For me, the biggest piece of awesomeness in Taiwan has been the beach. I’m not talking about a tiny piece of rocky land beside a lake, but a long, gorgeous stretch of sand and surf right on the ocean:
Taiwan is surrounded by water, so there are beaches everywhere. The best ones I have found so far are down south in Kenting. It’s about a 4 hr. train ride (or 1.5 on the high speed).
But there is coastline closer to my town as well, and the local beach is about 10 mins by scooter from my place. It has become a haven for me. I’m there almost everyday. There is nothing that will wake you up like an ocean dip in the morning:
All kinds of surfing have become very popular in Taiwan. The north-west tends to get a lot of wind, so wind-surfing and kite-surfing are pretty big here:
I have started surfing, but currently spend more time off my board than on it. Surfboards can be expensive, but you can get a used one for around 10 000 – 15 000 NT (US $333 – $500).
I got lucky, and got my board for free. My girlfriend actually won it in a lottery draw. After they pulled her name from the jar, she had to chug a 750 ml bottle of beer. Now, she doesn’t drink or swim, but she knew that I really wanted the board, so like a champ, she finished the bottle. Needless to say, she was sitting horizontally for the rest of the night, but I got a 26 000 NT board. What a great girl!!!
Kite-surfing is next on my hit list, but it’s pretty expensive to get into. A new kit will run you about 50 000 NT (US $1 666). Used ones can be had for maybe 20 000 – 30 000 NT (US $666 – $1 000). Maybe *someone* will win another contest.
SPOT Surf Shop
There is a surf shop/backpacker staying area right by the local beach called SPOT. It’s been in business for 7 years, and run by a local named Tony. He speaks English very well, so communication is not a problem. They rent out all sorts of surfing equipment. It’s a great place to chill out. My surfboard was won in a contest at SPOT:
And right beside SPOT is a bbq area where you can chill and feast:
You can find SPOT here:
To find other areas in Taiwan to surf, check out this website.
Since the weather is fantastic for most of the year, getting out and playing in the water is an option that’s almost always available. Just one more perk that Taiwan offers.
Now I just have to get better at surfing so that I’m not gulping down massive amounts of seawater anymore.