The kids did not even know that Surf was up, as it was meant as a surprise. Secondly, wind and wave conditions are never predictable. Infact, our surf was only confirmed on the morning itself.
Surfs and strong waves all along the East Coast (Highway 11). The first target when we reach Dulan was to 吃冰 (literally Eat Ice).
台澢號 Taitung Tea House is the only shop to offer the cool Surfing dessert. Hey, their fish & chips rocks too 🙂
Friendly cafe, offering a resting stop for travellers. At this point, we had already cycled 200km from Hualien! (4D3N itinerary here)
Checkin to our Hostel, WaGaLiGong.
Weird name, maybe direct translation from dialect 我跟你讲 ?
WaGaLiGong is managed by Mark (our surf coach too) and partner. He used to teach in South Africa but somehow found Surf and Love in Taiwan 🙂
WaGaLiGong provides both shelter and surf classes. Travellers mingle to share their life journey.
Quaint and unique architecture. The interior looks totally different from the quiet streets. I would say Hippy too.
You can learn SUP (Standup paddling), and many more water sports too.
If you have an opportunity, ask the locals about the story behind bus-on-the-roof.
Dulan is actually a little known town. The main highlight in this town could be ex Hualien Sugar Factory. It is now filled with music and arts, as in many 文創(Cultural) establishments.
Maybe you can explore 都蘭鼻 (more cliffs and shore).
Dinner was next door eatery. Simple fare, but delicious 🙂
Be prepared to wait as the chefs really put in a lot of passion in their food.
Comfortable rest before we embark on the next adventure.
Day 5 6am, we were ready for our surf class.
But the waves and wind was a bit strong for newbies Surfing at Dulan.
In the end, we proceeded as we did not want to miss the opportunity of another Fun adventure.
Class proper and safety instructions first.
Mark shared why surfers encounter more dangers as they always search for new spots and breaks. We need to understand the sea condition and currents (especially rip tides) before we surf.
*If you encounter a rip tide, do not try to swim against the current towards shore. Instead, swim left or right (and get out of the rip)
** Try to be calm during any emergency. Panic will make things worse.
If in doubt, just float and tread water, catch your breath and energy and THINK. (would be tough to remember when we are struggling in the water)
Hey, we learn about geography and wind too.
Example, wind will generate waves. Reef,sandbank, river mouth(eg donghe) will create a bump for the surf.
The wind should be far from shore, just push the waves towards surfers. If the wind is near shore, then the waves would be unpredictable.
Look at the endless Pacific Ocean waves. Intimidating and Exhausting!
Very often, we move forward two steps only to fall back one step.
The board is hard to wield and the wind kept blowing our board around. But Kids never GAVE UP!
My arms and core was weakened after 45minutes.
Found an excuse to be the camera man haha.
Kids nailed their “training” session, despite the less than optimal wave conditions (too windy and choppy)
Three steps to remember: Our coach will shout these commands 1,2,3 to us. 1-Prone (lift your chest up) 2-Squat (one leg lift infront between hands) 3-Stand (and hopefully balance)
Verdict: Surfing the waves is more Fun than Surfing internet!
Kids pickup a new skill. They exhibited their fearless and adventurous attitude. We were all tired but they kept running back into the waves!
We got bruises, cuts, even our nipples and chest got abrasion rash from the board too! Yet the kids proclaimed their Love for SURFING!
I was just PROUD that the kids took up a challenge and owned the Moment.
Our coach Mark (L) and Steve(R).
After a tiring morning, we enjoyed some chill breakfast moment at 逗留豆遊.
Google Map has give them a Good review.
Niche cafe with two friendly bosses. But they emphasised that the real boss is their 4-legged mascot 🙂
By the way, we are publishing Surfing at Dulan post first, because a huge Surf event is coming up!
台湾台东国际冲浪赛 (Taiwan Open Surfing) surfs from 23Nov to 07Dec website) and many international folks will be barreling at Donghe.
WaGaLiGong surf class starts from NTD 1400 (2 pax) to NTD 1200 (4 pax, about $50Sgd). I would say the money was well spent as it bought us unforgettable memories in Dulan!
Experience is priceless 🙂
We would like to shout Thank You to team WaGaLiGong for the surfing adventure! Mark is recommending that we should extend our Surf class to a week next time :p
-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 🙂
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 , 4 for IG, *5 , 6 round island!, 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.