What does it mean to kaliu in Matsu?
Kaliu is a word in the local Matsu dialect meaning to enjoy one's self. The people of Matsu often welcome visitors by telling them to kaliu their visit to Matsu.
Where does the name “Matsu” come from?
Legend has it that during the Song dynasty, in Dongluo Village on Fujian Province’s Meizhou Island, there lived a fisherman named Lin Yuan whose sixth daughter Moniang was kind and devoted to her parents and the good of the village. Every night, she would light fires to guide fisherman home. One day, when Lin went out to sea to fish, his boat capsized in a typhoon. Moniang, so anguished she no longer cared for her own safety, swam out to sea to search for her father. She swam until she succumbed to exhaustion and drowned, and her body later washed up on the island of Nangan. Villagers, moved by her devotion, held grand funeral rites, established a temple in her honor, giving her the respectful name “Matsu” (literally “mother ancestor”) and naming the islands after her. Because the name Matsu with the mother character as the name for the islands was regarded as disrespectful, the character for “mother” in “Matsu” was later changed to the character meaning “horse,” and this became the name of the islands used by outsiders. The islands are part of Lienchiang County in the Taiwan-administered portion of Fujian Province.
Where is Matsu?
Matsu lies in the northwestern Taiwan Strait, approximately eight nautical miles (15 km) east of the mouth of the Min river on the mainland. The main islands are Nangan, Beigan, Juguang, and Dongyin; it is composed of ten islands and 26 islets and reefs, centering around Nangan. Located 114 nautical miles (210 km) off Keelung, 152 nautical miles (280 km) north of Kinmen, and approximately 180 nautical miles (330 km) from Penghu. The islands are scattered widely around the mouth of the Min River, and are currently the northern most territory of the Taiwan Region. The area closest to the mainland is Gaodeng Island, 9.25 km off the Beijia Peninsula.
What do I need to know about visiting Nangan's Tunnel 88?
Tunnel 88 is used by the Matsu Liquor Factory to store sorghum liquor, and must not be opened too often in order to maintain the proper temperature and humidity. Visitors must have the door opened by a company employee. If wishing to visit Monday through Friday, please first make an appointment with the Matsu Liquor Factory. Available weekend hours are 3:00-5:00 PM.
Where can I rent a car/scooter in Matsu, and how much does it cost?
See the Island transport sections of this website for information on individual businesses.
What are the main recreational sites in Matsu?
Matsu’s islands are home to innumerable natural, cultural, and military scenic sites, such as Nangan Township’s Iron Fortress (Tiebao), Matsu Tianhou Temple, and Mt. Yuntai, Beigan Township’s Qinbi traditional village and Banli and Tanghou Jinhuang beaches, Juguang Township's Dongquan Lighthouse, Dapu Stone Inscription at Remembering-the-Past Pavilion, and Dongyin Township's Dongyong Lighthouse, Suicide Cliff, A Thread of Sky, Yanxiu Tidal Echo Cave, to name a few. The local culture and lifestyle follow the Eastern Min (Fujian) tradition, and are also affected by Matsu’s being surrounded by water and resulting windy climate. These factors are reflected in everyday life in the style of the traditional architecture, with homes made of local stone built along hillsides, clustering to form Eastern Min style villages. The swooping raised eves are another regional characteristic, intended to prevent the spread of fire. The most interesting traditional villages are Beigan’s Qinbi Village, Nangan’s Fuxing and Jinsha Villages, and Dongju’s Fuzheng Village. The region also has numerous military fortifications, tunnels, and other facilities worth visiting; the Beihai Tunnels, an incredible feat of backbreaking manual excavation, are a particular standout.
What kind of travel experience does Matsu offer?
The Matsu region has highly distinctive natural and cultural resources; its towering peaks, vast sandy beaches, stunning islets and reefs, ever-changing bays, six forests, farmland, wild flora and fauna, and Eastern Min style villages seen nowhere else in Taiwan, cover a vast spectrum of scenery. Because the islands were under military rule for decades, the name “Matsu” has an air of mystery for many people; it is precisely because access to the islands was limited for so long that its geological formations, temples, architecture, and other natural and cultural resources have been completely preserved. Besides hiking, birdwatching, fishing, shellfish gathering and other activities, Matsu offers unmissable traditional villages, Eastern Fujian culture experiences, and military fortifications, as well as a few beaches (such as Banli and Zhuluo) that are perfect for ocean sports;and those with legs strong enough for Matsu's hilly terrain can enjoy cycling. So what are you waiting for- start planning your battlefield vacation now! See the Themed Itineraries section of this website for more details on distinctive travel plans.
How can I get information about food and lodging when traveling in Matsu?
Most of the lodging available in Matsu is in home stays, available on all islands. Capacity is limited, so it's best to call ahead. Food and drink, on the other hand, are only available in the busier villages, such as Nangan’s Jieshou Village (Shanlong), Matsu Village (Magang), and Renai Village (Tieban), Beigan’s Tangqi Village, Dongyin’s Zhongliu Village and Lehua Village, Dongju’s Dapu Village, and Xiju’s Qingfan and Tianwo villages.
See the Lodging Guide and Local Specialties sections of this website for information on individual businesses.
What do I need to keep in mind when traveling in Matsu?
- March through May is the foggy season, which may mean more variables in your itinerary. When planning your visit, make sure to leave some flexibility in your schedule and call the airline or ferry company to confirm your ferry or flight is operating.
- Transportation between the islands is mainly by sea. Because conditions at sea vary, you should pay attention to the daily ferry report and arrive at the wharf 10 minutes before the boarding time.
- Most currently available activities involve hiking, so light, casual dress is recommended. As Matsu's roads are hilly, please pay special attention to safety when riding a bicycle.
- The area is hilly and the roads steep; please pay special attention when cycling or driving motor vehicles.
- Pay attention to personal safety when taking part in activities. The region's water resources are limited, so don’t be wasteful.
- Food and drink and lodging are usually only provided in relatively busy villages.
- When taking pictures, please do not take direct photos of military strongholds.
- If taking native flora or fauna away from the Matsu Island, a certificate of origin should be requested from the relevant entity or a declaration form completed.
- When visiting the Beihai Tunnels, please take note of the tides; low tide is the best time to enter.
Isn't Matsu a restricted military area? How can it be open to sightseers?
Like Kinmen, Matsu long served as a forward outpost, and was prepared for war in defense of Taiwan. But since the lifting of military rule in Matsu on November 7, 1992 and the complete elimination of restrictions on entry to the area on May 31, 1995, Matsu has been opened for tourism, presenting a brand-new face to visitors. The beautiful shores, migratory birds (such as terns and the black-tailed gull), and Eastern Fujian culture, language, customs and architecture all make the area highly appealing as a travel destination. It’s a trip you won't regret.
Why was Matsu made a National Scenic Area?
An evaluation group composed of academics and various experts evaluated Matsu's suitability to be made a National Scenic Area, and scored it highly enough to qualify. The Matsu National Scenic Area was then established in Order to develop Matsu's tourism industry and spur local prosperity.
How can I get news on Administration activities?
- Matsu National Scenic Area official website
- Nangan Visitor Center (886-836-25630)、Dongyin Visitor Center (886-836-77267)、Beigan Visitor Center (886-836-56534)、Juguang Visitor Center (886-836-89388)、Nangan airport service counter (886-836-26402)、Beigan airport service counter (886-836-55643)
How can I apply to reproduce the text and pictures on this website for use elsewhere?
All text and pictures on this website are copyrighted material of the Matsu National Scenic Area Administration Matsu, and may not be reproduced without permission. If wishing to make a request to reproduce materials on this website, please download an application form from the "Online Services" section, fill it out, and send it to the administration by mail, e-mail or fax.