TAIPEI (The China Post) — Dongji (東吉), Xiji (西吉), Dongyuping (東嶼坪) and Xiyuping (西嶼坪) make up four islets of Penghu. In recent years, due to the rectification of the Marine National Park Headquarters (MNPH) as well as local hotel owners’ efforts, Penghu has become a prime location for tourists.
A few years ago, the port of Tainan opened a one hour route to Dongji; now, an hour away people can experience the sunshine, beach and nature of Penghu.
According to MNPH’s statistics, in June of 2019, 10,722 people entered the island; in June of 2020, 8,792 people entered the island and July is predicted to have a record-breaking number of people.
Currently, in Tainan, the Dongji Blessing (東吉福氣號) passenger ship, with a maximum capacity of 147 people, has a round trip every Wednesday, a trip from Tainan to Dongji every Saturday and from Dongji back to Tainan on Sundays.
During the route, the ship goes by famous destinations such as Xiji “Blue Cave” (西吉藍洞) and Tie Zuan Islet (鐵砧嶼).
The island of Dongji is only 1.54 kilometers squared; however, due to the importance of its location, it has been a transshipment station for maritime trade between the rest of Taiwan and Penghu.
On the island, there is the well-known Dongji Lighthouse (東吉燈塔), which supposedly help guide ships sailing at sea. Previously, residents in Dongji made up more than 2,000 people, thus, Dongji is also known as “Little Shanghai.”
Yet, due to the depletion of marine resources and the outflow of population, the number of residents on the island is currently less than 20.
In recent years, the marine Management Department dedicated themselves to infrastructure construction. With the influx of tourists recently, the island seems to be “alive” again.
Park management official Hsu Shao-liang (徐紹良) said that there are many hotels in business on the island, however there are not enough fine restaurants for tourists to dine at. Thus, Hsu especially found a retired chef to make lunchboxes for at Dongji’s Management Station.
Dongji’s only store allows tourists to buy affordable cold drinks or instant noodles. The 80-years-old grandma sings in the marina pavilion and sells delicious local wind tea. Travelers can enjoy the clear blue sky and nature, away from the hustle of the cities.