Motorbike touring during Chinese New Year

My girlfriend and I want to spend 3/4 days during the Chinese New Year’s break touring the North Coast of Taiwan. Jinshan, Yehliu, Jiufen, Fulong, etc. We want to get out of Taipei, breathe fresh air, climb mountains, walk on beaches, that kind of thing. Having never done a motorcycle tour before I have some questions that I hoped some more experienced Taiwaners could help with…

  1. How busy / bare are those places likely to be during Chinese New Year?
  2. What could we expect in terms of accomodation? Lonely Planet’s guide to hotels looks pricey but we don’t want to camp because it’s likely to be too cold and a bit of a hassle. Are homestays likely to be possible at this time?
  3. Finally, what will the roads probably be like? Manic or mild?
    I appreciate any advice or suggestions you have. Thanks!

[quote=“little”]My girlfriend and I want to spend 3/4 days during the Chinese New Year’s break touring the North Coast of Taiwan. Jinshan, Yehliu, Jiufen, Fulong, etc. We want to get out of Taipei, breathe fresh air, climb mountains, walk on beaches, that kind of thing. Having never done a motorcycle tour before I have some questions that I hoped some more experienced Taiwaners could help with…

  1. How busy / bare are those places likely to be during Chinese New Year?
  2. What could we expect in terms of accomodation? Lonely Planet’s guide to hotels looks pricey but we don’t want to camp because it’s likely to be too cold and a bit of a hassle. Are homestays likely to be possible at this time?
  3. Finally, what will the roads probably be like? Manic or mild?
    I appreciate any advice or suggestions you have. Thanks![/quote]

Check out Joesax’s trip he did with his mother during CNY last year…

mcttw.tripod.com/north_taiwan.htm

Hotels up north (everywhere) are going to jump in price substantially after Feb 8th, and will also become much harder to find. A way around this is to avoid tourist areas when looking for a hotel. But expect to pay inflated prices for accomodations up until Feb 12th. Certain travel days will be worse than others. Looks like some companies will be making their employees work through Feb 7th, others letting them slide after Friday (the 4th).

Remember too that the weather is going to be really iffy, and if anything like last year…Brrrrr.

Go though, realize the crowds, stay away from the tourist traps (especially after Tuesday the 8th), and try not to carve up huge chunks of highway in one day. It will be good despite the crowds, and being on a motorbike cruising past huge traffic jams is a moment of pleasure in itself.

I don’t know why you’ve given up on the idea of camping though…When a 500NT per night dungeon becomes a 3,000NT nightly stay, camping is alot more attractive. My wife and I have done CNY camping expeditions on a motorcycle in the past, and those trips remain fond memories. We camp every CNY, and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

Enjoy your holiday.

Yes, do check that part of my website out. We went round the same places you mentioned.

Agree with MJB on everything except possibly camping, because of the weather on the north coast. I hope this Chinese New Year will be warmer than last time; last time it was windy and cold around Fulong/Longdong, and drizzly and cold coming over Yangmingshan into Taipei. There’s a nice coffee shop that pops up somewhere on the north-east coast; just a building on its own with a car park in front of it. Very welcome indeed.

My advice to you is book places to stay now. The south is basically all booked up now. There should be more availability up north, but book to be sure.

It does seem that a lot of people go to the south of Taiwan for the holiday and that means that traffic and hotel prices are better. Last year, we didn’t find that prices were massively inflated; I think we paid normal price most nights. That compares to this years bookings down south where we are having to pay double the normal rate for one place in Taidong (the tenth hotel we tried; the other nine were all full!)

Yeliu is nice as are the other places you mentioned. Bigger places like Keelung should have restaurants and the famous night market open on C.N.Y. Eve, but you’ll be lucky to get any dinner in smaller places such as Jiufen on that evening. CNY day was nice in Keelung; a lot of activity in the temple at the base of the hill and the one on the top.

Some nice walks on the north-east coast. Also plenty of places you could visit further inland; is it Pingxi or Pinglin? I forget. Anyway, looks like a good place. I suggest you buy the new Lonely Planet guidebook if you haven’t already; there are some great suggestions and info.

Have a great time!

Thanks for the reassurance and also for the tip on hotels. Personally I’d love to camp but I agree with joesax that the weather at this time of year is a big put off. Anyway, I don’t have enough experience with carting a lot of camping gear and sleeping bags on the back of a bike to try it this time, though hopefully later in the year, as it warms up, I’ll start making up for lost time.

Are there any good website guides to hotels / hostels? Or is Lonely Planet my best resource?

I can give you a little info on hostels. The website, yh.org.tw/info.asp?id=1 , is for the Taiwan branch of the organization Hostelling International (HI). Unless you read Chinese, the website isn’t too useful, but at the bottom, it has an address and a phone number in Taipei. I joined this organization a couple of weeks ago prior to a trip of my own. I did so by going downtown to their offices. Easy, 15-min process that costs NT $400 for a year. Once a member, you can use associated hostels the world over. The staff in the office do not really speak English, but I got lucky and someone who did stopped by. Their office is easy to find, very near the Taipei train station.

After joining, you can stay in any of their facilities. My guess is that they have approximately 10 facilities total in Taiwan. More to the point, most of those hostels are in the northern or central part of the country, so it might be a help to you. Finally, if you ask them when you sign up, they have hostel guides to give out. From my review of the guide, they have three types of facilities. One, hostels, which range in price from NT $350. Two, “youth activity centers” which have rooms and begin in the same price range. Both of those categories also have rooms costing NT 800-1000. Every place is different. Finally, there are what appear to be "affiliated" hotels. Normal hotels, some even naming themselves hostels, that were all in the NT 1000 a night range. However, during this holiday season, an HI membership might help with availability and/or price.

Good luck,

Seeker4

The TW Youth Hostel website that Seeker4 mentioned also has contact info for affiliated hostels and budget hotels;
yh.org.tw/info.asp?id=39

Each of the four main links on that page leads to a list of accomodation; the fourth one is for the budget hotels, probably your best bet as far as bed availability is concerned.

The addresses are in Romanisation + English and should be no problem to figure out.

Brilliant! Did anyone ever tell you that you’re a bunch of geniuses!!! Many thanks. I’m going to pop into the Hostelling International office this weekend. Ta!