My Bicycling Adventure

Monday 5 August 2013

Taiwan: East Coast

Getting There

Having had three weeks of relaxation and bike preparation at our apartment in the Philippines, it was time to get back on the road. While we had been visiting friends and family in the UK, our bikes were  resprayed by 'Timmy' at his workshop in Dumaguete. He did a great job,sourcing a green mat paint which was identical to the original finish. The    ' Thorn'  branding writing was reproduced in adhesive transfers and, as we would find out later, they would not be up to the job. So resprayed, re-fitted and lubricated, with us clad in new cycling kit, it was time to get going.

The big question was, where? The first thought was north Thailand, Laos and north Vietnam. But June is the beginning of the rainy season and we hate getting muddy. Then we thought about Indonesia but it is high season there, and difficult to extend the 30 day visa. Taiwan had never really featured on our 'to do' list until we met a group of Taiwanese living on a campsite in Tasmania. They were very enthusiastic about their beautiful homeland and encouraged us to visit. We also fancied seeing Korea and Japan so a plan began to form.

Flights to Taiwan with Cebu Pacific from Manila to Taipei  were the cheapest, and it was cheaper to return to Manila and fly on to Korea than fly there direct from Taipei. From Busan in Korea there is a ferry to Fukuoka on Kyushu island (Japan). Cebu Pacific also fly from Osaka to Manila for the return.

The flight from Dumaguete boarded on time. There was a scramble to find enough space for the cabin luggage as everyone seemed to be taking big boxes of cakes home with them from the little French bakery in the Dumaguete  mall. Once we were all seated the pilot informed us  that  there would be an hour delay in take-off due to a backlog of flights into Manila.

Luckily there was plenty of time between our two flights and no need to change terminals in Manila. Then the flight out of Manila was delayed for almost an hour waiting for a late connecting flight. We were glad we had booked a van to pick us up at Taipei airport which was a lonely place at 2am. The bikes arrived safely, packed in their new soft bags, although a little bashed around.


The Red House
We had booked three nights in the 'Dandy Hotel' which is number 1 on Trip Adviser. It was very good, although a bit far away from the centre of the city. We spent a day exploring the city and the second day putting the bikes together and buying last minute things from a pretty good bike shop just down the road.

Feeding the birds
The best thing about Taipei is it's efficient transport system. The MRT is easy to use, with a ticketing system very similar to London underground. All the stations are announced in English as well as Mandarin.

Temple offerings

The buses are well labelled and all destinations are in two languages. There is a constantly expanding cycle path network. Most of the rivers have paths on both banks and it is easy to go from the suburbs into the city along  these.

Puppet theatre

We wandered round the Peace Park, watching the children feeding the birds, did a couple of museums and temples and spent an hour watching, but not comprehending, the puppet theatre.

The following day would be the start of our Taiwan East Coast ride which would take in the whole of the east coast from the northern most tip to the southern most.

To read the full account click here: Bicycle Taiwan East Coast

1 comment:

fryo said...

Guy's thanks a million very nice blog. I am going in November this year. Thanks again