Precipitous mountains, rolling paddy fields, crashing Pacific waves, buzzing cities and incredible food combine to make southeast Asia’s #1 cycling destination – Taiwan
Jutting out of the Pacific off the coast of China, Taiwan is one of the world’s most impressive and beautiful islands. Although it is a similar size to Wales, it peaks out at almost 4,000m above sea-level, making it one of the world’s most mountainous countries – and as a result, the cycling here is as good as it gets.
A typical day on the saddle can start at sea-level from the jagged east coast, before moving up through to terraced rice paddies, forests packed with exotic birdlife and finally the barren peaks of the central mountain range – in less than 50 miles. There are not many places in the world where you can say that. And there are even fewer where you can follow it up with a descent through an ancient gorge that routinely makes “top cycling descents” lists.
Add to this the incredible cycle network that has built up thanks to the proactivity of the Taiwanese government and perhaps the country’s most famous brand – Giant. Road conditions are consistently excellent, with dedicated cycle routes in many places and you’re never more than a few miles away from a pit-stop at a roadside café or store – most of which will stock spare bike parts.
So choosing some cycling highlights from this amazing country isn’t an easy task, but at Pedal Taiwan we’ve tried our best to give you a flavour of what to expect from this pedalling paradise:
Climbing to Wuling
This is simply known as one of Southeast Asia’s toughest climbs. You can start your day with a swim in the Pacific but by the end you’ll be 3,275m above the waves, having ridden through lush forests on near-perfect tarmac.
Explore unique wildlife
Taiwan is a haven for flora and fauna and a paradise for wildlife-watchers. Some of it is also easy to see – especially as a cyclist quietly winding your way along the country’s backroads
Almost 20% of the country is protected, so your best chance to see the Taiwanese Black bear or Formosan Macaques lies in the Nation Parks. However, with such a vast range of habitats – snow can fall on the high mountains, whereas Kenting in the south is almost tropical – the biodiversity is staggering
Catch some waves after a day in the saddle
Descending Taroko Gorge
What goes up must come down and the descent down Taiwan’s most famous natural landmark is up there with the best in the world. The road is immaculate and the scenery even better as you drop from over 3,000m to sea-level.
Stopping for a soak in a hot spring
Refuel on world-class cuisine
An incredible blend of Chinese, Japanese and indigenous cuisine, Taiwanese cooking combines a huge variety of flavours. Savour it at its best by visiting the night markets of Taipei or Hualian, the latter being the culinary capital of this vibrant island.
So of these have got your juices flowing, then all of the above will be visited on Pedal Taiwan’s inaugural cycling tour. The 12-day trip covers 770km – taking in over 11,000m of climbing – so you’ll be sure to experience a huge slice of this incredible country.