Turtle Island reopens to tourists today

Home to Taiwan's only active volcano is open again to tourists

Turtle Island (Photo by flickr user miquitos)

Turtle Island (Photo by flickr user miquitos)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Turtle Island (龜山島), an islet 10 kilometers off the coast of the northeastern Taiwanese town of Toucheng in Yilan County, will open to limited numbers of the public today, after having closed for three months for environmental protection, according to the Tourism Bureau.

The island, which gained its name for its shape reminiscent of a floating turtle, is 3.3 kilometers wide and 1.7 kilometers long, comprises a total area of 2.85 square kilometers in size, and is 401 meters above sea level at its highest point.

Having last erupted in 1785, it is the only known active volcano in Taiwan and was first inhabited by fishermen from Fujian in 1853. The entire civilian population was relocated in 1977 and the island served as a military base until 2000, when it was opened up for tourism.

The Tourism Bureau conducted a cleanup of the island on Tuesday resulting in 6.5 metric tons of waste being collected, a ton more than last year, reported CNA.

The island has a number of unusual features such as saltwater hot springs, steaming fumaroles, tunnels dug during the army in the 1950s, and is a good area for whale watching

Turtle Island is open to visitors who register in advance from Mar. 1 to Nov. 30, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During June, July and August, the hours are extended from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.