Guishan Island (Yilan)

Guishan Island[3] / Gueishan Island[4] or Steep Island or Turtle Island[5] (Chinese: 龜山; Hanyu Pinyin: Guīshāndǎo[2]; Tongyong Pinyin: Gueishandǎo; Wade–Giles: Kuei1-shan1-tao3; lit. 'Turtle Mountain Island'), also known as Kweishan Island or Kweishan Tao, is an island in the Pacific Ocean, part of Toucheng Township, Yilan County, Taiwan[2] and located 9.1 km (5.7 mi) east of port of Kengfang Fishery Harbor. The island's name is derived from the resemblance of the topography of the island to that of a turtle.[2] There is a smaller island south of Gueishan Island called Gueiluan Island) (Kweiluan Tao, Kiran-to; 龜卵島, 龜卵嶼).[6] The island is a dormant volcano that last erupted on 1785.

Guishan (Gueishan) Island, Kweishantao
Gueishan Island 20151220.jpg
Highest point
Elevation398 m (1,306 ft)
Prominence398 m (1,306 ft)
Coordinates24°50′31″N 121°57′06″E / 24.84194°N 121.95167°E / 24.84194; 121.95167Coordinates: 24°50′31″N 121°57′06″E / 24.84194°N 121.95167°E / 24.84194; 121.95167
Area2.841 km2 (1.097 sq mi)[1][2]
Guishan (Gueishan) Island, Kweishantao is located in Taiwan
Guishan (Gueishan) Island, Kweishantao
Guishan (Gueishan) Island, Kweishantao
Philippine Sea, off the NE coast of Yilan, Taiwan
Age of rockPleistocene
Mountain typeStratovolcano
Last eruption1853


Map including Gueishan Island (labeled as KIZAN-TŌ) (1944)
Map including Gueishan Island (labeled as "Kuei-shan Tao (Kizan-to)" 龜山島) (1954)

The local population, consisting mainly of fishermen, was relocated in 1977 due to the hardships associated with living on the island. Between 1977 and 2000 it became the site of a military base, and currently it is managed as a tourist destination and natural conservation area. There are restrictions for visitors due to environmental protection. In 2000, the island was officially opened to tourists as a maritime ecological park.[7]

On May 13, 2016, President Ma Ying-jeou visited the island.[8]

In December 2016 until February 2017, the island was closed for environmental protection reasons.


The island is the top of an andesite stratovolcano which rises from the seafloor. It is the only active volcano in Taiwan, displaying active fumaroles and solfataras. It has an area of 2.841 square kilometers (1.097 sq mi), and the highest point reaches 401 m (1,316 ft) above sea level.[9]


Endemic species of crab, Xenograpsus testudinatus feeds on sulfur and lives around underwater hot springs of the island. Surrounding waters support rich ecosystem that attracts the top predators of ocean; cetaceans. This allows whale watching as one of major attractions in local tourism, targeting mostly smaller toothed whales such as pygmy sperm whales, false killer whales, and dolphins while larger whales such as sperm whales and humpback may be observed less frequently.[10][11]

Head Turning of the Turtle MountainEdit

From different views at different locations of Yilan County, the shape of Gueishan Island is quite different. Also the shape of the turtle's head is different; from Northeast Coastal Areas of Toucheng Township such as Shihcheng and Dasi, the shape is close to the head of a turtle, while from Luodong and Wujie Townships, the shape is triangular. The reason for this is the curvy shape of the seashore of Yilan, circling the very island. There is hence the term "Head Turning of the Turtle Mountain" (龜山轉頭).

Visiting the islandEdit

Before going to the island, visitor numbers have to be reviewed to see which day is available for registration.

The application must be completed and shipping agreed with local ferry owners at least one week prior to the visiting date, there is also another application form for going to the highest point of the island, which is often restricted.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ 龜山里. 宜蘭縣頭城鎮公所 Toucheng Township Office. Retrieved 19 October 2019. 全島面積2.841平方公里,
  2. ^ a b c d 教育部重編國語辭典修訂本 (in Chinese (Taiwan)). Retrieved 19 October 2019. 字詞 【龜山島】 注音 ㄍㄨㄟ ㄕㄢ ㄉㄠˇ 漢語拼音 guī shān dǎo 釋義 島名。位於宜蘭縣頭城鎮外海。為一火山島,屬頭城鎮管轄。周圍海岸線長八點七公里,面積二點八平方公里,以形狀似龜而得名。
  3. ^ "Guishan Island". Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area Tourist Information Website. 7 October 2019. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  4. ^ "Watch dolphins and whales". Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area Tourist Information Website. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 19 October 2019. The Gueishan Island is located off the coast of Yilan County, Taiwan.
  5. ^ Robert Kelly; Joshua Samuel Brown, eds. (March 2011). Taiwan. Lonely Planet (8 ed.). Singapore. p. 134. ISBN 9781741790436. Turtle Island (Kueishgan [sic] Island) 龜山島
  6. ^ 05-19 臺灣島嶼面積 [Location and Area of Islands in Taiwan]. Ministry of the Interior (in Chinese (Taiwan) and English). Retrieved 20 October 2019. 縣市別 Locality 島嶼名稱 位置 Location 面積(平方公里) (1) 經度 緯度 Name of Islands Longitude Latitude Area (K m2){...}宜蘭縣 Yilan County{...}龜卵島 Gueiluan Island 121°5547〞~121°5551〞 24°4830〞~24°4832〞 0.0123
  7. ^ "Premier inspects scenic Gueishan Island". Focus Taiwan News Channel. 4 July 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  8. ^ 總統視察龜山島401高地周邊設施、慰訪龜山島安檢所海巡幹部,並與「海巡署岸巡第一二大隊」同仁餐敘. 中華民國總統府 Office of the President Republic of China (Taiwan) (in Chinese (Taiwan)). 13 May 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2019. 馬英九總統今(13)日上午前往宜蘭縣視察龜山島401高地周邊設施並慰訪龜山島安檢所海巡幹部,除對海巡人員的辛勞表達肯定與慰勉之意,亦重申我漁民在公海之漁權,並期待臺日雙方能就沖之鳥礁爭議持續進行協商。
  9. ^ Shen, Worthy; Huang, Romulo (28 February 2017). "Turtle Island to be reopened to tourists Wednesday". Focus Taiwan. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  10. ^ Apple Daily (Taiwan). 2015. 龜山島「鯨」奇 船長:第一次看到那麼大的. Retrieved on October 06, 2017
  11. ^ ba ha. 2014. 2014.12.24 龜山島船釣 ~ 遇到鯨魚. YouTube. Retrieved on October 06, 2017

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