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Seasonal bird watching

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Visiting Matsu between April and September is the best time to watch the terns. You can take the ferry directly to Dongyin and will see the terns in the tunnels, there’s no need to go out on small boat. When you see the flocks of terns flying at the harbor, you may find yourself unable to believe that seeing Matsu’s terns can be so easy.

Take a taxi to Andong Tunnel. Enter at a tunnel opening where you see a camouflaged outer wall, and proceed down the 30 degree slope for approximately 300 meters long. Along the road are numerous smaller tunnels, all heading towards the ocean. Outside the opening at the bottom of the tunnel is a large platform overlooking the ocean, surrounded by “drowned valley” terrain where large numbers of terns nest and mate on the rocky cliffs. Here terns can be viewed without binoculars, making it is a favorite spot of bird lowers.


  1. Take the Taiwan-Matsu Ferry from Keelung West Wharf No. 2 to Matsu’s Dongyin Township (duration approximately 10 hours).
  2. Take Uni Air Flight #1 to Matsu Nangan Airport, then travel by taxi to Fu-ao Wharf to take the Taiwan-Matsu Ferry to Dongyin.
Fare Information
  1. The cost of a one-way Taiwan-Matsu Ferry ticket from Keelung to Dongyin is NT $1,050
  2. The cost of a one-way Taiwan-Matsu Ferry ticket from Nangan to Dongyin is NT $350
Travel Tips
  1. May to August is the best time of year to visit the terns. Shouting and other loud noises will scare the terns away, so bird watchers should remember to speak softly. Be prepared for the walk back; ascending the slope is tiring, but the sights inside and outside the tunnel are more than worth the effort.
  2. Dongyin Laoye Hotel
  3. Travel Reminder: The Taiwan-Matsu Ferry may suspend operation or alter its schedule due to the season or weather. Please confirm prior to departure.
Two-Day Trip:Dongju- Mengao Harbor→Dapu Stone Inscription → →Xiju:Qingfan Harbor→ Shenmi (Mystery) Cove →Xiju:Qingfan Harbor→Kunqiu→Snake Island

Visitors to Dongju can get around by taxi or hire a scooter. First have a look around Mengao Harbor where the ferry docks.The mix of fresh water and saltwater that is a result of Matsu’s location near the mouth of the Min River means that fish resources are rich and the plentiful fish attracts large numbers of terns and other sea birds. Take the road near the mysterious little bay and you arrive at a beach. Strange rocks rise up on either side of the beach. It is said that this is where Lu Dongbin and He Xiangu of “eight immortals crossing the sea" fame “ meditated and found the Way” so the rocky coast here is called “Lu-He Cliffs.” Above the bay there is a tunnel known as “bird’s nest”. Dapu Village is about 10 minutes away. Nearby Dapu Fishing harbor is also a good place to watch sea birds.

Qingfan Harbor terns

  1. Ferry to Dongju departs from Nangan at 7:00, 11:00, and 14:30
  2. Ferry to Nangan departs Dongju at 8:00, 12:00, and 15:30.
Fare Information
  1. One-way boat ticket to Dongju costs $200
  2. Full-price boat ticket from Dongju to Xiju costs $80, half-price ticket $40
  3. Scooter rental costs $500 a day. All scenic sites are approximately 10 minutes away from each other by scooter.
Travel Tips
  1. A submerged reef juts out of the water as the tide goes out; the rise and fall of the formation makes it looks like a giant snake swimming in the water, hence the name Snake Island.
  2. In 2008, the legendary Chinese Crested Tern was found here, despite having been previously thought to be extinct. Endangered bird colonies have been discovered continuously on its various islets and reefs and Snake Island has now been named a tern conservation area, and the island has been placed off limits. You will have to admire the protected terns must from a distance, through a telescope or camera lens!
  3. Food and lodging can be found in Xiju's Qingfan Village and Tianao Village, and Dongju's Daping Village.
Three-Day Trip:Nangan's Fuao Harbor→ Qingshui Wetlands→ Shengli Reservoir→Renjin Footpath from Renai Village towards Jinsha→ Jinsha Reservoir→Shengtian Park

Matsu's only wetlands, at Qingshui, are a popular spot for bird watchers. Leading to the Renjin Footpath is an old military road once used by armored vehicles and jeeps, formed by two narrow strips of concrete. The coastal scenery along the path adds to the pleasure of birdwatching.

        Park Qingshui Wetlands

  1. On Nangan, Matsu's largest island, get around by taxi or rented scooter.
Fare Information
  1. Taxis can also be rented at a rate of NT $500 an hour.
  2. Car rental costs NT $2000 per day.
  3. Scooter rental costs NT $500 per day. All attractions are approximately ten minutes apart from each other by scooter.
Travel Tips
  1. Because Matsu is located at the halfway point in migratory birds' journey to the south and return to the north, over ten thousand birds from Siberia, northeastern China, Korea, and Japan stop here to rest every fall; another peak time for bird watching is in spring, when the birds return north.
  2. Lienchiang County Taxi Union:
    Dingxin Scooter Rental Contact Telephone (0836)23823
    Liangjian Scooter Rental Contact Telephone (0836)22577
    Brother & Sister (Xiongmei) Van Rental Contact Telephone (0836)26624
Four-Day Trip:Nangan's Fuao Harbor→ Jinyu→ Tiejian Island→ Central Island→Sanlian Island

Watching huge flocks of terns fly back and forth from Matsu's small ferry boats is a particularly unforgettable experience.

Nangan's Fuao Harbor terns

  1. Taxis or scooters can be rented. Inquire about birdwatching sites at Matsu's major travel agencies.
Fare Information
  1. Taxis can be rented for NT $500 an hour or paid for by trip. Inquire with.
  2. Scooter rental costs NT $500 per day. All attractions are approximately ten minutes apart from each other by scooter.
Travel Tips
  1. The Tourism Bureau's Matsu National Scenic Area Administration holds birdwatching events each year, attracting more domestic and international bird enthusiasts than any other event.
  2. If intending to birdwatch from a small ferry or birdwatching boat, bring a telescope and seasickness pills. You may not land on the protected reefs inhabited by birds, and will be watching them from a distance on the sea for long periods.Travelers planning to watch the terns are again reminded to bring adequate sun protection, as well as to avoid unnecessary noise and speak quietly; only then will they come closer.
  3. For more information on birdwatching call: Bamin Travel Agency Tel. (0836) 23933, Sunny Discovery Service Co. Tel. (0836)26828, Tauyuan Travel Agency Tel. (0836)22591, Matsu San Lin Travel Agency Tel. (0836)23868, or Longfu Travel Agency Tel. (0836)5561
Last updated: 2019/02/02 19:03