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Island Hopping Adventure in Keelung: From Keelung Islet to Heping Island

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: March 24, 2024
If you visit Taiwan between April and October and plan to spend one day in Keelung, hopping from Keelung Islet to Heping Island will be the most rewarding experience.
Keelung Islet boat trip
View from Keelung Islet
Keelung Islet Season in 2024: April 1 - October 31, 2024.
Heping Island Geopark: please check the official website below for details.
Looking at Keeling Islet from Heping Islant Geopark
Hey, just wanted to let you know that a few of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you decide to use them, I'll earn a little commission without any extra cost to you. Your support is greatly appreciated! Cheers, Anusha

Table of Contents:

Keelung Islet, Keelung Islet Lighthouse, Permit Application, and Different Itineraries

There are three packages for the boat trip to enjoy Keelung Islet:
Keelung-islet-itineraries - 1
I did the Itinerary C. As a hiker, I often thought I would enjoy more about the mountains. After taking the boat trip, I realized I enjoy sailing, too. Looking at the different shades of blue and Taiwan Island from the ocean brings me a different perspective on the land I call home.
Keelung Islet boat trip
Looking at Taiwan Island

How to Apply

The registered boat company can apply for your landing permits if you know one of them. You can also book on the official Keelung Islet'trip website , and they will assign a boat company to you.
Here's how to fill out the form.

Check-in at the Boat Company

After getting off the bus, cross the road towards the petal-roof building.
Keelung Islet boat trip
My badge to get on board
You will see many boat companies' check-in counters. Go to the one you signed up for. The boat company will check your ID or passport.
Keelung Islet boat trip
Find your boat company here.
The boat company assigns one guide to your trip. They are trained with stories to share about Keelung Islet.
Our guide and the little helper

Circling the Island

When it was time to head to the islet, we got onboard, and the first stop was to let the coast guard check the list and do head counts.
Keelung Islet boat trip
A Coast Guard checked the passanger list.
We take the same boat to the islet and the same one back. We can't take the next boat back.
After the procedure was done, Keelung Islet was calling.
Keelung Islet boat trip
Keelung Islet, here we come.
I chose the perfect day for this trip. The sky and the ocean were blue, the waves were calm, and the wind was gentle.
Keelung Islet boat trip
The chimneies from Concord Power Plant 協合發電廠 in Keelung
I sat on the deck to get a closer look, even though the sun lashed out the scorching heat.
Keelung Islet boat trip
Those big caves look like a pig snout. The lighthouse is on the top.
Keelung Islet boat trip
The tiny islet is next to Keelung Islet, and some go fishing there.
Keelung Islet boat trip
The Lighthouse Trail

Landing the Island

After about 40 minutes, we reached the harbor on Keelung Islet. I took this trip in September, but the autumn sun in Taiwan could still be brutal.
Keelung Islet boat trip
We followed our guide to explore Keelung Islet.
Keelung Islet boat trip
Passed a monument.
There are two trails on Keelung Islet, the Beach Trail 濱海步道 and the Lighthouse Trail 登山步道.
Keelung Islet boat trip
Junction to the Beach Trail and the Lighthouse Trail
The Keelung Islet Seaside Trail is laid with wooden planks and wraps around approximately one-quarter of Keelung Islet along the coast. It is about 300 to 400 meters long and offers close-up views of the coastal scenery.
Keelung Islet boat trip
The end of the Beach Trail
Walking back and forth takes about 30 minutes, and the entire path is flat and easy to walk.
Keelung Islet boat trip
The Little Keelung Islet from the Beach Trail

Hiking to the Lighthouse

While the Beach Trail is relaxing, the Lighthouse Trail is a different story. After we returned to the junction, the trail to the lighthouse was steep.
Keelung Islet boat trip
Started hiking to the lighthouse.
Keelung Islet boat trip
A small temple built in the cave.
Keelung Islet boat trip
The steps are steep, but the view is stunning.
Keelung Islet boat trip
Everyone was trying to hide in this small building to avoid the scorching sun.
Keelung Islet boat trip
The view got better when we climbed higher.
Keelung Islet boat trip
We reached this rock called Frog Rock.
Keelung Islet boat trip
Soon, we reached the platform with the signage of Keelung Islet, 182 meter above sea level.
Then, I finally arrived at the Keelung Lighthouse. It was so hot that I didn't stay long.
Keelung Islet boat trip
Keelung Lighthouse
Keelung Islet boat trip
The view was more breathtaking when I took the same way back.

About Keelung Lighthouse

Completed in 1980, the Keelung Lighthouse, located atop Keelung Islet off the northeastern coast of Keelung Harbor, is an octagonal concrete lighthouse designed by Taiwan. It features distinctive black and white vertical stripes and is Taiwan's first lighthouse to use solar power.
Keelung Islet boat trip
Just 4,500 meters from Keelung Harbor, it stands alongside Heping Islet as a gateway to the port. Despite the rugged natural scenery and rocky shores, the Keelung City Government has installed platforms and hiking trail railings on the island, making it a key tourist attraction since 1992. Source.
Keelung Islet boat trip
The distinctive black and white stripes of Keelung Lighthouse
Our guide was knowledgeable, and he knew many of the plants and flowers on Keelung Islet. He mentioned that the Keelung Government recruits and trains guides almost yearly, which initially interested me.
However, I'd changed my mind long before I finished this hike. I would become a human BBQ on the ridge in summer. It was too hot. Yet, the fantastic views from Keelung Islet still made me think twice.

Seeing Elephant Trunk Rock (Now Long Gone) and Chief Rock

I didn't plan to see Elephant Trunk Rock and Chief Rock when I booked this trip. I didn't expect it would be special.
Keelung Islet boat trip
Heading to Elephant Trunk Rock
However, I was wrong and am glad I took this extra one.
The first reason is that sailing feels so good. Luckily, I didn't suffer motion sickness, and the sea was calm.
Keelung Islet boat trip
Do you see the resemblance of an elephant?
The northeast coast of Taiwan has been my favorite place to visit. The mountains and ocean layers make this a stunning place, whether it's sunny or rainy. Seeing this place from the ocean was a brand-new experience for me, and I was amazed by how breathtaking the landscape was.
My first and last encounter with Elephant Trunk Rock was in September 2019.
The second reason is The Mother Nature decided to take it back. Elephant Trunk Rock collapsed 3 months after I made this trip. I only visited here once, and it was phenomenal.
Keelung Islet could be seen in the distance.
If you have come this far and are fine with sailing, please take this extra boat trip to enjoy the views.

Heping Island Park with Amazing Rock Formations

If you book the earliest boat, you can finish the trip before 13:00. I recommend you hop to Heping Island Geopark.
Heping Island in Keelung
Heping Island Geopark
Heping Island Geopark offers many tours like Alabao Bay, but wandering around the park is excellent enough.
Heping Island in Keelung
There are several sea swimming pools.
Heping Island in Keelung
Keelung Islet is visible from Heping Island Geopark, too. The fantastic rock formations and blue ocean made Keelung Islet look even more surreal in the distance.
Heping Island in Keelung
Admission fee for adults is NT$120.
Heping Island in Keelung
Deng Yu Pavilion 等嶼亭 in the Heping Island Geopark.

About Keelung Islet and Heping Island

About Keelung Islet

Keelung City Government limits visitors to Keelung Islet to 1,200 daily, and boat operators must submit visitor lists for approval. Keelung Islet is part of the Zhongzheng District of Keelung City.
Keelung Islet boat trip
It is located 6 km from Keelung Harbor, measuring 960 meters in length and 400 meters in width, with a highest elevation of 182 meters. Formed by volcanic activity, it boasts precious igneous rock landscapes and is one of Keelung's eight scenic spots.
Keelung Islet boat trip
May and June mark the lily season, while August and September see the blooming of Golden Spider Lilies. Geologically rich, the islet is considered northern Taiwan's best volcanic geological park. Its northeastern cliffs feature sea caves and rocky reefs.
I was thrilled to see Golden Spider Lily.

About Heping Island, Used to Be Known As Big Keelung Island

Heping Island, another jewel of the Zhongzheng District of Keelung City, lies at the northern end and eastern side of Keelung Harbor, about 4 km from Keelung City. It covers an area of over 66 hectares. It is a land-tied island with unique rock formations influenced by the northeastern monsoon and wave erosion, especially since it is a subsiding coast.
The monument in the Heping Geopark
After being closed for three years and undergoing renovations, it was renamed "Heping Island Park" and reopened in June 2012. Tourists will also find a sea swimming pool here.
In the early Qing Dynasty, Heping Island was called "Keelung Islet 雞籠嶼" or "Da Keelung Island or Big Keelung Island 大雞籠嶼," making it one of the first places in Northern Taiwan to have Western footprints and one of the earliest places in Keelung where Han Chinese settled.
In 1870, to distinguish it from the "Xiao Keelung Islet" (now Keelung Islet) to the northeast, it was renamed "Sheliao Island 社寮嶼," meaning the island where the houses of the Ketagalan tribe's 凱達格蘭人 Da Keeling society were. The island's original inhabitants were the Basai people 巴賽人 of the Ketagalan tribe. It was renamed as Heping Island 和平島 by the Nationalist government in 1949.
Heping Island in Keelung
Rock formations in Heping Island

Public Transport to Keelung Islet and Heping Island

From Keelung City Bus Station 基隆公車總站 to Bisha Fishing Harbor

Go to Keelung City Bus Station 公車總站. Take 103, 104, 108, or 802, and get off at Taiwan Tourist Seafood Markets (Bisha Fish Harbor) 漁貨直鎖中心 (碧砂漁港).
  1. Timetable of Keelung City Bus 103
  2. Timetable of Keelung City Bus 104
  3. Timetable of Keelung City Bus 108
  4. Timetable of Keelung City Bus 802

From Keelung Train Station (Maritime Plaza) 基隆火車站 (海洋廣場)

  1. Timetable of Bus 791

From Keelung Station (Visitor Information Center) 基隆火車站 (旅遊服務中心)

  1. Timetable of Coastal Keelung Route (T99)

From the Bisha Fishing Port to Heping Island, plus a 1.5km Walk

After returning to the Bisha Fishing Port, take bus 103, 104, 108, or 791, and get off at Zhongzheng Road Zhengbin Road Stop.
There are buses going to Heping Island Geopark, but they might take too long to wait. If you don't mind taking a 1.5 km walk, you can visit Agenna Shipyard Relics 阿根納造船廠遺構.
Agenna Shipyard Relics is Keelung City's historic site.
A movie trailer featuring Chris Evans was shot at Agenna Shipyard Relics.
You will also pass Todos Los Santos church foundations 西班牙諸聖教堂考古遺址 on the way to Heping Island. It's a shame that this place is closed.

From Keelung Train Station to Heping Island to Heping Island

  1. Take Keelung Bus 101 and get off at Heping Island Geopark stop.

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