Our favourite beaches in Taiwan
29th March 2019 | by Guest author
We’ve fallen in love with Taiwan’s compact versatility - this tropical island offers glorious natural scenery, outdoor adventure and extraordinary food experiences all within relatively easy reach. Add on the island's diverse selection of scenic beaches, and you have a truly rewarding holiday.
For a laid back beach vibe, Martin recommends Kenting. Occupying the southern tip of Taiwan, Kenting National Park is known for its dramatic mountain scenery, attractively rugged coastline and coral reefs, along with wildlife such as diverse land crabs and hawksbill turtles. The beaches are warm, sandy, great for swimming, and popular with the locals, giving you the chance to see your hosts enjoying a little downtime. There’s a relaxed atmosphere, and nearby Kenting Town offers all manner of restaurants and street-food stalls. We also love to take coastal walks along the coral table cliffs behind the beaches - they offer fantastic views, and feature waterfalls and rivers curling through the sandy landscape.
If you're visiting Hualien to explore Taroko National Park, take time out to marvel at Qixingtan. This seven mile curve of shingle flanked by towering mountains sits just to the north of the city. Strong currents mean it's not safe for swimming, but the scenery is extraordinary, and a network of walking and cycle paths weave between the prime vantage points. You'll find eateries dotted along the shore road, and we enjoy a rugged picnic on the beach here, even though it isn't sandy - in fact, there's something rather agreeably wild about the place, thanks to its lack of sunbeds and sand sculptures.
If you would like to see some impressive sand sculptures, head to Fulong for its annual Sand Sculpture Festival, which normally takes place between April and July. The beach is on Taiwan's east coast level with Taipei, and is a quick train ride out of the city, so be aware that it's very popular amongst day-trippers. Nevertheless, the sculptures are truly extraordinary, with full sized palaces and intricate dragons emerging from the sand at the hands of competitive experts. When there's no festival, it's just a beach - nice enough, but if you have the time to travel into southern Taiwan, we recommend heading to Kenting for your warm sand fix instead.
Laomei Green Reef
Well, this one isn't so much about the beach, so we're kind of cheating by including it in this list! But this stretch of algae-covered ancient lava is so unusual that it's hard to know how to categorize it. The 'reef' is most impressive between April and May when the algae is brightest - the seasonal quality of the sight encourages something akin to Japan's cherry blossom and autumn foliage viewing, so you'll likely be sharing it with domestic tourists. Laomei is on Taiwan's north coast, where you'll find fishing harbours and good value seafood.
Very much about the scenery over the sand, this majestic stretch of coastline runs for 13 miles near Hualien, and its cliffs tower half a mile high over the Pacific Ocean below. In fact that's just an average height - its tallest point rises 1.5 miles, directly out of the ocean. Its a vertiginous scene, and the coastal roads above offer superb views and excellent cycling. The pebble beaches below aren't quite the place for sunbeds and cocktails, but we love their Jurassic vibe, with the pounding surf on one side, and tropical vegetation clinging to the cliffs on the other.