Nangan is the largest Island in the Matsu Archipelago. Besides being the main transportation hub to the other islands in Matsu, it also has traditional stone house villages, military museums, a giant statue of Mazu, a variety of local food, and much more to explore.
Thousands of years ago, stone aged peoples once inhabited the Matsu Islands, including Beigan Island itself. These stone aged people later disappeared.
The Matsu islands were inhabited again around the Song Dynasty (990 - 1200 AD) by Chinese Fisherman, the descendants of whom still inhabit the islands today.
Because the Goddess Mazu's corpse washed ashore on this island, Nangan is also known as Matsu Island.
During the Chinese Civil War, Matsu was used as a military outpost for the retreating ROC. During the years that followed, it withheld shelling and threats of invasion from China, helping to keep Taiwan free of communist control.
In 1992 after cross straight relations had warmed up, martial law was lifted on the islands and tourists were allowed to visit.
In the year 2000, a ferry link with Fuzhou started to provide constant China Mainland visitors to the island, as part of the three links with China.
In 2003, the Nangan airport was completed, which made Nangan the true transportation hub of Matsu.
Nangan has a population of 4,000 people, and is the largest island in Matsu in terms of population and geographical size.
How to get there:
By Boat: There are daily ferries from Keelung Harbor that usually take an overnight trip to Nangan, passing through Dongyin Island.
There are boats from Beigan Baisha Harbor (北竿白沙港) to Nangan Fu'Ao Harbor (南竿福奧港) every hour from 7 AM to 5 PM.
By Plane: There are flights to and from Taipei Songshan Airport three times a day via Uni Air.
500-2000 NT per person (one way from Keelung)
160 NT per person (one way from Beigan)
About 2000 NT (one way from Taipei)
How to get around the island:
Nangan is a large, hilly island and it would be very hard to get around on foot or bicycle. We recommend one of the following
By Scooter: We recommend riding a scooter as your #1 choice. It's fast, convenient, and there isn't much traffic on the island. A scooter will cost about 500 NT per day to rent.
When braking on hills, use both brakes, otherwise you could lose traction on one tire and skid. Don't stop or park on a slope. Also, some hills that are too steep are closed off for scooters.
By Car/Taxi: You can rent a car or hire a taxi for 200O NT per day.
By Bus: There is a bus that goes around the island, but wait times can be 30 minutes or more.
When to go:
We recommend going between April and June when the "blue tear" phosphorescent microbes in the water will be the most visible at night. Also, winters can be cold and windy and summers very hot, and there could also be typhoons in the summer and fall.
Please see below:
The Luku Incident Memorial is a reflective arch statue in Shiding District of New Taipei that commemorates what is known as "the largest political event of the nation’s White Terror era." The incident involved two brothers that had started a communist party holdout in the mountains of Shiding. The resulting response, from the then martial law-era ROC government under then Dictator Chiang Kai-Shek, was thousands of police officers arresting hundreds of innocent people, with many of the people being falsely imprisoned and executed.
Two brothers, Chen Pen-chiang and Chen Tung-ho (陳通和), created an armed communist party holdout in the Luku village of Shiding District. They also organized a youth group consisting of underage villagers, however this group did not participate in any illicit activity.
In response, on Dec. 28th, 1952, about 10,000 police officers and ROC armed soldiers raided the village over the space of four months, blocking off roads and arresting everyone while trying to remove the communists.
Around 400 people in the surrounding areas were arrested, with 200 of those people being tortured and 35 killed. According to the Taipei Times: "Among the 200, 12 were not indicted or released for turning themselves in, while 98 were given prison sentences, 19 of whom were underage."
Due to the terrible injustice dealt to the village and the surrounding people, the Luku Incident Memorial was erected in the year 2000.
For more information on the incident, check out the articles written by the Taipei Times here andhere. You can also check out the Wikipedia article in Chinese here.
How to get there:
Travel south on Academia Sinica Road in Nangang, and then take Jiuzhuang Street Sec. 2 (舊莊街二段) all the way up the mountain. The memorial sits at the border between Taipei City and New Taipei City.
Map: Please see below:
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.