mercredi 8 décembre 2010

Taiwan- Ilha Formosa

Although Taiwan was not in the initial biking plan of our adventure in Asia, I finally managed to reach it by plane from Japan and bike for almost 2 weeks in this beautiful island.
This time I was biking alone while Corinne was enjoying Japan with her parents.

My deepest memories of Taiwan are in Taichung, mainly because it is the city where I made most of friends.
To start with I met Vicky and Pinky who introduced me to a friendly community of bikers, artists and nature lovers.
Pinky and Vicky know a lot about biking (world tour and other shorter trips) and now they are delivering the message especially to the younger generations of how rewarding traveling by bike can be (
Thanks a lot for being so helpful and made me feel at home!

Second good surprise in Taichung was to meet the people of Topeak, a very successful company specialized in biking accessories (
Louis, Hugo and Don contributed to my dream of biking in Taiwan and provided me a Jango mountain bike to enjoy the whole island for
2 weeks (
They always helped me with the best material I could get for my trip.
Thanks a lot for your generosity!

Furthermore I also met other people like Jerry (who made a nice video about the biking trip), Corey (who runs a very interesting project and a nice guesthouse-Shueiduei Guest House), Snow, Lidia, Birdy and so many others who made my trip to Taiwan one of the highlights of the whole journey so far.
Regarding the route I started in Taichung and crossed the mountains to the East of the island (to Hualien through road number 14 and 8).
On the way, a hard climb almost 45kms long to the top of the pass at 3,200mts, I could enjoy amazing views of the mountains and on the way down the more touristy Taroko Gorge.

The East coast of Taiwan is by far the highlight of the island with great stretches of road between the mountains and the Pacific ocean.
One can also enjoy nice little villages on the way and very scenic spots along the road number 11.

Once in the southernmost point of Taiwan I spent nice days in the Kenting National Park.
It was really holidays for me after the cold in Japan and I really felt like in the best Caribbean island. I could even bath in the Ocean!

Going north back to Taichung I chose road number 19, trying to avoid the hectic traffic of road 1 and the windy 17. Along the way interesting places to visit like Tainan and Kaohsiung, though the West was definitely not as enjoyable for biking as the East.
Back in Taichung I met again all my friends and enjoy with them a good-bye party.

The following day I went with Vicky to one of her speeches and shared my biking experience with the students of the school.
Finally I departed to Taipei to take my flight to Japan where I would meet Corinne back again, happy me!

Taiwan is one of the hidden jewels of Asia with beautiful landscapes (mountains and sea), very friendly people (when- and wherever I stopped by bike I was always offered some drink or fruits) and tasty food (good mix of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Malay and Indonesian dishes).
It is a country to visit, especially if you do it by bike. It is challenging to cross the mountains but you will be rewarded with nice views.
Go to the east coast if you really want to see the beauty of this ilha formosa!

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