Judy and I planned a long 5 week trip in Taiwan and China in early 2016 and after much traveling we are finally back in the states! It was a long trip with lots of family visits and a lot of rain too due to El Nino, but we managed to get out on the water quite a few times and had so much fun!
Our weeks in summary:
Week 1: Arrive in Taipei (northwest coast of Taiwan), visit family for a week.
Week 2: Drive from Taipei to Tainan (southwest coast of Taiwan) for a couple of days, then 5 days in Kenting National Park (south coast of Taiwan).
Week 3: Fly to China Hainan (southern island of China near Vietnam east coast) to visit my dad and fly to Xiamen to visit my maternal grandfather's birthplace (and finding 100+ family members in the process).
Week 4: Fly back to Taipei for a week to experience the city. Unfortunately, it was the coldest week in 14 year history of Taipei.
Week 5: Drive to Taidong (east coast of Taiwan), surf and paddle! We found Ribbit (a stray dog with a broken leg) on the highway at night and our journey to rescue this little guy.
Food and Night Markets
What can I say, the food in Taiwan is TOP Notch! First: it's the coffee capital of Asia. There's a cafe every corner and good too! There's all kinds of food: South Asian, American, European and best of all Taiwanese. Second: street food rules. On a busy street, almost every shop is a restaurant dedicated to a couple of specialties.
Night markets are all over the place in cities and small towns. Check them out!!!
Click on the photos to the left to see stories behind them.
The people in Taiwan were extremely polite, generous and clean. Coming from China, I was pleasantly surprised at how people treated me with respect even with my Mandarin accent.
Service was excellent wherever you went. Even street market vendors are generally open to talking with you, granted most people did not speak a lot of english and some didn't even speak Mandarin only Taiwanese.
Of course, we were visiting family so we got a lot of star treatment. Great breakfast lunch and dinner with afternoon tea in between. Heavens! Gotta get back to paddling so that I can lose all that weight I gained!
There is no shortage of beautiful and calm waters in Taiwan to paddle! Since it's an island there are many different spots to paddle in the west, south and east coast. The south coast is probably the best area for touring due to the sunny weather most of the time. The south coast has miles and miles of beach, some more remote than others but all of them with turquoise waters. The best thing is the water is 80 degrees. Falling in the water is as good as bath tub. So nice!
SUP Surfing and Surfing
The surfing scene is getting very popular in Taiwan. There are multiple surf shops along both south coast and east coast. The east coast has the most number of surf breaks. Typically in the spring and summer, good breaks comes with typhoons (before and after). But in the winter time, breaks are much better for beginner and intermediates under calm conditions. In addition, there are multiple breaks that are great for SUPs and not good for surfers so we are all able to get along!
The only drawback to some of the breaks that we went to was that even though the breaks were gentle, the beach sometime were rocky (not jagged but round) and they tend to hurt fins when you're coming back in. So we went searching for sandy beaches and we found quite a few!