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Introducing Kinmen

Kinmen (金門, Jīnmén), lying only 2km off the coast of mainland China, is an odd remnant from the bitter civil war between communist and Nationalist forces. Along with Matsu, Kinmen is a small chunk of Fujian province occupied by Republic of China (ROC) forces and administered from Taiwan. This once heavily guarded island now greatly appeals to military history buffs, but in fact, has something to offer to every visitor.

Well-restored villages dating from the Ming and Qing dynasties can still be found in Kinmen today; they retain an old world charm not found anywhere in the rest of Taiwan. Also, the pollution-free islands boast open fields, sandy beaches, thick forests, landscaped parks and artificial lakes that attract hundreds of species of migratory birds. Cyclists and twitchers will find paradise here.

Kinmen is a fairly well-developed place. Roads double as runways (just in case!) so they are wide and well-maintained. Parks are everywhere, and in general the atmosphere is relaxed. But don't forget the fact that Kinmen remains a military outpost – restricted areas still exist.