Motorcycling to Kenting?

I am thinking about slipping down to Kenting by motorcycle for the music festival in April, and I love speeding along mountainy routes; can anyone estimate the time of arrival in Kenting if I depart Taipei round 5:00 A.M. along route #3?


framed in a window:
overhead, a lark traced
her smooth skyward rhythm,
but a falcon’s plummetting passage
went down, unseen…
…the tiny whistling ceased,
limp at the neck.
now she’s feed for nestlings,
agoggle on the peak!

copyright march 25, 20000003 by d.a.bignoname

Highway 3 is not speedy or mountainy – its dusty urban/rural sprawl for the most part, ruled by heavy trucks and rusty blue vans, for the most part. A horrible, horrible road even for just a few hours. In the very unlikely event that you don’t get lost numerous times and spend a great deal of time backtracking, you’ll be lucky indeed to get to Kending by late evening, along with whatever remnants of your kidneys you have left.

My choice would be to leave earlier and take the long way down the east coast over a couple of days – a much more pleasant undertaking altogether – first night Hualien, second night Taitung, third night Kending.

From Jiayi City it’s at least four hours. I did the trip quite a few times back in the 80’s and early 90’s on a 125cc Sanyang motorcycle and was never able to make it in less than 3.5 hours, but that was travelling pretty fast, not stopping much, and certainly not enjoying the ride. I’ve got a 250cc scooter now, but I still wouldn’t do it - you end up needing 2 hours of recovery for every hour spent on the road. Life’s too short. On the other hand, if you’ve got lots of time (like a couple of weeks!), and go slowly enough to enjoy the trip, it could be a great ride… :sunglasses:

I could head south along #9 and #7 and just camp out in the mountains, and continue down #9 from Hualien, that is if #8 and #14 from Lishan are open… Maybe I’ll go for it… Have they finally opened that formerly closed-military-stretch, #26, south of Taitung along the east coast to the tip of the island?

When does the Scream start, on Friday next?

[quote=“Popo”]I could head south along #9 and #7 and just camp out in the mountains, and continue down #9 from Hualien, that is if #8 and #14 from Lishan are open… Maybe I’ll go for it… Have they finally opened that formerly closed-military-stretch, #26, south of Taitung (Taidong) along the east coast to the tip of the island?

When does the Scream start, on Friday next?[/quote]

A much sounder idea. Route 26 is not open, but its an easy a pleasant jaunt over the mountains from there to Pingtung.

well, I picked up my scream ticket yesterday and I guess that means I am going to ride early on Thursday morning, at 4:00 A.M…

Sandman, do you know if highway 9 is well-marked from Hsintien? All I have to do is ride south along Roosevelt until I see a sign going to the left? I have never gone out of the city that way before…

Probably, I will ride along the coast until Hualien and then do the number 9 road along the river valley to Taitung and return along the coast or highway 3…

maybe I’ll run into some of you down there…

If you are going via Hsin Tien you have to go up the mountains and then down into Ilan. Go past the last MRT stop in Hsin Tien ( I think that last MRT stop is still on Bei Hsin Road, so you go from Roosevelt across the bridge into Hsin Tien and onto Bei Hsin Rd)and head up the hills… do nto turn off at Wu Lai and then justt follow the sign to Ilan

its about a three hour ride to Ilan this way… be careful on that road though… I used to travel it alot before and there are some bad corners and alot of risky overtaking maneovures done

Maybe if you are in the north side of Taipei. it maybe better to go to Hsi Chih and then Keelung… although a little longer and the road down east from Keelung is always busy with trucks… you get a nice view driving past Fulong, and Toucheng into Ilan city

The Highway 9 route is definitely quicker than via Jilong. I’d say 1 1/2 hrs from Xindian to Ilan. it is a bit of a dangerous road though, and supposedly haunted! Don’t worry about turning left past Xindian. The road naturally turns left. As TNT said, jsut don’t turn right (which is actually going South) on the road up to Wulai. I rode to Ilan this way when I hadn’t been in Taiwan long and couldn’t read any signs or ask anyone the way, and it was no probs. Didn’t even know it was Ilan.


okay guys, thanks for the advice, and I checked my map… I think I’ll head down the east side of that river valley south of Hualien, a very tiny ribbon of a road, #195 and then join the coast via #11 and all the rest of the way along the sea… I hope it doesn’t rain, and thanks for the advice…

have a great week…

I just drove my scooter (125cc) back from Kending. I took the east coast all the way back. Went Kending to Taidong (spent the night in zhiben), Taidong to Hualian and then Hualian to Taipei.

My thoughts on the trip. First, it is much better to have a motorcycle. Scooters are not good on turns, especially when it is wet. If you can avoid bad weather and rain, you should definitely try to do so. I also wouldn’t recommend driving at night. The view is incredible when the weather is nice.

I also wouldn’t recommend this trip unless you are pretty confident on a motorcycle. Don’t take passengers unless you have to. Also, it is not safe to drive too slow or too fast. The most potentially dangerous part is Ilan to Taipei. Make sure you do this part in nice weather during the daytime. I did that part alone on a scooter at night in the cold rain and fog. I have definitely had better driving experiences. The main thing you have to be aware of on these roads is speeding trucks, people passing from the oncoming direction and rough patches of road and/or rocks in the road. Overall, it is a beautiful trip, but it is not easygoing country driving. I would not advise doing it in one go. Two days is okay, but three is more enjoyable.

Don’t forget to stop at the harbor fish markets in Hualian and Su-ao for big seafood dinners. There is nothing like a huge, cheap sashimi-red snapper-lobster dinner to make a three hour scooter ride worthwhile.

The trip took about 10-12 hours of driving 80-85kph for the first two segments and 60kph (raining) for the last segment. That is very fast. I would have prefered to go a little slower, but my partner was listening to the beastie boys and some nu-metal crap on his headphones so I had trouble getting him to slow down.

Good report Chainsmoker (have 10K). I’d liek to hear from you when you get back Popo. I want to back up about driving in the rain on those roads. It can be really dangerous. I too have done the Ilan to Taipei road in the rain as night fell, and it’s not nice. You gotta be careflu on those roads, with the trucks. I got hit once, when a truck suddenly turned left in front of the traffic. I stopped OK, but the scooter behind me went right into my back, and went flying. I was fine.