Taitung, Taiwan: Exploring the East Coast

Photograph taken by Dominic LeCroissette

Photograph taken by Dominic LeCroissette

Forget Kenting as being Taiwan’s Hawaii. As a matter of fact, just forget Kenting. Located in between the lush green mountains and the deep blue Pacific, the Donghe District in Taitung (about 15 miles north of Dulan) easily earned a spot on my Top 5 Favorite Beach Destinations.

Reasons Why I Prefer Taitung Over Kenting:

1. All of the tourists and Taiwanese vacationers flock to Kenting. Heading south on highway 1, the congested road comes to a fork where one can take the 26 to go to Kenting or the 9 to go to Taitung. It’s a pleasant sight to see the bulk of the traffic turn off for Kenting, leaving you on the 9 all by yourself.  If you are looking for peace and a chance to reconnect with nature, then Taitung is the place for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a party, I would go to Kenting.

2. The surfing is better in Taitung. *

3.  You+the beach+no one else = how is this even possible in Taiwan?

4. Epic sunrises

5. Mountains

When traveling to beaches, I keep a mental checklist that helps me keep track and rate them. So far, here’s my list:

 Top 5 Favorite Beach Destinations (in no particular order):

1. Playa Majagual in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

2.  Playa Ancon in Trinidad, Cuba 

3. Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

4. Maui, Hawaii

5. Donghe District in Taitung, Taiwan (I’m sorry, but due to a promise, this beach has to be kept a secret)

Scenic overlook in Donghe District.

June 22’s Super Moon hovering over the Pacific.

Camping digs.

Papaya breakfast.

Directions from Kaohsiung:

1. Train and Bus- take the train to Taitung (remember to reserve these online as soon as you can, as this line is popular and books fast).  Tickets go for 279-362NT one way and the journey is anywhere from 2- 2 and a half hours. Upon exiting the Taitung train station, turn right and walk to the bus stop. There are buses leaving regularly that go north on highway 11. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get to Donghe.

2. Motorcycle or scooter– (journey takes around 4 hours) Head south from Kaohsiung on the 17, following it past the airport and industrial zones all the way to the end where it meets highway 1 at Shueidiliao. Turn right on the 1 and head towards Kenting, passing Fangliao. At around km448, keep an eye out on your right for a place called Three Fools which serves excellent smoothies on a breezy terrace overlooking the ocean.

Continue down the hill and along the coast. Just past Fangshan, the road divides, and highway 9 to Taitung is clearly signposted along a big bridge which veers off to the left. A few kilometers along highway 9, traffic vanishes and the road cuts through the mountains, offering splendid views of forested hillsides and river valleys.

Once you emerge on Taiwan’s east coast, turn north (left) and it’s a straight – and scenic – shot along the coast to Taitung. 10km before town, the road forks: take the right turn (highway 11) which follows the coast, skirts Taitung, crosses the mouth of a broad river, and eventually brings you to Dulan.

*Author’s Note:  I am not a surfer, however, from asking many surfers in Taiwan, the general consensus is that the waves are better in Taitung.


  1. Taiwan’s east coast is definitely the best part of Taiwan as long as they can prevent massive development from happening. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is just like Kending in 10-20 years. The best scenic drive and the best oranges are also near Donghe on Hwy 23. http://theworldisnotthatbig.com/2012/08/23/the-east-coasts-hwy-23-taiwan/

  2. I absolutely agree with you! Taitung (and all along the east coast) is a beautiful to escape, relax, and just be! I avoid Kenting in summer. Too many people to constitute the perfect beach paradise for me!!

  3. Kending actually has a lot to offer away from the hordes. I know there are some less visited beaches but I don’t know where. Some good hiking in the area and there is this beach walk in Jialeshui http://theworldisnotthatbig.com/2012/10/03/chufengbi-trail-jialeshui-taiwan/

  4. WOW… cannot wait to go there!! Im booking my flight tomorrow… coming 25th August… yeeeehaaa!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: