a loved one (with or without progeny) - the
NT$3000 price of the round-trip ticket is well worth
it (see 'Compass Points' listings in the back for
complete flight times).
There is quite a bit to do and see in the Penghu Archipelago,
but the city of Makung is usually the starting point. In
a later issue we will bring you more details on the rest
From the airport, the taxi costs NT$300 to get into
town (flat rate). In town, one would be advised to
get a vehicle - especially if you have any plans of
leaving Makung city.
Happily, vehicle rental places are all over Penghu
(see map for a sampling). Motorcycles can be rented
for a few hundred NT$, and cars for about NT$1300
and up. Be sure to remember your driver's license,
the Penghu police are curiously strict on traffic
violations. Considering that Penghu is largely crime-free,
I suppose that makes sense.
Within the city, one can consider walking to get around.
Makung has a different feeling than other Taiwanese cities.
The streets are cleaner, the shops smaller and the pace
slower - vaguely reminiscent of Okinawa. There are more
people roaming the streets, sometimes little packs of tourists
giggling and smiling.
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