Taiwan’s landscape lends itself to wet and dry activities, with lots on offer for visitors to do. Whether it’s hiking through breathtaking gorges, saddling up a horse, or rafting down river rapids, there is a multitude of activities to keep visitors occupied.
Taiwan’s ecology can be appreciated through activities like whale watching at Hualien or snorkeling at places such as Kenting National Park. Other natural wonders include the many hot springs of different types that dot the cities and countryside.
The tropical waters off Taiwan are known for snorkeling and diving. Tours that include snorkeling and diving amongst colorful tropical fish and reefs of Green Island can be organized through Green Island Adventures. Another popular spot for snorkeling and diving is Kenting National Park, with tours being offered by a number of operators, including In Motion Tours.
A good way to experience Taiwan’s natural beauty is by hiking through it. Toroko Gorge is popular with hiker, with Edison Travel Service offering day tours from Taipei. Highlights include the Taroko Gorge Gateway, Eternal Spring Shrine, Tunnel of Nine Turns and Swallow Grotto. Yushan Mountain, Taiwan’s highest peak, is another popular challenge. A one day guided ascent can be booked through Taiwan Adventures.
Taiwan is a good place to try horseback riding, with many clubs, such as Hannover Equestrian Club in Taipei, offering instruction in English. Besides clubs, visitors can visit a ranch for the day or stay over for an extended horse riding experience. The popular Houli Horse Ranch at Taichung City is one of Taiwan’s best, and offers a range of horses and activities for all abilities.
Taiwan’s rivers are ideal for white water river rafting, with Xiuguluan River at Hualien and Laonong River at Kaohsiung being two of the most popular spots. Rafting can be organized through the Xiuguluan River Rafting Center or tour operators such as Hsiang Sun.
Taiwan has many tropical sandy beaches where visitors can relax. Green Island and Kenting in the South or Fulong beach in the North and are considered some of the nicest. Chi Hsing beach can be reached by day trip from Taipei, through organizations such as Viator or Tourcorp.
One of the better ways to see the pretty rural areas outside Taiwan’s cities is by cycling. The countryside around Meinong is known for tracks, roads and cycle paths that pass through pleasant scenery and traditional houses. Grasshopper Adventures organize cycling trips or, alternatively, bicycles can be rented from places such as Shui Lian Tian Campground.
Taiwan is known for rock climbing, with several good sites around the country. The sea cliffs at Long Dong are considered one of the best, with firms such as Little Po Adventures offering packages to climb the famous Dragon Cave. Other popular climbing places include the natural limestone walls at Guanzhiling or Taroko Gorge for bouldering. There are also a number of indoor climbing centers, such as Idea in Taipei, which offer manmade climbing walls and instruction.
Taiwan is great for people who love mineral pools, as the country is blessed with the one of the highest concentration of hot springs in the world. Taipei’s Beitou Hot Spring and Yangmingshan Hot Spring are two of the easiest to reach. Further afield, better known springs are Guanziling at Tainan City, Sichong River in Pingtung, and Jhihben in Taitung. Many tourist prefer to stay at one of the many hot springs hotels to enjoy the waters. Travel King has an extensive online hot springs guide and offers hotel spa bookings. Alternatively, many tour operators offer daytrips such as the half day Yangmingshan hot spring tours from Taipei that can be booked through Viacom.