Day 1 - Taipei - Hualien (Taroko National Park)
The journey begins!
My friend managed to snag some last minute tickets for the Express train from Taipei to Hua lien about a week or two right before our trip. The train ride took us about 2 hours to get to Hua Lien train station.
We opted to take the bus up to Taroko National Park. The roads are very narrow and also steep and long. Since this is a holiday and all 3 of us are relatively new to cycling, we decided it is in the best interest of the group to take the bus. After sitting on the bus for 1.5 hour from the Hua Lien train station to Taroko, we realized we made the right choice.
Taroko is very beautiful indeed, this park is huge. There are free shuttles to take you from point to point where you can stop and walk around/hike or explore then go back to the station and wait for the next available shuttle. During our trip it was considered to be a slow-season hence there weren’t much tourist or tourist bus.
The places we explored consists of hiking trails that leads to various tunnels and mountain path along side a beautiful river gorge and some waterfalls. Sometimes the tunnel stretched for a bit until you can see the end of the tunnel. There are no lights inside the tunnel, so it is best if you bring a flash light or use the one on your smartphone. The hike is pretty straight forward and well paved track. We saw other visitors wearing a hard hat helmet around the park, and numerous warning regarding danger of falling rocks.
Around 4pm we decided to head back to Hua Lien and because my friend wanted to try out a local barbershop open by a British guy who is living in Hua Lien. The place is called “Cutting Edge Barbershop.” While waiting for our friend’s hair to be cut, we were offered free beer by the owner (superb hospitality) and we got to know each other for a little bit. He also gave us some tips and information for our cycling journey. Cycling is quite popular in Taiwan so people often cycle to another city for the weekend just for fun.
After the barbershop we headed for dinner and then directly to our hostel for the night. The Mini-Voyage is where we are staying for the night. The room is quite spacious and very clean. They also provide communal areas to hangout nearby the lobby with free-wifi, food and drinks. This is my favorite hostel to stay of all the ones we stayed at. Once we settled in and took a shower we went for a walk around the city and grabbed some local beers before heading back.
- Mini Voyage Hostel
- Address: No.103, Guolian 1st Rd., Hualien City, Hualien County, Taiwan
- Phone:+886 988 966 585
Day 2: Hualien - Guangfu (56km)
We went to pick up our bike from the Giant rental store next to the train station around 8:30am. Then we proceeded back to our hostel to pack our panniers and equipment on the bike. One of the bike lock were seized and would not open. So i cycled back to the store and borrowed some cable cutters to cut off the lock and get another lock replacement. Minor setback, but a good reminder to check the functionality of rental equipment at the store before you leave! Before we left, we did a quick pit-stop by 7-11 to stock up on water and food as there will not be any restaurants or 7-11 along route 193.
Route 193 was the first scenic route on our list. It has a combination of uphills and downhills passing by many farms and villages along the way. Since its our first day cycling we were still fresh and we did many stops to take picture and also much needed rest after long uphill climbs.
The scenery along the road consist of many farmlands and greens everywhere. The mountains make an awesome backdrop and the sun is shinning! It really does not feel like winter at all. Occasionally the sky darkens as if its threatening to pour rain on us, and it turned a little cloudy but for the most part the sun is shinning down on us. It was quite a tough day, and along the way around 12:00pm we spotted a very nice resting spot which has some seating area and also some shade.
We stumbled upon a sleeping puppy under the seating area and she woke up and lingered around. We gave her our supply of rice ball (onigiri) and some water and proceeded to play with her for quite awhile (1-1.5 hour at least haha). She was very friendly indeed and not shy at all. She ate so much and was even picking out the meat out of the rice ball. When we decided to leave she followed us and went in between my front and rear wheel and hung around. As if she didn’t want us to leave and her puppy face says it all.
We made it to Guangfu around 4:00pm and went straight to the hostel we are staying. Once we check-ed in we decided to rest and call it a day. We went out on our bikes again later at night to get some dinner and ice cream.