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Diving in Taiwan

With deserted dive sites containing an interesting mix of landscapes, pelagic species and corals, Taiwan isn’t yet a major dive destination. But, it’s certain to attract more divers as word spreads.

Diving in Taiwan

Quick facts

Taiwan has five major diving regions with fantastic visibility and varied marine life year-round: Kenting, Orchid Island, Green Island, Xiao Liu Qiu, and Dungji Island.

Kenting is the most popular destination of the bunch. Here on the southern tip of Taiwan, divers can enjoy both shore and boat diving into warm waters brought by the ‘Black Tide.’ Kenting Marine Park boasts 1100 marine species and 80 species of coral. Pelagic fish such as barracuda are common, while rarer sightings include swordfish and humpback whales.

Orchid Island, which lies off Taiwan’s southeast coast, is home to some of the best visibility in the country. It is regularly more than 100 feet (30 meters). Dive sites here include coral gardens and an impressive Korean tanker wreck at 100 feet (30 meters.) Additionally, Orchid Island is known as a breeding ground for sea snakes, which are commonly spotting during dives year-round.

Green Island, which is easily accesses from Taiwan’s east coast, is popular with local divers who like the variety of marine life. Common species include Coconut crab, batfish and spotted rays. Green Island also contains Shark Point, perhaps the most famous dive site in the country. Every spring, large numbers of hammerhead sharks gather here. Scientists believe they use the area as a breeding ground. This dive is technically advanced due to the negative entry and heavy current. Dive companies will generally only take divers with more than 100 dives to Shark Point.

Xiao Liu Qiu, just 30 minutes from Taiwan’s southwest coast, is a newcomer to the dive scene. Diverse coral reefs and walls make pleasant dives. Spotting turtles is almost guaranteed.

Dungji Island, which is part of the Penghu Islands, is the least popular dive site in Taiwan due to its inaccessibility. The area is famous for its drift diving because of the strong currents of the Taiwan Strait. Pelagic fish species are commonly spotted. There are several interesting wrecks in the area, however they require hard-to-get permits from the Taiwanese Navy.

Whichever area you choose to dive, Taiwan is sure to steal your heart.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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What to see

Because of its prime location with open ocean to the east and a protected strait to the west, Taiwan enjoys a plethora of marine life.

Taiwan boasts over 60% of the world’s hard and soft coral due to its consistently warm waters. 1100 coral fish species, including lionfish, cuttlefish, and puffer fish, can be found on the island’s reefs, walls and wrecks. Sea snakes are also commonly spotted.

Larger pelagics such as dogtooth tuna, mahi mahi, trevally, green turtles, hawksbill turtles, and huge shoals of hammerhead sharks are easily spotted on wreck and drift dives. On occasion, manta rays and humpback or sperm whales may also be present in deeper waters.

You’re sure to have some unique entries in your log book after a day of diving around Taiwan.

Calendar

For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Country

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.

Other attractions

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.

Getting there

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.

UTC+08:00

Time zone

TWD

Currency

+886

Calling code

110 V

Electric volt

A, 

B

Plug type

TPE

Main airport
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.