Tip to Tip -- Southbound
Get your first taste of cycling in Taiwan by climbing several of the best routes in Yangmingshan National Park, just north of Taipei City. You'll be riding up dormant volcanoes, past active sulfur pots, and along streams rushing with hot spring water. Expect to see eagles, monkeys, and great views of the Pacific Coast and surrounding countryside from Taiwan's northernmost mountain range. Check out our Epic Climbs page to see some of the routes in Taipei City you'll be riding on this day.
Head southeast from Taipei City and enter the teafields of the Pinglin District of New Taipei City. Climb into the sub-tropical jungles on the steep hillsides of the mountains before emerging above terraced fields of oolong tea that spill down towards rushing streams hundreds of meters below. After lunch, ascend to a 500-meter plateau and wind through a landscape of jungle and rice paddies before following the twisty road down to the Pacific Coast at the village of Daxi. After watching the surfers riding the waves at the local beach, cycle southward to the hot spring resort of Jiaoxi, where you'll spend the evening in a room with your own hot spring bath. Three climbs for the day's ride, reaching a maximum elevation of 600 meters and giving nearly 2,300 meters of total ascent.
After breakfast at the hotel, you'll ride up the valley of the Lanyang River to the bottom of the Nanshan (South Mountain) climb. Then you'll ascend the hairpin turns to the top of the pass, where you'll enjoy an amazing view all the way down the valley toward the day's starting point on the plains of Ilan County. After that, you'll roll along next to a high mountain river before descending into Wuling Farms, a valley full of fruit orchards below Taiwan's second tallest peak, Snow Mountain. After a shower and change of clothes, enjoy a hike up to one of the nearby waterfalls to drink in the views of one of northern Taiwan's most scenic areas. One long climb, topping out at nearly 2,000 meters, giving a total of 2,600 meters of ascent for the day.
The morning begins with a ride out of Wuling and then along ridges covered in orchards of pears, apples, and persimmons to the town of Lishan. Then the gradual ascent to the tunnel at Dayuling awaits, first passing along hillsides of fruit trees and then examples of Taiwan's mighty cypress trees, which grow to massive proportions in the cloud forest located at approximately 2,000 meters above sea level. Emerging from the short tunnel to Dayuling, you'll be rewarded with views of Chilai Mountain directly to the south and Hehuan Mountain to the southwest. Wuling Pass, at 3,275 meters above sea level, is the highest pass with a paved road in Taiwan, and you'll face the challenge of climbing the final 10 kilometers to its summit along a road that averages 10% over its entire distance. After reaching the summit and posing for photos, you'll begin the descent back to Dayuling. Then, you'll follow the road through some of Taiwan's most scenic mountain areas to the village of Tianxiang, which sits at the head of Taroko Gorge, where you'll spend the evening. Enjoy fine dining, a luxurious room with in-bath hot spring, and entertainment by members of the local indigenous groups.
After a leisurely breakfast, cycle down Taiwan's famed Taroko Gorge, carved out of the marble stone from which the local mountains are formed. You'll want to stop for photos of the steep walls of narrow gorge, the local monkeys, and the diversity of birds that make Taroko National Park one of Taiwan's most beautiful natural attractions. After leaving the gorge, you'll cycle along the coast to Hualien, the largest city on Taiwan's relatively undeveloped east coast. After checking into your room at your hotel, you'll have a chance to explore the city, visit a market for fresh fruits and local snacks, or relax in a cafe over a delicious meal with a glass of your favorite beverage.
After leaving Hualien, you'll ride southward through Taiwan's East Rift Valley. It's the breadbasket of eastern Taiwan, and the valley floor is covered in ride paddies, fruit orchards, and small farming villages. To your right rise the lofty mountains of Taiwan's Central Mountain Range, and to the left the mountains of the Coastal Range. Your route for the day will proceed along Route 193, which rolls up and down the foothills of the Coastal Range, covered in jungle, fruit orchards, and Betel Nut Palms. The people inhabiting the villages you'll pass through are members of Taiwan's indigenous Austronesian-language speaking peoples, and you'll admire the the carved wooden statues and other artwork that mark the entrances to their communities. After a day in the saddle, you'll spend the evening at a hot spring hotel in the town of Ruisui, where you'll have a delicious meal and soak in your private hot spring bath in your comfortable room.
Following a breakfast at the hotel, you'll ascend a series of hairpin turns before riding along a road that winds above the Ruisui River, through a picturesque gap in the mountains of the Coastal Range. You'll be treated to majestic scenery, views of farming villages, and catch sight of the local wildlife, particularly the monkeys that inhabit this amazing stretch of road. At the mouth of the river at the Pacific Coast, you'll head south along the narrow coastal plain, passing the obelisk that marks the Tropic of Cancer before coming to Baxian Caves. According to archaeologists, these caves were inhabited as far back as 35,000 years ago. After a brief tour of the caves, get back on your bike to continue your journey along the scenic coast, passing fields of rice, pineapple, and other fruit. Before long, you'll reach the village of Doulan, the center of Taiwan's surfing culture. Enjoy dinner at one of Doulan's many restaurants, sip a craft beer or two at nightspot Highway 11 as you listen to one of the local bands that perform there before retiring to your room at a guesthouse located on a hillside above the coast. The sound of the waves crashing on the beach below will smooth your way into a restful sleep.
The next morning, cycle southward along the coast to the city of Taidong. After a quick look at the city, you'll once again follow the coast toward Taiwan's southern tip. The road passes above beaches lined with coconut palms on your left and below the mountains that rise over one thousand meters on your left. You'll stop in villages where the locals preserve their traditional customs and welcome visitors eager to learn about their way of life and culture. Reaching the town of Dawu, you'll climb into the mountains again, before turning southward to follow s series of valleys to the village of Mudan, inhabited by members of Taiwan's indigenous groups. Finally, enjoy a delicious meal and a soft bed in one of the guesthouses operated by the local people.
On this the last day of your tip-to-tip tour, cycle through the twisting valleys before emerging at the mouth of a small river on the Pacific Coast once again. You'll want to slow down and savor the views of the beaches of golden sand as your pedal along the grassy bluff that signals you've arrived in Kenting National Park. Stop for a photo at Oulanpi Lighthouse to capture the moment you reach Taiwan's southernmost point before turning northward to cycle the remaining kilometers into the beach resort of Kenting, your destination for the night. The town's lively night market, numerous seafood restaurants, and sandy beaches ensure that there will be somewhere special for you to enjoy the last night of your Taiwan cycling journey. After a relaxing night at one of Kenting's hotels, you and your bike will be transported back to Taipei, first by van, and then a ride on Taiwan's 300-kilometer-per-hour high speed rail.
Discover the amazing diversity of climbs accessible from Taipei. Base yourself in Taiwan's capitol city and challenge the routes up the numerous mountains that surround this bustling urban center. With Bike Monkey Tours, you'll realize why Taipei offers some of the best cycling on this island. Tours can be arranged to suit your riding preferences and the length of time you have in Taiwan.