West coast or East coast?

I will try a multi-day tour soon. Is the West Coast or East coast better? I like a bit of solitude so i am guessing the East coast - anything to be aware of?

If east coast, probably should not do the Hualien (at Taroko Gorge entrance) to Suao part, or the reverse. Just re-opened, plus not conducive to the safety of bicycles through those multiple tunnels.

I’ve done the round-taiwan trip myself and if you have 5 days or less, then maybe take HSR to Kaohsiung and get to Pingtung City on first day (just to add some kilometers to your ride), or if you got the legs that first day, then to Kenting by following 1 to 26. Look for the 1st town past the main drag of Kenting (2-3 kilometers). There’s a 7-11 on left side in the town across the street from the small bay. Plenty of cheap hotels (sub-1000) behind/next to the 7-11. Bargain with owners. I got one on the main drag 2nd floor, facing ocean for like NT$700.

Then ride from there around the southernmost tip of Taiwan taking 26, then 200甲, then 200, back to 26 along coast, then 199甲, then 199, to 9, and then a nice long downhill ride into Daren on the east coast. Follow 9 into Taitung City. This can be done in 1 day if you leave at dawn. Make sure carry lots of water. Google Map shows these roads clearly.

From Taitung have 2 ways to Hualien: alongside 9 or the various side roads of the Rift Valley, or along 11 and along the Pacific Ocean. I prefer the Rift Valley. Stop in Rui-Sui so as to not make it a long 1-day trip to Hualien. Plenty of hot springs in Rui-Sui to stay at or to visit. Cheapest places are near train station (away from the hot springs a few km outside of town). Ask at the police station. One of the policemen called his landlord and I immediately got a room 100m from the station for NT$600 from the landlord.

As I always tell people, you can stop at any police station on your ride and ask for either directions or for water. Some even tried to get me to stay around for some tea.
In Chia-Yi City, 2 cops directing traffic helped show me directions to the train station where I found another decent hotel for NT$700.

You’ll definitely enjoy your trip. I did.

East coast, hands down. You probably want to go north to south toward Taidong. I would suggest you start at Xincheng (Taroko), so that you can first ride in Taroko gorge. Consider taking your bike on a local train from Xincheng to one or two stations south of Hualien city to skip the traffic there. From there, highway 11 or 193-197. Skip Highway 9. That’s where all the trucks are. Check out the My Ride Today thread for a recent account of riding in the rift valley. Personally, I like to cross over at Ruisui etc and ride in the valley and on the coast. The 23 crossing at Donghe is especially good.

The west coast plains are really lame. Hengchun is good though. The high central mountains are the best though maybe not this time of year (too wet and cold).

Good advice from the two posters above. While I’d say that without a doubt the east coast is the better choice given equal weather, I think SW Taiwan is going to be your best bet for good weather this time of year. If I had the time and money for a multi-day trip I would start in Fangliao. I’d do the route that CTaitung mentioned but instead of going east into Taitung on the 9 I’d head back west and then head up through Pingdong County on the 185. From there I’d hug the hills and/or mountains and go north until I ran out of time, money or energy.

North to south would be fine too but I’d hate to run out of time and miss out on the Hengchun Peninsula. You could start somewhere pretty and close to the mountains like Ershui and head south along the mountains from there.

Oh, and as Feiren mentioned, stay away from the west coast plain. Keep close to the mountains. While there are some quaint and picturesque old farming areas with a very local feel, its just too hard to avoid the ugly towns and industrial blight, especially if you aren’t familiar with the area.

Anyway, if the weather forecasts look great then I’d say east coast. But I’d much rather ride the hills on the west coast in nice weather than do the east coast in clouds and drizzle.

Agree on the weather this time of year.

In February it would be best to stay south of Hualien from what I’ve seen. Fangliao to Taidong (or any rail station) would be a great 2-3 day ride. Don’t cross the mountains on Hwy 9 (mentioned already) but go all the way around the coast through Kending and Jialeshui on 26/200/199.

In March you can take Hwy 11 (easy) or Hwy 193/197 between Hualien and Taidong. Hwy 23 as Feiren suggests was awesome but I was in a car. Some great camping on both roads including 4 police stations on Hwy 11 with everything you need for free.

It’s not the west coast plains are lame. It’s that they completely suck. It’s shitty, ugly city after shitty, ugly city. Stoplight after stoplight. Ick. It would be pretty awesome to go up through the mountains though. For example take Hwy 3 past Tsengwen Reservoir and then Hwy 21 up to Tatajia and north to Sun Moon Lake. Or a lot of the roads in Chaiyi county.

Weather everywhere south of Hualien will be great for cycling for the next week or so. Hengchun Penninsula is forecast to hit and incredible 30 degrees tomorrow.

Superb, thankyou, I am disturbed about these tunnels, just how bad are they?

this probably sums it up well, the good and the bad. http://www.forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.php?f=134&t=93282