Though small, Taiwan has much to offer in terms of recreational activities, whether these are water sports such as snorkeling, surfing, boating, river tracing or canoeing; land activities such as hiking and mountain climbing; or even aero-sports for the more daring among us, such as parasailing and hang-gliding.

Areas in Taiwan suitable for diving include the North and Northeast Coast, the Hualien-Taitung Coast, Kenting, Green Island, Orchid Island, and Penghu. You can either choose to descend into the deep seas and marvel at the underwater wonders as migratory fish, colorful reef fish, shrimp, shell organisms, sea snakes, and turtles swim by, or have a glimpse of the beauty below from the surface and go snorkeling. Areas suitable for snorkeling include Dabaisha, Matijiao, Shilang and Jiekou on Green Island; Jibei, Xianjiao, Gupo, and Qimei in the Penghu; Longdong Bay on the Northeast Coast; and Nanwan and Eluanbi in Kenting.

Taiwan's coast is not only one of breathtaking beauty, but because of its topographical features, its colossal waves are perfect for surfing. Areas suitable for surfing include Honeymoon Bay and Fulong on the Northeast Coast, Jichi and Shanyuan on the East Coast, Nanwan in Kenting and Guanyinting on Penghu. The best time for surfing in Fulong, Jichi and Shanyuan is from May to end October, in Guanyinting from the Mid-Autumn Festival until the Dragon Boat Festival, and at Honeymoon Bay and Nanwan all year round.

Taiwan provides ample opportunities and good conditions for canoeing, as its rivers are abundant and mostly fast-running, boating areas are not far away, and climatic and other natural conditions are favorable. Canoeing can be done on the sea or on rivers. In Yilan, for example, annual international boat races are held on the Dongshan River. Other areas suitable for canoeing include the Beishi River in Pinglin, Taipei (the section from Guolai to Pinglin), the Nanshi River in Wulai, Taipei (the section from Doll Valley to Wulai), Shuangxikou in Xindian, and Shalun Beach in Danshui. If you are not an experienced canoeist, you can also choose to go raffing on the Xiuguluan River in Hualien County or the Laonong River in Kaohsiung County.

Taiwan is not only very mountainous, it also offers a great variety of scenery and many valleys and rivers with waterfalls, rapids, canyons, pools, and river terraces. River tracing can be pursued in Taipei County (Beishi River, Gupoliao River, Nanshih River, Chakong River, Neidong River, Tunghou River, Haben River and Jiajiuliao River), Taipei City (Tatun Mountain Valley), Yilan County (Nan River), Nantou County (Tiepilun River, Guandao River and Shalixian River), Chiayi County (Nanzixian River), Hualien County (Taosai River, Chiakan River, and Sanchan River), Taichung County (Qijiawan River), Pingtung County (Ailiaonan River), Kaohsiung County (Weichin River) and Taitung County (Taimali River).

The best time for fishing in Taiwan is from November to March, and you can catch common fish such as the drummer, the bream, and the whitespotted rabbitfish. If you would like to experience a different kind of fishing, you could also try the popular boat fishing and trolling. On Taiwan's offshore islands you can find large numbers of the Trichiurus japanicus Trichiurus lepturus, the bigeye red fish that are attracted to the reefs that surround these islands. Spring and summer are most suitable for beach fishing for small fish such as spotted sandborers and thornfish. Next to the water activities described here, visitors can also try out other activities such as wind surfing, water skiing and parasailing, or just relax on the beach or go on a seaworld adventure by taking a trip on a boat.

Taiwan is an island, some two-third of the total area of which is covered with mountains of which 219 peaks reach 3,000 meters above sea level. In contrast to similar mountains abroad that are covered with perpetual snow, Taiwan's mountains are thickly forested, and a vertical distribution of a variety of flora, ranging from tropical to Asian tropical, warm temperate, cool temperate, cold temperate, subarctic, and frigid, can be clearly distinguished. Traces of Taiwan's various aboriginal cultures can also be found in these mountainous regions up to an altitude of 2,000 meters. Although most aborigines have moved to the plains and other areas at the foot of the mountains, their tribal traces, hunting grounds, and traditional buildings deep within the mountains have still been preserved to date. Taiwan's mountains therefore form a versatile agglomeration of beautiful scenery, grass plains, lakes, and aboriginal culture, attracting both local and foreign nature explorers.

Some great destinations for mountain climbing in Taiwan are Yushan (Jade Mountain), highest peak in Northeast Asia; Snow Mountain, second-highest peak in Taiwan; Daba Mountain, known as one of the most peculiar peaks in the world; Hehuanshan, one of the few places in Taiwan where snowfall can be expected during winter; and Nenggao Mountain, third-highest peak in Taiwan. Yushan in particular, with its grand beauty and imposing main peak, is a favorite among mountaineers from around the world and is frequently challenged by foreign mountaineering groups. Hiking and mountain climbing are favorite pastimes in Taiwan. Popular trails can be reached by car very easily, while it requires only two to three days to reach altitudes higher than 3,000 meters.

Taiwan also has numerous hiking trails of which many are actually ancient trails that were used by early residents for daily, economic, or even military purposes and therefore are of historical significance. The main trails that can still be found today are the following :

NorthTaiwan: the Yangmingshan trail, the Tatun Mountain trail, the Miantian Mountain trail, the Erziping trail, the Yekungkeng Mountain trail, the Chunlianyan trail in Beitou, the Sishou Mountain trail in Taipei's Xinyi District, and the Caoling Historic trail on the Northeast Coast. Central Taiwan: the Lion's Head Mountain trail in Miaoli and the Dakeng trail in Taichung. SouthTaiwan: the Shoushan trail in Kaohsiung; and the Lushui River trail, the Lotus Pond trail, and the Mystery Valley trail in Taroko National Park.

Next to these trails, there is also a system of national forest trails, including the Ruitai Historic trail, the Duli Mountain Historic trail, and the Fengihu Datung Mountain trail in Chiayi County, the Lilong Mountain trail in Pingtung County, the Shenmu Mountain Resort trail in Yilan County, the Hiking trail in Taitung County, and the Malabang Mountain trail in Miaoli County, all offering extraordinary scenery and great opportunities for hiking and mountain climbing.

Natural climbing locations of all degrees of difficulty can be found anywhere from northern to southern Taiwan and even along the EastCoast. There are also many artificial climbing sites, so there is a choice for everyone. Natural climbing locations include Longdong, Tabao, Guantziling and Qijin.

Taiwan counts more than 60 singles clubs that organize a wide range of activities during weekends and holidays and take you on biking trips around Taiwan. Some areas suitable for biking are the Danshui River in Taipei, the Aofeng Mountain in Taichung, the Love River in Kaohsiung, and the Black Forest and Kuanshan Village in Taitung.

Bungee Jumping: Bungee jumping activities are most frequently organized in Taoyuan at the Fuxing suspension bridge and the Dahan bridge. After this thrilling experience you can enjoy some of the beautiful scenery that is displayed on Lala Mountain and Taiping Mountain, and in Little Wulai.


Places where you can go parasailing include Green Bay, Luyeh, Hualien Jichi, Xiguandao Mountain 900, and Saijia in Pingtung County.


Places where you can go hang-gliding include Green Bay in Taipei; Sanzhan, Liyu Mountain, and Jichi in Hualien County; Qixingtan in Hualien City, Taiping Mountain and Gaotai in Taitung County; and Saijia Areo-Park in Pingtung. Taiwan is an island with many faces, catering to the varying needs of tourists. Whether you are looking for a challenge or need a place to relax, whether you like outdoor activities on land, water, or in the sky. If you want to get away from it all, then why not come to this tropical island to spend your holidays!

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Information provided by Tourism Bureau, Rep. of China.


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