This is part of a series.You can read it here: Life in Taiwan: Hitchhiking Taiwan
Perhaps it’s a little clichéd of me to say, but anyone who has had the pleasure of exploring Taiwan beyond its cities is sure to agree with me, this country is really beautiful. I don’t mean a nodding appreciation and a simple ‘oh, that’s nice’ kind of beautiful, but a jaw-dropping bewilderment that such a small island could harbour so much wonder in its perimeters. I’ve been here for approximately nine months now, I go exploring nearly every weekend and Taiwan has never disappointed me. I am, in essence, completely besotted with it.
You’ve probably been told at this point that the east coast is beautiful, Taiwan’s mountains are huge and that you should make it out to one of the islands if you have the time. This is, quite simply, a huge understatement. Taiwan’s east coast will have you wide-eyed the whole way up and down it. You’ll see mountains seemingly fall into the deep blue Pacific and white sandy beaches and rock formations that look like they belong in an adventure movie. Sure, the mountains are huge, and stunning, and when you get off the beaten track of the tourist spots, you’ll realise they’re steeped in history and ghost stories, they harbour hidden waterfalls and fairy pools for you to swim in to your hearts content, and local aboriginal peoples are ready to show you the how to navigate the jungles. And yes, you should make it out to an island, but find the time to make it to many of them, because they’re all really beautiful, from Green Island’s coral to Penghu’s opal water and white sand.
As far as settling into life in Taiwan goes, it didn’t take me very long. I’ve always loved the outdoors and for people like me, Taiwan is perfect. It has diving, hiking, climbing, swimming, rafting, river tracing and the list goes on, all amongst the background of breathtaking mountains, gorges and rivers. I realised within a few days of being here that I was going to like it, but it wasn’t until I found myself in a natural hot spring hidden in the mountains of Taitung with some friends, that I really realised that I was going to fall in love with it. There’s certainly something about scootering deep into the mountains for an hour, searching for a rumoured hot spring that the locals dig out of the mud every year, finding it, and going between the hot volcanic water and the cold mountain river, whilst gazing up at steep, tree-covered hills, that makes you think, ‘yes, I could get used to this’. Since then, finding spots like these has become a weekly thing, and almost every weekend I find myself by the side of a waterfall or swimming in some secluded beach on the east coast or hiking up a, sometimes spooky, mountain trail.
The best part about it is that there’s always more to find. Taiwan may be small, but there’s something for you to see and do around every river bend.
About the Author
Ella is an English teacher in Taiwan and has been living and teaching in Asia for the last two years. She has loved seeing kids enjoy learning English. In her spare time Ella has been learning Chinese, climbing mountains and finding hidden waterfalls in Taiwan’s beautiful countryside. You can check out her adventures on her Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ella.watson93/ or read about them on her blog www.byebyeblighty.wordpress.com.