Diving in Green Island Taiwan provides some of the best scuba diving island wide as it is one of Taiwan’s top diving destinations. There are a lot of organized trips and packages, but you can quite easily organize something yourself with a little planning. This 3 part series of articles will hopefully provide some useful information about getting there, dive sites and how to have a successful scuba diving trip.
Green Island is a small volcanic island located in the south east of Taiwan. It is the 4th largest island making up Taiwan. It is located about 21 miles (33km) from the city of TaiTung in the Pacific Ocean.
What makes Green Island so attractive as a diving destination is very clear water with visibility usually 30M or more, year round diving with warm water temperatures in the range 24~29˚C, abundant fringing coral reefs with healthy soft and hard coral growth, rich diverse marine life compared to the main island (though mostly smaller fish and some mid-sized), lots of convenient shore diving, as well as boat diving.
Pt:1 Getting There | Pt:2 The Diving | Pt:3 Accommodation and other activities
Our group mostly travel from Taipei but most all of the options listed below work island wide.
Flying to Green Island
Operated by DailyAir and flying April to October there is upto 3 return flights a day from TaiTung (TTT) to Green Island (GNI) on a small 19 seater airplane, the flight takes just 15mins and tickets can be had for just USD45. Bookings via their website are only available in Chinese, so if you cannot read Chinese you would be better calling a local travel agent to help out.
If you get seasick, maybe flying is an option but there are only flights from TaiTung to Green Island, so you would need to take an additional domestic flight from your origin to get to TaiTung first. As a diver the flying option is not ideal as you would need to cut your diving short a day before your departure. You also have to be careful because if weather gets bad flights can often be cancelled at short notice.
DailyAir website http://www.dailyair.com.tw
Our opinion is you are really just better off catching train/ferry or car/ferry combinations which we will detail below.
This is by far the most common and cost effective way to actually get to Green Island. Boats travel frequently and the journey from FuGang fish harbor to Green Island harbor itself takes just 50minutes. Depending on the weather conditions the crossing can be a little rough, so make sure you take some seasickness medication. Even if you don’t get seasick it is often a good idea, it is common for others to get sick and the smell and sounds can be uncomfortable.
There are about 4 or 5 sailing times per day with one or two boats running at those times dependent on the time of year.
Sailing times at weekends are usually 07:30 ; 09:30 ; 11:30 ; 13:30 and 15:30 though this varies. A return trip ticket cost NTD920 (USD28).
Tickets can be booked directly on the ezboat website http://www.ezboat.com.tw
Often when booking your accommodation talk to your host, they frequently are able to offer discounts on the tickets as well as make a booking on your behalf.
Most accommodation will offer a pickup and drop off service, they will meet you at the ferry terminal and drive you to the hotel. This is very convenient when lugging heavy dive gear.
Getting to the FuGang Fish Harbor
If you caught the train or flew into TaiTung you can catch a taxi to the FuGang Fish Harbour, the departure point for the Green Island ferry.
From the train station the distance is about 10km and will take about 20mins. The airport is a little further about 13km.
Harbour address: 台東富岡漁港, Taitung City, Taitung County, 950 (Google Map link)
From the train station to FuGang the taxis will normally run off the meter at an agreed price. Price is normally NTD250~300 (USD9)
Train to TaiTung
From Taipei catching a train is a fast and comfortable option, even when lugging diving gear. Ideally you want to catch an express or Tze Chiang train, this can get you from Taipei station to TaiTung station in as little as 3hr 30mins, though some trains take a more leisurely +5hr.
The train goes down the east coast of the island which is undeveloped and offers some picturesque scenes. Rice boxes, snack food and drinks are available on the train.
Tickets on the express train are NTD783 (USD24) each way.
Another option is to catch to 23:30pm slow train, which takes over 6hrs, this will arrive in TaiTung at 06:00am and you can try to get some sleep on the train avoiding the need for a hostel.
I would advise picking up snacks to your own liking at the 7-11 convenience store in the station prior to your departure.
Tickets can be booked online at http://www.railway.com.tw, and either paid for online or picked up at the train station. Ticket sales are normally opened 14 days in advance, and so can lead to some stress if you are trying to plan a trip in advance.
During any holiday or festival weekend tickets are notoriously difficult to get, as much of Taiwan is also trying to get back home for their own family festivities. It is a lottery and tickets are usually sold out within a matter of seconds of going on sale. This can put a downer on a holiday weekend diving trip, if you can try to head down and back a day before/after when it is not so busy. I’ll write another article about some tips and tricks in purchasing these.
Driving can often offer you the most flexibility, and affordability if there is a few of you going. From Taipei journey time is usually just over 6hrs, but can be longer during holiday weekends.
Although considerably longer, normally it is best to take the freeway the distance is about 550km but you generally can expect faster speeds. The east coast is a whopping 200km shorter, but it is mostly single lane carriageway, and so with any amount of traffic speeds can be slow. The east coast is very very picturesque, and so if you are happy to take it slow and make the journey part of your vacation then it is a great trip.
If taking the freeway, I most often will take the #1 from Taipei to Hsinchu, then transfer onto the #3 until exit 196 just past TaiChung where I will transfer back onto the #1. Although marginally longer the reason for this is to miss all the TaiChung city traffic. Once back on the #1 take it all the way to exit 315 onto the #8 and then back onto the #3. You follow the #3 freeway all the way to the end, transferring onto the #1 provincial highway until you take a left on the #9 provincial highway to TaiTung. The journey on the provincial highway is single lane carriageway, so it actually takes about the same time as the entire freeway portion.
Traveling the freeway one direction my gas costs are about NTD1000 (USD30), and toll costs are about NTD350 (USD10.80) so if 2 or more people are going it makes sense.
Friday night travel to TaiTung/Fugang
We try to travel down from Taipei/Taizhong Friday night, stay in a hostel close to TaiTung/Fugang. You should note there is very little in FuGang, almost only food option late at night is 7-11 convenience store, and so a better option maybe to stay at a hostel/hotel in TaiTung which has a whole host of things to eat, see and do.
Whilst we don’t utilize there diving packages a good hostel option in FuGang is the Papillion hostel which is within walking distance to the ferry terminal. A no frills bunk will cost NTD700 (USD22).
Call Alex on 0976 283806
If traveling from Kaohsiung by car we would normally just set out early morning.
Ferry to Green Island
We usually like to try to catch the early ferry over to Green Island on Saturday morning. This will leave FuGang at 07:30am and get into Green Island at about 08:30am
A quick trip to the hotel to drop bags pickup electric scooter and organize air allows us to take fullest advantage of the first days diving.
Day 1 Diving
Usually we are able to get a morning, afternoon and a night dive in on the first day… all shore dives.
Day 2 Diving
Pack personal gear, move gear to hotel storage
2 morning boat dives, usually at the harbor to board at 08:00am
Back to hotel for lunch, maybe time for another shore dive depending on ferry schedule
Ferry to FuGang/Taitung
Catch the 15:30 or better 17:30 ferry back to FuGang. The 17:30 ferry allows to get an afternoon shore dive in.
Travel back home
Back to real life.. ready for work on Monday.
Typical getting there and back costs
Return Train from Taipei 2x NTD783
Taxi to FuGang NTD300
Return Ferry NTD920
Taxi to TaiTung train station NTD300
Total NTD 3,086 (USD95)
Gas from Taipei (return) 2x NTD1000
Road Tolls (return) 2x NTD350
Return Ferry NTD920
Total NTD 3,620/4,540/5,460 (USD111/70/56) for 1/2/3 people in the vehicle