Taitung County is on the east coast of Taiwan, and is perhaps Taiwan's most unspoiled area.
Cities and towns
- 1 Taitung (台東 or 臺東 Táidōng) – The youngest city in Taiwan and was developed by Japan as a base for Pacific expansion. Taitung's population is strongly aboriginal, Hoklo, and Hakka. It is by far one of the most laid back, relaxing, and beautiful of Taiwan's cities.
- 2 Beinan (卑南鄉) – Home to the Puyuma and Rukai peoples.
- 3 Changbin (長濱鄉) – The northernmost township in Taitung County. The population of the township consists mainly of the Amis people with a Kavalan minority.
- 4 Chenggong (成功鎮) – A small town facing the Pacific Ocean which has been renamed several times and is presently named after the infamous Koxinga (Chinese name: Zheng Chenggong).
- 5 Chishang (池上鄉) – Home of an annual indigenous Night Ceremony held annually in November.
- 6 Daren (達仁鄉) – A mountain indigenous township. The main population is comprised of indigenous Paiwan people.
- 7 Dawu (大武鄉) – Known for its extreme heat due to Foehn wind effects during the daytime especially during the summer months.
- 8 Donghe (東河鄉) – A laid back surfers destination located off most travellers' route.
- 9 Dulan – A small town with an art and backpacker community, an old sugar factory, an archaeological site and surf spot.
- 10 Haiduan (海端鄉) – Contains the Bunun Cultural Museum, which details the history and culture of the Bunun indigineous people.
- 11 Taimali (太麻里鄉) – A coastal township with one third of the population being comprised of the indigenous Amis and Paiwan peoples.
- 12 Yanping (延平鄉) – A mountainous township populated mainly by the indigenous Bunun people.
- 1 Green Island (Lyudao / 綠島鄉) — Green Island administered as Lyudao Township
- 2 Orchid Island (Lanyu / 蘭嶼鄉)
To get in or out, you could take the scenic commuter train between Taitung and 13 Fangliao, and experience the sunset hours along the coast and through the mountains from a camera friendly open window. Go for the last car of the train, which is distant from the loud loco and much more quiet. Towards the second half of the trip, quite a bit of the route is through tunnels, especially through the mountains, which are loud and unscenic—best to bring earplugs or headphones. At around NT$120, the cheapest option from/to Hengshun or Kenting. The bus between Fangliao and Hengshun (near Kenting National Park) is another NT$120. You can also transfer between train and bus already at 14 Fangshan, saving some 20 min travel time and maybe NT$40. However, it is important that you know how to get from Fangshan Station to the road with the bus stop (or vice-versa) and know where the 1 bus stop is, so you might need GPS and a digital map. In case of Fangshan during the evening, beware of the dogs at the station and down the first house, carry a stone and flash light just for safety. (Note that Google states travel times for the bus of 3-4 hr between Fangshan/Fangliao and Hengshun, which is wrong. The bus takes barely an hour to go down the coast, 20-30 min between Fangshan and Hengshun.)
Trains travel down the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area and are perhaps the most convenient way to travel along Taitung County. Spend a few days slowly making your way down or up this area. The sightseeing is the best in Taiwan for those that love nature and beauty.
The tourist information centre in Taitung has a very good map of the Taitung County available. Get it and head for the buses or your car.
- Hualien County – Popular for the Taroko Gorge, the Chishingtan Scenic Area and the Qingshui Cliff. It is to the north with many highways and a railway.
- Pingtung County – Popular for the Kenting National Park with some of the best beaches in Taiwan. It is also to the southwest via the South-Link Highway ( Provincial Highway Number 9) and the South-Link Railway.