A self-guided cycle tour of Taiwan's coast and East Rift valley
Ride free and at your own pace on this self-guided cycling adventure on Taiwan’s East Coast. Crafted from years of experience touring Taiwan, our perfect self-guided route is compact, but diverse and takes in some of the island’s most impressive scenery on quiet, easy to follow roads along the East Coast and East Rift Valley.
This self-guided ride starts in magnificent Taroko Gorge, and ends in the laid-back city of Taitung. Train transfers from Taipei to Taroko, and Taitung to Taipei (or Kaohsiung) are included in the package.
Interested in how Grasshopper Self-guided bike tours work? See our introduction video below or read more about self-guided tours in detail.
After a train transfer from Taipei, the riding begins in Taroko, the world’s deepest marble gorge and then snakes its way south, with sections on the rugged Pacific Coastline, and on quiet country roads through the idyllic East Rift Valley, a lush landscape of rice paddies, tropical fruit orchards, indigenous villages, and hot springs!
You'll emerge from the valley at the southern end of your unforgettable adventure for a final cruise along the coast, before rolling into the laidback seaside town of Taitung.
6 days duration
270 km distance
Trip Features & Tour Inclusions
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Our dedicated Grasshopper Self-guided Adventures app combines navigating technology with visual and audio descriptions of points of interest along your routes, and can be hosted on all Android and iOS devices. The app contains your detailed tour route, podcasts with background information on the regions you will pass through, plus an audio commentary describing points of interest along the way. It also provides dining suggestions along your routes as well in destination locations, with translated menu recommendations. Furthermore, it will provide a and voiced glossaries of common phrases and words, which you can use to find rapport with locals.
On request we can provide iPads if you don’t wish to use your own mobile device.
Quality, well maintained Giant 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.
In the larger cities and established tourist centres we use stylish and comfortable hotels and resorts. In the smaller destinations we use simple hotels with air-conditioning and private bathroom, and some with private hot springs and swimming pool.
Exclusively to self-guided tours our bikes come fitted with top of the range GPS navigation units. These biking computers have remarkable customisation capabilities and can easily be ported with all major biking software, such as Strava, RidewithGPS or Kamoot, for all fans of cycling data. Never fear if you are not technically minded, as we've made them accessible to all riders. The device will be customised for you and we will upload the most accurate maps and routes. Furthermore, you will be well briefed on putting it to good use. You can download a free companion app and play around with its setup, download results of a day’s ride, or set yourself daily workout goals.
Before you ride out on your Self-guided adventure, you will be given a set of essential tools to handle all of possible minor repairs, or you can turn to local mechanics for help. However, in an unlikely event of a breakdown you just need to reach out to our representative who will either talk you through basic repairs or organize support in your location, or will help you handle transfer to your destination.
On request, and for additional fee, we provide a premium transfer service, to pick you up anywhere on the road, if you feel you can’t make it to your ride’s destination.
We provide the technology, travel planning and attention to detail so that you can just focus on enjoying the ride. You'll have your pick of great places to eat plus endless opportunities for local interaction as you cycle through regional communities. This is true independent touring without the hassle. It will take you to places you'd never reach any other way and allow you to explore new locations at your own pace.
We provide secure luggage transfers between each of your hotels. This way you can enjoy the ride knowing that when you arrive, your bags will already be waiting at reception. We will also call ahead to ensure that everything is ready for your arrival.
for Self-Guided Eastern Explorer tour
Explore Taroko Gorge
This morning you’ll make your way to the train station for the beautiful journey along the spectacular east coast to Xincheng station (Taroko). Train tickets will be delivered to your chosen hotel in advance. You’ll be met on arrival at Xincheng train station by one of our friendly tour leaders and head for a local lunch and a full briefing to the week ahead.
After lunch you’ll transfer to your overnight lodgings, deep into the gorge, stopping en route for a short walk along Swallow’s Grotto, one of the most dramatic sections. On arrival at the hotel you’ll check in and have a bike fitting, after which your tour leader will depart. The rest of the afternoon can be spent riding further west into the gorge (part of the famous King of the Mountain route), wandering to a nearby monastery, or just soaking up the views.
Cycle to Yanliao, East Coast
Today you get an early start to make the exhilarating ride down through Taroko Gorge and to the sea, maybe stopping for a hike along the Lushui-Heliu, or Shakadang trails before exiting the gorge and emerging onto the Pacific Coast. Avoiding the main highway you ride narrow lanes lined with banana palms and temples, taking beachside rest stops on the way south along the coast. Tonight you stay in a small boutique bed and breakfast overlooking the sea in the fishing village of Yanliao. There is an excellent seafood restaurant just a short walk from the hotel.
Cycle to Ruisui, East Rift Valley
Today you take a break from the coast, venturing into the picturesque but little visited East Rift Valley, a land of lush green rice paddies and small indigenous communities, heading south on a lovely little road to Ruisui, where a refreshing pool and soothing hot springs await! Dinner is included at your hotel.
Cycle to Chenggong, East Coast
The first part of today’s ride continues south through the ever-widening Rift Valley, mountains on either side, before bearing east across the coastal mountain range. After a short, steep climb there’s a wonderful 12km descent, offering spectacular views down the coast. Once back on the coastal road there are options to swim, and to explore magical Sanxiantai, a rugged and rocky island formed by a long extinct volcano. Ride’s end is a lovely resort, just south of the fishing town of Chenggong.
Cycle to Taitung
Your final day’s ride takes you south along the ever more impressive coastline, and throws up a host of possible stops including monkey spotting, a coffee or snack in the laid-back surf mecca of Dulan (also famous as an indigenous arts centre), for a swim at beautiful Shanyuan Beach, or exploring the otherworldly coastal rock formations at Xiao Yeliu. The ride ends in Taitung, where there are temples, parks, an arts district and nightmarkets to explore, or you could just take a swim in the hotel pool.
Tour Concludes in Taitung
This morning you’ll be met by a Grasshopper tour leader, return your bikes and equipment, and then be transferred to the train station for your return journey to Taipei (or Kaohsiung if preferred).
What's the Riding Like?
Some hilly terrain
5 days riding
You'll ride on well-made roads some of which have designated cycle lanes. The terrain varies from gently undulating along parts of the East Coast to the short but steep ascent and long descent over the Coastal Mountain Range. Traffic is generally light although there will be occasional stretches on busier roads.
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. This said if you’re prepared for the heat and the remote possibility of a 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 principally felt in the north and northeast (12-24°C), which are prone to rain showers and colder temperatures, but in the south and particularly the southwest, conditions are often dry and mild during this period. Winter is generally a 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 - Spring and Autumn are the best time to ride self-guided, but if you’re prepared for the possibility of a cold snap or the chance of rain, winter is considered the off-season for domestic travelers, making for quiet roads and attractions.
What our guests tell us...
Just a selection of our great reviews!
Just completed a ride down the east coast of Taiwan, 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!
Cycled with a Grasshopper tour on the east coast of Taiwan and had a great trip. They took care of all the details. Would highly recommend the east coast of Taiwan and rift valley as a cycle touring destination and Grasshopper does a great job showing riders the best of it.
I had the pleasure of a self-guided tour of Taiwan by bike. The company I chose to prepare the trip for me went beyond expectations. I was supplied with maps, business cards, advance bookings, transfer support, a phone for contact and one bill. This meant I was independent on my own wheels but knew I had support at the end of the phone at any time. I rode almost 500km solo with logistic support by the wonderful team at GrasshopperAdventures. I met amazing people who spoke little English but know travellers and bicycles.
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