Planning your Trip
Planning your Trip
Kinmen is an archipelago of several islands, two that are populated: Kinmen (about 55,000 people), and Little Kinmen (about 5,000 people).
There are 3 main towns on the big island of Kinmen. In order by size, they are Jincheng, Shanwai and Shamei. Both Kinmen and Little Kinmen also have many villages.
25% of Kinmen is national park. Kinmen National Park is Taiwan's only national park dedicated to preserving cultural architectural heritage as well as the natural environment. To that end, there are seven villages which are national park villages: Shuitou, Zhushan, Oucuo, Beishan, Nanshan, Qionglin and Shanhou. Many of the traditional-style houses which are now bed and breakfasts were renovated with Kinmen National Park funds.
One way to approach your exploration of Kinmen is to divide your travel time between the 5 different townships. They each have worthwhile attractions.
Jincheng is the largest and oldest town in Kinmen, dating from the Tang dynasty (618-907AD). In 2012, it was voted as one of Taiwan's top ten tourist towns. Its main roads with a stoplight or two are where you'll find the bus station, post office, banks and drugstores. Once you leave those main roads and venture inside the town, you'll be in a maze of small roads and little alleyways full of architectural treasures and traditional shops.
The 2nd largest town, Shanwai in Jinhu Township, was developed during the military period. It still has more shops with military uniforms and equipment on sale than the other towns. Perhaps since soldiers need to eat, it also has some restaurants which locals first think of when they want to have Guandong congee, beef noodles, handmade knife-cut noodles and tangyuan dessert.
Jinsha Township in Northeast Kinmen confronts the Northeast monsoon as it is located at the windward side of Taiwu Mountain. Consequently, Jinsha boasts the largest number of wind lion gods in Kinmen. Additionally, Jinsha is left with many military facilities like Shishan (Mt.Lion) Howitzer Park and Mashan Ovservation Station. The historic relic of Xiyuan Salt Field built in Yuan dynasty and Shanhou Folk Culture Village known as the 18 Great Houses in Shanhou among locals are also great attractions to visit. Last but not least, don't forget to try some local tastes in Shamei Old Street!
Jinning township is easily associated with Guningtou Battle. Visitors are encouraged to go on a tour in memory of the battles that took place on this island. The cliff of Beishan where Guningtou Battle ended, Beishan broadcasting wall where visitors can still hear Teresa Teng's broadcast as a psychological measure and numerous bullet holes on the walls of Beishan historic western-style houses all remind visitors of the tension of the war back then. If you are interested to learn more thoroughly about Guningtou Battle, Guningtou Battle Museum where military documents, weapons and relics are collected and displayed is the place to go.
Lieyu, nicknamed Little Kinmen, is the only offshore township under Kinmen County. Perhaps the most interesting feature of Lieyu is its special religious guardian, Wind Chicken God. Along the around-islet route, a number of scenic attractions worth visiting include the nature's masterpiece, Maogong Rock, Jiugong Tunnel built by soldiers, Hujingtou Battle Museum, Lingshui Lake, a great birding location and Donglin Coastal Park that boasts spectacular sea view.