How to Get Around Kinmen
There are several options. In order by cost: public bus, bicycle, guided bus tour, scooter, rental car/van and taxi.
Kinmen has a good public bus system with many routes which go to most/all of the tourist attractions. It is also fairly convenient to get from the airport or ferry terminal to the main towns by bus. (See below,
Inside almost all buses, there is an electronic sign board with the stops written in both Chinese and English. Feel free to ask the bus driver or another passenger for help in getting off at your stop! Best to use Chinese, though…
It's possible to rely on the bus to get around, but you’ll need to carefully plan ahead, ie decide which bus numbers to take at what time before you set out. Note that some bus routes finish in the late afternoon. There are no buses on the road after about 9pm.
How much does it cost to ride the Kinmen public bus?
The fare is NT$12 per person one way, payable as you board the bus. The bus drivers don’t have change. If you travel farther than about half the total bus route, you need to pay another NT$12. (The bus driver will let you know if you’re not sure.) Besides cash, you can also swipe a Kaohsiung I-Pass Card or an Easy Card (a悠遊卡Yōuyóu kǎ ). The Easy Card is available to buy and add value to at any convenience store. (The card itself costs NT$100 and is non-refundable. It's empty, so you need to add value to it before using it.) Swipe the card twice, upon boarding and getting off.
Kinmen Public Bus Schedule
The buses run according to a fixed timetable which is the same every day of the week. (On certain national holidays such as Chinese New Year the buses start running a bit later than usual, but still to the same timetable.) They’re always on time! Most of the routes operate one bus every half hour or so, between the times of 6am and 8:30pm.
The timetable for all the public buses in the county fits onto one A-4 piece of paper. You can pick up a copy (in Chinese only) from any of the 3 major bus stations in Jincheng, Shanwai and Shamei. Each of those stations also has an information center, staffed from 8am to 12noon, and then from 1:30-6pm.
Many bus stops have a timetable for the buses that arrive at that stop. But be careful! The times are not the times the bus is due to arrive at that bus stop: they are the times the bus departs from its original station. You shouldn’t have to wait longer than a half hour for your bus to come.
If you’re using a smartphone or computer, you can use the interactive bus schedule website to:
- find out exactly what time the next bus will arrive at any bus stop.
- find out how long it takes the bus to get from A to B.
To do either of these tasks, you need to know the bus number, and the name of the stop in either Chinese or English.
If you know the bus number, and want to find out where it stops, you can also find out that information on this website!
- Click on the Driving Map icon.
- Click on “Select One Group”, and then click on the bus number you want.
- Click on “Select One Route”, and then click on the route at the top. You’ll then see a map with the bus route marked in blue, and all the places the bus stops, numbered. That route will be either the bus that's currently on the road, or the next bus to depart. Double check the direction the bus is going in! If you want the opposite direction to what's showing, click on the next route(s) down. When it says “Bus at Depot”, that means it's a later bus that isn’t on the road yet.
- All the bus stop names on the “Select One Route” chart are in Chinese. But if you click on the map, on a number (of the stop), the English name of the stop will pop up. Then you can use that number (of the stop) to find out in the “Select One Route” chart what time the next bus will be arriving (the ETA=Estimated Time of Arrival).
Kinmen's a great place to bicycle! There's not much traffic on the roads (especially on the smaller ones), and there are just enough ups and downs to make it interesting. Note that Kinmen is famous for its wind. It doesn’t blow every day, but it's a good idea to factor it in. And it is particularly cold and strong in the winter. So a windbreaker (in the winter) and a determined mental attitude will serve you well just in case it's a windy day.
Kinmen's K-bikes are OK for getting around. Don’t expect the best bike in the world, but with 3 gears, a basket in the front and mudguards, they’re fine.
You need 2 things to rent them:
- a Taiwanese phone number
- a credit card OR a bank debit card OR an Easy Card. (You can buy an Easy Card at any 7-11.)
The first hour is free; you then are charged NT$10 for each 30-min block of time, up to NT$150 per day. You can pay at the bike kiosks with a credit card, Taipei's Easy Card, Kaohsiung's I-Pass or China Union Pay Card.
There are bike kiosks near all of the main bus stations (Jincheng, Shanwai and Shamei), and also at many of the major tourist attractions. You can take out a bike at one kiosk, and return it to any other kiosk.
At least two bike shops in Jincheng rent bicycles for NT$300/day. They’re of a higher standard than the public K-bikes, but most of them don’t have a basket in the front, mudguards or a rear rack.
GUIDED BUS TOUR (In Mandarin Chinese only)
The Kinmen County Government operates 6 different guided tour bus routes (A, B, C, D, E and F) which stop at some of the main attractions. They all last for a half-day, and have a Mandarin Chinese speaking guide on board giving commentary. Tickets are NT$250 per person.
For more information, please click here for the official website of the bus tours:
You have a choice of 3 different kinds of scooters: electric (not needing any kind of driving license), electric (needing an international driving license, and in some cases a motorcycle endorsement on your license) and conventional non-electric scooters (needing an international driving license).
The costs range from NT$300/day to NT$800-1000/day for the different kinds of scooters.
If you pre-arrange your rental, some scooter companies have a pick-up service from the airport, ferry terminal or your accommodation. Tell them the time and place, and they will pick you up and drive you to the scooter shop. You choose a scooter there, and arrange the return day/time. The company will then drive you to the airport/ferry terminal in advance of your departure.
You need an international drivers’ license to rent a car on Kinmen. There are several car rental agencies, all at about the same price of NT$1600-1800/day. Most provide a pickup service from the airport, ferry terminal or your hotel. Tell them the time you want to be picked up, and the agency will send a car out to pick you up, and then take you to its car lot to get you set up with a car. Then, when you’re finished with the car, you drive it back to the rental place, and you’ll be driven to the airport or ferry terminal.
Kinmen taxis operate with meters from designated taxi stands at the airport, ferry terminal and 3 main bus stations. They can be flagged down, but it's better to pre-arrange by phoning a driver. Your accommodation host should be able to help with this.
When you get in the taxi, double check the driver has turned the meter on.
Some taxi drivers are available to be hired on a daily basis, playing the role of both tour guide and driver. Commentary will be in Mandarin Chinese.
HOW LONG does it TAKE from A to B?
From Jincheng to Zhaishan Tunnel:
- by bus: 15 min
- by bicycle: 35 min
- by scooter/car/taxi: 10 min
From Jincheng to Qionglin:
- by bus: 20 min
- by bicycle: 30 min
- by scooter/car/taxi: 15-20 min
The terrain around the island is similar enough for you to be able to use the information above to estimate the travel time between other A to B points.
HOW to GET from KINMEN AIRPORT to JINCHENG?
You can either take a bus or a taxi. The bus costs NT$12. A taxi to Jincheng costs about NT$250. Both the bus stop and taxi rank are just outside the terminal building exit door.
From the Kinmen airport to the bus station at Jincheng, Kinmen's main town, it's a single bus ride. It takes between 15 and 25 min, depending on which route you take. (See below for the two different routes.) Kinmen buses follow a fixed schedule, and they’re always on time! You can pay the NT$12 fare with cash, or by swiping an Easy Card (悠遊卡Yōuyóu kǎ), available to buy and add value to at any convenience store. (There's a store just by the airport arrivals area exit. The non-refundable card itself costs NT$100. It's empty—you need to add value onto it before using it.) Swipe the card twice, upon both boarding and getting off the bus.
From Kinmen Airport to Jincheng by bus:
- Bus number 3 arrives at the airport bus stop at about 10-15 min past every hour, between and including 7am and 8pm. It's a 25-min bus ride to the Jincheng Bus Station, the last stop. Be careful, as bus number 3 also goes to Shanwai from the airport. There is a digital sign at the front of the bus which displays the destination in both English and Chinese. As you board, feel free to double check with the driver by saying the name of your destination!
- Bus number Blue 1 (藍一) arrives at the airport bus stop at about 40 min past every hour, between and including 7am and 5pm. It's a 15-min bus ride to Jincheng Bus Station, the last stop.
HOW to GET from KINMEN AIRPORT to SHANWAI?
You can either take a bus or a taxi. The bus costs NT$12. A taxi to Shanwai, Kinmen's 2nd largest town, costs about NT$250. Both the bus stop and taxi rank are just outside the terminal building exit door.
From the Kinmen airport to the bus station at Shanwai, it's a single bus ride. It takes about 10 minutes. Kinmen buses follow a fixed schedule, and they’re always on time! You can pay the NT$12 fare with cash, or by swiping an Easy Card (悠遊卡Yōuyóu kǎ), available to buy and add value to at any convenience store. (There's a store just by the airport arrivals area exit. The non-refundable card itself costs NT$100. It's empty—you need to add value onto it before using it.) Swipe the card twice, upon both boarding and getting off the bus.
From Kinmen Airport to Shanwai by bus:
Bus number 3 arrives at the airport bus stop at 25 past every hour, between and including 7am and 8pm. It's a 10-min bus ride to the Shanwai Bus Station, the last stop. Be careful, as bus number 3 also goes to Jincheng from the airport. There is a digital sign at the front of the bus which displays the destination in both English and Chinese. As you board, feel free to double check with the driver by saying the name of your destination!
HOW to GET from KINMEN AIRPORT to SHAMEI?
You can take either a taxi (about NT$300) or the bus (NT$24). The bus involves a transfer, riding two different buses.
From Kinmen Airport to Shamei by bus:
- First take bus number 3 to Shanwai Bus Station (see above). Then switch to an 18, 18A or 27 bus.
- The number 18 bus leaves Shanwai Bus Station at 06:00, 06:35, 07:10, 07:40, 0:8:40, 10:00, 11:10, 12:40, 14:00, 15:20, 16:00, 16:25, 17:40, 18:30 and 19:20. It's a 25-min ride to the Shamei Bus Station.
- The number 18A bus leaves Shanwai Bus Station at 08:05, 09:20, 10:40, 11:30, 12:00, 13:20, 15:05, 15:40, 16:40, 17:10 and 18:00. It's a 30-min ride to the Shamei Bus Station.
- The number 27 bus leaves Shanwai Bus Station at 08:30, 11:10, 14:20 and 17:05. It's a 40-min ride to the Shamei Bus Station.
HOW to GET from the KINMEN AIRPORT to the KINMEN FERRY TERMINAL?
You have a choice of taxi or bus. A taxi costs around NT$310, and takes around 20-30 min. The bus costs NT$24 (2 rides at NT$12 each).
There's no direct bus route between the ferry terminal and airport, but if you have 60-90 min available, you can go by bus by first going to Jincheng Bus Station on any one of the number 7 buses, and then changing at Jincheng Bus Station to a number 3 or Blue 1 bus. (You shouldn’t have to wait much longer than a half hour to catch one of the number 7 buses from the ferry terminal to Jincheng Bus station. They take between 10 and 20 min to get to the Jincheng Bus Station. From there to the airport, the number 3 bus leaves the Jincheng Bus Station on the hour every hour between 7am and 8pm, taking just under a half hour to get to the airport. The Blue 1 bus leaves the Jincheng Bus Station on the half hour every hour between 7:30am and 5:30pm, taking about 15 min to reach the airport.)
HOW to GET from the KINMEN FERRY TERMINAL to JINCHENG (Kinmen's largest town)?
- You have a choice of bus or taxi. The bus costs NT$12 (one direct ride), and once you’re on the bus, takes about 15 min. A taxi costs about NT$250 and takes about 10 min.
- If you take the bus, you shouldn’t have to wait much longer than a half hour at the ferry terminal for a bus. Bus numbers 7, 7A and 7B all go to Jincheng from the ferry terminal, taking about 10-15 min to get to the Jincheng Bus Station, the last stop.
- The number 7 bus arrives at the ferry terminal every hour at about 40 min past the hour, with the first bus arriving at about 06:40, and the last bus at about 21:40.
- Bus 7A arrives at the ferry terminal at about 10 past the hour, these hours: 07:10, 08:10, 10:10, 12:10, 13:10, 14:10, 16:10, 17:10, 18:10 and 19:10.
- Bus 7B arrives at the ferry terminal at about 09:10, 11:10 and 15:10.
HOW to GET to LITTLE KINMEN (小金門Xiǎo Jīnmén, officially known as Lieyu)?
If you think the main island of Kinmen is quiet, wait ‘til you experience Little Kinmen. It's really a get-away-from-it-all place!
To get there, take the 10-min ferry ride from the main ferry terminal near Shuitou Village. Walk past the large ferry terminal building on your R, heading to the water. In about a minute or two, on your L past the shops, you’ll see a small kiosk, at the top of the ramp going down to the small Little Kinmen ferry. Pay before you board at that kiosk--it costs NT$60 one-way. You can pay cash or swipe an Easy Card.
Bicycles ride on the ferry for free. There's an NT$100 charge for a scooter.
If you’re not traveling with a bicycle or scooter, at the ferry terminal on Little Kinmen, there's a Tourist Information Center which can help with scooter rental. They also have electric bicycles for rent: NT$150/5hrs, with an overtime charge of NT$30/hr.
There's a K-Bike (public bicycle) rental kiosk about a 10-minwalk away from the Tourist Information Center. With your back to the sea, pass the Tourist Information Center, and head left around the coast to the village called Lucuo (羅厝Luó cuò).