Many Filipinos have their eyes set on Taiwan for its delicious street food, vibrant night markets, and historic attractions. But did you know that Taiwan is a paradise for bikers as well? Thanks to an excellent network of cycling routes and the support of the local government, Taiwan is quickly becoming Asia’s leading destination for leisure cycling, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced biker who’s looking for a challenge.
For urban explorers and outdoor adventurers, we can’t think of a more scenic way to witness Taiwan’s natural wonders than on two wheels. Here are a few exciting things to know about biking in Taiwan, the cycling haven that every Filipino should have on their bucket list.
1. Taiwan is the perfect size to discover by bike
Very few destinations around the world can rival Taiwan when it comes to having the right environment for cyclists. With a land area of approximately 36,197 square kilometres, Taiwan is about eight times smaller than the Philippines. Taiwan’s small size as a country makes it much easier to cover long distances and explore the island by bike.
Biking is a safe, cost-efficient, and environment-friendly way to get around in Taiwan, whether you’re a solo traveller or travelling with family. Factor in the well-maintained roads and the mild weather; and you have the perfect place to break in your wheels, so to speak.
2. It has some of the best cycling routes in the world
More than 70% of Taiwan is teeming with mountains, so what better way to experience the natural scenery than to hop on a bike? Each scenic route provides a new and breathtaking way to discover Taiwan’s unique landscapes. Across the country, a network of bike paths has been laid out to lead cyclists from the urban heart of the cities to the countryside.
You can feel the wind brush your face as you cycle past rice fields, serene lakes, riverside trails, seaside cliffs, and more hidden gems. There’s the famous Taiwan Cycling Route No. 1, a 970-kilometre cycling route that takes you around the island and crosses tourist attractions such as Taroko Gorge and Kenting National Park.
Care to journey across spectacular mountains and rural landscapes by bike? Not to be missed is the East Rift Valley route, which delivers you from Hualien to Taitung. It’s a must-try adventure for anyone who’d like to cross off seeing dramatic valleys, waterfalls, and the Pacific Ocean on a single biking trip.
Another cycling route that Filipino bikers should know about is the 30-kilometre journey from Taichung to the turquoise waters of Sun Moon Lake, the largest lake in Taiwan. It takes roughly a three-hour bike trip to explore this famous tourist attraction, which offers captivating views of a mirror-like lake with a backdrop of the mountains.
Really, this barely scratches the surface of the bikeways you can conquer in Taiwan. No matter which routes you choose, you’re signing up for the experience of a lifetime!
3. Taiwan’s cities are made for cycling, thanks to designated bike paths and public rental stations
Besides the magnificent scenery, Taiwan benefits from smooth roads and bicycle infrastructure that create the ideal conditions for cycling. From Taipei to Kaohsiung, the most bike-friendly cities in Taiwan provide dedicated bicycle paths, lane markings, ramps, bike elevator signs, and road signs with English translations for cyclists.
None of these would be possible without the Taiwanese government actively promoting bicycle tourism and investing in bike-friendly solutions. These pro-cycling efforts include having a network of biking routes and public facilities that make it easier to navigate Taiwan.
One of the ways the Taiwanese government makes biking more accessible to visitors is through local bike-sharing services. Any cyclist can rent a high-quality bike in one station and return it to another station.
Instead of going through the hassle of bringing your own bike to Taiwan, you can save yourself the trouble and simply rent a bike through the local bike rental service YouBike, whose stations are available on most streets in Taiwan’s cities.
4. There’s a strong bike-friendly culture and a love for cycling
Just how bike-friendly is Taiwan, exactly? Let’s just say it’s one thing for cities to be built for biking, and it’s another matter to be surrounded by people who share a passion for biking as a way of life.
Biking has been integrated as part of everyday life among Taiwanese citizens, who prefer using a greener mode of transportation to commute to work, go sightseeing, or stay fit through regular exercise. What’s more, bike shops and rental stations are easily accessible across the country, thanks to the sheer popularity of cycling.
Biking is so embedded in the local culture that you can find certified bike-friendly hotels along Taiwan’s main cycling routes. These accommodations cater specifically to cyclists and provide dedicated parking spaces and maintenance facilities for bicycles.
Additionally, there are rest stops offering basic services for bikers, including drinking water, medical kits, and bike maintenance tools. Here, you can also take a break from cycling to admire the picturesque surroundings. Isn’t it amazing how the Taiwanese have prepared for every scenario?
5. You can join cycling tours all over the country
Filipino bike lovers will have the time of their lives with the wide variety of biking tours across Taiwan, from multi-day bike tours that navigate the whole island to themed bike tours that focus on specific destinations. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can cycle around Taiwan in nine days or join the Golden Coastline tour, where you can pedal past Baisha Bay, Qianshui Bay, and the Golden Coast of Tamsui.
Taiwan’s cycling tours will bring you from pristine beaches and coastlines to lush forests and mountains. You can even embark on a Forest and Hot Spring tour, which lets you cross the Eurasian Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate on the Yufu Bikeway and cycle past colourful flower fields at Danongdafu Forest Park, with the added bonus of visiting the Ruisui Hot Springs. In short, you’ll find no shortage of biking tours tailored to your itinerary and experience level in Taiwan.
6. Taiwan hosts world-class cycling events and festivals
Looking for an opportunity to take your next biking trip to the next level? Luckily, there are plenty of biking-themed events and festivals in Taiwan.
One prestigious cycling event that Filipinos should know about is the Taiwan KOM Challenge, a one-day cycling race that spans a total length of 105 kilometres, beginning at Qixingtan Beach in Hualien and ending at Wuling Pass, the highest passable road in Taiwan.
Watch out for other cycling-related events in November as well, such as the annual Formosa 900, which is a round-the-island event that celebrates the fun of biking in Taiwan by completing a 900-kilometre circuit. You’ll also want to mark your calendar for Sun Moon Lake Come! Bike Day, a two-day biking event that allows people to explore the Sun Moon Lake area through different cycling routes.
7. The best time to go biking in Taiwan is from October to February
One of the things that every Filipino should know about biking in Taiwan is when to time their visit. Generally, the ideal time to visit Taiwan for biking is from October to February. That’s when the temperatures are mild and pleasant from 19°C to 27°C. Plus, it’s less likely to rain.
By far, November is considered to be the best month for cycling in Taiwan. This happens to be the month when the country hosts the annual Taiwan Cycling Festival.
Of course, you can always hit two birds with one stone if you’re visiting Taiwan during cherry blossom season. Biking through Wuling Farm in Taichung is a fantastic way to witness these pink flowers by cycling through pathways framed with large cherry trees.
While the blooming forecast in Taiwan depends on the year, the best time to travel to Taiwan for cherry blossoms is from January through April.
8. Taiwan has declared 2021 as the “Year of Cycling”
Did you know that 2021 is officially the “Year of Cycling” in Taiwan? The Taiwan Tourism Bureau launched this campaign to highlight the beautiful cycling routes and natural scenery of Taiwan, positioning the island as a haven for bikers everywhere.
Since we’re all pining for our favourite destinations from afar, this campaign couldn’t have arrived at a better time. By celebrating what makes Taiwan a world-class cycling destination for all bikers, the campaign inspires local and overseas tourists to start planning trips to Taiwan once restrictions are lifted.
From the impressive bike infrastructure to the efforts of the Taiwanese government to show support for biking facilities and innovations, it’s impossible not to appreciate what Taiwan has accomplished for cyclists.
Ultimately, these fun facts give Filipinos more reasons to look forward to biking in Taiwan when it’s safe to travel again. It’s high time we start dreaming about our next cycling trips, don’t you think?
Brought to you by Taiwan Tourism Bureau KL Office.