Plenty of Green Sea Turtles at Xiao Liuqiu Island in Taiwan
Plenty of Green Sea Turtles at Xiao Liuqiu Island in Taiwan

Plenty of Green Sea Turtles at Xiao Liuqiu Island in Taiwan


When Is the Best Time

Xiao Liuqiu or Xiaoliuqiu, or Lambai Island many names for an exceptional island. We came here to spot green sea turtles. You often hear you can see this or that, but usually, you don't. Liuqiu is different. There is just two places in the world where I spotted more turtles than here (Laniakea/Galapagos).

Vase Rock and the shallow pool at low tide
An early morning tour at Vase Rock.

I went snorkelling for one hour and all the time were turtles next to me. Even better, they were not scared. I had to be careful that I didn't get too close and touch them. You can either experience the turtles on your own or on a guided tour with safety equipment. Would you like to experience the same? Check out my detailed tips:

Best Time to See Green Sea Turtles at Liuqiu

A green sea turtle is putting out the head to breath
An active sea turtle needs to get to the surface every few minutes.

There are several spots on this exceptional island where you can swim and snorkel with turtles. However, if water is not your element, you can spot them also from the shore. The best place for it is Vase Rock (Location Google Maps) You can sit on the wall and watch the turtles feeding on the rocks. Next to the rock is a tour company offering guided snorkel trips.

High Tide

A turtle feeding on seaweed at high tide close to the shore
Photos were taken with my zoom camera.

During high tide, the green sea turtles come closer to the shore to feed on seaweed. You can even watch them from the shoreline while they are feeding. The sea can be quite rough, and you should be an experienced snorkeler or diver if you go on your own. There are also several small beaches where you get easily into the sea, and you can also spot turtles from there but fewer.

Low Tide

A turtle above the reef just one meter below the surface
The turtles are in shallow water close to the shore.

During low tide, it’s easier to get into the sea, and snorkel tours are offered at Vase Rock. You will be supplied with a wetsuit, shoes, snorkel gear and a life jacket. You stay together with the instructor and other snorkelers, either holding a rope or a lifebelt. Don't miss out on this exceptional experience of watching green sea turtles in their natural environment.

Weather Southern Taiwan

Another guided tour in shallow water.
A guided tour at a protected bay to spot turtles.

This area experiences a tropical climate with warm temps and occasionally rain in winter, often a heavy downpour in the afternoon. Summer is hot and humid, and the southwest monsoon season lasts from May to September. Typically, typhoons occur from July to September. Weather for Taiwan

How to Avoid Crowds

Weekends are always super busy, and summer is the peak season in Taiwan. It’s boiling hot, and people come to the island for the beautiful beaches and to cool down in the sea, even if they can't swim well. Midweek is much quieter, and in the morning, it's still tranquil at all beaches. We took the first ferry in the morning and were in awe about this striking beautiful place.


B&B on Lambai Island
Hotels and guest houses on Xiaoliuqiu by

For most Taiwanese visitors staying on Xiao Liu Qiu island is the highlight. You should spend at least one night there, even better are two nights. Almost everyone who went says, that you'll definitely not get bored here and I agree.

Best Months to Visit


Related Topics

Location and Tips

Donggang, Liuqiu Island

Liuqiu Island is just 4 km long and 2 km wide best explored with a rental scooter. It looks like the island can be super busy during the peak season. We saw masses of rental scooters waiting for tourists. The price is between 250 and 300 TWD each day including gas.

A man on a scooter in Liuqiu
Our scooter in Liuqiu - is the best way to explore the small island.

The island loop road is about 13 km long. The island gets visited by day-trippers and overnight guests. A huge variety of accommodations and a campground in the north are available. You can already make a booking at the ferry terminal.

Using the Ferry

The big ferry at the mainland Taiwan
Our ferry in the morning.

There are two different ferry companies in Donggang harbour. The faster ferry TF express offers seven to eight departures daily to Baisha port. The township ferry is cheaper but offers fewer departures to the second smaller Dafu port. We’d chosen the Baisha harbour, where more scooters and accommodations are offered. The ferry ride took us less than 30 minutes. There is space for 192 People plus scooters and goods.

Liuqiu Island Map

Liuqiu Map
Map Liuqiu high resolution

Must-Visit Places in Liuqiu

An old and huge Chinese Banyan Tree on the road
More than a hundred years old.
  • Vase Rock is a beautiful spot and popular for snorkelling and spotting turtles.
  • There are several caves where an entrance fee is requested.
  • Another highlight is the Chinese Banyan Tree. The trunk is very thick with aerial roots, which quickly change into thick supporting trunks when they reach the ground. With this technique, the tree can withstand heavy winds. These trunks can also absorb the humidity in the air and nutrients from the soil.
  • The White or Liuqiu Lighthouse in the southeast is 10 m tall built in 1929, and it is still operating.
The White Lighthouse is shimmering in front of the blue sky.
The White Lighthouse 10 m tall.

We came here midweek and visited the popular Vase Rock, several caves (entrance fee is quite expensive), the white lighthouse, an old Banyan tree, and went snorkelling several times around the island. Each time we we spotted turtles.

Food Tip

Donggang Fish Market next to the ferry terminal to Xiao Liuqiu Island

Don’t miss the outstanding seafood and the huge variety at the Donggang fish market next to the ferry terminal. You can either select from the menu or buy your seafood and let one of the restaurants prepare it for you. I have to confess we ordered too much, but it was so delicious

Facts About Green Sea Turtles

A green sea turtle shortly before breathing above the surface.
Another turtle at Liuqiu
  • Green Sea Turtles are endangered and the second largest after the leatherback turtle.
  • They weigh up to 225 kg/496 lbs and reach 1.2 m/ almost 4 feet in length.
  • The name comes from the colour of their fat, not their shell.
  • It's the only species that come onshore for basking. We observed this once in Western Australia and in Oahu; Hawaii.
  • This species can be found worldwide.
  • They are nesting in more than 80 countries.
  • Their preferred diet is seagrass. It is believed that they enhance the growth of seagrass beds.
  • The biggest threats to them are humans and a disease called Fibropapilloma. It's a fast-growing tumour on the face.


Do you wish to know more about the unique island of Taiwan with its lovely residents? Check out my Taiwan Guide for all must-know destinations and tips.

Do you want to obtain the usage right for my images? Contact me, but I will take action against picture theft.

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Micha Herber-Bleich
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