With its rich, diverse culture, extraordinary natural history and exceptionally dramatic landscapes, Taiwan really is an underappreciated destination. It also happens to offer a variety of fantastic diving, all year round

1 YEH LIU GEO PARK

An alien landscape of incredible rock formations, weathered over the years to form a veritable geological Disneyland

2 YANGMINGSHAN NATIONAL PARK

Escape to a magical, volcanic world of hot springs, butterflies and birds, just outside Taipei

3 NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM

One of the world’s largest collections of ancient Chinese artefacts, home to over 700,000 relics of antiquity

4 LONGSHAN TEMPLE

Photo by: Shutterstock

 

One of the largest and oldest temples in Taiwan, built in 1738. Buddhist and Taoist deities both get a look in

5 TAROKO GORGE

A breathtaking gorge whose name, Taroko, means “magnificent and splendid” in the language of Truku, the aboriginal tribe residing in the area. In one afternoon, go from coastal cliffs to subtropical forested canyons, up to subalpine forests in some of Taiwan’s tallest peaks.

6 LANYU (ORCHID ISLAND)

It is a little known fact that Taiwan is home to a number of local, aboriginal tribes. Visit the island of Lanyu, where the matrilineal Dao people live, and experience a culture that is a world away from that of modern Taipei

7 HOT SPRINGS

An absolute must, the geothermal baths in Taiwan are some of the best in the world. All contain different combinations and concentrations of various minerals, in all sorts of settings. Check out BEITOU, WULAI, JIAOXI, TAIAN, and GUANZILING

Diving Spots

a) LONGDONG

For: Dramatic rocky topography and squid nests constructed by local dive operators

Conditions: Visibility is variable and often poor, water temperatures range from 23°C in the spring, up to about 27°C in the summer

When: May to September

Photo by Tommi Kokkola

b) GONGUANBI

For: Critters galore: nudibranchs, crabs, shrimps and even pygmy seahorses

Conditions: Shallow, protected water

When: Year round

c) SHIHLANG

For: Critters galore: nudibranchs, crabs, shrimps and even pygmy seahorses

Conditions: Shallow, protected water

When: Year round

Photo by Tommi Kokkola

d) DABAISHA TO MATI BRIDGE

For: Shore and boat diving, dramatic scenery, canyons, caves and gorgonian fans

Conditions: Currents can be strong, visibility is good

When: Year round

e) ORCHID ISLAND (LANYU)

For: Excellent diving: stunning corals, shallow reefs, walls and deep dives, pelagic life including sharks and tuna, sea snakes, turtles, possible sightings of manta rays, whale sharks and the occasional whale!

Conditions: Visibility can be great, water temperatures vary from 22 in winter up to about 28 in summer

When: West coast in winter, northeast coast in summer

Photo by Tommi Kokkola

f) KENTING

For: Pretty coral reefs, dramatic rock formations, swimthroughs and caves, interesting critters, lots of fish, turtles and rays

Conditions: Easy diving, good for training. Some sites can have a bit of surge. Colder in winter, water temperatures get up to about 29°C in the summer

When: Year round, warmer in the summer

Read the rest of this article in No.88 Issue 7/2016 of Scuba Diver magazine by subscribing here or check out all of our publications here.

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