On my last day in Kaohsiung I completed one of my goals, namely take a daytrip to Cijin island. Located barely 10 minutes away by ferry from the mainland, Cijin island is truly a destination to recommend if you are in Kaohsiung. The bucolic atmosphere makes it a lovely traveling destination. Although you cannot swim in the ocean (the red flag is permanently up, probably because of strong riptides), walking in the warm black sand and having your feet in the sea is as relaxing as it gets.
To get there, you must take the MRT until Sizihwan station where you take exit 1. When you get out of the station (easy, follow the signs pointing to the ferry), you must walk on the main street, then take left at the second or third street. The ferry itself is pretty cheap, about 15 NT$ if you are on foot, and 50 NT$ if you are with a bicycle. Obviously, your best bet is to grab a city bike from the station just near to the ferry pier and take it with you on the ferry. Cijin island, although small, is best covered on bike (it is also the perfect way to enjoy the place).
Other solutions are to hire a local taxi or rickshaw (taxis, I heard, charge up to 300 NT$ to tour you around, which is probably the best way of seeing everything comfortably, but takes away a huge chunk of the fun of biking in the fresh sea breeze).
The beach: no swimming!
Cijin beach has apparently a permanent red flag, probably due to strong currents. This didn’t mean some courageous surfers didn’t attempt to ride the (low) rolls.
As to me, I did a Periscope from the beach, sharing a bit the lovely weather and holiday atmosphere I was into. I waded into water to refresh myself (despite being only 25° C, the reverberation from the sea and the sand were quite hot).
The black sand is quite visible on your feet, but there are water fountains around to rince your feet. The annoying thing about the beach is that you should beware when walking on the local grass or herbs. There are some quite spiky thorns embedding into your feet (but since my feet were already accustomed to barefoot running and walking, no skin broken for me).
A “rainbow chapel”
A little further from the beach, there is a shellfish museum, and something they call a “rainbow chapel”, with a sculpture of two seahorses kissing.
Further down the island, you can see a wind farm. Supposedly installed to promote green electricity, I doubt the small installation can be sufficiently efficient to produce electricity for the whole island, let alone a few houses.
But the beauty of Cijin island is that you need not limit yourself to the “official” attractions.
Sometimes, you must not hesitate to take a close look at even ordinary things… Here, some poor flowers on the beach, providing a colorful touch on a beach otherwise devoid of activity or focus points.
Otherwise, other points of interest can be the usual debris found on the beach. Here, I believe black and white provides a better focus on the structure and composition of the picture.
Normally, a daytrip to Cijin island does not involve staying at a hotel on the island itself as it is so close to Kaohsiung. Nevertheless, there are a couple of hotels on the island, but I would not advise staying there with the choice available in Kaohsiung itself.
On the way back, I did a stop at a local restaurant to enjoy some chicken with rice. It was interesting to watch them prepare the chicken behind the scenes.
The food, while simple, was delicious.
And finally, it was time to head for the last time to my hotel and pack my belongings to head to the airport.
How to get there?
Cijin island is easy to reach. Just grab the MRT (orange line) until the station KRT Sizihwan. From there, exit 1. Then you walk until the second or third road turning left which leads straight to the ferry harbor. There, climb on the ferry (obvious!).