The Turtle Island is a relatively small island that sits alone in the middle of the sea. As the name implies, the island is shaped like a floating turtle of 10 kilometers long that can be divided into the head, the back and the tail. The island is characterized by mountain and hill peaks, sea-eroded caves, cliff vegetation, a lake and affluent marine resources.
The Turtle Island is also known as the Guishan Island. It has waters that are relatively shallow going out to a distance of two to three miles. The island is also one of Taiwan’s primary fishing grounds as many schools of fish can be seen here. The island is also the only active volcano in Taiwan with Yilan residents actually living on the island.
As early as the Qing Dynasty, the Turtle Island was popularly known for its eight scenic attractions, namely the “sunrise at Turtle Island”, “Turtle Island sheer cliffs”, “Turtle Island sulfur mists”, “eggs of the turtle”, “divine turtle wearing a hat”, “divine turtle wagging its tail”, “upwelling underwater hot springs” and “stalactites and stalagmites in Eyeglass Cave”. These eight sites change as they are viewed under different conditions with factors such as location, weather and tides. These eight scenic wonders are undoubtedly the reason why the island is so alluring, as the tail of the turtle seems to be wagging as the conditions turn. The most famous scenic attraction of the island is the “sunrise at Turtle Island” as the island is famous for having one of the best spots in Taiwan to watch the sun rise and set.
In recent years, the island has become an in-demand tourist spot to watch whales and dolphins that frequently appear in the island’s surrounding waters. To get a chance to see the cetaceans, get a boat at Gengfang Fishing Port. Know though that the available boats are not the best in quality so make sure to take precautions when riding one. However, with bottle-nosed dolphins, spinner dolphins, small killer whales and false killer whales, you wouldn’t mind what you are riding on upon seeing such amazing marine creatures.
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Boat owners will usually give dolphins and whale watchers about an hour to an hour and half to spot them.
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The best season to see these marine creatures is from April to August.
In order to maintain the scenic island, the number of visitors is controlled as only 250 people a day are allowed to visit the island. Because the Guishan Island is such a common destination for tourists, applications and reservations must be made 15 days prior to scheduled visit. These application forms must then be mailed to the Northeast Coast National Scenic Area Administration. Visitors should expect to arrive at the island anytime between 9am and 3pm but all must leave the island by 4 in the afternoon.
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The Turtle Island is found along the coast of Toucheng in the County of Yilan and is known to be the most familiar marine landmark of the locals. Not only has the island become a famous landmark of Yilan, but it is also an emblem of the proud Yilan Spirit.