Underwater Paradise of Taiwan’s Green Island

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Underwater Paradise of Taiwan’s Green Island

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1 Underwater Paradise of Taiwan’s Green Island on Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:25 pm

Joe

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Taiwan boasts over a dozen of its own unique offshore getaways, which thanks to their quiet landscapes and low-key lifestyle, often go unnoticed by most visitors to the country.

One of the best among these is Green Island. Situated in the tropical seas of Taiwan’s southeast coast – while it used to be better-known as a former penal colony (the sardonically named former prison, Paradise Villa), today it’s arguably one of Asia’s best dive destinations.
Diving

It was the island’s past as a no-go zone that’s helped keep its reefs and native marine life so healthy and vibrant, including a large variety of over 600 species of fish and 200 types of corals. The best overall marine life is on the north side of the island where snorkelling and diving are ideal from May to September.

Diving

While Green Island has plenty of dive sites ringing its coastline, including wrecks and reefs, there’s one that towers above the rest. Tucked into the south-east corner of the island, Gun Swei Bi (Shark Point) is the main attraction for advanced divers, and has put Green Island on the global diving map. It’s here that schools of hammerhead sharks come together each winter from December to early March, stopping to rest and feed on their annual migration between the Philippines and Japan. The sharks swarm in groups of dozens or more, at depths of over 30m, amidst strong criss-crossing currents and swells, making it a challenging open-water site. Local operators generally require divers to have at least 100 dives under their belts.

Land Activities

Green Island’s already well-known for its famous rock formations, and a number of short trails that lead you to spectacular lookouts. Haishenping Bay is a famous area surrounded by volcanic rocks with dramatic views of Green Island’s most famous rock formations: Sleeping Beauty and Pekingese Dog.

A popular hike is the 1.8km-long Guoshan Gu Dao which cuts across the island from Nanliao (main town) to the east coast at Jhaorih Hot Springs, traversing the island’s highest point at Mt. Huoshao (281m).

Jhaorih Hot Springs is one of only three places in the world (with Japan and Italy being the other two) where sea water springs are heated by volcanic lava. Enjoy a dip at the hot spring spa complex (entry fee NT$200) which features open-air pools by the sea.

Getting There

The most common way to get to Green Island is by ferry from Taitung’s Fugang Harbor, which departs every 2 hours in summer (winter departures are infrequent). The hour-long trip costs NT$460 per way. You can also fly to Green Island from Taitung Airport via Daily Air (15 minutes; NT$1,130 one way) with advanced booking necessary.

You can explore the island along its 18km-long ring road on an electric scooter (around NT$600/day), via public bus (NT$20 for the whole circuit), or on rented bicycles.

http://www.taiwandivesites.com

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