All About this Tour
Spectacular winding roads that provide tough-but-rewarding climbs and exciting descents are the hallmarks of riding in Taiwan. The roads are surprisingly quiet on the less populated East Coast and are very well maintained.
On this hilly, and in places steep, ride you will be challenged as you head up and over the Central Mountain Range twice, culminating at 3,275 m on Hehuanshan Road. You will ride just under 915 km in 9 days of riding on smooth tarmac roads. The trip is fully supported, and your guide’s expert knowledge of the area and terrain means that you always know what is coming up in terms of distance and difficulty. This makes a tremendous difference, as does the constant supply of cold drinks, ice, and fresh fruit.
Suitability: This is a tour for cyclists possessing a high level of physical fitness. Fitness will be a huge asset on those long days, steep climbs, and undulating hills. The tour is fully supported, and the bus is always close at hand for those that find the riding too difficult.
Biking Conditions: We ride on good quality tarmac roads between 62 and 135 km a day for a total of 915 km in 9 riding days.
We pick you up from your Taipei hotel in the morning and drive outside the busy city to start our ride to Fusing. We will just have a short ride, but it will start at sea level and end at about 450 m. It will be a gentle start through undulating hills to get the legs warmed up before we start the serious climbing. You'll be riding through thick forest, and the thick moss and huge ferns that line the narrow road give the whole place a Jurassic aura.
We ride straight from the hotel to start our ascent of the Central Cross Island Link that takes us to just under 2000 m and the high-altitude plateau of Wuling. The forest will be thick and will change from cedars to bamboo. The scenery is spectacular up here, and the air fresh. We overnight at an area that was part of a 1960s government scheme to resettle veterans as farmers. In the 1980s, the focus shifted towards developing tourism and agriculture.
We start the day by continuing up the north cross island highway to Lu Shan, a town famous for its mountain fruit. After 25 km, we get to the highest point, just above 2,000 m. This is where the ride gets really interesting. We take a turn off for Li Sying Road, which takes us into one of the most remote parts of the island. Mostly downhill, surrounded by farmland and high mountains, this day is one of the highlights of the trip.
For those wanting to punish their legs, we suggest an early start to ride 32 km and 2,175 m up to Hehuanshan Pass, the highest road in East Asia at 3275 m. We will offer a car transport and options to start at different points along the way on the way up. After photos, we have an absolutely exhilarating ride down into Taroko National Park and the world-famous Taroko Gorge. This will be one ride you will never forget as we drop some 3,270 m, riding through endless tunnels and a multitude of eco zones. The last 20 km of Taroko Gorge is a mind-blowing ride through marbled walled passageways that twist and turn as the gorge rises some 500-1,100 m above. Simply spectacular!!
We take a break from the bikes and spend the day hiking in Taroko Gorge. We will visit Siangde Temple that has a giant statue of Guanyin and a pagoda that provides views of the valley from the top and walk the Tunnel of Nine Turns trail, which is on the original road through the narrowest part of the gorge. There are many other hikes to choose from, and we'll decide which ones are best to do based on the group's interests.
From Taroko Gorge, we ride out onto the east coast and into the superb East Rift Valley. We cycle on an undulating route that hugs the foothills and takes us through numerous aboriginal villages. After cycling through this fer-tile valley, we overnight at yet another wonderful hot spring resort!
We ride from our hotel south and then up into the Badlands area and enjoy splendid views from our deserted mountain road. We eventually connect with the Luye backroads and enjoy a wonderful ride through the outskirts of the port town of Taitung and down to the lush Jhihben River Valley, where the hot springs are between 75-96 degrees Celsius.
Today's ride takes us over the top of Capricorn Pass and down to the white sand beaches of Kenting. Starting with a 50-km ride down the south-east coast, we make our first crossing of the island from east to west. This is the route taken by most riders travelling around the island. As we ride over the southern mountains, we descend down to the west coast and around the Kenting peninsula. We stop for a photo op at the southernmost point of Taiwan.
Starting early in the morning from our guest house, we explore the southern part of Taiwan, which has the most dramatic coast line. We'll be hugging the coast and seeing the island’s best beaches. After lunch, we start climbing into the mountains to the village of Wu Tai, famous for its stone house architecture. On the road up to the village, we cross the highest bridge in Taiwan, approximately 100 m above the river. It's a 20-km climbing road, but the ascent is gradual up to Wu Tai, an aboriginal village. A short walking tour around the village in the afternoon finishes the day.
Today is our last ride of the tour as we leave behind our mountain village and ride to what will be our last hot spring of the tour. We ride past numerous aborigine villages as we cycle through fertile farm land. We stop for lunch at one for some traditional aborigine food. The second half of the ride takes us along the banks of the Lao Nong River, a preferred area of Buddhist monks with impressive temples dotting the landscape. We'll have our farewell dinner after our soak in the hot springs.
We'll have one group transfer to Kaohsiung where you can catch a flight or the high-speed train (highly recommended!) to Taipei or to your Kaoshiung hotel if you wish to spend the night in this port city.
We have a limited number of road bikes available for rent if you choose not to bring your own bicycle. The cost to rent a road bike for this tour is listed in the tour pricing section. If you have your own saddle that you are comfortable with, you are welcome to bring it, and we'll fit it. We can provide strap-style toe cages if requested, but you might like to consider bringing SPD clip pedals if you use them, and please bring your shoes and cleats. If you bring your own bike, please make sure it is a road bike in good mechanical order.
Basic spares and tools are carried by the guide and on the support vehicle, though we cannot guarantee having spares for every conceivable problem. Carrying a basic tool kit, a spare tube and a pump while riding is recommended.
Wearing a helmet is required on all our biking adventures and is non negotiable. If you do not wear a helmet you will not be allowed to cycle. Your tour leader is trained in first aid and emergency rescue, but to a large degree you must be responsible for your own safety while riding. It is therefore compulsory that you take out travel insurance that will cover you for a mountain biking tour.
You will be led by a local English-speaking guide and if the group is 9 people or more we will add another guide to the tour. All our guides are well informed in the history, culture and religions of the area where you are biking and are skilled at passing that knowledge on to you. Your guide is also medically trained and an experienced cyclist, able to handle most minor repairs en route.
We recommend that you visit a travel medical doctor and ask about the following vaccinations: typhoid, polio, tetanus and hepatitis A. A certificate for yellow fever is required when arriving from an infected area within six days.
The Tropic of Cancer runs straight through the middle of Taiwan resulting in a subtropical climate. Summers can be hot, humid and wet, although rainfall is often limited to short showers. Typhoon season hits in late summer to mid-autumn and tends to strike the east coast particularly hard. Winter temperatures are mild and the only snowfall is on mountain peaks.
The annual average temperature of the northern part is around 21.7C (71F) while it is around 24.1C (75F) in the southern part. The coldest months are from January to March with the lowest temperature to about 10C (50F). The average temperature of the rest of the year is around 25C (77F).
Rain is always a possibility in Taiwan so please come prepared with waterproof jacket and pants. As we also cycle to high altitudes where the weather can be cooler and change quickly it is best to have layers available.
Taiwan is also prone to earthquakes as it sits on the colliding Eurasian and Philippine plates. These grinding plates are also responsible for the beautiful mountains and amazing hot springs that make the trip to Taiwan truly worthwhile. Most of these quakes are small earth tremors.
Meals are included as per the itinerary where B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner. Most meals are local and feature noodles, rice, and soups. Any special dietary requirements can also be catered for as well. Please let us know at the time of booking.
Keeping you completely hydrated is a job we take very seriously. Cold water, some energy-restoring drinks while you are riding are included in the tour price. Soft drinks and other beverages during meals are not included. Beer is freely available everywhere but is NOT included in the price.
SpiceRoads does not require you to pay a surcharge for traveling alone. We will arrange for you to share accommodation with another traveler of the same gender and if we can not match you up we will provide a single room at no extra charge. If you prefer not to share a single supplement is payable to guarantee your own room. The cost of the single supplement is listed above.
We recommend that you tuck away a few extra dollars, perhaps US$20 a day, for incidentals.
Taiwan’s currency is the New Taiwanese Dollar (NT). ATMs, which are abundant, are the easiest way to get NT. With more than 4,000 7-Elevens across the country, there are ATMs on the international Plus or Cirrus network and have English-language options. Have a supply of US dollars in cash on hand, just in case your card doesn’t work. Credit cards are accepted in big cities and resort hotels but you’ll need cash for family-run guesthouses or restaurants.
If this is the tour for you here's what you need to do to confirm your place: Read our Booking Conditions
From the tour page click the 'Book Now' link. All departures for this tour will appear, just select the date you'd like to travel. There is a minimum number of participants (usually 2) required to enable the trip to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to Depart'. Once a trip is guaranteed to depart you are free to book your flights and make other travel arrangements. If you are unsure about the trip status, please email us or call our office. For the next steps you'll need to know the names of the people traveling and have either a Visa or a MasterCard. If you wish you can also provide extra details such as passport numbers, height, or you can add that later by logging into Manage My Trip (we'll set up an account for you automatically if you don't already have one). However, if you wish to get a children's discount, please do fill out the date of birth of the riders. If you are having any problems, please send us an email, or give us a call (+66 2 381 7490) and one of our travel specialists will assist you with your booking.
For Long Tours (7 days or more) to guarantee your place we require a 30% or 500 USD deposit, whichever is the greater. For Short Tours (6 days or less) we require full payment to guarantee your place. We also require that you take out travel insurance when you book your holiday. Besides covering you during your holiday it will also enable you to claim for any money that you have paid to us, including your deposit, should you have to cancel your trip.
Full payment must be paid 45 days before the departure date with fees for any bicycle rental(s), single supplement(s) and extra hotel nights. Our confirmation will include personal details you provided us (including your flight information), visa application advice, a packing suggestion list and a detailed tour itinerary. It will also include a checklist to ensure you get everything ready for your holiday.
On the rare occasions when we, SpiceRoads, must cancel a trip, all payments received to date will be 100% refunded, which constitutes full settlement. There will be absolutely no deductions. If you, the client, must cancel your reservation, your cancellation fee will be determined according to when you cancel. For full details, please read our cancellation policy.
For those who have been on several long tours with us we reward customer loyalty by offering repeat customers a special discount off the tour price (excludes single supplement and bike rental). If this is your fourth scheduled tour or more you will receive a 5% discount. If this is your eighth scheduled tour or more we will extend a 10% discount. The discount will be reflected in your online booking, but please contact us if any questions. Loyalty discounts can not be used in conjunction with any other offer. Note: Only tours of 7 days or more will be applicable for loyalty discount.
International flights, to and from the start and finish points are not included in the tour price. Once your tour is Guaranteed to Depart you can book your flight. Please contact us for advice before arranging flights for the best arrival and departure times. We would only cancel a trip for an extreme circumstance, but in that case, where we cancel your trip, we cannot be liable for losses incurred relating to any flight booking you have made. Please claim any losses from your travel insurance that you acquired when you booked your holiday.
Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from SpiceRoads, be sure to subscribe.
The information in this document is given in good faith, and covers the average range of conditions likely to be found on this trip. Please note that the itinerary is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances, however, we will always do our best to adhere to this original itinerary