Most may know this hidden gem for its night markets, hot springs resorts, and Chinese temples, but Taiwan’s true secret is out and it has the island shooting up the ranks of popularity. Boasting lush forests and steep mountains, Taiwan is a haven for cyclists. Their extensive bike network extends over 5,000 kilometers with trails along the coastal roads, metropolitan cities and the mountains. Taiwan’s gorgeous scenery and pristine bike paths are waiting for you. But before you hop on a plane heading to Asia, here’s everything you need to know about cycling in Taiwan!
Why You Should Cycle In Taiwan
While the stunning scenery is one reason you should book your trip to Taiwan, there are endless reasons why it’s the perfect place for cycling. Everything about the country is cyclist-friendly. The cycling culture is so strong that it’s backed by the government, which is evident in the excellent road conditions and cycling infrastructure. Most road signs are translated in English, there are dedicated bike lanes and a plethora of cyclist rest stops. If you’re traveling on the network, you’ll find basic service facilities and refreshments about every ten kilometers. Police stations, supermarkets, and convenience stores have facilities to make sure you’re never far from anything you need along your journey. You’ll also find that the Taiwanese are super helpful, friendly and hospitable, they love riders.
Best Places to Cycle in Taiwan
Taiwan has many world-class trails, but you absolutely can’t miss cycling the east coast. With most of Taiwan’s population living on the west side of the island, the east coast offers unmatched nature and scenery. Seaside cliffs, farmland, and mountains are only a few of the wonders you’ll see as you pedal the coast. While you’re cycling the east coast, make sure you go through the East Rift Valley. Continually named a favorite place to cycle, the valley stretches from Hualien to Taitung where you’ll see dramatic mountains and jungle on one side and the Pacific Ocean on your other – it’s definitely an experience you need to check off your bucket list.
Even though many people love the beauty of the east coast, the west coast also boasts unbeatable cycling. Sun Moon Lake made CNN’s list of the top ten best bike routes in the world. Located in Nantou, cycling around Taiwan’s largest lake will take you about three hours and you get to enjoy the ecology, lake views, and Thao aboriginal culture along the way.
It’s the perfect ride to take early in the springtime as you’ll get to see the gorgeous cherry blossoms.
For a great route to experience both coasts, we recommend you start in the southwestern city of Kaoshiung, ride south to Kenting, then continue up the east coast until you reach Hualien. In addition to the great views, tasty and affordable sashimi as well as the hot spring towns decorate the coast. No matter which paths you take in Taiwan, it’s sure to be an experience you’ll never forget.
Tips for Cycling in Taiwan
1. Hotels, Hostels or Camping?
Hotels, hostels, Airbnb, and camping are all accommodation options you can take advantage of during your time in Taiwan. Whatever your budget, they’re sure to have something that works for you as you. If you’re in one of the bigger cities, Airbnb, Warm Showers, and Couchsurfing will give you the best bang for your buck. If you’re traveling along the east coast, there’s no better way to experience nature and enjoy the scenery than at a campground.
2. Choose an Appropriate Route
Taiwan’s the perfect place for all level of riders, whether you are a beginner or an expert you’ll find a route for you and your skill set here. With more than 300 mountains rising above 3,000 meters, your cycling in Taiwan can be as challenging as you want it to be. The well-maintained trails, hot springs and the picturesque views will surely be a great reward for your hard work. However, if you’re wanting to take it easy, then make your way to the coastal roads.
3. Bring Proper Clothing and Equipment
Make sure you have the proper clothing and equipment, but you won’t need to worry about packing things like snacks and water. With 7-Eleven’s every few kilometers, you can easily grab snacks, drinks, cash from the ATM, etc. And don’t forget that police stations also offer cool water if you need it.
4. Rent a Bike
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of bringing your own bike, you can actually rent good quality bikes in Taiwan. Because of the cycling culture and the Giant Bicycle company, bike shops are everywhere (esp. In Taipei and the east coast) making renting a bike super easy and of course affordable!
What To Pack
- Bicycle (you can bring yours with you, have it shipped, or rent one once you arrive)
- Cycling jersey
- Cycling shorts
- Raincoat (especially if you’ll be cycling in the mountains)
- Map / GPS
- Refillable Water Bottle
- Tool kit
- Tire patch kit
- Cell phone
- Camera (if you have a GoPro, you’ll definitely want to bring it)
Best Time to Cycle in Taiwan
The best time to cycle in Taiwan is from October – February. During these months the weather is more mild averaging between 19-27°C/ 66-80°F and it’s also less likely to rain, unlike in the summertime. The absolute best month to cycle is in November when the whole month is dedicated to their annual Cycling Taiwan Festival. Several different events and parties are offered all over the country for riders of all ages and skill levels. Some of the most popular events include the KOM Challenge, the Formosa 900, and the Sun Moon Lake Come! Bikeday. Along with the biking events, they host shows and games which will add loads of fun to your time in Taiwan.
With everything Taiwan has to offer cyclists, we’re sure this underrated destination will soon become one of your favorites.