Our quintessential Taiwan bicycle tour
New 2019 itinerary - The most recent re-design of our classic bike tour of Taiwan. Journey the length of the country from the northern capital, Taipai, cycle touring to the southern tip, taking in the sheer beauty of east Taiwan's rugged Pacific coast, with pristine beaches, exotic inland hot springs and valleys including the stunning Taroko Gorge.
This bike tour runs from Taipei to Kenting.
This classic route takes us from Taroko Gorge down along the coast, and into the lush East Rift Valley, before we re-emerge on the rugged Pacific East Coast, enjoying a rest day at the laid-back surf village of Dulan. The final legs of the ride take us past Taitung, south along the increasingly dramatic coastal cliffs and then inland across the mountains to Kenting in the tropical south. At day's end the island offers yet more surprises: whether marvelling at the sheer power of the Pacific, soaking away the stresses of life in one of the island’s numerous hot springs or just slurping down a hearty bowl of delicious noodles, Taiwan assaults your senses and leaves you hungry for more!
9 days duration
355-435 km distance
Difficulty: Somewhat challenging
Trip Features & Tour Inclusions
What makes Grasshopper so special?
Find out how your next bike tour goes the extra mile.
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Top quality, well maintained Cannondale Quick 1 Disc bikes in a full range of sizes are included in the price of your tour. These bikes are fitted-out to suit the conditions with hybrid tyres for smooth touring performance, a wide gear range to help you on any climbs and removable mudguards in case we encounter wet conditions.
We use a range of properties from comfortable, modern resorts to family run guesthouses and boutique B&Bs. While some of the national park accommodation is on the simple and functional side, the locations can't be beaten. Find out more about the hotels we use on tour in Taiwan.
Experienced English / Mandarin speaking leaders will host you on this trip - they are well spoken, very well informed, and always charming. Our leaders are often cited as being the main highlight of the tour. We use a mix of local & foreign leaders all who have a passion for the country and are always well informed on topics ranging from history, politics, cuisine and importantly local customs and cultures. Our leaders will take pride in introducing you to every aspect of Taiwan and will help you to connect with the people you meet along the way.
*Groups of 5 or more riders will also be accompanied by a special cycle leader.
An air conditioned backup support vehicle is always available in case you want a break from riding, and to carry your luggage.
The island’s unique cultural and geographic diversity means that mealtimes are always a culinary adventure in Taiwan. The Pacifc’s rich bounty gives ample opportunity to sample super-fresh seafood, which the Japanese influence has nurtured into a love for sushi, whilst on terra firma the East Rift Valley is home to some of the island’s finest tropical fruit orchards producing dragonfruit, grapefruit, mangoes, oranges, papaya, pomelos and pineapples to name but a few. In the cities everything is available around the clock, but in remote areas meals typically consist of two or three meat and fish dishes, two or three vegetable dishes, plus staples of rice or noodles, with fruit to finish. Meat dishes are usually chicken or pork, but beef, lamb, boar and other more exotic choices are sometimes on offer. Beer is available almost everywhere, but good wine is more difficult to find. Included meals are listed in the day by day itinerary, and drinking water is always included with meals. Any soft or alcoholic drinks are not included and will be at your own expense.
Energy bars and local snacks are provided to keep your energy levels up for the riding, and clean water and electrolyte drinks are always available to keep you well hydrated.
A beautiful souvenir Grasshopper cycling jersey is yours to wear and take home.
4 to 14
This tour is guaranteed for a minimum of 4 travellers. And we limit the group size to 14 travellers so that you get all the attention you want in an intimate group.
There is no surcharge for single travellers - we will match you with another same sex single traveller. If you want a single room there is a an optional upgrade that you can book.
This tour is 100% operated by Grasshopper Adventures. The guides are our full time employees, the hotels booked by our local office staff, and the bikes are part of our local fleet. We are not outsourcing any element of this tour so you can be assured of 100% Grasshopper quality.
for Bike Taiwan
Transfer to Taroko Gorge & Warm-up Ride
We’ll meet up early in Taipei for introductions before a beautiful train ride along the dramatic east coast to breathtaking Taroko Gorge which forges its way through the Central Mountain Range. Whether shrouded in mist or glowing in sunlight, this sheer marble gorge is a captivating sight. From the station it’s a short but beautiful drive to our overnight lodgings, situated deep into the heart of the gorge. On arrival we’ll check in and then have a bike fitting and take a short warm-up ride deeper into the gorge (part of the famous King of the Mountain route!).
Cycle to Shoufeng, East Rift Valley
We make an early start to make the exhilarating ride down through Taroko Gorge, stopping for a short but stunning hike along the aquamarine waters of Shakadang stream, a tributary of the main Liwu River. On exiting the gorge we’ll emerge onto the Pacific Coast, and avoiding the main highway we ride narrow lanes lined with banana palms and temples, taking beachside rest stops on our way south. After lunch in Hualien and a visit to a traditional Taoist temple, we’ll move away from the city and into the picturesque but little visited East Rift Valley, a land of lush green rice paddies and small indigenous communities. We spend the night in a unique and boutique bed and breakfast with architecture that takes full advantage of the idyllic views. Dinner this evening is at a wonderful organic restaurant with a menu determined by the best and freshest local produce.
Cycle to Ruisui, East Rift Valley
This morning we continue our journey down through the Rift Valley, towering mountains on either side. We’ll stop for lunch at a community-run organic farm restaurant in an Amis village and have the chance to meet some of the friendly locals. In the afternoon we’ll move on south through prime tropical fruit growing country to our lovely resort set amidst beautiful countryside where a refreshing pool and soothing hot springs await.
Cycle to Fuli, East Rift Valley, Walami Trail Hike
50km cycling, optional hike
This morning we start with a short detour to visit the Tropic of Cancer Monument, the Saoba Monoliths (Taiwan’s version of Stone Henge), and for a cuppa amidst the tea farms of Wuhe. Now officially in the tropics we continue south through the ever-widening Rift Valley, to our overnight stop, which enjoys fabulous views. In the afternoon there’s the option of a hike into the foothills of the Central Mountain Range along the enchanting Walami Trail where sightings of monkeys, deer, Swinhoe’s Pheasant and eagles are commonplace, and Formosan bears are occasionally spotted!
Cycle to Dulan, East Coast
This morning we move away from the Rift Valley, along a magical little road (often with more monkeys than cars) which cuts its way southeast through the low jungly hills of the coastal mountain range. We’ll hit the coast at one of its most impressive stretches, often compared with Hawaii, and after some tasty local baozi (steamed buns) it’s only a short hop south to the laid-back surf settlement of Dulan. As well as being a mecca for surfers, Dulan is also famous for a recent indigenous arts revival which encompasses music, painting and sculpture which can be seen in the warehouse galleries around the focal point of the village, the old Sugar Factory. In the evening we’ll meet for a traditional indigenous meal overlooking the ocean.
Rest Day in Dulan, East Coast
Today is free to relax on the beach, hike, surf, visit some of the local sights or just read a book and rest! As well as Taiwanese and indigenous cuisine, Dulan has a host of Western-oriented cafés and restaurants serving food from around the globe, including authentic French, Indian and Vietnamese cuisine. There is also sometimes live music at the Sugar Factory on Saturday nights.
Cycle to Shangwu, East Coast
40-80km cycling (optional transfer)
Fresh from our day out of the saddle today today we have the option of taking a longer 80km ride, or shortening it to 40km with a transfer. We'll continue south along the East Coast, bypassing the city of Taitung and then climbing over a series of headlands which afford stunning ocean vistas. This is Taiwan’s premier Buddha Head Fruit (aka custard apple) region and we’ll have the chance to sample some along the way. We stop for lunch at a famous beef noodle restaurant and then a few kilometres before the end of the ride we bear inland to our simple but lovely overnight stop near the tiny fishing harbour at Shangwu. Dinner this evening is at a simple harbourside restaurant which turns out incredible sushi and seafood.
Cycle to Kenting, South Taiwan
55-95km cycling (short or long route options)
Fittingly our last day’s ride is also the most challenging and starts with a long, gradual ascent into hills of the Hengchun Peninsula. Those not quite up for this final push into the mountains have a shorter route option of 55km that starts with a brief transfer. Following the longer route we’ll take a brief rest stop at an ornate temple with great views and once we’ve reached the top we bear off the main east-west bearing onto a lovely little road through remote jungle dotted with the odd indigenous village before bringing us back down to the coast. The coastal stretch here is one of Taiwan’s finest, with the road running right alongside the ocean, passing windswept beaches and abandoned military bases before once again ascending into the jungle. The last leg of the ride takes us all the way to the island’s southernmost point, from where it’s just a short ride to Kenting, Taiwan's tropical playground. In the evening we’ll explore Kenting nightmarket and head out for a final dinner to celebrate our incredible Taiwan ride.
Transfer to Kaohsiung and Tour Concludes
This morning is free for you to further explore Kenting’s bounty of activities. A group transfer is available at noon back to Kaohsiung International Airport or High-Speed-Rail Station. The tour ends on arrival in Kaohsiung. For those who want to stay longer in Kenting we can arrange additional accommodation at our lovely tour hotel, plus a range of activities.
NB. The itinerary is subject to change without notice in the case of extreme conditions (see Climate).
What's the Riding Like?
7 days riding
The terrain varies from gently undulating along parts of the East Coast to steep ascents and descents over the coastal mountain range. Traffic is generally light, although there will be stretches on busier roads. There is always a support vehicle on hand to give you a lift if you need a break from the riding.
Taiwan’s varied topography and location on the Tropic of Cancer gives it a diverse climate with countless separate micro-climates. Broadly speaking the best times to visit are autumn (October to December), which generally offers clear, warm sunny weather (18-28°C) and spring (March-May), which has similar if slightly wetter conditions, with the humidity on the rise as summer approaches.
Summers (June to the end of September) are hot and humid (28-35°C) with the risk of heavy tropical downpours and typhoons, particularly in July, August and September. However if you’re used to the heat and are prepared for the possibility of the odd typhoon this is also a beautiful time to ride in Taiwan – the hills are alive with flowers and wildlife, tropical fruits burst from seemingly every tree, and many villages celebrate traditional festivals. This is also the time you’ll see the most local riders out on the road.
The 'cold' of winter (December to March) is really only felt in the north and northeast (12-24°C) , which are prone to rain showers and colder temperatures, but in the south and southwest conditions are typically dry and mild during this period. Winter is generally a very comfortable time to ride, particularly in the south, and is the most enjoyable time to soak in the island’s countless hot springs.
Our Recommendation - Best time to ride: Autumn & Spring
What our guests tell us...
Just a selection of our great reviews!
Just completed a ride down the east coast of Taiwan, with the fabulous Emily as our guide. Great food, accommodation and support for the two of us in scorching heat, wind and a little rain! Sensible itinerary built by Tot and Simon, great communication pre trip from the office, including restaurant tips in Taipei from Mandy! A great team effort!
Cycling on the quiet rolling country roads and the amazing food!
Thank you very much for a wonderful and most memorable cycling trip! This was my first cycling trip and I was not sure what to expect - our tour guides and the whole team were great to work with! The scenery was breathtaking and the tour overall was very well catered for. I would recommend this tour to any cyclist who wished to explore the wonderful scenery Taiwan has to offer (at pace) as well as getting a little exercise!
Video testimony from other tours...
Other Grasshopper Adventures Tours
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