From 2004 to 2006 I taught English in Taiwan and I lived on the west coast in Tainan and Taichung. But if I was to do it again I would go to Taiwan's east coast and look for a job. There's fewer people and jobs over there, but it's way more beautiful!
The east coast of Taiwan is awesome. It's really nice from Ilan on down to Kenting. Here the rugged mountains of Taiwan meet the Pacific Ocean.
This is only a few pictures of the east coast. My favorite part was the area around Taitung. Most of the pictures here are from that area. Taitung is located in the southeast of Taiwan.
I visited the east coast a few times and before I left Taiwan I did a tour on my scooter that included much of Taiwan's best spots: Kenting, Taitung, Green Island, Hualian, and Taroko Gorge. That trip included much of the east coast.
Sanxiantai is beautiful (the bridge above) and you can walk out on this bridge with eight arches. On the other side you'll find a small rocky island.
If I was to live in Taiwan again I would live on the east coast. You'll rarely see teaching jobs advertised here on sites like Tealit. So if you want to live here then you'll have to be prepared to go door to door with your resume. Cities like Ilan, Hualian and Taitung are pretty small. Private and public schools here are fewer in number and they don't have to advertise as teachers are probably knocking on their doors.
Taiwan is nice, the center is very mountainous. The east coast is pretty rugged, relatively unpolluted and undeveloped compared to the west coast. Part of that reason is the rugged coast line and the fact that it gets hit pretty hard by typhoons.
Populations are pretty small here. Taiwan is around 23-24 million and most of those folks live on the west coast and in Taipei. The biggest city on the east coast is Hualian. Hualian county is around 350,000 people.
The photo that was shot just "north of Taitung" is near a really great cafe. This cafe sits atop a hill and overlooks the Pacific. It's really nice. It's the only one around and you can walk on down to that beach.
Be careful if you get in the water here as I did that and then after swimming a bit I suddenly noticed that I had drifted considerably north in just a short time. There are some strong currents there which I didn't even notice until after I had drifted.
Surfing is a possibility here too. I saw a bunch of surfers in Jialeshui in Kenting on the very south of the island. Then I also saw a bunch of surfers near Ilan which is farther north and not too far from Taipei.
The east coast of Taiwan is gorgeous. It has most of the best beaches in Taiwan and it's one of the best beach locations for teaching ESL in Asia. So I definitely recommend getting over there at least once while you are in Taiwan. It's a vastly different world from the urban west coast. A train ride would be nice, yet a scooter, car or bike would give you a lot more freedom to take your time, get out and check some of these places out.
You may also enjoy reading how to choose a location for teaching and living abroad.
I was searching for something on Youtube and found this video of this guy's tour down the east coast. It's quite nice. Check it out.