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East Coast

Getting there & around

There is air and rail service to the east coast and bus service is available locally, but having your own transport is the most convenient way to see eastern Taiwan. There are simply too many places you can’t get to without your own wheels. That said, it’s best to take the train, or fly, to Hualien as the twisting Suao–Hualien Hwy can be a bit unnerving.

Driving the highways between Hualien and Taitung (and the many splendid mountain roads connecting them) is a breeze, with light traffic on weekdays and plenty of places to pull off the road and explore.

Eastern Taiwan doesn’t see as many cyclists as it deserves, which in part is why you should go. You can’t ride the Suao–Hualien Hwy (and wouldn’t want to anyway for safety reasons), so ship your bike down and begin at Hualien. Most riders travel on either Hwy 9 or 11, but there are numerous side routes (such as the highways connecting the 9 and 11) as well as county roads (such as the 195) that allow you to enjoy the same stunning scenery as drivers, but with far less traffic. The 11 is much more winding and steep than the 9.

There are numerous camp sites on the east coast, some overlooking the ocean, and a few that even have hot springs. If you are looking for B&Bs, you’ll find them. In general you can set up a tent on most deserted beaches (just don’t swim unless you know it’s safe).

Past Taitung there is little of interest and in any case the truck traffic can be pretty bad. For more infomation, including some detailed routes, check out the website of a long-term Taiwan expat and avid biker (rank.blogspot.com/2006/05/great-taiwan-bike-rides-part-1-taidong.html).