Green Island, also known as “Ludao”, or “Lyudao” has become one of my favourite destinations in Taiwan. I was impressed that this tiny volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean, 33kms off the eastern coast of Taiwan had so many things to see and do. It is a natural tropical paradise filled with well-preserved coral reefs, scenic spots, interesting history, gorgeous coastline and much more. No wonder why it is very popular for diving and snorkelling enthusiast within Asia.
One of the reasons why I loved Green Island (Ludao) so much was that it is still not overrun with too many tourists and you can enjoy many of the scenic spots on your own. Not to mention watching the sunrise from one of only 3 saltwater hot springs in the world, snorkelling with colourful fish, as well as delicious fresh seafood. There is really only one main road that goes around the whole of Green Island, which is 18kms long. Making it easy to get around the island on either a bike or scooter.
What to see and do on Green Island
Here are some things to see and do while on Green Island Taiwan, which is definitely not to be missed. From water adventures to visiting cultural and historic sites.
⇒ I used Lonely Planet Taiwan (Travel Guide) Paperback, as a reference while travelling around the country for a month.
Sunrise at Zhaori Hot Springs
Some things are worth getting out of bed early for, and watching the sunrise at Zharoi hot springs with splendid ocean views is a must when on Green Island. The hot spring borders the ocean and are fed by seawater and underground water heated by the volcanic lava, it really feels like you’re sitting in the ocean.
It is one of only three unique saltwater hot springs in the world with the other two being in Japan and Italy. There are 3 different pools varying in temperature with the choice of filtered or unfiltered ocean water, as well as a spa pool.
If you find yourself in a prime position in the hot springs pools, look up, enjoy the stars and listen to the sound of the waves crashing against the shoreline. No wonder why it is considered to be the best place to watch the sunrise on Green Island.
Where to take Instagrammable pictures
- There is a hot spring pool nestled in between the coral rocks that is a popular spot for photographers and Instagrammers.
After watching the sunrise from the hot springs or even beforehand (if you are going during the day). Take a walk up to Fanchuanbi where you can take in some beautiful views of the ocean and over Zhaori hot springs. This viewpoint is right next to the Hot Springs and it is only a short climb up some stairs.
- Entrance Fee – 200NTD per adult 100 NTD per child (Children under 6yrs go FREE)
- Residents – Go free with ID card
- Opening Hours – May to September 5:00 am – 2:00 am October – April 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
- Duration – 30mins- 1hr
- Bathing cap – You must wear a bathing cap. If you don’t have one, you can purchase one at the entrance for 50NTD
Make sure to take a towel and GoPro with you which you can keep in the bucket that you use to keep your things in.
It is not a trip to a beautiful island without going and seeing the lighthouse, and the Lüdao Lighthouse is no different. Located on the northwestern tip of Green Island Taiwan near the local airport. With its towering white structure against the blue sky and floating clouds Lüdao Lighthouse touches visitors with dramatic scenery.
Red Cross donated the lighthouse to Green Island for their efforts in rescuing all crew and passengers from the cruise ship President Hoover when it struck rocks and was sinking. A tragedy would have happened if the locals on Green Island haven’t given their hands.
There is a trail down from the lighthouse that leads on to a lovely sandy beach with a small natural swimming hole filled with clear seawater surrounded by coral reef attracting visitors to swim. Unfortunately, the public can not go into the lighthouse, however, it is still pleasing to see especially towering above from the beach over the swimming hole.
Where to take Instagrammable pictures
- This is a great spot down on the beach near the swimming hole to do your Instagram photos especially with the lighthouse as your backdrop.
I hear that this is one of the best spots on the Green island to watch the sunset.
Walk along Little Great Wall to see the Pekingese Dog & Sleeping Beauty Rock
Situated on the east coast is the little great wall and the Pekingese dog and sleeping beauty rock. It has one of the best views on the whole island and is a great spot for taking photos especially from the pavilion which can be reached by walking a 300m path along the ridge of the promontory.
When you gaze down to your right from the pavilion you can see the crater bay, Haishenping and over to the natural rock formation “Pekingese dog and sleeping beauty rock”. Haisenping is a bay surrounded by volcanic rocks and many of these formations are named after objects they resemble, such as the Sleeping Beauty and the Pekingese Dog.
Little Great Wall
Little Great Wall (also known as Siao Changcheng) is a short comfortable trail leading stairs through majestic shoreline on both sides and up to the two pavilions. Now the question is, do you see both the Pekingese dog and Sleeping Beauty?
Where to take Instagrammable pictures
- This was one of my favourite spots to take photos, especially when walking along Little Great Wall.
- It gets really busy here, so the best time to go is really early in the morning or the afternoon.
- Bring a packed lunch and have it in the pavilion while taking in the amazing views
Green Island is a very popular spot for both diving and snorkelling in Asia, due to the natural tropical paradise filled with well-preserved coral reefs and fish. It is so popular that wherever I went on the scooter around the island all I saw were wetsuits and air tanks outside of building and divers everywhere. Even a lot of the accommodation on the island is built to accommodate divers.
Unfortunately, I am unable to dive anymore due to my pacemaker and defibrillator. So I went snorkelling which was just as much fun especially when the fish were coming straight up to me and brushing passed my goggles. There are several main spots around the island where you can snorkel but it will depend on the conditions and the weather, your guide will be able to advise.
When you go snorkelling you are usually given a wetsuit. Don’t worry if you can not swim because you wear a lifejacket and the guide will gently pull you along on a floating ring while you admire the coral reef below and watch the fish swim around you.
Snorkelling is fairly common and easy to arrange and can either be prearranged before you go to Green Island or you can book it while you are there. Mine was booked directly through my hotel the day before and my guide was really nice.
Make sure to take either an underwater camera or a GoPro with you for that great underwater footage.
Places to go snorkelling and diving Ludao Green Island
- Shilang snorkeling area
- Chaikou snorkelling area
- Dabaisha diving area
- Blue Cave diving
- Don’t forget you will have to supply your own towel and sunscreen.
- You can’t take any valuables with you as there is nowhere to leave it on the shore.
National Human Rights Museum
It is hard to believe that such a beautiful natural island paradise used to be home to a prison camp once used to house political prisoners during the ‘white terror’ and Martial Law period. It seems like it happened a long time ago but the reign was from only the 1940s to the 1980s. Many were innocent and many were imprisoned because of what they believed.
Today the prison camp is now transformed into a museum and memorial centre called National Human Rights Museum that educates others on human rights, history, culture and humility of Green Island Taiwan. Also to make sure that we learn from others mistakes and what we are capable of as humans. The renovations are excellent, thoughtfully done and give visitors some sense of the struggles Taiwan experienced in its path to democracy.
It is definitely an eyeopening experience walking through the confinement areas and reading and imagining the torture that these poor humans with through. It’s an interesting experience, especially when you are visiting paradise, but it is motivating to never let something like this happen again.
Xiang Bi Yan (elephant trunk)
Before or after you finished visiting the National Human Rights Museum, go across the road to see and read about XiangBi Yan (elephant trunk). The elephant trunk is a natural stone cave arch and even though many tourists rush over to take photos of the unique elephant nose rock, its history is not very pleasant.
The cave was known as the “Life and Death Gate” or “Hell Gate”, as it is where prisoners would go through on their way to the prison across the road. It can be missed if you don’t pay attention to.
- Entrance Fee – Its free
- Opening Hours – Mon thru Fri, 9:00 am to 18:00 pm
- Duration – 1 -2 hrs
- Guided Tour – There are a few guided tours every day but none are in English. Most of the exhibitions have an English translation written, so best to walk around on your own and read
On your way to the human rights museum, stop off at the Green Island Human Rights Memorial Park
A couple of kilometres past the National Human Rights Museum is Guanyin cave. It is only a small limestone cave with a stone Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) statue in it. Legend has is that while fishermen were lost at sea; a ball lit up which leads them to safety. This light is meant to be the statue inside the cave.
It should only take you about 10-15 minutes but it is worth a stop, especially if you are on the island. Please remember though this is a place of worship, so you need to be quiet and respectful.
- There is a shop and a restroom just outside the temple gates. It is a good spot for purchasing a drink or use the restroom.
Where to eat on Green Island
There are some nice restaurants and places to eat around Green Island (Ludao), especially if you keen on eating local cuisine like fried flying fish. Here are a few recommendations for places that I ate during my stay:
Restaurants on Green Island
Mr. Gang Barbeque (Great for groups) – You cook your own food on a bbq hotplate and you can take as much as you want from the fridge.
Lao Fan (Asian/Taiwanese) – Typical Asian food that was only a short walk from my hotel.
Haili Cafe Restaurant (Seafood/Chinese) – Large portion meals and the food was fresh. If you sit down the end of the restaurant, you can eat your meal with sea views.
Accommodation on Lyudao Green Island
Most of the accommodation on Green Island Taiwan consists of hostels, B&B’s and a few hotels. I stayed at the Kaihsing Hotel during my time on Green Island for a few nights. The hotel was situated right on the main street and only 5 minutes away from both the ferry harbour and the airport.
There are lots of restaurants near the hotel but if you are looking for some nice refreshing local made ice-cream, then check out Ice Jail
Getting to Green Island
There are only two ways to get to Green Island Taiwan, either by plane or by ferry from Taitung City. Both very dependent on the weather and are often cancelled or delayed due to bad weather, especially during the monsoon season.
Catch a Ferry
You can catch a ferry to Green Island from Fugang Fishery Harbor in Taitung to Nan Liao Harbor, which runs a few times a day during the peak period. The duration of ferry takes around 50 minutes one way. Due to the notorious weather, it is highly recommended that if you are taking the ferry take medication to prevent seasickness.
Take a flight
Another way to get to Green Island Taiwan is to take a direct flight from Taitung international airport with Daily Air. This only takes 20 minutes but it is in a 19 seater plane and you are limited with taking luggage. Just like the Ferry flights.
Lyudao Airport (GNI) is not very big and can be found in the north west corner of the island.
⇒ If you like to get a FREE, easy and fast comparison of flights, then try out Skyscanner’s flight comparison site.
You can never have too many guidebooks on Taiwan
Information you need to know before you visit Green island
- You will need a valid driver’s licence to hire a scooter. If you have an international licence most places will only allow you to hire an electric scooter.
- Have 24hr access to the internet to keep update with maps and things to do while on Green Island. You can purchase a 4G Sim in advance and pick it up at the airport in Taiwan when you arrive.
- Green Island uses the same power outlets as USA and Canada
- The currency used on Green Island (Ludao) is the Taiwanese dollar
- The main languages spoken on Green Island (Laudeo) are Taiwanese and Chinese. English is not frequently used by the locals. I spoke some basic Chinese but it was google translate that helped me out a lot.
- The best time to visit Lyudao Green Island is during the Summer period, April to June when the weather is warm and it is generally drier. July to August is monsoon season when it rains a lot but the weather is still warm.
Top tips for visiting Green Island
- You need at least a couple of days to explore Green Island
- Take beach towels to use on the beach and in the hotel, as the hotels only supply little towels (size of drying up cloth)
- The best way to get around the island is via bikes or scooters
- It gets really hot during the summer period so best to carry either a bladder bag or a sports water bottle to keep you hydrated.
- Lonely Planet Taiwan (Travel Guide), was my reference while travelling around Hualien country.
⇒ Make sure that you have the right travel insurance so your mind can be at ease on your holiday on Green island Taiwan. Compare the best holiday insurance for FREE
Other places to visit in Asia
If you are interested in discovering other places in Asia or Europe, feel free to read my following articles. All are great options for travelling with a group of friends or family.
- Best things to do in Bohol Philippines – The Philippines
- Hints and tips for tackling Everest Base Camp – Himalayas Nepal
- A brief encounter with the city of Bandar Seri Begawan – Brunei
⇒ Check for FREE if you require a visa and if there are any special requirement restrictions before you go to Taiwan.
Thank you for reading this article ‘What to see and do on Green Island Taiwan’. I hope it helped you to decide what to do while on Green Island. It is such an interesting and beautiful place to visit, full of history and amazing cafes.
Even though Green Island (Ludao) Taiwan is a tiny island, it is definitely a natural tropical paradise and one that you should add to your list.
⇒ Do you require a visa for Taiwan before you go? You can check and see if there are any requirement.
Have you been to Green Island (Ludao) Taiwan before? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.
How about some other amazing Adventures especially around Taiwan in advance.
Disclaimer: Even though I was there with the Taiwan Tourism UK. All views are my own and based on my own experience.
16 thoughts on “What to see and do on Green Island Taiwan”
Wow! This area of Taiwan looks stunning – so green! I love the food in Taiwan I’ve only been to Taipei, I would love to explore more!
Green Island was just so pretty, definitely add it to your next trip to Taiwan for sure.
I love the looks of Green Island, and looks like plenty of outdoor walks are to be had. I prefer to visit these types of places when I am traveling than the hustle and bustle of big cities and would defo hit up Green Island when I eventually get to Taiwan. Now looking on a map to see where it actually is…as I never heard of the island 🙂
Green Island was a real little gem literally. They had a few light hikes that you would be keen on as well and they only reason I didn’t do them as it was way too hot. Definitely add it to your list.
You had me at ‘sunsets in a hot spring!’ What a beautiful island. But it’s got a bit of a dark history with the old prison.
Unfortunately, a lot of beautiful places have a dark history attached to Poland and Japan just to name a few. It is good to see that they are educating others so it does not happen again. Definitely a place worth a visit.
The hot springs at Green Island sound very inviting, but why do they require you to wear a swim cap here I wonder. I would love snorkelling in the reef with those beautiful fish. It’s great that the island is not too touristy, yet!
I have no idea why I need to wear a swimming cap, maybe it is to protect the water in the springs. I know that you need to shower before you go into them and also you can’t use any cleaning products while there. Such a stunning place though and worth it if you ever go there.
As much as I enjoy museums and history, with scenery like that, I’d have a hard time doing anything inside. It’s absolutely gorgeous! And, if I ever get to this part of the world, I’d want to go here since it appears to be less touristy than other areas. Great article!
There were a lot of great things to do outside if I had more time and it wasn’t so hot. I would have tried to do some of the hiking trails there around the island.
I’ve never heard of Green Island, but it looks so peaceful! I definitely see how it got its name. I love that it doesn’t seem super touristy. It’s fascinating that such a lovely place used to be home to a prison camp, and not that long ago!
I agree about the prison and Green Island is popular more in Asia. I would love to go back with my husband and explore even more.
Watching a sunrise in a salt water hot spring … now that sounds downright unique and wonderful. How crowded does the hotspring get? And then following that up with a trip to the Lüdao Lighthouse to watch a sunset … that is the perfect daily double. I’m in!
I loved the sunrise hot springs and also the sunsets in the afternoon. It was so peaceful on the island and very pretty. The hot springs do get busy but the best time is early in the morning or in the afternoon, as they are opened till 2am.
In spring of this year, I checked out Kaohsiung, Kenting, and the Penghu Islands as my first trip to Taiwan and I totally fell in love with everything. I saw on the map there were other small islands surrounding Taiwan such as Green Island and Orchid Island, and I would’ve absolutely loved to go check those out too if only I had more time. I loved Taiwan for many of the same reasons you mention here: the beautiful natural scenery, the fact that beautiful places weren’t overrun with tourists, and the delicious seafood. Sunrise from the Zhaori Hot Springs is one thing I’d be sure to experience here, especially since there are only two others in the world like it.
I also went to Kaohsiung and Kenting and loved it. I really did fall in love with Taiwan it was such a beautiful place and everyone was so nice. I would definitely go back in a heartbeat.
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