Rock climbing has grown in popularity around the world, and Taiwan, with its magnificent cliff-laden coastline along with collection of expansive national parks in no stranger to the extreme activity. While it’s certainly not for everyone – beginners, intermediates, and hardcore climbers alike will find a suitable slab to scale with the right guidance. Below we have detailed three popular seaside spots to check out.
3 Seaside Rock Climbing Destinations in Taiwan for Climbers of All Skill Levels
Dragon Caves (aka Long Dong) may not sound all that inviting but it’s absolutely the top spot for climbers, and fairly convenient for those staying near Taipei (about an hour+ drive). It’s found jetting out of the northern tip of the island as it peers off into the deep Pacific, making for one of the most breathtaking yet intense settings as you look over your shoulder while ascending up the quartz conglomerate. While the unregulated climbs max at 30 meters (a 50-meter rope will suffice) and have many shorter options with varying grades for intermediates, the tumultuous seas and crashing waves can be distracting to some. Exposure to the ocean and extreme seasonal weather has also corroded many of the existing bolts and has also eroded crag surfaces so don’t put too much stock into advice on the best terrace to climb from someone who hasn’t been there in years. Pay close attention to tides and weather reports before you go – if it’s rainy and windy, wait for another day.
Kaohsiung has nearly 60 rock climbing spots, but one of the most inviting is found on Qijin Island which is situated ever so closely off the coast of Kaohsiung City. On the northwest side of the island you will find hundreds of meters of limestone cliffs with over 30-meter faces to conquer. The sandy beach below and calmer (compared to the Pacific facing side of the island) makes it all feel less daunting than most of the Taiwan’s seaside cliff climbs, but there’s enough variety to challenge hardcore cragsmen/women. You’ll find a good number of anchors, bolts, and abandoned slings on the most northern part of the small island’s cliffs near scenic Kaohsiung Lighthouse, which speaks to its popularity. There are policemen found monitoring the regulated climb site from the boardwalk so if you show up without a rope (no free-climbers allowed!) you’ll be send packing back to Kaohsiung City. There is also some pretty good bouldering opportunities here, which is great for beginners who may be scared away by the steep grade of Qijin Island cliffs. This neck of Kaohsiung also boasts many outdoor attractions to be enjoyed after your climb, including Monkey Mountain – best place to see monkeys in Taiwan – which after a brief ferry ride is either a 2-hour walk, 1-hour bus ride, or 30-minute drive away.
Green Island Spires
Honestly, Green Island doesn’t have great rock climbing but since you’re looking for coastal climbs with a saltwater backdrop this rounds out the list just fine. Plus, “not great” climbs are perfect for beginners and casual climbers. There are a total of three basalt spires jutting out of the water on the east side of the Green Island that are currently suitable for scaling. Two (40- and 60-feet in height) are found along the eastern beach, but the taller spire (you can’t miss it) is a nice 120-feet tall, and accessible after a brief wade or swim depending upon tide conditions. You’ll be coming off of the ferry on the western end of the island so you’ll require a scooter or vehicle rental to get to the outward Pacific-facing side. Head for a tourist attraction known as the Little Great Wall and head south until you see the spires protruding out of the sea off of the beach. It’s a truly beautiful place, so even if the climb is not up to par for extreme climbers the setting certainly will be. Green Island is also home to great dive sites and if you stick around into the night you may even come across a few mischievous ghosts.
No matter how adventurous you may be your rock climbing experience will be better when you have a local guide take you to the destinations above and beyond (although they’ll wait for you at the base). Download the app today to connect to a local guide in Taiwan.