Daqiu Island is a small island in Matsu (Lienchiang County), Taiwan that is home to hundreds of wild Sika Deer, and is a "deer watching paradise.“ Once home to a small village, then ROC military base, this island is now home to only one man that takes care of the hundreds of deer on the small island. It is a worth while day trip for anyone visiting the Matsu Islands.
Thousands of years ago, stone aged peoples once inhabited the Matsu Islands, including Daqiu Island itself. These stone aged people later disappeared.
The Matsu islands were inhabited again around theSong Dynasty (990 - 1200 AD) by Chinese Fisherman, the descendants of whom still inhabit the islands today.
Daqiu Island literally means "Big Hill" in Chinese. This is because the entire island is one big hill.
Around 200 years ago, these fisherman started to inhabit Daqiu Island. At its height in 1970, the island had 45 households and 280 inhabitants.
Due to poor quality of life, over fishing, and inconvenient transportation, most the of the inhabitants slowly moved to other islands in Mastu or Taiwan.
In 1990, the last family on the island, surnamed Chen, moved off the island, leaving only soldiers and a military base as inhabitants.
In 1996, the military base on Daqiu Island closed down, leaving it an uninhibited ghost island.
In 2009, one man decided to move back to the island and start a tourist business based on the deer living on the island.
Currently there are regular ferry boats to Daqiu from Nangan during the summer, but in winter the boats must be chartered.
Why are there Sika Deer on Daqiu Island?
Sika Deer were originally raised in Matsu during the Chinese Civil War (1950-1970s) as a food supply for soldiers to eat. However the soldiers did not like deer meat that much, and as tensions with China eased, the practice was discontinued. The 13 deer that remained were sent to Daqiu Island in 1981 and left to become wild. Now there are around 200 deer living on the island.
When to go:
We recommend going In Spring to early Summer (April to June). If you go earlier it will not be so hot during the day, and you will be able to see the Blue Tear phosphorescent microbes in the water at night all around Matsu.
In the winter it is cold and windy, so we do not recommend going then.
How to get there:
Public Ferry from Nangan Fu'Ao Harbor (福澳港) (April to October):
350 NT round trip per person （Stops at Baisha Harbor in Nangan)
Nangan departure times: 9:50 AM, 1:30 PM, Daqiu departure times: 12:10 Noon, 3:40 PM
Trip takes about 20 minutes.
Public Ferry from Beigan Qiaozi Harbor (橋仔港) (May to October):
300 NT round trip per person
Beigan departure times: 8:30 AM, 2:30 PM, Daqiu departure times: 10:30 AM, 4:30 PM
Trip takes about 10 minutes.
Chartered ferries: Around 300 NT per round trip.
Ask your hostel in Beigan (like we did) or try the following phone numbers (in Chinese):龍福號娛樂漁船：馬祖北竿鄉塘岐村273-8號
Please see below:
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working 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.