Sanxiantai | Taiwan’s Three Saints Island

Dragon bridge

Sanxiantai was originally a headland, but the sea gradually eroded the neck of the promontory, creating an offshore islet. Tourists who used to visit this place could only reach the island during low tide. In 1987, the famous 400-meter-long eight-arched footbridge was built. It was designed to mimic the shape of waves and resembles a mythical dragon stretching across the sea. It has become the most renowned landmark on the East Coast of Taiwan.

Terrace of the Three Saints

Odd-shaped rocks are everywhere on the island, including three huge rocks which have spawned legends about three Chinese saints: Li Tieguai, Lü Dongbing, and He Xiangu. The island was originally called Diaoyutai, the Fishing Terrace, but the name was later changed to Sanxiantai (literally: Terrace of the Three Immortals), because of a Taoist belief that three of the Eight Immortals once stopped to rest on the island. The Amis people call the island Nuwalian, which means the eastern-most land. Amis tradition holds that a sea dragon living in a cave on the seabed is the protector of the island.

Nature Reservation

Sanxiantai is ecologically very rich, because of the lack of human disturbance, screw pine trees can be seen everywhere on the island. It is also a place for the study of coastal plants like the Taiwanese date palm, white dogwood and bay bean. Distinctive ecological formations can be found all over the island: odd-shaped rocks, sea columns, sea trenches and sea caves, to name a few. Check out the map below and the website of Taiwan Religious Culture for more info.

Recommended

  • Climb up to the top of the island and the lighthouse, and enjoy the magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean
  • Visit Sanxiantai Visitor Center where you can learn more about the island’s ecology
  • Allow at least 3 hours for exploring the area and the visitor center