Getting Around / Green Island / Guesthouses / Hot Springs / Taiwan

Green Island Adventures: Are they ripping off Westerners?

Green Island is a summertime hub for weekends away, but unless you’re a risk-taking adventurer with enough cash to cushion a fall, you have to book accommodation and transport to the island months before. My language exchange shook her head and let out a long “ohhhhh no, ohhhhh dear…” when three weeks before my trip I was still umming and ahhing about potentially being ripped off. Despite being able to speak Chinese and knowing people who know things, she couldn’t find anything at such short notice, and thus I was forced to turn to Green Island Adventures.

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Snorkelling location of SSI

Green Island Adventures is the only English-speaking tour company that makes a hit on Google, and is unfortunately run by the socio-culturally ignorant Eddie. He promised me a room in the “Relax Package” at NT $6100 per person for 2 nights for a July weekend, however when I paid the NT $12,200 deposit (100% deposit!) it wasn’t available. Instead, I was invited to stay in a diver’s room in his concrete beach-front shack with my mum for a night then move to the hotel I requested for the second with no monetary reimbursement!

“I’ll throw in a BBQ, and cook up some big steaks, more than you can eat, and foreigners only of course, and some free cocktails too,” he boasted as if that was more than enough compensation.

“We’re vegetarian and my mum doesn’t drink, I’m afraid,” I replied, only to be greeted with a harsh response: “Vegetarian! We don’t want any of those here on this island. Don’t bother coming at all if you don’t eat meat.”

I gritted my teeth and eventually agreed just to change our holiday dates to week-days so we could have the package we paid for.

Reluctant to have even paid what seemed to me such a high price to a rude and obnoxious South African for a couple of days away in Taiwan, I couldn’t help but think how big exactly is the commission I’m paying for someone who speaks English?

Here’s what the NT $12,200 package for two people for 3 days and 2 nights includes:

● Pick-up from train station/airport in Taitung to harbor & drop-off at train station/airport in Taitung

● Ferry ticket × 1 (round-trip) per person

● Normal bicycles 1 per person OR electric bicycle 1 per person

● Room with double bed and own bathroom, a/c, TV

● Breakfast vouchers

Snorkelling – guided excursion (includes all equipment and guide OR DIY – use our gear for as long you like and snorkel on the reef in front of the Sea View Hostel when you want – be careful and attentive please) OR Hot spring ticket x 1 per person

Along the way, I tallied up the actual costs for two people for two nights stay:

Item

Cost (NT $)

Taxi from train station to ferry $200 each way (approx.)
Ferry ticket $920 (round-trip per person)
Accommodation – double room at 70 Corner (70腳落) $2800 per night (on Sunday and week-days)
Electric Bicycle or Scooter Rental Included in hotel package
Snorkelling $300 for 1 hour guided excursion (per person)

Total

$8640

With an NT $3560 commission, Eddie is the most expensive part of the trip!

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9 thoughts on “Green Island Adventures: Are they ripping off Westerners?

  1. I think a few of the numbers above are incorrect . My ferry ticket was Nt 920 ( printed on the ferry ticket) , only normal bicycles are available for free at the visitor center – electric bikes are NT 400 per person per day – I got a normal bike the first day but then changed to an electric bike the next because of the heat; my taxi ride was NT 300 from the train station to the town north of the city where the ferries run from, although I shared a cab going back with someone I met on the boat and saved a few bucks. Say you had 2 electric bikes etc the total should be closer to NT 11 000 …. I went scuba diving with Eddie and it was awesome .

    • Hi Eddie (E. VILJOEN),
      Perhaps you would like to give an exact price breakdown for the package you offer on Green Island Adventures?

      I have updated my estimations, however I believe that hotels/guesthouses, including 70 Corner (70腳落) (translated page), often offer transportation and ferry tickets in their packages as well. So, in fact, my estimate has been generous as it is.

      Look forward to hearing the exact price breakdown from you, and please stop spamming my blog comments.

      Charlie

  2. Melissa and Rick13 August 2013 03:13

    They were great about the snorkeling! Not only did we have an unlimited time, they let us keep the snorkeling equipment for our entire time on the island so we could snorkel whenever or wherever we wanted to. I would definitely book with them again!

  3. I think there’s a bit of whining going on here. There’s nothing wrong with those prices. I had the same exact package and I had a great time. The only thing I can agree with is if the hotel room wasn’t available for the first night then there should have been a reduction in price or an offer to let cancel

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