Credit: The Luxe Nomad for The Travel Insider
August 2019

When we think of surfing destinations, Taiwan is rarely top of mind – in fact, it’s hardly thought of at all. Taiwan is typically a destination for night markets, hiking, hot springs and shopping. Yet behind the scenes, the island’s surf culture is growing – a haven for those in the know who desire waters that are warm year-round, with solid waves, and peace and quiet. As Taiwan is not yet a household name amongst surfers, it can be hard to pinpoint where to go. Here are some of the island’s finest gems – tucked away from the capital, and down the southeastern coasts. 

Taitung County

Along the mountainous southeastern coast of Taiwan, the beaches of Taitung are not the most accessible. The easiest way to get in is to fly into Kenting and drive approximately three hours up the coast – but this is what keeps the area so pure and devoid of tourism. The breaks here would be much more popular if the journey was quicker – they’re known for consistent swells and warm waters and are perfect for a wide range of skill levels. 



Image credit: Goodfish on magicseaweed


Image credit: Goodfish on magicseaweed

Within a small village, you’ll find a surfing mecca just beyond an unassuming parking lot. Despite appearances, and a rocky beach that can be difficult to traverse, Donghe is considered to be an extremely consistent swell-magnet, and the breaks of Donghe Rivermouth have the best wave quality on the island. 

The river mouth here is a fairly shallow rock break with waves capable of maintaining their shape even when the swells get large. There are two breaks on either side of the river, both of which offer steep wave faces, providing plenty of space for more advanced surfers to play with, as well as some short barrel sections. It’s not recommended for beginners though, as the shallow waters can lead to accidents involving the rock floor. 

The best time to visit Donghe is during the winter months – between October and March. During these months the breaks benefit from monsoons to the northeast. The summer is good too, but the waves will not be as powerful. 


Image credit: Fabian Slikkerveer on magicseaweed


Image credit: Fjing229 on Flickr

A rocky reef break just south of Donghe is Jinzun – a place reminiscent of Hawaii, before tourism exploded, thanks to its mountainous backdrop. This surf break should be better known than it is – the World Surf League holds the Taiwan Open of Surfing here – however, it remains a quiet spot thanks to Taiwan’s limited surfing reputation. 

The breaks of Jinzun offer consistent waves and both left and right-handers that can barrel. It might be similar to the surf at Donghe (the two often benefit from the same swells and winds), but Jinzun is much easier on beginners. The black sands too are quite appealing when relaxation is in order.  

Jinzun works year-round, with the winter months seeing bigger waves. 



Image credit: Goodfish on magicseaweed


Image credit: Nick Kembel

Until recently Dulan was only accessible to the outside world by ships brave enough to make their way over the area’s tall waves. Much like Donghe and Jinzun to its north, Dulan is a great year-round surf beach with a consistent swell. The waves are quiet in the summers, making it great for beginners, but becomes more powerful during the winter months.

Unlike the two to the north, Dulan has a variety of breaks – beach breaks, reef breaks, and rock breaks, providing different quality waves for all levels. Some breaks are in a protected harbour giving beginners a safe place to practice, while typhoon swells create fast barrels for more advanced surfers. 


Pingtung County

On the Hengchun peninsula, the beaches of the Kenting region are home to the most versatile surfing in Taiwan. As it’s on a peninsula, there is often at least one surfable break at any given time depending on wind and swell directions. The breaks are all within an hour of one another – making it all the easier if you’re searching for the perfect wave.   



Image credit: Lucas Yuen on magicseaweed

Heading west from Kenting, Nanwan beach (also known as Binglang Beach) sits near the tip of the peninsula and is one of the few southeast facing surf beaches in the area. A reef break creating beautiful and shapely rights, this spot is good for surfers of all skill levels. Watch out, though, because here, even though it is a reef break, the movements of the sand can have a major impact on the waves. Depending on the sand/reef/swell mixture, the waves here can begin to barrel. When these come, beginners should stay clear.  

Nanwan works best during the summer monsoon season when the waves can pick up – becoming more powerful and consistent.



Image credit: Ho Yvonne on magicseaweed

Image credit: Chongkian on Wikimedia Commons 


On the eastern side of Kenting National Park, Jialeshui is a quiet surfer enclave. Considered Taiwan’s most reliable spot for surf, the breaks here provide a range of waves good for all abilities. Right-breaking waves can be found near the river mouth which helps to create longer rides, while goofy-footed surfers can almost always find lefts at the side of the bay. 

The beach, however, is rocky, which has helped keep the breaks of Jialeshui quiet – tourists often dare not traverse here. 

The waves at Jialeshui work best during the autumn months, between the two monsoon seasons.  



Image credit: Ho Yvonne on magicseaweed

A bit closer to Kenting, and north of Nanwan break, Windmills is a reef break that only awakens during the summer typhoon season. As it works best during typhoons, it’s a break for stronger surfers searching for that perfect barrel, even if that means potentially getting caught in the sharp reef. 

For the rest of the year, this spot features small waves that are not powerful but are good for getting started.



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