River Tracing – A Far East Only Adventure

I’m hooked on the latest adventure sport I tried recently in Taiwan. River tracing. A combination of hiking, rock climbing, and swimming. How fortunate was I to be active in some of my favourite things all in one day.

The sport was brought to Taiwan from Japan. When Japan occupied Taiwan they needed an efficient way to survey the jungle and land not accessible by roads or even trails for natural resources. Equipment and techniques were developed which eventually turned into a recreational sport. Now groups get together usually led by coaches to traverse the rivers of Taiwan. Some of the popular areas for river tracing are Hualien, Yilan, and Wulai. Equipment needed for a day of river tracing includes a wet suit, special footwear with a rough textured sole to help maneuver over slippery rocks, a helmet, and life jacket.


As this was my first time river tracing I was with a group mostly made up of beginners. We were lead up a fairly easy river route. The morning was spent learning skills and techniques. In the afternoon the coaches stepped aside letting us make the decisions for which path we should take up the river. We were also in charge of looking out for each other. A true team sport many companies use this as a team building activity and I can see how effective it would be.


I really didn’t have any expectations going into this day other than I was interested to try this sport I had heard about since my arrival in Taiwan. What a blast. Imagine being in a cool river on a hot humid day – swimming, trekking, climbing rocks in some of the most beautiful jungle and tropical forests. We were also thrilled with a ride on our backs down some chutes of smaller waterfalls. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking with every shade of green imaginable and emerald colored pools amongst rocky cliffs. Cliff jumping is also incorporated into the activity.

The Japanese can take credit for discovering some of this territory. The jungle we spent the day in easily supports the name the Portugese originally called Taiwan, Ilha Formosa. The beautiful island.

Honestly it was unbelievably fun and I met some great people who I really got to know and trust in a short period of time. More to come on this exciting sport on breezy-size.flywheelsites.com.


About the Author John Saboe

I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.

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