In this interview, one of my best friends in the travel blogging world, Matt Gibson, takes time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions regarding adventure travel in Taiwan. I’m sure his answers will inspire you to visit Formosa for an adventure of your own!
Q1) What are some adventure sports activities one could consider pursuing in Taiwan?
There are tons out outdoors activities in Taiwan. River tracing there is great. The surfing is also very good. There’s also mountain biking, hiking, snorkelling, and scuba diving. The windsurfing on Penghu, a small island in the Taiwan Strait, is said to be some of the best in the world.
Q2) What are your favorite off the beaten path destinations for outdoor activities?
I love the Philippines. It’s an exceptional country for both travel and outdoors activities. Most of the country has few tourists, so travel there feels authentic and exciting. They have excellent diving, several volcanoes to climb, as well as epic surf.
Q3) Where are some of the best places to go hiking in Taiwan?
Jade Mountain, which is said to be the tallest mountain in East Asia, is a great hike. Snow Mountain is also incredible. The most accessible, and some of the most beautiful, hikes, however, are in Taroko Gorge. This one was incredible.
Q4) What location outside of Taipei and other major cities would offer great opportunities for adventure sports?
Yamingshan Park near Taipei is gorgeous. So is the Yehliu Geographic Park (watch my website for a photoessay that I’ll be posting soon), which is filled with incredible rock formations. You can also surf in Jingshan, a village less than an hour from Taipei. The hills around Taipei are also fantastic for mountain biking.
Q5) What kind of employment opportunities exist in Taiwan for expats looking to stay long-term?
English teaching is the most common and lucrative form of employment. Many expats also work as writers, editors, and models.
Q6) If an adventurous backpacker only had one week to explore Taiwan what are some must see places and activities for them to pursue?
I recently helped to design an itinerary for a visiting journalist who was to visit for one week. I suggested Taroko Gorge, Yehliu Geographic Park, Tainan (the old capital and oldest city), Guanzling Mud Hotsprings, and Xiao Liuchiu.
Q7) This is slightly off topic but what about those with adventurous taste buds? What kind of street food could they try in Taiwan?
If you want adventurous food, Taiwan is a great place. Stinky tofu is a challenge for anyone. I think the name says it all. Pig’s blood cake (deep fried on a stick) is also surprisingly tasty, although frightening. Pig brain soup is also a good one. From what I understand, you can also drink snake blood in Taipei’s snake alley.
Q8) Finally, do you have any general travel tips for somebody visiting Taiwan for the first time?
Be prepared to use a lot of hand gestures. Although more and more people there are learning English, there are many places where people won’t be able to understand you and the signs will all be written in Chinese. This can make things difficult, but the friendliness and helpfulness of the Taiwanese more than compensates for it.
Bio: Matt Gibson is an adventure travel writer, photographer, and blogger. He used to live in Taiwan, but he now lives on the road. Learn more about him at http://www.matt-gibson.org