Taiwan Giant bicycle rental is straightforward and easy.
We will share the steps in this post.
Scenic 花蓮 Hualien!
The first impression when I reach Hualien is the mountain ranges all around. Maybe this is the feature for Taiwan East Coast, townships are always squeezed between mountain and sea 🙂
October temperature is starting to turn cold (nearer to Autumn) and rain is minimum. We were very lucky to get 25-28 degrees during our rides. (avoid cycling between June to Sep 30+ degrees!)
This is part 2 of our Hualien activities, read the first part here. Highlights:
-Arrive Hualien and lunch
-Checkin to minsu, 東之戀民宿 (8 min walk from Train Station)
-Bike collection (Giant)
-Warmup ride to Qi Xin Tan beach
-Back to minsu after 20km
-Pack and send our luggage to Taitung (train service)
-Night Market dinner
Hualien Taitung Itinerary
Before we share more about 捷安特 Giant Bicycle rental, let us share our Google Sheet itinerary first. We have added the GPS and proximity of attractions, F&B near to train station.
Beautiful and scenic coastal area. Just take note there are a lot of dogs in Taiwan (both pets and wild). Most only bark :p
Hualien Night Market
Dinner at 花蓮東大門夜市 Dongdamen Night Market.
No 3 Yee and his 滷肉饭. I could count the number of meat pieces! Yee loves his rice but I found it miserable :p
炸蛋蔥油餅 (4/5) (stall in market)
Best! Super oily, but the egg will melt into the dough. Google Map tells us there are two other authentic stalls 🙂
Imagine French toast, with 20 choices of ingredients!
Choose the correct stall, there are three in this night market!
Accommodation, booking dilemma
Comfortable bed, friendly host. We set off early at 0700 the next day. We could keep our bicycles in the hall.
The dilemna with a daily change of minsu (homestay), on a cycling tour. How do we estimate the mileage and plan for next rest point? There are plenty of dynamic factors, when we are on the road 6 to 8 hours a day.
For example. Starting at 花蓮 Hualien (Highway 9), should we rest at :
-光復 Guangfu Town-50km. Or stretch it to ..
Do we have the Stamina? If we are over-ambitious and book too far away, we might rush through our journey. This can be dangerous as we might lose concentration, and also opportunities to discover local attractions.
What happens if rain or punctures delay our trip?
Where/when do we want to take our rest and meals?
What happens if we are forced to cancel our minsu (lose the deposit?)
Very often, we could only confirm our stay 24 (or even 4 hours) before we reach. Since Oct is not peak-season, we had plenty of options (plan A, B, C etc).
Which town has more amenities and food? In above example, Yuli and Ruisui confirm more happening than Guangfu 🙂
Our short stay did not do justice to Hualien. We would like to come back again and spend more time exploring the mountains.
-6D5N trip, but 4D3N actual cycling
-We cycled 250km from Hualien to Taitung (detours inclusive). If strictly no detour, 180km possible.
Kids are impressive!
-Day 1- 80km Hualien to Ruisui
-Day 2- 55 km Ruisui to Yuli to Antong
-Day 3- 70km Antong to Dulan
-Day 4- 40km Dulan to Taitung
-Every night a new 民宿 minsu, we quickly learn how to efficiently unload/pack our luggage.
All these dreams were spark by Hualien Taitung map below. Encouraging both Taiwanese and tourists to cycle more, see more.
Below map (Credit Hualien Adventures) gave a good overview and has plenty of riding suggestions, pit stops. It was a Great tool for me to plan either highway 9 or 11 🙂
You can cover Taiwan East Coast cycling in 3D2N, or take your own sweet time to enjoy the detours. We took 4D3N to complete our journey but 5D4N best 🙂
Highway 9 runs along the train line. There is a parallel route 193 ( also known as 花東縱谷) as you will cycle in the valleys, flank by green or yellow paddy fields! Highway 11 is winding coastal road, with the roaring Pacific Ocean next to you all the way South!
Do visit their Hualien Adventures bike links for research and tips.
If you know your average speed, you can then estimate your distance and preferred rest locations. Our average speed was a comfortable 20 to 30km on flat road.
-Only bring the essentials
-Ensure easy access for critical stuff, eg first aid, batteries or powerbanks -Balance left and right bags
-Pack essentials on top, for easy access
-Might not need to pack extra drinks and food as convenience stalls everywhere
Over the next few nights, we got very efficient with packing and unloading.
Each touring bike, be it racers or MTB, will have two side bags (panniers). Racers bags are much bigger and waterproof, I do not understand why MTB bikes are 10l only, and not waterproof?
Photo below. Three fully loaded bikes, fortunately we got extra haversacks to load our stuff. The bikes (and maybe the riders) look very serious haha 🙂
We plan our rest points along scenic spots, ideally with shade, drinks and food.
You can actually cycle north from Taitung to Hualien too, but will encounter strong headwinds.
Returning our trusty bikes. Feeling Happy that we complete our Journey and also Sad that our epic adventure has come to an end 🙂
*Updated 2023Feb. Take note Taitung Giant Bike shop (GPS 22.760609, 121.145335) has shifted South. It is no longer near to Train station. (Please confirm with Giant)
Was really grateful for all the HELP and TIPS we got along the way. Thanks Douglas (he just toured Incheon to Busan ride) and Uncle Soon.
I had a fall near the end of our journey. A blessing in disguise, as we were at the end point, and there was no fracture. This was the only incident we had over our cycling journey. We did not encounter any rain (so lucky!)
I will gladly attempt another Taiwan cycling trip with the kids!
After returning our bikes, we collected our luggage and pick up the train tickets from Taitung to Kaohsiung.
Non-hassle, very easy for tourists.
Do take note Taitung Train station is 6km from Taitung center.
Taxis are readily available, metered rate should be between NTD200 to NTD 300.
More good FOOD 台東 Taitung !
If you have time for only one food in Taitung, go for 藍蜻蜓 Blue Dragonfly.
I might not eat KFC anymore after Dragonfly :p
Yummy 哈拉麵 🙂
Super friendly host and nice ambiance.
More food options are captured in our Google Sheet itinerary.
Checkout our Taitung Eat See Play custom Google Map.
The yellow icons are our cycling path.
I am one PROUD Dad!
Our Taiwan East Coast cycling 花東 took us out of our comfort zone.
We literally had to stretch ourselves, and look out for each other.
I hope the experience will make our family bond stronger.
The kids might not know it, but 250KM is a BIG DEAL.
Hope our Taiwan Cycling experience will leave a big imprint for their future explorations! Go out and explore the WORLD.
This blog post is only a summary of our compressed 4D3N Taiwan East Coast cycling. We will be sharing more photos and stories of our trip.
*Use our Google Sheet Itinerary and GPS for your planning reference (Link).
We hope our experience will encourage more folks to cycle in Taiwan!
*(C) Tips for Taiwan East Coast cycling:
1)No1 tip- Send your luggage from Hualien to Taitung. We only pack minimum for our 4D3N road trip, pack everything else for Taitung pickup
2a) Bike handling Relatively safe for families to explore Taiwan on wheels. Just ensure kids are confident on bikes (gears, brake, balance). Kids need to be comfortable with speeds maybe up to 40kmh, especially when going downhill.
Reflexes are harder to train(eg to be more steady). No 3 will instinctively swerve-hard inwards when cars horn. This might cause him to lose balance.
2b) General Safety It would be good if one knows how to fix bicycle chains, or patch a tyre (or change a tube). Some roads can stretch for a few kilometres without bicycle shops or even convenience stores (especially Highway 11). In worse case, broken bike can cab to the next meeting point.
Kids like to cycle near the kerbs, which is not advisable. This is the area where most pebbles and broken glass gather, risking punctures. Besides, you will have less “allowance” to evade or maneuver during an emergency.
I notice the barriers along some bridges are maybe only 1m in height. A fall would be drastic!
No3 Boon Yee was in the center most of the time, as his bike was the smallest and least visible.
*Kids should know which emergency number to dial, in case the adult is hurt. Bring your first aid kit along and know your basic first aid skills.
3) The best time to cycle might be in October and November, with temperatures between 25 to 28 degrees in the day (summer Jun-Aug can reach 30+ degrees). Minimum Typhoon, and paddy harvesting means fields are turning Gold.
4) Appreciate warm Taiwanese hospitality and cycling culture. Bicycle lanes are wide and available on 90% of our route. Cars generally give a wide berth. Singapore has a lot to learn!
We felt safe on the road and passer-bys will SHOUT 加油! We wave to riders on the other side 🙂
5)Use Google Map “Driving” icon to navigate instead of “Walking”.
Walking might bring you to shortcuts, which can be hard to navigate or sometimes non-passable for wheels (especially in the mountains)
I am just curious why Taiwan Google Map does not have Cycling options (unlike New Zealand Mountain-to-Ocean track). Secondly, “Walking” mode cannot go through Tunnel (which is weird).
I need “walking” mode to estimate the elevations and plan my rest points.
6) Ensure your accommodation (minsu) allow you to keep your bikes indoors. It is relatively safe in Taiwan, but we just need to be vigilant and prevent theft
7) Scooters and Cyclists cannot turn left at main junctions. We have to go into the small box, and wait for green light. (YouTube explanation)
8)We could not cover all the scenic spots during this trip. We will cover them in our next trip:
–太魯閣 Taroko Gorge (need one full day to enjoy)
–池上伯朗大道 (Mr Brown, 金城武 and EVA ad wah!)
–知本溫泉 (hot spring)
*9)Do pop by the following links and resources too:
-Taiwan Tourism cycling manual eBook
–https://taiwaneverything.cc (my resource kit)
–WhyWendyWrites (hot air balloon, 綠島 Green and 蘭嶼 Orchid islands)
-Many more blogs 1 , 2 , 3(round island!) , 4 (IG), 5(ideas!) , 6 (tips), 7
I suspect the best blogs are those in Mandarin (but I struggle to read)
–TwoWheelCruise 2 parts (heavy rain and nice commentary)
-Another nice video (novice too)
-Additional tips and stories (Cycle Taiwan)
-If in season, fruits picking might be fun too (link)
IG Beautiful corners in Taitung! Follow @tintinghi
One of the best videos (credit @MyTaiwanTour), so cinematic 🙂
10) Essentials. Get the reliable wifi router from Klook. Ensure you have enough powerbanks, batteries and MicroSDs for your journey. I brought a notebook along to backup our daily photos and videos. WATERPROOF everything as rain is frequent.
11)Read up on earthquake and Typhoon precautions. Hualien and Taitung has regular earthquakes!
12) If you are attempting the same route, these two links will answer 30% of your questions, be confident. We are not super fit, nor do we cycle regularly. But if you can cover 30 40km every 3 or 4 hours, you should be ok.
Do cover more grounds (maybe 60/40%) before noon as weather will be hotter in the afternoon.
13)If you are not cycling, you can still self-drive and enjoy the sightings. Scooter rental can be under NTD1000 per day! E-bike rentals are available at many places but will need to recharge every 50km.