Taiwan, also nicknamed Formosa (the beautiful place), is located in the South China Sea just across the Taiwan Strait from Hong Kong. The country straddles the Tropic of Cancer, meaning that the climate is quite varied between the north end of the island and the south. Because most of the diving takes place south of the Tropic of Cancer, we will discuss that climate here. Taiwan has a complicated seasonal pattern, but diving is available for most of the year. From July until September, the country enjoys a hot and dry summer outside of the occasional typhoon. From November to March, the weather is cool and often cloudy. April and October are transitional months and are the best for above ground activities as it is usually dry but not too hot. May and June bring the plum rains. Taiwan receives most of its rainfall during these two months. The average high temperatures vary from 77-90°F (25-32℃). Water temperatures range from 76 to 85°F (24 to 29℃).
After being colonized by the Dutch, Spanish and Japanese, today Taiwan claims independence. However, this is still questioned by China who claim the island as their own. Despite worldwide political tensions caused by this issue, Taiwan is regularly ranked as one of the safest countries in the world.
Although some of Taiwan’s best dive sites are in the more remote regions of the island nation, a wide variety of accommodation is available. From camping to five-star hotels, any traveler will be able to find a suitable place to stay. As a word of caution, English-speaking dive centers and fluent divemasters can be difficult to locate without assistance. Adequate research and a few Chinese phrases will prove infinitely helpful during your trip.
Throughout the year, dive sites are uncrowded due to the fact that Taiwanese culture has yet to fully embrace scuba diving. There is a small influx of visiting divers from July to September, but nothing major. All-in-all, the beauty of Taiwan’s dive sites have yet to be discovered. Once word gets out, this is sure to change quickly.
In addition to scuba diving, Taiwan offers tourists a look into a unique culture. Visitors might enjoy learning about Taiwan’s tumultuous history at the National Palace Museum or through a trip to Kinmen Island on the coast of China.
For a more adventurous holiday, divers can also enjoy mountain climbing in the central mountain rage, whitewater rafting in Taroko Gorge National Park, paragliding near Yilan, hiking to natural hot springs and relaxing on beautiful beaches in Kenting.
The country’s major cities, such as Taipei and Kaohsiung, offer shopping and dining opportunities as well as plenty of entertainment and nightlife.
Whatever your plans, don’t leave the country without witnessing one of the hundreds of Taoist festivals and parades that take place year-round.
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) is the most popular entry point for foreign flights and is connected by direct routes to Europe, Australia and North America. Kaohsiung International Airport (KHH) also receives a few international flights a day, mostly from other Asian countries.
Once inside the country, moving around is easy and convenient. Trains, high speed rail, buses and ferries connect major cities as well as off-shore islands. Scooter and car rental is also available. For longer distances, TransAsia Airways and Mandarin Airlines offer domestic flights.