Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Thu October 29 2015

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  • A Cruising Couple | October 29, 2015 9:00 PM ET

    3 Ways to Experience Taiwan by Bicycle

    3 Ways to Experience Taiwan by Bicycle

    Photo courtesy of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, all others courtesy of A Cruising Couple

    Taiwan: that small island off the coast of China with sensational views, unparalleled hospitality, seriously delicious food choices — and some of the best opportunities for cross-country cycling anywhere in the world.

    A Cruising Couple Cycling Taiwan East Coast

    Of the two years we spent living in Taiwan, one of our most memorable experiences was easily a three-day cycling trip down the island’s East Coast. Seeing Taiwan’s raw beauty from two wheels offered a unique glimpse into the characteristics and culture of the island. There’s simply something about biking that allows you to connect with your surroundings more intimately.

    The good news is you don’t have to be a professional biker to embrace all that this increasingly popular activity has to offer. If you’ve ever dreamed of biking across foreign terrain, Taiwan is a perfect place to get you started. Here are three ways to experience Taiwan via bicycle:

    1. Circumnavigate the Island

    With the recent rise of popularity in biking throughout Taiwan, thousands of miles of bike paths have been created on busier roads to make cycling a safe and enjoyable experience. Although traffic is always chaotic in Taiwan, and general caution should be used, this improvement makes cycling a viable mode of transportation almost everywhere on the island.

    Cycling Hualen to Taidong

    If you really want to make the most of your biking tour, then choose to cycle around the entire island. There are two main options for this: the Round Island route, and the San-Heng route. The Round Island route will take you around the coastline of Taiwan, while the San-Heng route is located inland — and is a bit more adventurous.

    Flower Field Eastern Taiwan

    While San-Heng is quite a bit more difficult than the round-island route and definitely not recommended for beginners, you will go up some of Taiwan’s highest roads, offering incomparable views of the island. The Round Island route is slightly easier, and at about 620 miles, many allot 10 days to complete it.

    If possible, we suggest slowing down and allowing extra time to explore each new destination along the route. Though Taiwan is small, it is jam-packed with things to see and do. This helpful article elaborates on both the San-Heng and Round Island route, making it a great resource if you’re up for the ultimate cycling challenge in Taiwan.

    2. The East Coast: Hualien to Taitung

    Cycling along Taiwan East Coast

    This phenomenal east coast route is what we chose for our very own Taiwan biking adventure. It took us three days to complete, although we wished we had stretched it out a few more days to give us additional time to explore.

    Doulan Taiwan

    One great thing about biking through Taiwan is there are Giant bike rental shops in most of the major cities. You can even rent bicycles in one place and return them in your final destination. This is what we did, picking up our bikes in the city of Hualien and returning them three days later in Taitung. (And then hopping on the train to go home.) Additionally, frequent bike shops mean that bikes are easily repaired along the way should you get a flat tire or other malfunction.

    We detailed our entire experience with this route here, so you can get the full scoop of what to expect, as well as a map of our route. If you’re new to cycling and want to experience some of the most gorgeous spots in all of Taiwan, then you really can’t go wrong with cycling the East Coast.

    3. Cycling The Back Roads Through The South

    Last but not least, head to the south of Taiwan for quick and easy access to gorgeous beaches and sleepy Taiwanese towns. Grasshopper Adventures offers a unique tour through the southern tip of Taiwan. Though we prefer the flexibility of cycling on our own, going with a professional tour agency is always an option to consider.

    Typically a support van carries your belongings, and should you get too tired to continue, you can always hop in the vehicle. This route takes cyclers past aboriginal mountain villages and relaxing hot springs. It starts in Kenting and finishes in Kaohsiung — two of the most popular tourist destinations in southern Taiwan. This particular tour also includes top quality mountain bikes, so you won’t have to worry about renting or purchasing a bike for your journey.

    Kenting Taiwan

    Cycling in Taiwan has been gaining serious steam in recent years, and it’s not hard to understand why. For a destination that is bike-friendly, filled with hospitable people, and utterly beautiful scenery, you really can’t go wrong with a unique Taiwanese cycling adventure.

More Taiwan


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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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