Kinmen County

wetlands

Left: Kinmen Wetlands

Kinmen is a group of islands just off the coast of China's Fujian Province which have been occupied by the R.O.C. since their retreat from China. It was heavily shelled by the People's Liberation Army during the 1950s.

More recently however, Kinmen has opened up to Chinese tourism and is also a gateway into China for Taiwanese, as one of Taiwan's "Three Small Links".

Area: 153.056 km2 (59.095 sq mi)
Pop 84,570(December 2008)

Below: Broadcasting Propaganda to Mainland China

Kinmen

I first visited Kinmen in 2010 with the Foresight Tainan rugby team en route to Xiamen in China. On return I decided to spend a couple of days there exploring.

If you already have the visa for China, it is in fact the cheapest way to get there. The only problem is you can't get a China visa on landing in Xiamen or anywhere in Taiwan. travel agents would have to courier your passport to Hong Kong for the visa.

Kaoliang

Left: Kinmen Kaoliang.

One of Kinmen's best known products is Kinmen Kaoliang produced by the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation. Kaoliang is a potent distilled wine made from sorghum and is popular in Taiwan and China though possibly not entirely suited to the western palate. The alcohol content of Kinmen Kaoliang ranges from 38-63%.

Kinmen is also famous for its artillery shell knives, extensive shelling by the Chinese left plenty of raw material for local artisans to craft the sought after knives.