Hi, all! I plan on cycling Taiwan’s East Coast from Hualien to Kaohsiung this coming April. I’ve spent a good amount of time reading posts/poaching information from this site and so I think I have my routes all planned out. Still, I’d very much appreciate any thoughts, advice, or critiques of my proposed trip. I also have a few general questions that I hope aren’t too annoying. Oh, I’ll be staying in hotels/Airbnbs/etc if you’ve any recommendations.
Day 1: Taroko Gorge. This will be my second time in the gorge but first with my bicycle. Looking at Strava and other maps, it seems cyclists go up the main road, just as the cars and buses do. I imagine there are other little offshoots but am I correct in thinking the main road that my city bus meandered up is the same one I’ll struggle up on my bike? Also, is the “top” of the gorge where the city buses make their final stops? I remember a temple. It was red, I think.
Day 2: Hualien - Ruisui. What route would you prescribe to a guy who likes to take photos: a straight shot along 193 or switching back and forth with 11-A/Fongbin/Shitiping/64? I won’t be carrying a huge bag of lenses but I am open to going a bit askew in order to get a good photo.
Day 3: Ruisui - Fuli. Routes 193 and 9.
Day 4: Fuli - Dulan. Routes 23 and 11. Google maps says this section is about 53kms…true? Seems like it wouldn’t be too hard, even if there is some climbing. Any thoughts? I live in Korea so climbing mountains on my bike is a way of life; however, I am only about a year into transitioning from a commuter to whatever I am now. Anything to look out for on this route?
Day 5: Dulan - Taimali. Routes 11 and 9. Seems pretty straightforward, just making my way down the coast. But maybe I should try to stay in Dawu instead?
Day 6: Taimali - Kenting. Routes 9, 199, 26, 200. Does that sound about right? It’s my understanding that there’s a big ol’ hill at some point, maybe that section of 9 that turns inland before meeting up with 199? With the photos again in mind, do those 4 highways offer the best sampling of the area’s scenery? Also, how many days is good in Kenting Natl Park? Sounds like it might be kinda touristy but hey, I’ll be a tourist too. I’ve also heard of a ferry that goes to Lanyu Island (my friend in Kaohsiung says Lanyu is not to be missed). One or two days there perhaps?
Day 7: Kenting - Kaohsiung. Routes 26 and 1. Or should I just take a bus? While there’s something to be said about cycling into a foreign city to meet a good friend whom I haven’t seen in a few years, that route might be less that fun? Lots of traffic maybe? If so, what’s the best way to get me and my bike to Kaohsiung? I’ll be traveling with a bike bag but my plan is to mail it to my friend once I arrive in Hualien. But maybe I could mail it to whatever hostel/hotel I stay at in Kenting?
Weather stuff: I’ll be arriving the first week of April. I realize that Taiwan weather is very unpredictable and that it basically always rains. Going through those mountain routes, should I be worried about mudslides and the like? Also, will it be at all chilly in the mountains? (I suppose I’ll be huffing and puffing on my bike so maybe it won’t matter.)
I think that covers most of it! Probably not though. As I said, any thoughts about any part of this will be very much appreciated. And if anyone has questions about cycling in Korea, I can offer a bit of info now but a whole lot more in May (I’ll be cycling the east coast and Seoul - Busan). Thanks guys!