Bicycle trip in Southern Taiwan

((NOTE: The post was edited to include some photo links. Those are indicated by the bold text. Feb 2005.))
((Re-edited to fix broken photo links. Nov 2005))

Hi,

I thought I

Holy shit, that must have taken longer to write than the trip itself!
INteresting read, though and a lot of very useful information there. Wish you could post some pics, though. That would really set it off nicely.
Good job! :bravo:

seeker4 - nice one. i reckon the forums on the FFTA web site would appreicate this one

forums.formosanfattire.com

Sandman: How’d you guess? 142.5 hours of typing!!! No, not really. More like an hour per day of travel. Makes a good travelogue to aid recall when lying to grandkids in the future. As far as pics go, I’d like to, but… I have pics, even digital. I can figure out the links and post format stuff, but I don’t know where/how to store the photos when they’re linked to the post (haven’t ever done that :frowning: ).

AWOL: Thanks. After your suggestion, I posted it to FFTA today.

Seeker4

That’s the easy part. go to www.villagephotos.com and set up a free account. Then upload your photos to that site, then post them on the board using the [img] tabs. It’s pretty self-explanatory once you see the site.

Nice post, Seeker4. Lots of interesting and entertaining details. Sounds like a great trip.

[quote=“seeker4”]So, as I

Great post Seeker4. A couple thoughts. There is a campground before Sail Rock in Kenting. Staying here would nicely break up that horrible 135km day. You could probably also sneak in camping at Baisha Bay or along one of the beaches north of there. In any case it would be a nicer route than the 26 and you would pass by the aquatic museum which is well worth a visit.

I’m suprised you complained about the protection of the beaches south of sail rock. I think it is a good thing, a great thing, that they are protected from the typical thoughtless beach goers. The park’s people claim the Shadao Beach is one of the finest shell beaches in the world. We should applaud their conservation efforts. There are enough beaches you can swim at in Kenting.

The campground at Dapeng Bay is on the ocean side of the park not along the lagoon itself. You couldn’t have been far from it. By the way, how was the area looking? I was there last spring before it opened and it it looked very promising. Big clean calm bay. Great for kayaking and wind surfing.

By the way, your post is a clear reminder to all that Taiwan is a great place to travel off-season and mid-week. Having sparkling little islands and coastlines practically to yourself when it is still hot enough to enjoy swimming and cycling on them is amazing.

:bravo: Nice going. I had planned to bike from Northern to Southern Taiwan over Chinese New Year but became realistic after taking a few bus rides. Biking around Taidong is great, though. On Green Island there’s a guy who has a fleet of bikes that go for NT 150 per day. You can reach him by asking about bike rental at the Visitor’s Center. The Taiwanese and lazy waiguoren just get scooters and zip around the island, which is NOT the best way to really see the out-of-the-way places. During the 3 days I was there I made friends with a herd of cows, snorkeled at 3 locations, camped at that great campsite (NT 100 for a grass spot), climbed completely deserted trails to the tops of gust-blown volcanoes and hung out on isolated crags of rock (definitely hit ‘niu tou’ or ‘cow’s head’ rock - you won’t see anyone!). Xiaoyehliu near Taidong has a nice campsite but you can really camp for free on the beach in several places - you pay for the conveniences, not the site. Also, there’s a cheap hostel (Amigo) in Taidong that costs NT 200 per night and rents bikes at NT 100 per day. You can hit several of the gorgeous beaches nearby, but take a good look at the bikes, which are 1-speed cruisers that seem a little warped. The girl at the counter is also really cute.
The Southeast is definitely my favorite part of Taiwan - probably because there aren’t so many Taiwanese! Green Island looks more like Polynesia, and it would be nice to hit Lanyu sometime this year and do some bike camping.

So do must long-distance buses allow bikes?

Also, did you aks about taking your bike with you on the slow trains? A while ago someone said this was possible (but when I called they said it wasn;'t). I’m thinking about short trips here.

Brian

[quote=“Mucha (Muzha) Man”]I’m suprised you complained about the protection of the beaches south of sail rock. I think it is a good thing, a great thing, that they are protected from the typical thoughtless beach goers. The park’s people claim the Shadao Beach is one of the finest
shell beaches in the world. We should applaud their conservation efforts. There are enough beaches you can swim at in Kenting (Kending).[/quote]
Complaining: It’s a perspective and timing thing. I’m about 98% pro-conservation/protection of the environment. After having ridden past a lot of stuff that should have been protected and wasn’t, I developed some temporary numbness to that. Then on the bike in the sun for miles, hot as hell while daydreaming of diving into the cool ocean as soon as I reach Kending, I see the perfect beach 5 seconds before the “Sorry, Go Away” sign. :fume: I am happy that anyone in Taiwan is conserving anything natural. Just bad timing. Plus I am truly confused about exactly what they were protecting on that first really nice beach (coming from Eluanbi). I was only being a partial smartass earlier – the sign really did say something about fragile or rare sand or something. Shells maybe?

It seemed to be in some goofy state of being open but unfinished. No one was there, but it was early on a weekday. There were signs up advertising windsurfing and various other similar activities. There was this really odd thing – a huge airplane model about the size of a few school buses, way up in the air on a special platform. It looked to me to be a replica of Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose," but that wouldn’t make much sense. The airbase portion proper still seemed largely abandoned. Overall, the place definitely looked inviting and worth a longer look.

[quote=“Bu Lai En”]So do must long-distance buses allow bikes?

Also, did you aks about taking your bike with you on the slow trains? A while ago someone said this was possible (but when I called they said it wasn;'t). I’m thinking about short trips here.

Brian[/quote]
Bikes on buses: Yes, that is my understanding. You just need to find a company that has those two-story buses (cargo/luggage on bottom, passengers on top). Even the companies that allow bikes won’t allow them, it seems, on regular buses (no room). On the right buses, there is no fuss or muss – you or you plus a bus helper just lay the bike down and cram it in an open cargo bay. They pack other bags around it.

Slow trains: I heard or read that somewhere too (I think in a forum here?). I did not ask about bikes on slow trains specifically. When I checked into it, I was told that bikes don’t go on trains period as passenger luggage, but only ship as freight. That means that bikes always get dropped at the freight depot of the train station and get loaded in freight-only cars whenever that’s done. Then, those freight cars are connected to some passenger train, but not the one you’ll be on most likely. Could be, but you’d have no way to know that.

Thanks for all of the good feedback.

Seeker4

[quote=“seeker4”]

It seemed to be in some goofy state of being open but unfinished. No one was there, but it was early on a weekday. There were signs up advertising windsurfing and various other similar activities. There was this really odd thing – a huge airplane model about the size of a few school buses, way up in the air on a special platform. It looked to me to be a replica of Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose," but that wouldn’t make much sense. The airbase portion proper still seemed largely abandoned. Overall, the place definitely looked inviting and worth a longer look. [/quote]

The airplane is a restaurant. No kidding. And the area will be in an unfinished state for a long time:

[quote]
Dapeng Bay deal inked
Tourism authorities concluded a NT$10.34 billion (US$321.57 million) deal with an international investment company yesterday to develop the Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area.
The contract was signed by Hsieh Wei-chun (謝謂君), chief of the Tourist Bureau’s Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area Administration, and Dapeng Bay International Investment chairman Pan Chung-kuang (潘仲光).
The project, covering a 257-hectare region made up of wetlands, lagoon and sea water, is the nation’s largest BOT investment in terms of the area and investment, while it also contains the most multi-dimensional development packages, according to the Tourism Bureau.
Officials said the project will be carried out in two stages. The first stage will focus on the construction of a marina and port zone facilities – including a fisherman’s wharf and a seaside restaurant; an artificial peninsula that will be home to a museum of history and literature, a leisure center, a water world and an international convention center with a hotel; a golf resort and a parking lot.
Construction on the first-stage is scheduled to finish by the end of 2012 and the second stage eight years later, according to the tourism officials.[quote]

S4,
really enjoyed your travelogue, and it inspires me to keep riding and keep enjoying the local area. Donggang is only a short bike ride away from where I live in Zhao Ming, and the temple you provided a picture of is in Wu Fang, Ping Dong county. It’s a buddhist temple with a large statue of Guan1 Yin1, the goddess of mercy and childless women. She’s also part of the Daoist pantheon. I know that place, and often pass by it on my evening bike rides.
all the best.
-sal

just finished a trip from taoyuan to taitung. four days to kenting, rest for a day, then one more to taitung. completely agree that se coast is the most beautiful by far. kenting to the intersection of country road 110? and route 9 was pure bliss. try taking the back roads instead of 26 next time, you won’t regret it. the first 10 km on 9 were good as well (all downhill) then route 9 gets downright scary with intermitent heavy traffic and some pretty narrow shoulders.

to respond to two things, 1. going in july was silly. am going to try to circle the island again in mid-september when i hope it will be cooler than 36. also going to try route 3 instead of route 1 since route 1 was generally horrible and less direct to kenting. 2. how long for the numbness to stop? i am going on 3 weeks now with no improvement. ah well, my girlfriend doesn’t notice.

anyway, have a good next trip.

Sorry for the delayed reply. Been offline a lot lately plus I got no notification that there had been a reply. In any case, for me, the numbness seemed like it was never going to leave, then sometime between 1-2 months, it was gone. Sometimes faster. Sometimes never. Get some over-the-counter ibuprofen and Vitamin B6 (or B-complex) and stay on it for a week, few times a day. See what happens after that. Good luck.

Folding bikes (e.g., dahon.com/intl/speedtr.htm) in a bag pass as luggage on trains, even on THSR, IIRC.