The four bodies of water swishing around Taiwan’s shores offer plenty of sweet spots for water sports. Within the island, the terrain is well-rivered and lushly rugged. Add heavy rainfall and typhoons, and you have a natural water park perfect for paddling, rowing, and canyoneering.
Fast gaining popularity in Taiwan, canyoneering is the sport of tracing a river in a ravine to its source. It often involves scrambling over boulders, wading across rapids, climbing waterfalls, and diving into pools. The streams around Hualien, like Baibao River and Shanpodang River; Jiajiuliao Stream in Wulai, south of Taipei; and Touqian River in Yangmingshan National Park are good canyoneering locations.
The Penghu Islands offer some of the finest windsurfing in the world. Their unique flatness means that monsoon winds turn fierce when they whip across the archipelago between September and March, making it one of the windiest places in the northern hemisphere. At the same time, Penghu’s geography has endowed it with a remarkable range of water features. No surprise Olympic windsurfing athletes train here, and the world’s top windsurfers come to practice, especially after October when the winds are too strong for amateurs.
Some of Taiwan’s best scuba diving and snorkeling spots can be found off Kending, Little Liuqiu Island, and the Penghu Islands. Lanyu (Orchid) Island and Green Island offer vibrant coral reefs and abundant tropical fish to boot. Surfers are known to favor beaches dotting the northeast coast, along seaside towns in Taitung, and in Kending.