北海坑道

Beihai Tunnel


Useful Information

Location: Ren’ai Vil., Nangan Township, Lienchiang County 209, Taiwan (R.O.C.).
(26.142495, 119.928953)
Open: All year daily 8-16:30.
Night tours: Summer daily 18-20:30, every 30 min.
[2022]
Fee: free.
Boat TWD 150, Kayak TWD 250, Night Tour TWD 300.
[2022]
Classification: SubterraneaSecret Bunker
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=640 m, W=10 m, H=18 m.
Guided tours: self guided, L=700 m, D=30 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Beihai Tunnel, Ren’ai Vil., Nangan Township, Lienchiang County 209, Taiwan (R.O.C.), Tel: +886-836-22177.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1958 Second Taiwan Strait Crisis with the People's Liberation Army.
1969 begin of construction.
1971 tunnel completed.
07-NOV-1992 abolition of Battle Field Administration.
1992 renovation.
2000 opened to the public.

Description

北海坑道 (Beihai Tunnel) is an artificial tunnel which is located at sea level. The reason is simple, after the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis between China and Taiwan, the island was heavily fortified. There were numerous tunnels at sea level which were used as underground harbours, especially for guerilla boats to use. The construction of this tunnel was mostly done by hand, with a little help by explosives, and several miners lost their lives in accidents. A monument at the entrance shows the hard work of the soldiers turned miners. The tunnel was big enough for 120 small naval vessels.

With the end of the hostilities and the abolition of Battle Field Administration in 1992 many former military structures were abandoned. During the years many were renovated and opened as tourist sites, mostly as memorials or museums. This bunker was a special case, as it had been severely damaged during a typhoon and required renovation. And this tunnel is filled with seawater and so there is actually no space for a museum inside. Nevertheless, there are some small exhibitions in side tunnels, for example a diorama with soldiers digging the tunnel. The jetty was modernized and there are numerous boats which allow visitors to paddle through the vast underground tunnels.

The tunnel is actually pretty huge. With a length of 640 m and a width of 10 m it was not big enough for real ships, but it was big enough for many boats. The height of 18 m has a different reason: the tide is around 4 m in this area, and so it is necessary so the boats are not crushed at the ceiling during high tide and not on dry ground during low tide. The water in the tunnel is 4 m deep at low tide and 8 m deep at high tide. And the ceiling is always high enough to allow small sailing boats with mast inside.

There is a 700 m long trail along the tunnel, so the visit is done by foot. The visit is possible only during low tide, as the walking trail is not floating and is flooded during high tide. The boat ride is an additional feature and not mandatory. The jetty and the boat ride require a little agility, as the jetty is floating and entering the moving boat from a differently moving jetty is not that easy.

Another specialty due to the connection of the sea, is that it is possible to see blue tears in the tunnel. 蓝眼泪 (Blue Tears) is a unique apparition which can be seen around the island. It's a blueish glow in the seawater which has a spherical or tear-like form. The explanation is both simple and complicated, so we will stick to the simple one: small organisms, phytoplankton, in the water are able to produce blue bioluminescence under certain conditions. As a matter of fact they are disturbed by sound and light, so if you want to see them, you must sit very calm for some time in your boat. And actually it is not guaranteed, that you will see it, its only guaranteed that you wont see it when you are too loud or shining your torch into the water. And naturally it can only be seen during the summer months. There are special night visits during the months when the blue tears can be seen, typically between April and September. If this does not work for you, there is also a museum which actually breeds the phytoplankton artificially and shows the blue light all year.

There is another tunnel of the same name on the neighbouring island Beigan, which was also prepared for tourists, but it was closed several years ago due to falling rocks. That's the reason we have not listed the other site.