With its own international airport and a growing cycling scene, this city in the southwest makes it a great choice for beginners looking for an urban city route. There are many designated paths for cyclists and plus fewer cars than bustling Taipei. There are also public bikes for rent at stands throughout the city under the City-Bike Program. See more at khh.travel/en/default1.asp
Star of Cianjhen Bike Bridge
We really like the Star of Cianjen Bike Bridge for its intricate design that’s built to accommodate cyclists. It’s also lined with two small pedestrian lanes on both sides for those who would rather walk and take in the scenery. The bridge connects three different cycling routes: Formosa Boulevard Bike Path, West Side Harbor Line Bike Path and Cianjhen River Bike Path. And it’s even more striking after dark as it’s lit up against the night sky.
Another surprising highlight is the city’s MRT station. Largely considered one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world, Formosa Boulevard Station is best known for its “Dome of Light,” a massive colored glass installation by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata. Near the station is the Liohe Night Market
, a well-known night market catering to tourists (which means local products, seafood and other goods are a bit on the pricey side). You can also cycle or take a stroll along the picturesque Ai River
(Love River), which is peaceful during the day and colorful at night with neon lights reflecting in the water. For more information, check out the Tourism Bureau of Kaohsiung at tourism.kcg.gov.tw/en
Cycling between cities is time consuming, but well worth the effort. Along the East Coast, you’ll be greeted by deep blue ocean views and other cool sights.
Taitung Seaside Park
Taitung Seaside Park is a great stop for cyclists, being the biggest public park by the sea, where you can easily cycle or walk down the nicely paved trails. It’s also connected to Taitung Forest Park, which takes you one step closer to nature. Both are located on flat land, making cycling through the trees a real breeze.
Another iconic spot lies by the East Rift Valley in Taitung. Known as “Heaven Road,” the Chihshang Rice Field offers a scenic cycling route through green fields with the mountains as backdrop. The best time to visit is just before the sunset. A trip to Taitung would not be complete without a visit to Sanxiantai Island, located off the coast of Chenggong township. It’s known for its eight-arch-footbridge, which offers unique views of the pebble beach by the peaceful Pacific Ocean.
ALONG THE COAST
Taroko National Park
A cycle up north takes you to the Shihyusan scenic area, with its impressive views of ocean-facing rocky outcrops and routes suitable for intermediate and advanced cyclists. Many cyclists stop at Hualien, a quaint foodie town, before continuing to Taroko National Park, famous for its natural marble gorge. It’s possible to cycle along the road shared with other vehicles throughout the park. The spectacular views of the mountains, valleys, the Shakahtang Ho and Leewoo rivers, and the suspension footbridge definitely make this challenging, hilly ride worth it.
There’s plenty to keep you busy in the lively capital of Taiwan. The usual tourist stops include Chiang Kai-Shek memorial hall, Taipei 101, Sun Yat-Sen memorial hall and Shilin Night Market, the latter of which is one of the busiest spots in the city once night falls.
Cycling around the city, though, is not advisable for beginners. Despite the growing number of cyclists, the traffic can be quite intimidating, especially if you’re not used to the layout of the city. Nevertheless, there are well-maintained public bikes available for hire throughout the city (for where to get them, see travel.taipei/en). There are separate bike lanes and official cycling routes in many parts of the city and you’ll come face-to-face with interesting graffiti, especially around Ximenting.
We would highly recommend a trip down the riverside bikeways in Taipei, where you’ll be completely shielded from the congestion outside the grounds. Roads are well-maintained and stretch over a distance of 40km. Riding all the way to Tamsui is popular among locals and tourists alike, as it’s an ideal stop for sunset-watching at the end of the day.
The best time to visit Taiwan is generally September to March
While there are plenty of public bikes available all over the island, taking a cycling tour is a convenient option for those unfamiliar with the terrains or beginners not ready to cycle from city to city. There are big local companies like Giant that can create customized cycling tours. They make sure that your bikes are prepared, the trip is designed just the way you want based on your cycling ability and there’s even a serviced van following you along the way.
There are plenty of direct flights to Taipei. Return flights with Singapore Airlines go as low as $631, while Scoot takes you there for $255 and Jetstar flies there for $248.