Magong (Makung), Penghu Islands, Taiwan

Magong is located on Penghu, the largest of the 90 islands and islets that make up the Penghu archipelago in the Taiwan Strait. Although the island has been inhabited for a long time, it was off the beaten track for most of its history. Recently, however, the islands were designated a National Scenic Area and have become a favored holiday destination, and Penghu’s historic attractions are becoming better known. Highlights for visitors include Central Street, the oldest street and a treasury of traditional architecture. The adjacent Mazu Temple is a Ming Dynasty temple dedicated to the Chinese sea goddess, rebuilt in the 16th century. It is elaborately decorated with sweeping arches and carved dragons. The Four-Eyed Well is even older, possibly Yuan or Ming, covered with a stone slab with the four “eyes” holes for retrieving water. Boat excursions to nearby uninhabited islands are popular, for water sports, visiting the 1936 Japanese lighthouse on Qimei or the columnar basalt formations and cliffs on others.