There are a number of really great snorkeling spots spread throughout the islands – and until a few years ago the diving and snorkeling was even better. Due to an unusual cold snap in the winter of 2008, much of the coral reef that surrounds the islands has died back and will take time to regenerate. Great spots still exist, it’s just a matter of knowing where they are.
When snorkeling or diving in these islands remember safety first, as Penghu doesn’t have life guards and the ocean currents can be quite strong. Many of the coastal reef waters are shallow, so, in order to preserve the marine environment great care needs to be taken not to stand on the coral as it is easily damaged, and be careful not to remove anything (living or otherwise) from the reef. Please respect the environment while you’re here.
Snorkeling – doing it alone:
Unless you’re booked on a guided boat trip where everything is provided (see below), bring your own snorkeling gear as renting is near impossible in most places.
Recommended – Shan Shui Beach itself isn’t really an ideal place to snorkel, but a little further east past the fishing dock is a small rocky bay that’s said to have great snorkeling. Take the road all the way to Shan Shui Beach and then turn left following the road along until you see a small bay that resembles the one marked out on the google map.
Looks like this local snorkeling shop will rent out gear and take you to the best spots in Shan Shui. Sunny-U
Jiang Jun Island
Highly Recommended – Jiang Jun, also known as General Island, sits quietly beside Wangan. It’s a sleepy and some what grey fishing village without much but a maze of crumbling alleys and a glorious rocky coastline to explore. The reef here is stunning and has an abundance of coral and fish life. You can reach Jian Jun island by short ferry ride or by coast guard from Wangan. You can either bring your own gear and head out to the reef independently (10 minute walk from the harbour) or you can join a guided group.
There is one main guesthouse just at the edge of the harbour called Shell House B&B run by A Hong. This budget guesthouse is friendly and convenient and operates the only snorkeling & fishing trips on Jiang Jun. At NTD400-500 per person including gear, guide and lunch, the trips are good value. This is also the only place to have motorcycles for rent (approx. NTD350) and will probably rent out snorkeling gear to independent travellers if asked. See the links below for more information. Also, be aware that very few people on the island speak English!
A Hong: http://www.wretch.cc/blog/kk690707 Tel: 06-9902303
Chimei Island also has some good snorkeling just near the Yuyue Yuli Harbour Camping Area. If you plan on camping as a courtesy let the boating company know, as they currently rent the harbour & neighbouring recreation area.
Boat and Snorkeling Trips
Highly Reccomended for people who aren’t strong swimmers or prefer to travel on small tours.
Although there are many private boat operators and companies offering trips to other islands, it can be difficult to get reliable information. Coral Reef and Play Tours are two companies that are recommended and they both have websites that can be easily translated using google (Play Tours has a few pages of their website in English). The groups offer everything from 3-hour boating trips to 3-day island hopping trips. Also, one or more of the guides should speak English. Most hotels in Penghu can help you to book trips with local operations like Coral Reef and Play Tours B&B or contact them directly through their websites below.
More information on scuba diving and snorkeling updates coming soon…