Go Deeper: A Guide to Diving in Taiwan

Taiwan is a wonderful place for diving and it is a tremendously popular activity here, particularly with locals. There are heaps of great dive spots around the country, as well as off the smaller islands off Taiwan’s coast. With tremendous seascapes, coral reefs and crystal-clear waters allowing excellent visibility, Taiwan is a diver’s paradise and a must-visit for SCUBA divers and freedivers alike. Here are the best places in Taiwan to get under the water for divers of all levels.

Best for People in Taipei – Longdong

The most convenient place to get to for people who live in Taiwan’s capital, Longdong, in New Taipei City’s Gongliao district, is the largest bay on the northeast coast. Boasting clear waters and vast amounts of marine life, it is the perfect place for snorkeling and SCUBA. Once in the water, don’t be surprised to be greeted by schools of colorful tropical fish that also make the area popular with fishermen. You may also see the likes of starfish, shrimp, crabs, and sea anemones. Longdong is also great for rock climbing, while at Longdong South Ocean Park you can visit the educational center to learn about marine ecology, or just enjoy the seawater swimming pool. (Read more: 5 fantastic things to do around Fulong Beach)

Best for Beginners – Kenting  

Kenting National Park on Taiwan’s southern tip is all about white sands and coral reefs. Home to more than 80 varieties of coral, as well as in excess of 1,000 types of fish (including clown fish of Finding Nemo fame), Kenting is a gorgeous place for your first diving experience. Book an excursion with the Taiwan Dive Center by Houbihu Fishing Harbor and be guided through your first SCUBA experience that is sure to have you hooked as soon as you get in the water – hooked on diving, that is, not by a fisherman… (Read more: Surf and turf eco-fun in Taiwan’s tropical south)

Best for Seeing Sea Turtles – Xiaoliuqiu (Lambai Island)

Known by several names, including Xiaoliuqiu (小琉球), Lamay Island and Little Liuqiu, Lambai Island is located off Taiwan’s southwest coast. It has great diving, as well as snorkeling, with many snorkeling shops and tours offered all across the island. You’ll be able to spot many varieties of fish but the stars of the show are the sea turtles. The island also has Taiwan’s largest concentration of temples, while it’s also a cool spot for hiring a scooter and zipping around the streets. (Read more: The best places in Taiwan to explore by scooter)

Best for Advanced Divers – Orchid Island

The beautiful Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼) off Taiwan’s south coast, is a volcanic island that is considered by many as the premier SCUBA diving and snorkeling location in all of Taiwan. Relatively isolated, your Lanyu diving adventure will see you exploring coral reefs consisting of intricate rock formations, caverns, swim-throughs and even a shipwreck. Visibility is usually excellent, so you may encounter sea turtles, sea snakes, stingrays and, if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a humpback whale passing through, or if you’re even luckier, a lesser-spotted whale shark. (Read more: Journey to another world – Orchid Island)

Best for Post (wait, what?) – Green Island

That’s right: Green Island, off the coast of Taitung, is home to the world’s deepest underwater mailbox. Found 11 meters below the surface of the Shilang Diving Area, the 1.8m-high mailbox is in the shape of a seahorse – a Hippocampus colemani to be exact. A real functioning mailbox, you can buy waterproof postcards designed by local school children from various vendors around the island. (Read more: A tropical island of fun attractions)