With beautiful beaches, long open roads, parks and recreation areas, historic relics and backwater charm, you’d think Penghu’s offerings are endless. But, visiting and taking up long-term residence are two very different things when it comes to living in a small isolated place like this. The islands’ weather can make a good part of the year too windy to enjoy normal outdoor activities and can turn riding a scooter or bicycle into an extreme sport. Unless you’re a kitesurfer, windsurfer or enjoying staying bundled up for the winter/spring looking forward to the coming summer days, the wind and its howl may just drive you away; you wouldn’t be the first either.
Though, those that stay know that after all the waiting and all the wind, it is worth it. The summers here are stinking hot, the sun is all out and the beaches are never crowded. The days are long and though it seems tourists are almost everywhere there are always peaceful places totally devoid of people.
The local county government has put considerable time and energy into landscaping parks, recreation areas and lookouts throughout the islands; many are equipped with pagodas, walkways, benches and toilets. Though, it seems with the exception of Guanyinting recreation area, these areas are often overlooked by tourists and used by only a few locals. These ‘recreation areas’ are basically relaxed coastal parks that are perfect for picnics, BBQs, sports or camping.
The abundance of beautiful beaches and the consistently hot weather in summer has to be Penghu’s top asset. The three most popular and closest to get to from Magong city are ShānShuǐ, ShíLi and ÀiMén.
Downtown shops tend to stay open until around 8:30-9:30pm, with a few exceptions of course. The evening is generally busy as people come out to enjoy the coolest part of the day. Vendors offer dinner and snacks to passers by while students play in arcades and internet cafes and tourists wander the old town.
Other than the seemingly seedy KTV pubs there’s a fairly limited night scene in Magong. A few bars in the downtown area are popular with locals, tourists and expats, but that’s about it. Spread out around Zhong Zheng Road in the downtown area are Freud, 823 Pub, Unfaithful and Sunny Colony; all within short walking distance of each other.
If you’re looking to stay in and want to stock up on alcoholic beverages. Check out these liquor stores.
At the top of Breakfast street there’s Penghu’s one and only movie theatre. Tickets are around 200NT each, though you can buy them for almost half that from a few private re-sellers. coming soon…
There are quite a few DVD stores on GuāngFù Road and all you need to join in a phone number and a deposit. Some of the stores require a minimum deposit of 500NT, from which the DVDs you rent will be deducted. Simply give them your phone number when renting and they will let you know when you need to top up your account. There may be a small discount for early returns and other specials, be sure to ask. It pays to try a few different stores and perhaps even join more than one, as the selection varies.