I think if you prepare well then you shouldn’t need to worry about many things.
If you have a tent, then zip up the fly sheet at night and you won’t have to worry about any snakes.
The greatest worry you should have is getting your bike stolen, which is what will probably happen if you don’t ALWAYS keep an eye on it, even when locked up so don’t be fooled.
If you like you can purchase or rent a cheap cell phone/mobile phone and keep someone’s number in there just in case you need a call for translation or for advice. I don’t mind giving you mine, just PM me if you would like it and you can call me anytime. I’m good for things like translation, expected prices for things, some information sourcing, but only some information on some few tourist hot spots.
You should be able to survive on only a small amount of money if you don’t mind camping and preparing your own food. I reckon I could get by on about 8,000nt per month if I was to prepare all of my own food, cook it myself, live in a tent (damn hot these days) and cycle everywhere without using any other form of transport. That won’t include entrance tickets to sights or anything else either though. A more realistic budget without being too extravagant may be around the 20,000nt mark, but will still include much camping and transporting yourself most of the time.
If you really want to have a little luxury at times however then keep the following prices in mind:
- Bus ride north to south Taipei to Kaohsiung one way about 700nt
- Cheap guest house accommodation 1 night off peak with no food (no weekends or holidays as prices may at least double) 500nt per night.
- A hot meal at a cheap local restaurant 100nt
- Bicycle repair should be free, they only charge for parts, but are limited in skill of fitting.
- Internet cafes can charge from about 50nt per hour.
- Used mobile phone from a shop 1,000nt. Pay as you go card about 700nt with credit.
7*) From the selection of bikes available suitable for touring in Taiwan I would personally recommend the Giant Yukon I have shown some pictures of my heavily modified version HERE. Bare in mind I have changed every component but the original frame in these shots and the entire bike including rear rack cost me 36,000nt after exchanging all of the earlier components with money returned for them as they were entirely unused. The bike was built by the shop which supplied it.
The original Giant Yukon bike comes with disk brakes, Shimano Deore gears, levers, crank, hubs etc, front Suntour sr shocks, straight bars, foam saddle, no bottle holders, light mud suited tyres and no rear rack, but is a really good deal at about 9,000nt.
My bike is fully kitted out for touring and with lots of great spec stuff, but is not necessary for touring Taiwan. I wanted my bike to be a couple of kilos lighter than the original spec as I want to travel to Germany on a plane next year and would rather have more luggage allowance weight than being taken up on the bike itself, so I dropped the suspension and disks and went for solid forks and caliper brakes which are much lighter. My bike now weighs 11 kilos, which is about three kilos lighter than the original.
I have looked at many different bikes suitable for touring, but I believe that this Giant Yukon in original spec is perhaps the most suited, offering a comfortable riding angle, rear lugs for pannier fitting, reliable Shimano gears with smooth shifting, good wheels and the ability to hold two bike bottle cages that fit!. If I were to recommend one change to the original it would have to be the front shocks as the Suntour chocks offer limited travel and are heavy. They also have no means to attach front panniers.
Most of the Giant model bikes in Taiwan at around 10,000nt come with fairly poor front suspention forks and these are the only things that really need changing before touring I would say.
Edit: Oh, and you may be wondering why I didn’t include a touring bike in my recommendation…Well I personally think that one should best be repaired for any kind of road surface in Taiwan and because of this I chose a mountain bike instead which can handle even the worst or roads without snapping or bending out of shape as easily as a touring bike would.
One thing you might consider, depending on your plans and budget is purchasing a bicycle in Taiwan, riding it around, taking it home and selling it. Many people purchase top end bikes in Taiwan as they are much cheaper than abroad seeing as most good bikes come from Taiwan in the first place. A Titanium MTB frame costs about 20,000nt for example which is probably far cheaper than most people can find in Europe and can pay for a trip here if resold back in the E.U. If you would like to get more information on a bike build or a readily available model, then you can drop me a PM and I’ll either put you in touch or help get the information you require. The only things you should bring for sure is some good panniers as the Taiwan made panniers may not be as good in quality as Ortlieb for example, but there are reasonable panniers here for cheap prices that should get you by for a while without problems.