|The Strait-Crossing Ferry|
A five-kilometer-long bridge to the Fujian mainland was completed in November 2010. Pingtan Island is about 120 km from the nearby city Fuzhou, and it takes about 2 hours in bus/shuttle. The destination Bali is a port at the Tamsui River outside of Taipei city. There are bus and subway connections nearby.
|Armed Guard at the Beijing South Railroad Station|
There is one ferry crossing from both sides of the Strait every day, you can find the schedules on these two websites  . Use either site to book and purchase tickets for passengers with a will-call arrangement. The Monday morning ferry run is at 9:00am from Pingtan, and the transportation is iffy if I tried to take that ferry from Fuzhou. I decided to stay in Pingtan Island, and I used Airbnb app to book a hostel-like room near the beach. It was my first excuse to use Airbnb.
|Fuzhou City Light|
|Fuzhou WuYi Square from Shangri-La hotel Window|
|Saint Dominic Cathedral|
|FuZhou local snack- mostly sticky rice based|
As usual, I found my Catholic Church in the city. Saint Dominic Cathedral is in the Cangshan district. Fuzhou was one of the earliest ports open to foreign trade in Qing Dynasty.
The Lin Zexu museum was an interesting visit, as I came back to read a whole lot more about the significance of the First Opium War and the unraveling of Modern Chinese History. Lin was a Fuzhou native and was sent to Canton as the envoy from the Emperor in Beijing to enforce the ban on opium trade.
The old town was interesting and layout of the residential clusters dated back to the Jin Dynasty around 300AD. I enjoyed some local food for lunch in the old quarters.
|Lin ZeXu Museum|
|Deity in the unregulated Super Shuttle|
He dropped me off at the Pingtan Bus Station. I had to take another cab to my beach-front BnB place. Fortunately I had a Chinese phone number, and the driver could talk to the BnB owner to get me that. It was not easy and straightforward. Although the island is changing rapidly, Pingtan Island still is a big fishing village. The day was cloudy with light rain. It was not a good thing to be left out in nowhere. They didn't use meters for the taxi ride and this was usually not a good sign for visitors. I got to the place for 40 RMB.
|Pingtan Island Beach BnB - near Island Research Center|
|Pingtan Beach - near Island Research Center|
|Panoramic View of Pingtan Beach - near Island Reseach Center|
|Pingtan Ferry Terminal Ticket Office|
|Pingtan Customs and Border Control|
I pre-ordered my ticket online with a travel agent . The transaction was reasonable. The fare was 600RMB (about 90USD) and the service charge was 30RMB. I had a piece of paper printed in Beijing to exchange for the actual ticket. Basically it is a will-call transaction.
|Ferry Boat middle Section|
|Goddess Protecting the Ferry Boat in the Front Section|
With my pre-trip research, I was planning to take the bus to Taipei City Center or take the subway from GuanDu/HongShuLin. Either way, I realized that I had to take a short taxi ride to Bali town or to the subway station. I was quite tired and with a large luggage, I ended up taking the cab all the way to the city. It was about 30 minutes and cost me 760NTD (23USD).
|Arriving at Bali Port at the mouth of Tamsui River|
This travel route still needs a lot of ironing out, and it is not yet ready for individual travelers, especially non-Chinese speakers. I saw that about six tour groups from both sides of the Straits on this ferry. I think this is an interesting experience from both side of the Straits and might be less expensive as well. The tour operators could arrange the lodging and transportation to bridge the gaps that are not convenient for individual travelers.
|Waiting for Shuttle at Bali Port, Taipei|
台北市龍江路96號2樓 02-25169779, Boat ticket from Pingtan - 电话：0591-23192222 传真：0591-24199222 ATTN. MS CHANG J