The gem of the Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area, Little Liuqiu Island (小琉球; xiǎo liúqiú) makes for a convenient, relaxing retreat from the din of the west-coast cities. Composed of coral, the 4km-long, 2km-wide island is covered with curious rock formations and caves and offers seemingly endless sea views. Some visitors make it a long day-trip from Kaohsiung, but it’s better to stay overnight and explore at leisure. There are plenty of hotels, restaurants and a seaside camping area that could easily win the accolade as Taiwan’s finest.
Little Liuqiu’s original aboriginal settlers were exterminated by the Dutch between 1636 and 1645, and it wasn’t until the 1770s that Fujian fishermen began arriving, establishing small communities. Today, tourism competes with fishing as the island’s biggest industry, but there is still plenty of fresh seafood to be had in the main village next to Baisha Port.