Tell me where to go (on a scooter)

Well, after quite a number of years WORKING all the time in Taiwan :cry: , I’ve finally decided it’s time to take a whole week off, no computers/Internet/translation/whatever :smiley: , and tour the rest of the island.

I’d like to do at least some of this on my 150cc Vespa.

Can any of you who have actually done something interesting of this nature in the past couple of years (unlike me) point me in some good directions? Suggested itinerary? Roads to avoid/take? I’m open to taking trains or buses as well, as long as the Vespa can come along.

Hi, where is your starting point?

See how you feel about spending a long time in the saddle before you try to go too far. My bike is a sight more comfortable than a scoot but I still get a sore bum after more than an hour.

Try a bash round the north coast first - Tamm-shoo-ey (yeah, I know), or I believe you can cut through the mountains to white sands beach, round to Yeliou on the coast road, Green Bay is nice - time it right and I’ll take you sailing - and from there it’s up to 90 minutes back to central Taipei. (I ride out there and back every Sunday. Managed it in 45 minutes last week)

That’s a good day trip. Enough for a serious sunburn and numb buttocks.

Fulong beach took me nearly two hours, and there are a few intersesting stops along the way. I know people camp down there. Then you can carry on down the coast.

Personally I think 2-wheelers are great for twisty little mountain roads, if you can find some. Why not just explore around Taipei? Getting in and out of the city is a bit of a bind. Daxi was a couple of hours and only the last bit was at all pleasant. To be honest you’re going to be fighting traffic wherever you go I think.

How are you gonna carry your clothes etc? Backpacks are really really bad.

No, the thing is that I’ve scooted around the environs of Taipei for so many years now, including commuting to Sanzhi every day years ago from the Shita area (now THAT was dumb!) and on a much older, less reliable vehicle than I have now. Two or three hours is not a problem, I do that quite a lot.

I’m starting out in Taipei/Hsinchuang, but want to get AWAY so I feel like I’ve actually DONE something. I’ve got (or am going to take) a whole week. I would certainly like to do some day or weekend trips during the year, but this is likely to be my only chance to really go somewhere that takes more than a couple of hours total. As I said, “cheating” with buses/trains is cool…

Vone of zee secrets (vhy am I writing dis vis a german accent? slap, slap, slap) of scooter touring over long distances is to use the scooter frieght companies that can be found throughout the island (usually next to train stations). They are quick and damn cheap; imho better than freighting by train.
For example, you can get your scooter sent to Ilan, and you catch up with it the next morning. Then you ride down the East Coast to Taidong, and take the Vespa over the South Cross-Island Highway. Of course riding on the West Coast isn’t much fun. Depending on how you are feeling you can either take backroads or just freight your scooter home while you ride an express train from Tainan back to the big bad city.

Ah, and there was me wondering why I bother coming here any more. Now I know - the wookie has answers to all your problems. Cheers, mate, for that little gem. I’m surprised there isn’t a cult of the almas starting up in your little town.

Make a sacrifice of beer, and ask your question of the oracle. (Relayed through the nubile temple girls of course.) Once a year the living god will be carried around the island on a ‘research trip’ by his devout followers, selling books and collecting accolades, more beer, and more followers along the way.

Presumably his scoot will be freighted?

During religious ceremonies acolytes will sing the hymn penned by great sage, equal of heaven, the one and only Alexei Sayle: ‘Ello John, got a new motor?’

This isn’t helping my hangover much so I think I’ll stop now.

Finding your local scooter freight store:

Get freinds to check the yellow pages or head to your local train station and ask where the nearest freight service is.

For folks who don’t speak the local lingo:


Fat Bastard? That’ll be Buster Blood Vessel of ska band Bad Manners. Funnily enough I was listening to their classic ‘You Fat Bastard’ this afternoon.

Spooky! We must have some psychic connection, almas.

Ironlady, if you’re looking for places to go then there’s an excellent book out there full of ideas. It’s called Formosan Odyssey.

I loved scooting around KenTing/HengChun for a few days back in July. Great time, and not much traffic. You’ll find some amazingly beautiful vistas if you just go with your instincts, and your eyes.

3 days trip: the Huadong loop: starting either at Hualien and Taitung up the coast, down the valley. I prefer the inland leg along the plate boundary, Asia on one side of the road, the Philippines on the other. Stop at one of the two day-lily

Tomas, your posts are always right on topic, useful, kind and helpful. Keep them coming!

There are so many very helpful people here. I have made friends, acquired useful knowledge and indeed a motorcycle all through Forumosa.

I had a friend recently took a bicycle trip through the middle of the country through the mountains. Don’t see why it couldn’t be done on a scoot. You can get a highway map from most bookstores. In Chinese but shouldn’t be a problem unless your taking the no translation thing to an extreme.

Oh, yeah. I was also going to say that FuLong or DaXi on the east coast might be good if your up for camping on the beach.

Back from a great little trip. Took the 109 road through shrding to pinglin then onto route 9 (bei yi gung lu). Followed that until Ilan and came out at the coast at Toucheng. Rode north a little from there and had lunch at one of the seafood harbors (think it was Nyau Shr Gang). There were boat trips there out to Turtle Island, but as we’d just eaten, we gave them a miss this time. Anyone been to Turtle Island? Is it any good? Anyway, we continued north past Daxi on route 2 to Fulong where we stopped for a rest and a dip in the ocean. Then continued up route 2 and cut of up to Joufen just before Raefang. We decided to stay the night in Joufen and found a nice wee hotel with balconies looking out to the coast. Watched the sunset, had a rest, then did the shopping/night market street. Woke up this morning refreshed, checked out Jingwashr, and came on the 106 road from Raefang through PingShi. Stopped at one of those roadside cafes run from a truck and had some surprisingly good coffee. Back to Taipei through Shenkeng. We left at about noon yesterday afternoon and returned about the same time today. Just 24 hours but I feel refreshed - like I’ve been on a mini-holiday.

WOW, Salmon, GOPBill, and all the rest, great suggestions! I’ll have to take several trips (obviously!) what a pity…

Someone mentioned to me at one point that it wasn’t a good idea to take a Vespa up the Cross-Island Highway because of the altitude. Has anyone taken a 2-stroke scooter that route? Did you live? :laughing:

Don’t think I would be camping on the beach, unfortunately, traveling as a single woman. Probably wouldn’t be the greatest idea going, although Taiwan is fairly safe (and I’m not exactly a sweet young thing anymore).

Bill: hadn’t thought about the restrictions on map-reading, so I guess I’ll have to build a limited quota of Chinese into the trip (map- and sign-reading). The whole idea is to go South and only speak Taiwanese for a week. I’m only an intermediate in Taiwanese, and I have no rational reason for wanting to improve it, but it sounds like fun (I need to get out more, obviously, and preferably in company!! Oh well, one more year of school and we can explore the possibilities for a normal life.)

Keep those itineraries coming and thanks to all (I know I didn’t write down all the names, but I appreciate the input.) I’m starting to feel really excited about the upcoming trip.

No two-stroke scooters at high altitudes??? There were a few up at Lalashan yesterday (1550 meters altitude). You could take a slow ride up the north cross-island highway. Do it during weekdays though, unless being pushed off a cliff by a tour bus is your idea of a vacation. There are plenty of accomondation available at Lalashan, and the ride down to Ilan is said to be good. You can then either brave the dump trucks down to Hualian or go up the coast back to Taipei. Taking the trip to Daxi the first day, up to lalashan the second and down to Ilan the third would be a good start with some nice vistas on the way. If you are fond of adventure, you can try to make it to Hualian by going right at Qilan and then drive down the spine of the island to the central cross island highway - and from then down to Hualian thru the taroko gorge. (going to Taidong and then get the scoot back to Taipei on train could be a possibility as the weekdraws to a close).

Are you sure they were two-strokes? I’ve seen a couple of 4-strokes (Majesty, for example) up near Hehuanshan (more than 3000 metres) but not any 2-strokes.

The reason I advised caution to Ironlady is that from what little I have read about 2-stroke engines, they seem to be more sensitive to mixture and pressure changes than are 4-strokes. Even my 4-stroke Yamaha SR150 motorcycle had severe power loss above 3000m and I was concerned that the Vespa, which I believe is a 2-stroke might just cut out altogether. This is all guessing, though.

That wouldn’t have been from the Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance would it? All that mixture, pressure and altitude stuff made for a bloody long read! Then maybe I missed the point. Too busy being a cafe racer at the time.


No, I don’t think that book had anything to do with 2-strokes. I think it was all to do with big 4-stroke singles, maybe v-twins. It’s a while since I read it.

No, it was a less literary Google search for ‘2 stroke engine’ that turned up the info, plus some stuff on (zen and?) the art of souping up scooters for races on proper tracks by a Welsh company at;
Quite interesting if you want to know the mechanics behind the biaochezhu machines.

The interest in 2-strokes came because I had just got my first two-stroke scooter, and also because my friend says that his Honda NSR used to handle mountains, 2-up, fine, which surprised me given the reputation 2-strokes have for having narrow powerbands. (This characteristic is what makes the 2-stroke engine so suited for the continuously variable gear scooter format; it’s a light engine with a lot of power at particular rpm; the gearbox makes sure that the engine stays within that rpm at all speeds, so power is always there when you need it).

I used to get up the mountain atop which I lived with my ex-husband out on An-hsiang Road past Hsintian on a Vespa 150 just fine…and he was a tub of…, er, he was portly. I’m no fine-boned thing myself, either. But what’s the altitude compared to the various Cross-Island highways? With just me on the bike, minimal gear, do you think I would make it? I’m not concerned about speed, just about not being stranded and learning more Taiwanese than I bargained for.

Maybe I’ll just stick to the East Coast for now and stay out of the mountains?

(As you can see, I am completely mechanically ignorant, unless I’m translating about it.)