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Taiwan - North to South

Formosa - Cycling The Beautiful Island

Taiwan, off of the east coast of the People’s Republic of China, is perhaps Asia’s best-kept cycling secret. Only 400 kilometres in length the island formerly known as Isla Formosa - The Beautiful Isle, packs in a huge amount. The central area is a range of mountains reaching up to four-thousand metres above sea level. The west coast, from Taipei to Kaohsiung is the industrial heartland where most of the nations twenty-four million inhabitants dwell, whilst the rugged east coast where this tour runs offers stunning views and wonderful cycling on dedicated cycleways and deserted byways. 

Taiwan, an undiscovered cyclists paradise.

At a Glance

Total Days: 11

Cycling Days: 8

Difficulty: 6/10

Daily Average: 75km

Off-Road: 5%

Max. Alt.: 500m

Joining instructions

Upon arrival at Taipei's Taoyuan International Airport (Code: TPE) you will be met by a driver and taken to our joining hotel where you will be greeted by your tour leader. Typically the group will meet on the first evening of the tour for a briefing before our first meal together. Full details will be sent to you prior to the tour.

This was my fourth tour with David and the Painted Roads team and as always from the moment I arrived in Taipei I knew that I was going to have a great holiday - David had as always found a perfect base to start the tour from with a plentiful supply of cold beer close to hand

Mark Hoskins - Wolverhampton England on Taiwan - North to South



Overall the tour is suitable for people happy to ride 100kms in a day with a few kilometres of climbing each day. Please each day's description for details of accumulated ascent and descent. Road conditions are generally good with a lot of dedicated cycling routes incorporated into the tour and very little off of sealed roads.

A well-paced meander along the eastern shores of a fascinating country discovering a little-visited part of the world with spectacular scenery, smooth roads, and a safe and clean environment

Kevin Edkins - Stratfod-Upon-Avon on Taiwan - North to South


Bicycle advice

At PaintedRoads we hold firmly to the opinion that using your own bike, the bike on which you feel at home and comfortable is the finest way to enjoy a cycling adventure, but If you do wish to hire a bicycle we can arrange for the hire of good quality cycles from our in-country agent. Typically these bikes are hybrid or hardtail mountain bikes made by Giant or Merida.

Most kinds of bicycle, except fragile super light-weight racing bikes, are suitable for this tour: touring bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids or cyclocross and gravel bikes are all fine. Road conditions vary from asphalt to gravel and some hard-packed dirt tracks. Tyres from 35mm in width upwards will be fine. 

Taiwan is often warm, so the ability to carry one or two water bottles is essential (either on your bike or in a backpack). Our back-up vehicle carries water and tools although for those competent with tools bringing your own pump, puncture kit, and multi took is recommended as it would speed up repairs and minor adjustments. If bringing your own bike please bring along a few spare spokes that fit your wheels (please note that different wheels have different size spokes). We carry some spares, but with such a variety of wheel sizes, brake types, gear systems, etc. these days we simply cannot be sure to cover all spares for all bikes. If in doubt please ask at your local bike shop.

A means of carrying your camera, sunblock etc is also useful – either an on-bike bag, handlebar or saddlebag for example or a lightweight day-pack.

•Recommendation: Although our hire bikes come equipped with a saddle if you have a saddle you use and are happy with it is strongly recommended that you use it on tour. If you use SPD type shoes please bring your own matching pedals. We are happy to fit these for you. You may also like to bring bar ends if you use them at home.

Another feather in Painted Roads’ cap. Would strongly recommend PR to cyclists who want to tour, with David Walker, the best group leader we have experienced in 18 years of cycling tours

Anne - United Kingdom. on Taiwan - North to South


ESSENTIAL! Please be sure that your bicycle is in perfect condition before you leave home. Again, if in doubt please consult your local bike shop.

Print Itinerary

Day 1: Taipei - Arrival.

Arriving at Taipei's international airport, you will be met by a driver and taken to our joining hotel where you will be greeted 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, were cycling out from the centre can be as a pleasure, but such is the nature of Taipei. Riding 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.

Meals: B,L,D

Cycle 25kms.

Climb 80M

Descend 80M

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-storey Buddhist temples during a descent that will bring us to seaside bicycle trails, at times cling to the beachside cliff face en route to the coastal town of Keelung.

Meals: B,L,D

Cycle 85kms.

Climb 970M

Descend 970M

Day 4: Keelung - Luodong. 

We leave our harbour-side hotel heading for the Keelong River where a car-free cycling route and deserted byway climbs through a region of tranquil forest. The climb is short and steep, and as we climb the sound of silence is broken only by the occasional babbling stream and bird song. 

Back down on the coast, we ride on the shoulder of a busier road between the mountains and rugged coastline. 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 lanes as we pass through small towns and rice fields on the way to our town centre lodgings.


Meals: B,L,D

Cycle 100kms.

Climb 730M

Descend 730M

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.

Back on the bikes, we enter the narrow Taroko Gorge where, for the next 20kms, we climb on a gentle gradient between the towering walls of this beautiful marble canyon. The climb ends at Xiangde Temple, where we can relax and enjoy lunch before turning to retrace our path and enjoy the views from a different perspective as we head back towards the ocean. The final third of this varied day sees us follow quiet paths with little traffic as we head towards Hualien.

Meals: B,L,D

Cycle 65kms.

Climb 2050M

Descend 2030M


Day 6: Hualien - Yuli: Riding the East Rift Valley. 

Riding the East Rift Valley one could be forgiven for believing this route was created exclusively for two wheels. The road is all but bereft of cars and is well surfaced as 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.

Meals: B,L,D

Cycle 105kms.

Climb 940M

Descend 1120M

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 we begin the beautiful descent to the sea, curving between mountain views and ocean vistas. 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.

Meals: B,L,D

Cycle 70kms.

Climb 800M

Descend 850M

Day 6: Dulan. Rest Day.

Dulan is a small relaxed town catering for the needs of resting travellers and surfers, which makes it an ideal spot for us to take a day of the bikes and recharge the legs.

Meals: B

Cycle 0kms.

Climb 0M

Descend 0M


Day 9: Dulan - Taimali.

Today's route south follows the coast on a series of routes ranging from highways to bicycle paths to tracks to coastal paths, all following 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 Jinlin. 

Meals: B,L,D

Cycle 65kms.

Climb 800M

Descend 850M

Day 10: Taimali - Kenting Street

A 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.

Meals: B,L,D

Cycle 110kms.

Climb 1300M

Descend 1300M

Day 11: Finish.

The tour official finished today in Kenting Street. 

A group transfer to Kaohsiung International Aiport (IATA Code: KHH) and Kaohsiung train station will be provided at noon. For those wishing to make their way back to Tapei, the high-speed train will make short work of the journey. 

Meals: B


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