When Portuguese sailors discovered Taiwan in 1547, they called it “Ilha Formosa” which means “Beautiful Island”. Taiwan is only 160km (99mi) from the main land where the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government has dominated since the Civil War victory against the Republic of China (ROC) in 1949. Despite the confusing situation, surfing in Taiwan has a long history. American soldiers were the first to ride the north coast of Jin Shan in 1965 and Mao Guh, a local pioneer, opened the original and still popular Jill’s Surf Shop near Honeymoon Bay and, thanks to the help of Martial Law, in 1987 they popped up. along the island the first surf clubs. Jung Wen-Chen, founder of the ROC Surfing Association , estimated there could be 25,000 people riding the waves in Taiwan. The east coast is much less developed than the super crowded west coast, while surfing on the south coast of Hualien is still illegal. North and east of Taipei, there are a ton of constant and crowded spots that are easily accessible even by numerous public transport. Paishwan is a constant spot with winter swells from the north, often offshore and easy to reach by metro. Jin Shan , also called Green Bay or Golden Mountain is super populated in the summer with lots of beginners and beach parties, but the rivermouth carries pollution. The golden sands of Fulong Beach are divided by the great Shuanghsi River, which often floods the end of the bridge. There are weak and unstable peaks: it is advisable to surf near the harbor to find cleaner conditions. Dashi , also known as Honeymoon Bay, enjoys clear water and some good sand peaks. Just north of Toucheng is Wushi , a decent black sand beach with a pier at the south end – localism is alive here. Steep headlands, ambushed bays and a few beaches make the east coast, from Hualien to Taitung, a paradise to explore, with many isolated right-hand pointbreaks. Gongs , 3km south of Yan Liao, is an external reef working at low-medium tide, right next to a park in a harbor with parking, camping and swimming. Nearby are Juci , the sandiest beach, and Fongbin, a beach next to a river: here beware of rocks and aggressive shorebreak. Taking the lefts of Bashien Dong will convince visitors of the power of surfing in Taiwan. This is a long pointbreak that generates left waves in conditions of large NE swells combined with NW winds. The river can create strong currents and some left to the north. South of the Three Fairy Shelf is Cheng Gong, an epic left that breaks near the shore but only activates with Category 4 or 5 typhoons from E-SE. Further south, the number of sandy beaches and reef breaks increase, but the swells are less constant. However, Jialeshuei Beach is perhaps the safest spot in Taiwan in terms of wave strength and quality. There are both rights near the rivermouth and lefts that break constantly, even with onshore wind conditions. The Kenting area has numerous breaks that work under different conditions. Nanwan , facing SE, is a right-hand reefbreak that works only with low-medium tide and SW swell. In Kaohsiung, head to Sunyatsen Beach to try out its bodyboard style shorebreaks. Sanshuei is one of those photo beaches, ready to catch the occasional summer swells from SE-SW. The last spot is Chu Nan , a slow and soft beachbreak suitable for beginners and protected from NW winds thanks to the harbor: just avoid low tide here.
Tariff per person, starting from:
|Departure||The Loft Seaside Suites (Sea Gaia Spring Hotel)||Fullon Hotel Fulong|
|From 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020||€ 536||-||-||€ 1,187|
Taiwan sits right in the middle of Typhoon Alley and swells larger than 7-16ft usually arrive from July to October. Category 1-3 storms can appear in less than 24hrs, while Category 4 and Category 5 super-typhoons usually take days to reach the coast depending on the storm’s path. Any violent storm that occurs away from the southeastern Pacific Rim area can create some waves. In summer, the average height of the surf is from the knees to the waist, as the waves are created by the SW monsoon winds with no typhoon activity. The most constant surf is generated in winter by the monsoon winds from the NE, which bring waves at head height almost every day, with a potential from 7-9ft peak. In the north and east of Taiwan there are many spots that collect swells, even small ones. The tides are semi diurnal with diurnal inequality but do not reach more than 3.2ft.
How to get there : Most countries can be visited for 30 days without a visa. The main airlines are China Airlines and Eva Air. It is possible to fly to Taiwan from many locations: Kaohsiung Airport (KHH) is a good option rather than Taipei (TPE). Transfer to Kenting (1h30m) costs around $ 180 return.
Getting around : Once you are out of Taipei or Kaohsiung, traffic is quiet and parking isn’t a problem. Be prepared for non-compliance with the law on the street. It is forbidden to take surfboards on public buses that depart from Taipei for any beach. Renting a car costs $ 84 / day and $ 106 for a 9-seater van. Many east coast surfers travel by train. Stay in Kenting and use public transport.
Accommodation and Food : Dorms cost $ 10 / night, while off-season hotels cost around $ 20-30, but typhoon season is peak summer season. Fu Dog Surf House in Nanwan ($ 15 / day) is recommended. Another option could be the Spider Surf Club Hotel: $ 10 / night in summer (A / C). Motel and hotel prices range from $ 45 to $ 120. food is cheap: $ 3-10 for a meal.
The climate : The temperature rarely drops below 15 ° C in winter and some days reach 25 ° C. The months of January and February mark mid-winter, while the summer lasts from April to November. Even if there are clear days, clouds often sit over the islands, discharging heavy rains.
Nature and Culture : There are many places to see near Taipei such as museums, temples (Shihtoushan Buddhist) and waterfalls (Wulai). Go to Tamsui Grass, a ski resort near Paishwan. Many mountains reach 3000m + so it will be possible to go hiking near Chishan and rafting in the Hsiukuluan River (east coast). Kenling National Park hides beautiful forests.
Dangers and annoyances : Waves rarely reach dangerous sizes except during typhoons. Some volcanic reefs could be dangerous. There is crowds only near Taipei and localism is rare. Large cockroaches and aggressive mosquitoes.
Practical advice : There are about ten surf shops in Taiwan, so you will find good equipment. Expect to pay $ 600 for a shortboard and $ 900 for a longboard. The rental is around $ 20 / day. In Taipei (Johnny Rose, Tube Factory) Ilan (Blue Ocean, Cool) Kenting (Hotel California, Beach House) or Jialeshuei (Pintung) will help you find accommodation, surf tours, schools, rentals… etc.
Exchange rate 1 EUR = 1.08 USD
Exchange rate variations (more than 3%) will lead to an adjustment of costs. They will be communicated within 20 days of departure.
The tariff does not include
Duration: 8 days / 6 nights
from € 242 - Excluding flights
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