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Matsu Islands 3: A Relaxing Walk on Matsu' Beigan Island to See Coast and Old Houses at Qinbi Village

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: April 5, 2022
Matsu's Beigan Island is another great getaway to enjoy the stunning coastline and white sand beaches like Banli Beach. In addition, you'll find Qinbi Village with old stone houses that remind people of the Mediterranean Sea. Beigan Island is also home to the critically endangered Chinese Crested Terns. If you extend your stay further, you can also go to Daqiu Island to see Formosan Deer roaming and grazing.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Qinbi Village
Qinbi Village
This is also my third post about my walk on Matsu Islands. There are still more amazing places on Matsu Islands waiting for me to explore. Matsu Islands are definitely worth visiting again.

Table of Contents:

Trail Information

Trail Name: Beigan Island trails
Distance: 20 km (12.9 miles). The total length of the trails is longer than 20 km, but you can decide how to do them.
Route type: Loop
Days/Hours Needed: It depends on how much you want to walk. We did around 8 hours.
Total Ascent/Descent: 697m/689m
Best Time to Go: All year-round, but it can be very hot in summer. However, the fog season is between March and May. Therefore, the flights might be canceled due to heavy fog or poor weather conditions.
Permits: Not required
Difficulty Level:

Personal Enjoyment

Things I Enjoy:

Like my trips on Nangan Island and Dongju Island, the walk around the island is delightful. Although the weather was gloomy on our last day on Matsu Island, it was still a pleasant walk.

Thing I Don't Enjoy:

The off-putting thing is the ugly steps after renovation near Stronghold No. 42. Our government is good at killing the good vibe and turning good things unappealing.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Stronghold No 42
One of the stone lions near the steps.

Other Places I Missed:

There are many places I didn't get to visit, and I'll put those on my itinerary next time.
  1. Geli Islet (Clam Islet) 蛤蜊島: There is a land-tied island near Mt. Nigu, and it looks like a clam. That's why it's called Geli Islet, meaning Clam Islet in Chinese. During low tides, people can walk to Geli Islet. But please make sure you check the tidal forecast before you go there.
    Geli Islet on Matsu's Beigan. Photo by Jeffery Chang
    Geli Islet looks like a clam. Photo by Jeffery Chang 張建舫.
  2. Luoshan (Mt. Luo) Isle Trail 螺山自然步道: Luoshan Isle Trail is at Houwo Village 后沃村, close to Beigan Airport. This trail is short, only 700-meter long, but the views are stunning, according to people who have visited there.
    Wohou Village on Matsu's Beigan. Photo by Jeffery Chang
    The white sand beach near Wouwo Village. Photo by Jeffery Chang 張建舫.
    When reaching the trail's end, visitors can see a rock formation that resembles the Chinese philosopher, Confucius. This rock formation is therefore called Confucius Statue on the Sea.
    Some people say some sections of this trail might induce the fear of height. If you are not comfortable with the height, please don't take this trail.
  3. Bishan (Mt. Bi) 壁山: Bishan, aka Mt. Bi, is the highest mountain on Matsu Island, 298 meters above sea level.
    Bishan Lookout on Matsu's Beigan. Photo by Jeffery Chang
    Photo by Jeffery Chang 張建舫.
    It's not a tall mountain, but the views are wonderful. Visitors can see the small islets around Beigan and Beigan Airport, and this place is also popular to watch airplanes taking off and landing and among photographers.
    Bishan Lookout on Matsu's Beigan. Photo by Jeffery Chang
    Photo by Jeffery Chang 張建舫.
  4. Daqiu Island 大坵島: Island of Formosan Deer: Dubbed the Island of Formosan Deer, Daqiu Island is on the north of Beigan Island, close to Gaodeng Island. Visitors need to take a ferry to get to Daqiu.
    Formosan Deer on Matsu's Daqiu Island by Jeffery Chang
    Photo by Jeffery Chang 張建舫.
    There were residents and armies living on Daqiu Island, but they gradually moved to Nangan and Beigan. Daqiu became an uninhabited island.
    Formosan Deer on Matsu's Daqiu Island by Jeffery Chang
    Photo by Jeffery Chang 張建舫.
    However, in the 1980s, Taipei Yuanshan Zoo sent 5 Formosan Deer to Lienchiang Government as gifts. Those animals were released on Daqiu Island and bred quickly. As a result, Formosan Deer have become the main residents on Daqiu Island and attracted many tourists.
    Formosan Deer on Matsu's Daqiu Island by Jeffery Chang
    Photo by Jeffery Chang 張建舫.
A few things worth mentioning here:
  • The first one is Gaodeng Island. This island is the closest place to China, and the distance is only 9.25 km (5.75 miles). But Gaodeng hasn't been open to the public yet.
  • The second thing is Beigan's Sanlian Islet 三連嶼, which is also home to the critically endangered terns, Chinese Crested Terns 黑嘴端鳳頭燕鷗. Sanlian Islet is also listed as Matsu Islands Tern Conservation Area 馬祖列島燕鷗保護區 to protect this precious bird.
    Terns watching on the sea is available in July and August.

Map/GPX Data

Date of Hike: Solo hike on August 22, 2021

Route map for 20211205-Beigan-Matsu by Anusha Lee on plotaroute.com

Click Menu in the map to download, print or share the map.
You can see more options after clicking Play button.
Click timer to change the speed to meet your condition.

How to Get to Beigan and Transport on the Island

By Ferry from Nangan Island

There is no ferry from Keelung Harbor to Beigan Island. Visitors must take another ferry from Nangan Island to Beigan Island. Please check my Nangan post for details.
Fu'ao Harbor on Nangan Island

By Plane from Taipei to Beigan Island

Please check Uni Air for flights from Songshan Airport in Taipei. You can download Uni Air app to book your tickets, check-in, etc.

Ferry to Daqiu Island

Ferries to Daqiu Island are only available between March and October, and you can book your tickets in advance.

Transport on Beigan Island

You can rent a scooter or explore Beigan Island on foot.
Or you can take buses on Beigan Island. There are two lines on Beigan, Mountain Line and Coast Line. You can check the bus stops and schedules here.

About Beigan Island, Qinbi Village, and More

On November 7, 1992, Taiwan abolished Battle Field Administration. The military government was lifted on Matsu and Kinmen. The restrictions on entry to the areas were eliminated on May 31, 1995. Since then, Matsu has transformed into a tourist hotspot. The history of military rule combined with the unique nature of the Matsu Islands has made this place one of its kind.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Qinbi Village
My friend posed with the old propaganda sign saying, rescue our people in China, at Qinbi Village.
Beigan is a hilly island with many beautiful white sand beaches and small islets. Those islets spread on the ocean like arms embracing the sea on the south side.
Matsu's Beigan Island
When hiking on the hills, you will see islets spreading out into the sea. It also looks like emeralds scattering on the blue ocean, which makes me want to revisit Beigan when the weather is great.

About Qinbi Village

Qinbi Village is located between Mt. Qin (Qinshan) and Mt. Bi (Bishan) on Beigan Island, and that's how it got this name. The history of Qinbi Village can be traced back to the 13th century, and fishing was the main livelihood for the villagers.
Matsu's Beigan Island
Nowadays, Qinbi Village has transformed into a tourist hot spot because of the well-preserved settlements with old traditional stone houses on the hills. As a result, some people dubbed this is the Mediterranean Sea in Taiwan.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Qinbi Village
Photo by Jeffery Chang 張建舫.

About Banli Beach and Wusha Beihai Tunnel

If you are a beach person, you can't miss Banli Beach. This beach is huge compared to others I saw on Matsu Islands. This one is also a white sand beach surrounded by Mt. Qing, Mt. Ban, and Mt. Li.
Matsu's Beigan Island
A Mazu Temple is not far from the beach, watching over people and the villages. Banli Mansion and Beigan Visitor Center are near Banli Beach, too.
You can walk on the footpath and reach the Wusha Beihai Tunnel. This tunnel isn't as famous as Beihai one on Nangan Island, and people say it's much darker inside.

About Beigan Fish Noodle Soup 北竿魚麵

Fish noodle soup on Beigan Island is famous among tourists. It's made of dough with 60% of deboned fish and 40% of starch. Then, cut the dough into strips and dry them under the sun for at least 2 days. It's a little bit fishy if you don't like the smell. I'm ok with the smell, and I like the slightly chewy texture.
Matsu's Beigan Island: fish noodles
And, of course, Matsu Gaoliang Liquor.
Matsu's Beigan Island: gaoliang liquor

My Itinerary

Brief itinerary: Nangan's Fu'ao Harbor ➔ Beigan's Basha Harbor ➔ Mt. Nigu ➔ Stronghold No. 24 ➔ Mazu Temple, Beigan Visitor Center, and Banli Mansion ➔ Wusha Beihai Tunnel ➔ Qinbi Village ➔ Qiaozi Village (Daqiu) ➔ Bishan trailhead ➔ Beigan Airport
07:00 We took the ferry at Fu'ao Harbor to Beigan Island.
Fu'ao Harbor on Nangan Island
07:17 Arrived at Basha Harbor on Beigan Island.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Basha Harbor
It took us a while to find the correct footpath. We also met a girl who tried to find the hospital on this island. She said she was inspired by a TV drama years ago and decided to become a nurse. So she came to Beigan to visit the hospital where the drama was shot.
Matsu's Beigan Island
I don't watch TV, but I later found out the drama was They Kiss Again 惡作劇之吻2 in 2007. I thought this was a touching story.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Basha Harbor
We did a selfie with the cute version of Mazu, Qian Li Yan 千里眼 and Shun Feng Er 順風耳.
07:57 Arrived at Nigushan (Mt. Nigu) Camp 尼姑山教練場.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Mt. Nigu
Mt. Nigu is an excellent spot to see western Beigan Island.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Mt. Nigu
08:14 Get to the entrance of Stronghold No. 42 (42據點). Before we reached here, my friend told me the stairs surrounded by trees looked like Totoro's tunnel depicted in the Japanese animated fantasy film, My Neighbor Totoro 龍貓, in 1988.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Stronghold No 42
I was very excited to see that. However, as always, there was a gap between expectations and reality. The local government did a renovation which totally killed the atmosphere. You can click here, Ugly Steps 好醜的樓梯, to see the before and after, and you will know what I mean.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Stronghold No 42
The steps turned out to be a disappointment after the renovation.
Although the steps were a big disappointment, the seashore wasn't. When we were on Beigan Island, the weather was gloomy, but the seashore was still beautiful.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Stronghold No 42
China isn't far from here.
We stayed here a little bit longer to enjoy the waves. It must be fantastic with the blue sky and ocean. This spot is also a place to see the Blue Tears. Well, next time.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Stronghold No 42
Geli Islet 蛤蜊島, meaning Clam Islet in Chinese, wasn't far from here. But we didn't visit there. Instead, we took the same way back to our next place.
09:33 Arrived at the junction to White Horse King Temple 白馬尊王廟 on Beigan Boulevard 北竿大道. We took a right and headed to Banli Village 坂里村.
Matsu's Beigan Island
09:44 Arrived at Banli Village and reached Mazu Temple 天后宮.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Banli Mazu Temple
Matsu's Beigan Island: statue of Chinese Crested Terns
Mazu Temple is surrounded by cute statues of Chinese Crested Terns.
09:55 Arrived at Beigan Visitor Center 北竿遊客中心. We took a long break here.
Matsu's Beigan Island
I ate the cookies I bought on Dongju Island the previous day, and I was impressed. However, I wish I had bought more cookies—another thing to add to the list for my next Matsu trip.
Matsu's cookies
After the break, we went across the street to visit Banli Mansion 坂里大宅. It was owned by the Wang family and was built over 100 years ago.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Banli Mansion
During the Martial Law, this mansion was recruited by the military. Later, the Wang family renovated this mansion and opened half of it to the public. The other half has become B&B.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Banli Mansion
We Resumed our hike and passed some farms.
11:11 Saw signs of Wusha Beihai Tunnel 午沙北海坑道.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Wusha Beihai Tunnel
11:15 Reached the lookout with a rock carved with 還我河山, meaning "Reclaim the land (country) to me" in Chinese. This place was also the entrance of Wusha Beihai Tunnel. We didn't get inside the tunnel. We stopped at the lookout to enjoy the coastline.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Wusha Beihai Tunnel
Matsu's Beigan Island: Wusha Beihai Tunnel
The coastline near Wusha Beihai Tunnel
11:39 Reached the road sign of Qinbi Village and War & Peace Memorial Park on Beigan Boulevard. Passed Stronghold No. 37 (37據點).
Matsu's Beigan Island
11:55 Passed an old checkpoint. My friend posed for photos here.
Matsu's Beigan Island
While we walked uphill along the road, a very kind gentleman stopped his car, asking us whether we needed a ride. My friend kindly declined, but to be honest with you, my heart was screaming, YES, I NEED ONE, PLEASE!
Matsu's Beigan Island
Looking at Banli Beach gave me some distraction away from my painful foot.
12:19 Passed the map of Qinbi Trail 芹壁步道 and then the sign of Ankang Trail 安康步道 and Yongkang Trail 永康步道. We took Yongkang Trail.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Qinbi Village
12:35 Arrived at Qinbi Village and Turtle Island 龜島. This Turtle Island is different from the one near Yilan. You can check out Taiwan Trails and Tales for the trail on the one near Yilan.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Qinbi Village
Matsu's Beigan Island: Turtle Islet at Qinbi Village
Turtle Island at Qinbi Village
Matsu's Beigan Island: Qinbi Village
This must be the most photographed spot at Qinbi Village on the internet.
12:46 Reached the 7-11 Convenience Store at Qinbi Village, but it was closed. There were chairs in front of the store, so we sat there to enjoy the views.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Qinbi Village
I saw a cat sitting on the chair, minding its own business.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Qinbi Village
We didn't go to Mazu Temple (or Queen of the Heaven Temple) 天后宮, and I still don't know why I missed that.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Qinbi Village
You can see Mazu Temple at Qinbi Village from here.
13:42 Reached Qiaozi Village 橋仔村. This small village is known for being a village with 8 temples and more deities than residents.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Qiaozi Village
Qiaozi is also a fish village.
13:51 You can take a ferry to Daqiu Island. We didn't go, but we walked to the closest point to see Daqiu Island. My friend pointed out that the local government wanted to build a bridge to connect Beigan and Daqiu. However, the typhoons have destroyed the construction several times.
Matsu's Beigan Island: Daqiu bridge construction
The piers of the future bridge to Daqiu Island.
You can check out Foreigners in Taiwan for their post about Daqiu Island.
13:59 Returned to the harbor to take the ferry to Daqiu Island.
Matsu's Beigan Island
The sign pointed to the direction to take a ferry to Daqiu Island.
14:04 Visited the B&B, Ananjing, owned by my friend's friend. We had a coffee break. Then, we headed to Beigan Airport.
Formosan Deer on Matsu's Daqiu Island by Jeffery Chang
15:28 Passed the trailhead of Bishan Trail. Unfortunately, we didn't take this trail, but I was told the view on Bishan (Mt. Bi) was beautiful.
Matsu's Beigan Island
Looking at Bishan Trail from the distance
15:34 Arrived downtown of Beigan. We had the famous fish noodle soups (NT$120) before heading to the airport and called it a day.
Matsu's Beigan Island: fish noodles

Last but not least,

I want to thank my friend Jeffery Chang 張建舫 for showing me around on Matsu Islands. At first, we planned this trip for a hiking group, and we only intended to visit Matsu for 2 days. Later, I told him I'd like to stay for another day by myself, and he offered his company and even arranged a free place to stay for us. He's also very kind and lets me use his photos. I can't thank him enough.
Matsu's Beigan Island

Related Posts:

On Taiwan Hikes

Matsu's Nangan Island
Matsu's Dongju Island

English Posts

Off the Beaten Track: Beautiful Beigan
Beigan Island 北竿
Qinbi Village
Exploring Matsu 3: Beigan Island

Posts in Chinese Only

Matsu YAHO
Everything about Matsu 馬祖資訊網
Facebook Page: Go To Matsu 馬祖卡蹓趣

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