Riding in Taiwan?

Discussion in 'Asia' started by DeeG, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. DeeG

    DeeG Huh?

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    Spouse and I are heading back to Thailand in December. EVA Airlines stops in Taiwan and I thought we might want to spend 5 or 6 days there at the start of the trip.

    Any advice on where to rent a bike? Places to go, things to see? I have no idea where to stay...hotel...AirBnB...city, outskirts? I'm open to all suggestions.


    Thanks!

    Dee
    #1
  2. Mark Weeks

    Mark Weeks Adventurer

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    If you stop in Taiwan, I would definitely recommend going through Toroko Gorge. You can take a train quite easily to Hualien which is just outside the gorge, and there they rent plenty of bikes (at least scooters) for rent. Easy to do a day trip and and out from there, or if you can find a larger bike I'd start from Taipei and run the whole gorge. It's even very common to go around the whole island in a few days as it's so small. Otherwise if in Taipei, Zhongxiao-fuxing is one of the better areas to stay. Overall Taipei is quite quiet, some people find it boring, but it's full of great places. Just have to explore a bit.
    #2
  3. OutRecording

    OutRecording Been here awhile

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    As above, go through Taroko Gorge. It will be plenty cold, so do bundle up. I would also recommend driving down the east coast highway.

    For 5 or 6 days you can circle the whole island. I would recommend that.

    Check out this fellow advrider's account of Taiwan: http://advrider.com/index.php?threa...-venn-ture-the-next-800-days.1000417/page-305

    He circled the island and wrote his experiences on it. I offered him some suggestions on where to ride. I'd be more than happy to get into details if your interested. Just PM me.

    Finding a bike can sometimes be difficult (if you rack up a bunch of traffic cam fines, how can they collect the cash? So you may have a decent sized deposit) I'm assuming you'll be arriving at Taoyuan airport. I'm unfamiliar with the shops up north. I'd contact the guy I linked above to see where he rented his (scooter) from. Hopefully they'll have a proper motorcycle for you. You'll need the power going 2 up in the mountains. But you'll prob only be able to rent something under 250cc
    #3
  4. Mark Weeks

    Mark Weeks Adventurer

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    I'm not sure what shop I rented the scooter from aside from being walking distance from the Hualien train station. Not sure if they have any bigger CC bikes, but at least three years ago the deposit was reasonable, the shop was professional and full of brand new bikes. No troubles at all.

    This thread is making me want to go back and do a whole island loop. Have driven the west coast before, but never finished the east coast highway.
    #4
  5. sirloynz

    sirloynz Long timer

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    +1 on taking the train down to Hualien and renting a scooter there. Taroko Gorge is amazing and way more fun on a scooter. You can park it anywhere it fits and see stuff you'll miss in a car. The night market is a great place to get dinner - lots of great food options there. If you like to ride bicycle, most lodging provides loaners and rentals are available too.

    I wouldn't recommend getting a scooter in Taipei because of the constant traffic. The subway system (MRT) will take you all over the city and it's cheap. Taxi and bus are cheap too. Lots of bicycle rentals if you want to ride any of the riverside trails. Taipei 101, Maokong Gondola, Fishermans Warf @ Danshui, Shilin Night Market, Wulai Falls & Miramar Mall are some of the many places you can visit while you're in Taipei. If you do decide to rent a scooter, this place might still rent to foreigners.

    http://www.bikefarm.net/
    #5
  6. sirloynz

    sirloynz Long timer

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    Here's the english site for the Taipei MRT.

    http://english.metro.taipei/ct.asp?xItem=1056373&CtNode=70241&mp=122036

    The new subway line from the airport to the Taipei Main Train Station is the fastest way into the city. Two trains on the same route. Commuter is about 47 minutes and the express is 35 minutes - both will cost 160 NT ($5)

    Here's the airport subway website.

    https://www.tymetro.com.tw/eng/index.php

    If you don't want to deal with figuring out fare and using a token each time, you can get an Easy Card at the airport or any subway station help desk. You can use it for subway travel, bus, taxi, 7 Eleven purchases, bicycle rental, etc. Here's the link to that.

    http://www.easycard.com.tw/english/index.asp

    Try to get lodging close to a subway station. Also, Google maps is very useful. Download the offline map for Taiwan while you're here.

    Taipei MRT map

    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. Dave W.

    Dave W. Yea Sportball!

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    This is very timely. I leave in a week for 2 weeks in Taipei for business. I was looking into renting a bike the weekend I’ll be there.

    I will post what I find and if I’m successful.
    #7
  8. sirloynz

    sirloynz Long timer

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    How was your visit, Dave? Did you rent a bike?
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  9. Dave W.

    Dave W. Yea Sportball!

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    It was a great trip- I ended up meeting a friend for the weekend so no motorcycle ride but I expect to go back 3-4 times in 2018 and a I will definitely rent one.

    Taiwan is an interesting place and I preferred it over other Asian nations I’ve been to.
    #9
  10. sirloynz

    sirloynz Long timer

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    Glad you had a good time, Dave. I ride dirt and scooter here, but have yet to put some km's on a big bike. I'd love to have a KTM Duke 790 for the twisties. The East half of the island is filled with fun mountain roads to ride and fun coastal towns to visit.
    #10
  11. WilliamArcher

    WilliamArcher Been here awhile

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    I'm planning to be in Taipei for a week at the end of January. Is it worth looking around for a scooter or small cc motorcycle just for a day trip or two out of Taipei? Would Taroko Gorge be a reasonable day trip on a scooter?
    #11
  12. sirloynz

    sirloynz Long timer

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    Taipei to Hualien would take a full day on scooter. The coast highway from Su'ao to Hualien is beautiful, but can be dangerous and closes often due to rock slides. I'm pretty sure there's scooter rentals available in Hualien for foreigners. I don't know if there's any rentals available in Taipei for foreigners. The train ride from Taipei to Hualien is cheap and the ocean views are excellent.
    #12
  13. WilliamArcher

    WilliamArcher Been here awhile

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    Taking the train and renting a bike in Hualien sounds like the way to go then. Thanks.
    #13
  14. markharf

    markharf Been here awhile

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    Trains are excellent (by my USA standards, perhaps not if you're from Germany) and ridiculously cheap. I rented scooters locally in Hualien, but found it easier to just hitchhike--walking up and asking people directly using the usual combination of sign language, body english, and grinning like a fool worked out well. Rented again at Sun Moon Lake, and found it very simple and quite rewarding. I remember wishing I had a full-sized bike for exploring and eating up miles, but basically it's not that kind of place. Anyway, I didn't see any in the places I looked.

    Spoken English is pretty rare once off the beaten track, but people are so eager to help out that this didn't present much of a problem. Every so often I ended up eating something unappealing, or walking in the wrong direction. Probably if you're more adept than I at translator apps and such, this won't even bother you.

    Hope that's helpful.

    Mark
    #14
  15. FunkyMad

    FunkyMad Adventurer

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    If you want to rent from Taipei, check Bikefarm. It's a British expat who takes care of it. He mostly has scooters and small cc motorcycles (125cc) but he also has a couple larger ones (250cc and a GS if I recall). However, if you're new in Taiwan, I'd advise to stick to the 250cc bikes and less due to the plates (white) which allow you to park in motorcycle parking and go in the boxes at the front of lights. Larger cc's (can't recall if the cutoff is 250+ or 400+ make you go into the yellow and red plate category and those are essentially treated like cars there. I had a CPI 250SM when I was there and the dark side is truly the way to go over there.

    There's also a guy in Taoyuan who rents motorcycles. I can try to get his info if you guys are interested. There's a third called Louis Scooter rental and he is based in Kaohsiung (in the south) that rents motorcycles to foreigners. For the most part, have an international driver's license and it'll save you hassle.

    I, personally, find riding in Taiwan to be a blast and more fun nor any more dangerous than back home but you'll find plenty of foreigners (mostly online) bitching about it being so dangerous. Laws are suggestions, you'll have to keep more alert but traffic tends to be slow and easily avoidable. Pay attention and have fun.

    I did Taroko this summer and can post some pics/vids if you want. It's an amazing road but then again, most of the riding in Taiwan is amazing. It's just mountain roads full of curves. A beautiful road is on the East coast going south from Hualien. You're basically riding on the coast with the ocean on one side and mountains on the other. As mentioned, the people are ridiculously nice as well. Some people will speak English but much less so when you're out of Taipei but you'll still be surprised. If they don't, they'll try to understand you or use Google Translate to help you. I visited a couple times and did a Working Holiday visa there so I could go on for a while.

    I also realized this thread is old but mostly info for anyone who stumbles on it like me :p
    #15
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  16. OutRecording

    OutRecording Been here awhile

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    I took a planned round island trip that got cut early cuz of mechanical problems last month. I’m posting on it now in the Ride Report (epic) forum. Not sure if it’s cool to post direct link but it’s easy to find. Thought it might be of interest to anyone viewing this post.
    #16
  17. FunkyMad

    FunkyMad Adventurer

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    Hey, I remember you on the Taiwan group! Did you find the issue on the bike? Was it the chain or did it end up something in the gears finally?
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  18. OutRecording

    OutRecording Been here awhile

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    Hey yeah, thanks for asking. I haven’t 100% tested her, but when I got back home i decided to check the chain first before anything else. The master link was rusty. Water must have blown through the seals. It wasn’t seized into place but definitely difficult to move. I swapped it for a spare link and took her to the mountains for a test. Loaded a bunch of rocks into a drybag to simulate a load and drove up and down the steepest roads I could find. No problem at all. I’ve since changed the chain for a new one just for the heck of it.

    It still puzzles me how it pretty much only made that sound in second gear. But I’ll admit I was wrong thinking it wasn’t the chain. I’m thinking it’s possible that me being so anal about cleaning my chain after every ride might have been part of the problem. I doubt that masterlink problem happened over the trip. It’s probably been like that for some time now but never had a chance to show itself with the constant cleaning.

    I’m going to take it out for a proper romp in the dirt this week. Hopefully all will be well.

    Anyway, I’m kinda glad it happened. I was planning to cut major portions of my trip so I could make the whole circle in two weeks. I realize now my route would take a good two months to finish! Haha...will tackle it in three to four day trips. That’s one advantage to the size of this island. :)
    #18
  19. riceaterslc

    riceaterslc Urinal Cake Engineer

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    Bumping this up. Lots of great information here.

    I'm headed to Taiwan next week and am going to rent a bike from Bikefarm for 4 days. I'm looking for recommendations on places to visit. Obviously Taroko is on the list.
    Anywhere else that you guys recommend outside of Taipei?
    #19
  20. sirloynz

    sirloynz Long timer

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    The north coast from Danshui to Keelung is a fun ride. Yamingshan to the north of the city has some cool geothermal sites and plenty of twisty roads. Are you looking for day rides close to the city? Weekdays are the best time to ride. Too many people on the road during the weekend, so be careful if you're on a bike.
    #20