Shaped like a snail with its head pointing north, Taiwan's third-largest county runs along the southeast coast of the island, between the imposing Central Mountain Range to the west and the stark blue Pacific Ocean to the east. Thanks to its remote location, this stunning strip of land was the last part of Taiwan to see mainland Chinese settlers in the late 19th century. To this day, indigenous culture remains strong and makes up a part of everyday life for everyone.
Taitung County is where the Philippine and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. Their continuous wrestling over millions of years, combined with erosion, have produced a fantastical landscape of towering cliffs, plunging gorges and extraordinary rock formations. You can hike through most of this terrain. You can also cycle along the inviting Hwy 11, passing grey-scale pebble beaches, beyond which fluffy clouds with pencil-straight bellies hover above the horizon.