Over the past twenty years, Taiwan has reworked right into a bicycle owner’s paradise, opening hundreds of kilometers of interwoven bikeways by a number of the island’s most stunning landscapes. The in depth community of routes has earned the nation many accolades, together with CNN Journey’s prime “Biking Routes That’ll Take Your Breath Away.” Right now, veteran cyclists and dabblers alike can take pleasure in a two-wheel expertise not like another—Taiwan Biking Route No. 1. The route is a 968-kilometer (602-mile) journey that encircles your complete island and passes by twelve distinctive trails of various intensities, and innumerable cities and cities.
Guests can cruise previous hillsides painted with colourful flower farms, marvel on the geology of Taroko Gorge’s marble partitions, comply with outdated rail strains by retired mining tunnels, cross thrill-inducing suspension bridges and pattern candy pineapple desserts from native farm stands. The numerous routes present loads of alternatives for particular person exploration, however listed below are six of essentially the most spectacular bikeways alongside Route No. 1 to gasoline the creativeness.
Solar Moon Lake
Solar Moon Lake is a scenic jewel embraced by mountains within the coronary heart of Taiwan. The 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) biking route winds up and down the hills across the largest lake in Taiwan. The three-hour loop gives beautiful views, significantly at dawn and sundown, and alternatives to cease and find out about native Thao aboriginal tradition and the world’s ecology.
Not solely is Tainan, Taiwan’s unique “cultural capital” and the oldest metropolis on the island, it’s also the “capital of meals”. Well-known for its excessive density of historic websites with nationwide significance, Tainan, lately, has refitted many elderly websites for a contemporary twist, creating a stunning intersection of outdated and new greatest explored by bike.
Take a scenic journey by Shennong Road and cease at one of many many two-story shophouses to gasoline up on Taiwanese delicacies, reminiscent of Peng Desserts, earlier than biking to any of Tainan’s first-class nationwide historic websites such because the Chikan Tower, Tainan Confucius Temple, or Koxinga Shrine. Every web site highlights structure from completely different eras and provides guests a first-hand look into Taiwan’s vibrant previous. Guests can spend loads of time at every vacation spot with all websites situated inside a 10-minute journey from one another.
An expertise in Tainan, after all, isn’t full with out sampling one other of the various, famed and important dishes, reminiscent of Danzai noodles, savory rice pudding (wa gui), or Taiwanese meatballs (ba wan). Vacationers will discover no scarcity of delectable flavors with the whole lot starting from candy or salty street-food snacks to slurping a satisfying bowl of noodles for the right meal after a day stuffed with biking.
Taroko Nationwide Park
Taroko Gorge, situated inside Taroko Nationwide Park, is one in every of Taiwan’s most spectacular pure wonders. Over thousands and thousands of years, wind and water carved a spectacularly steep and rugged channel by the mountains, revealing towering white partitions of marble. Informal cyclists can wind their well beyond waterfalls and thru excavated stone tunnels whereas listening to the dashing present of the intense blue waters of the Liwu River.
In search of a problem? Strive the “Taiwan King of the Mountain Problem,” a 105-kilometer (65-mile) biking path by the Park that climbs from 0 to three,275 meters (10,744 ft). The route was rated one of many world’s most difficult biking paths by the France-based publication Le Cycle.
East Rift Valley
The East Rift Valley is situated alongside Taiwan’s scenic jap edge and is ideal for taking in beautiful mountain views and rural landscapes by bike. With little visitors and largely flat paths, cyclists can start their journeys in Taitung County at Chishang or Guanshan Stations and see sprawling valleys, and dazzling surroundings very quickly.
Pedal over into Hualien County to discover the Tafalong Neighborhood within the Guangfu Township the place the Amis Tribe continues to protect and promote its vibrant, indigenous tradition. Park the bike and observe conventional songs, or pattern a tasty Amis dessert, “toron”, earlier than persevering with the journey; plan your journey round a Harvest Competition for an immersive cultural expertise.
Biking northbound alongside the Yuli Bikeway, take within the hillsides apart from the Chike Mountain as they explode right into a sea of orange daylily blossoms between August and September. The world is known for its flower farms, which domesticate the bloom to be used in Taiwanese delicacies; cease in at an area eatery and pattern the specialties.
Fo Guang Shan
Biking paths on this space result in Fo Guang Shan, the headquarters of one in every of Taiwan’s highest-profile spiritual establishments, and the biggest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. A number of hundred outside Buddha statues adorn the skin of the temple construction, together with one which towers over 118 ft tall. Inside, the Corridor of the Nice Hero is breathtaking. Right here monks, nuns and guests venerate the three imposing Buddhas of Amitabha, Sakyamuni and Bhasisajyaguru, whereas surrounded by virtually 15,000 different wall-mounted Buddha collectible figurines.
Taipei 101 & Xinyi District
In search of an city journey? Xinyi, one in every of Taipei’s most vibrant districts, buzzes with markets, cafes and dazzling shows of recent structure. No constructing is extra notable than the Taipei Monetary Heart, higher often called Taipei 101. The constructing, a spotlight of any meandering bike tour by town, dominates the skyline, making it a straightforward vacation spot from any start line.
The 1,671-foot tower was at one level the tallest on the earth and the primary skyscraper to interrupt the half-kilometer mark. The primary 4 flooring are stuffed with designer shops and high-end eating places, however park your bike and head to the observatory on the 89th flooring for sweeping, panoramic views of town and surrounding mountains – the right place to look out and choose which bikeway to discover subsequent.
Prepared to start out planning your subsequent journey? Lean extra!
The editorial employees of Smithsonian journal had no function on this content material’s preparation