Taiwanese look to great outdoors for respite from pandemic

Travel platform says outdoor booking activities in June have tripled compared to same period last year

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River tracing group (WeTrip, Facebook photo)

River tracing group (WeTrip, Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the pandemic continues to spiral out of control abroad, Taiwanese looking to get away for the summer are increasingly turning to the outdoors.

According to statistics from travel platform Klook, the number of outdoor activity bookings in Taiwan at the end of June increased threefold compared with the same period last year, CNA reported. Water sports, ecological experiences, and hiking are the most popular, while paragliding and light aircraft trips have also seen increased interest.

Klook said that water skiing has seen a rise in popularity in recent years in places like Penghu. Another popular activity has been river tracing — also known as canyoning — where people hike, climb, swim, or abseil along canyons or gorges which are located all around the country.

Taiwan is also home to some of the best coastal rock climbing cliffs, Klook pointed out. Longdong (龍洞), located in the northeast has attracted climbers from all over the world.

Domestic travelers have also begun paragliding in places like the east coast, where paragliders can fly up to altitudes of 680 meters and look out over Hualien’s East Rift Valley. Puli, located in mountainous central Taiwan, has also seen an uptick in people looking to paraglide.

For those interested in flying light aircraft, Klook said people can visit Pingtung down south or Hualien out east.

The experience starts out with 10 or 15 minutes of training on the ground from a professional pilot instructor. Next, the instructor will fly the plane up to an altitude of around 914 meters before letting novices take over the controls for a brief period of time.

In Pingtung, passengers will get to see Foguang Mountain, Shiba Luohan Mountain, Liugui, and Bu Lao Hot Springs from up above, while those flying out in Hualien will get to a bird’s eye view of the East Rift Valley as well as the breathtaking coastline.