The 8 best Taiwan beaches

Merging aboriginal heritage with Chinese culture and a dash of Japanese imperialism, the small island nation of Taiwan is as unique and distinct as can be. With a solid reputation for exceptional street food and untouched natural wonders, from lush mountain ranges to magnificent marble valleys, Taiwan has more than enough variety to keep visitors amused. Shaped like a sweet potato, at the heart of the China Sea with the Pacific Ocean crashing its shores in the east, Taiwan is an island of a thousand beaches, many of which come wild, windy and untamed. Perfect for scenic adventures and cooling dips, Taiwan’s beaches can also provide world-class surfing or scuba diving opportunities. Read on for Mr Hudson’s pick of the best beaches in Taiwan…

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Photo: Chang Hsien

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Dawan Beach sees strong currents year-round, making it a great spot for confident surfers

1. Taimali Beach

We’ll start our guide to the best Taiwan beaches on the South East coast, between Taitung and Kenting, where the weather is dryer and the surf is choppy. Discover Taimali Beach just half an hour south of Taitung, a place made famous for sightings of the first aurora on the Pacific Ocean. The beach itself rolls on endlessly; shaded by palms and met by crashing waves. Although the waters are prone to riptides and considered unsafe, the stunning Pacific views and piles of driftwood perfect for a campfire will keep you inspired. Come during August to participate in the Harvest Festival, an event run by indigenous groups of the nearby Bunun village.

2. Dawan Beach

Previously an exclusive stretch of sand owned by one of the Taiwan beach resorts in Kenting National Park, Dawan Beach has since opened to the public, allowing anyone to spend a quiet beach day in pristine surrounds. Located within walking distance of Kenting’s infamous night market, Dawan Beach sees strong currents year-round, making it a great spot for confident surfers but not for swimmers. Stay on the beach’s vine-covered sandy slopes for a safer experience, enjoying the rugged scenery and crustacean-rich rock pools.

Kenting National Park | Photo: Vined

Photo: Jody Hong Films

3. Fengchuisha, Kenting National Park

Staying within Kenting, we head next to the most scenic of Taiwan beaches, based next to Longpan Park near the island’s southern tip. Fengchuisha is known widely among Taiwanese but less among tourists as it only goes by its Chinese name 風吹沙, meaning ‘wind blows sand’. It’s fair to say the name is warranted as the sand dunes are numerous and the wind is strong; there’s even sand covering the road above. Take the dirt track down to the beach, dodging local fishermen on their scooters, to reach the shore. While you’re here, enjoy the trail along the beach which leads towards a number of swimming and snorkelling opportunities, as well as some potential wild camping spots.

4. Qingshui Cliffs

Designated as one of the Eight Wonders of Taiwan, Qingshui Cliffs are among the many Taiwan points of interest not to be missed. Within proximity to Taroko National Park, Qingshui Cliffs also offer a perfect viewpoint to catch sight of the three distinct colours of the Pacific Ocean as its waves crash upon the Eastern coast. Venture below along the Chongde trail and you’ll soon arrive at the pebble-covered Chongde Beach from where you can marvel at the interaction between man and nature; look up and see the Suhua Highway cut a hole right through the cliff face.

Photo: Stephanie Cook

Qingshui Cliffs | Photo: Vicky Ng

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Dotted with uniquely carved volcanic cliffs and rock trenches formed from millions of years of tidal forces, Laomei Beach is very much a photographer’s dream

Kenting | Photo: Timo Volz

5. Laomei Beach

At the opposite end of the island, close to Taiwan’s northernmost point, lies Laomei beach. Dotted with uniquely carved volcanic cliffs and rock trenches formed from millions of years of tidal forces, Laomei Beach is very much a photographer’s dream. An expansive sand beach about an hour’s drive from Taipei, where the rock formations turn a vivid green in April and May as algae thrives, Laomei Beach is also served by a scenic path leading to Fuguijiao Lighthouse, which looks out over the East China Sea and the stunning coastal countryside surrounding.

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6. Jibei Island

Pack yourself off to one of the country’s most remote islands, Jibei Island, where paradise beaches remain a well-kept secret and tourists are at a minimum. Proffering gentle waves and white sands with some of the most stunning blue waters around, Jibei Island is a beach vacation suitable for any age. The island itself is small and traversable within a day, with life centred on the beach. Engage in water-sports such as swimming, diving or snorkelling, revelling in a beach scene reminiscent of Hawaii. Access Jibei Island via ferry from the North Sea Tourist Centre on Baisha Island, where some boat operators provide package deals inclusive of transport and water activities on Jibei.

Photo: Yong Chuan Tan

7. Chihsingtan Beach

In Hualian meanwhile, Chihsingtan Beach wins the award to most spectacular sights. While our previous East coast mentions all boast unobstructed Pacific Ocean views,  the curved pebbled beach of Chihsingtan allows visitors to gaze upon turquoise blue waters complimented by cloud-shredded mountains in the distance. All this beauty has its limits however and swimming in these waters is not recommended; the strong currents are deadly! If arriving by train, alight at Beipu Station and walk to Chihsingtan.

8. Fulong Beach

If you like your sand both fine and golden, then Fulong Beach can deliver. This impressive 3km stretch of coastline lies on the northeast coast of Fulong Village, easily explored via a day trip from Taipei city. As well as activities such as wind gliding, sailing, surfing and swimming, Fulong Beach is famous for its annual Sand Sculpture Festival, with its own visitor’s centre for information on the surrounding National Scenic Area and local cultural and natural resources. Rock music fans should plan their visit for July and August when the famous HoYaiYan Gongliao Rock Festival descends on the beach. During the event, rock and pop music is played continuously, across several days, attracting music lovers and young people from Taipei and distant towns.

Taipei | Photo: Thomas Tucker

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