(meals key: B = breakfast; L = lunch; D = dinner)
Day 1: Taipei - Arrival.
Arriving at Taipei’s international airport you will be met by a driver and driven to your hotel where you will be treated by your tour leader. In the evening the group will meet for a briefing followed by our first evening meal together.
Day 2: Taipei - Tamsui.
There cannot be many cities in the world, let alone Asia where cycling out from the centre can be seen as a pleasure, but such is the nature of Taipei that to ride from the city along the Tamsui River cycle path is a surprising and thoroughly enjoyable warm-up for our journey ahead. We will arrive at our hotel near the Tamsui estuary in time for a stroll and a relaxing pre-dinner drink in a riverside café.
Day 3: Tamsui - Keelung.
Our first full day on the road begins with a climb as we head slightly inland before descending to the coast. We pass graveyards and multi-story Buddhist temples during a descent that will deliver us to a wonderful series of seaside bicycle trails that lead us past beaches and harbours and at times cling to the beachside cliff face en route to the north coast town of Keelung.
Day 4: Keelung - Luodong.
We leave central Keelong on a busy but wide road heading for the Keelung River. Here we once again join a car-free cycling route that leads us along the valley. Turning east we join a climb on a deserted byway through a region of tranquil forest. The climb is short but tough, and some may need to push. But as we climb the sound of silence is broken only by the occasional babbling stream and bird song (and perhaps the wheezing of your tour leader). Dropping down we follow another riverside rural road to the cost where we cut through a mountain via a disused railway tunnel that has now become a cycleway.
Our journey along the east coast begins now as we follow a busier road that cuts between the mountains and rugged coastline. We have a shoulder to ride on but for those uncomfortable with the heavier traffic, the support truck is always at hand. After 20kms the area between sea and mountains widens and our onward journey is a variety of wide shoulder, bicycle path and traffic free seaside paths as we pass through small towns and rice fields on the official North Bicycle Route 1 to our town centre lodgings for the night.
Day 5: Luodong - Hualien: Exploring Taroko Gorge
After breakfast, we can enjoy fine views of the Pacific Ocean as we let a locomotive take the strain for an hour or so as we avoid the narrow busy tunnels of the coastal road leading south.
Remounting our bicycles an absolute treat awaits as we head into the stunningly impressive Taroko Gorge. We climb on a gentle gradient between the towering walls of this marble canyon on 20kms. From the far end of the gorge, we turn and retrace our path enjoying quite different views as we head towards our evening's lodgings. The final third of this varied day sees us follow quiet paths with little traffic as we head towards Hualien.
Day 6: Hualien - Yuli: Riding the East Rift Valley.
Riding the East Rift Valley one could be forgiven for believing this road was created exclusively for two wheels. The road is all but bereft of cars, it's well surfaced, and it meanders through a beautiful valley of citrus groves, beetle nut palms and pineapple plantations leading eventually to a wider valley of vivid green rice fields and our hot spring resort. Another delightful day's cycling through Taiwan.
Day 7: Yuli - Dulan.
A gentle six-kilometre climb begins our day as we cross the mountain barrier between the East Rift Valley and the Pacific. We pass through a well-lit tunnel as our beautiful descent to the sea, curving between mountain views and ocean vistas, begins. Once back at sea level we follow the coast, sometimes on highway side bike lanes, sometimes on winding bicycle paths, and otherwise on rural country lanes as we head towards the surfer seaside town of Dulan where we can rest, refresh, and recharge.
Day 8: Dulan - Rest Day.
Dulan is a small town used as a base for surfers. Quite and relaxed the town sports beaches, coffee, chilled beer and pizza, fine ingredients for a rest day. Our hotel boasts a veranda, a pleasant garden and fines sea views making it ideal for relaxing ready for the rest of our ride.
Day 9: Dulan - Dawu.
Back on the bikes, today's route south follows the coast on a series of routes from highways to bicycle paths to tracks to coastal paths that lead us beside the azure Pacific Ocean Coastline. As we ride rugged views will share our attention with fishing harbours beaches and estuaries as we head for the little town of Dawu.
Day 10: Dawu - Kenting Street.
A truly Spectacular coast to coast ride across Taiwan is a fitting finale to a tour never to be forgotten. The day begins with a short coastal ride south before heading inland on an eleven-kilometre climb. From the pass, we begin a ride through beautiful green hills that lead onto a coastal road around the southern cape of Taiwan, where the rugged sea views rival those of finest ocean roads anywhere on earth. Quiet roads and stunning vistas mark the end of a thoroughly wonderful exploration of Isle Formosa, the beautiful island. (Those wishing to skip the initial climb can, of course, hop in the bus for the first hour and enjoy the rest of the day which is predominantly downhill).
Day 11: Finish.
The tour official finished today at our beautiful authentic hotel in Kenting Street. Having come this far, many people may wish to stay on and enjoy the beaches and dining of Kenting Street, or hop on a bike and explore a little more of Kenting National Park. For those flying out of Kaohsiung international airport or heading back to Taipei, we will arrange a group transfer in the morning. For those staying on longer, we can advise as to onward transport options including highspeed rail, road and domestic flights.
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