The World’s Bicycle KingdomBy Joe Meny
Every cyclist has their favorite destination to go to where they can hop on a bike, and enjoy the fresh air and see beautiful scenery, Add to that friendly people and tasty cuisine, and you’re surely in Taiwan!
As a top destination on the international tourism map, Taiwan’s profile has continued to rise over the years as they attract growing ranks of cyclists from around the world with their extensive network of bicycle routes throughout the island.
Here are some of Taiwan’s top bicycling routes and regions:
North Coast and Guanyinshan National Scenic Area
This area features both distinctive landscapes and recreation resources. From the scenic North Coast Highway and geological wonders of Baishawan, Jinshan, and Yeliu to the Li Tien-lu Hand Puppet Historical Museum, the area is well-endowed with both natural and cultural beauty.
Northeast and Yilan Coast
This area is truly a portrait of natural beauty, with capes, bays, and sea-eroded rock formations displaying nature’s mastery. For an up-close look, one needs to travel the Longmen-Yanliao Bikeway and the Old Caoling Circle-Line Bikeway. On these routes, you’ll also find the Sandiao Cape Lighthouse and the Old Caoling Tunnel Bikeway.
This National scenic area brings together the Lion’s Head Mountain, Baguashan, and Lishan scenic areas. The lakeside charms of this area are on full view when riding along the Lion’s Head Mountain scenic area. While in the Baguashan area, don’t miss the Ershui Railway station with its old train display area.
Sun Moon Lake
A scenic jewel located in the heart of Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake is surrounded by mountains. The area welcomes visitors with its numerous attractions, including the Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village, Shuishe Great Mountain, Mingtan Reservoir and the Shuili River. For cyclists, there are four routes to enjoy at Sun Moon Lake and the surrounding area: the Yuetan, Toushe, Xiangshan, and Zhongming bikeways.
The Siraya National Scenic Area spreads over the topographically-rich eastern part of the Jianan Plain. Waterfalls, seven reservoirs, indigenous culture, and specialty farm products all help to enhance the area’s rustic appeal.
Yunlin County, Chiayi County, and Tainan City together create what is known as the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area. The region includes sandbars, dunes, lagoons, estuaries, and coastal wetlands, and is home to mudskippers, fiddler crabs and the rare black-faced spoonbill. These, and many other attractions can be found along the Aogu Wetlands and Beimen bikeways.
The Maolin National Scenic Area stretches from north to south through a topographically rich region formed by Alishan, Yushan, the Central Mountain Range, and three major rivers. The area is abundant with natural and cultural diversity. The local aboriginal culture is evident in the totem designs of the milestone markers and rest stops along the Anpo Tourist Cycle Path, southern Taiwan’s first mountain bikeway.
Dapeng Bay is almost entirely enclosed by a sand spit formed be sedimentation from the Linbian and Donggang rivers. Not-to-be missed scenic spots include the Qingzhou Coastal Recreation Area and the Pen Bay National Leisure Zone. Along the Round-the-Bay Bikeway, be sure to enjoy the local lagoon and diverse local ecology.
East River Valley
The East River Valley extends along a narrow corridor that borders Hualien and Taitung counties. The Valley is rich in culture, with a history blending prehistoric, indigenous, and pioneer roots. Several cycling routes help make sure that visitors to the area get to enjoy it all.
This National Scenic Area occupies a narrow stretch of land that is surrounded by both mountains and sea. Spanning the Tropic of Cancer, the area combines tropical and subtropical climates along with a variety of animal and plant life. For a more rustic escape through this unique landscape with its paradisiacal charm, be sure to travel along the Taiyuan Valley Bikeway.
Tha Alishan National Scenic Area is famous for its scenic sea of could formations, breath-taking sunrises, and gorgeous evening colors. Waterfalls, cherry blossoms, bamboo forests, and the Alishan Forest Railway all complement the unique charms of this popular summer destination.
Located in the midst of the Taiwan Strait, the Penghu archipelago consists of over a hundred islands that are rich in marine resources. While biking through Penghu, one will see historic houses and temples, striking basalt rock formations, submarine landscapes, and pristine coastal getaways. To enjoy all that Penghu has to offer, be sure to bike along the scenic Magong City and Huxi bikeways.
For more information, visit online at: http://taiwanbike.tw