The Fulong-Coaling-Sandiao Cape- bike route is one of the most biker friendly routes in Taiwan, the roughly 2 hour loop is something that the whole family can enjoy. It includes a 2KM ride through the Old Coaling Railroad Tunnel, as well as a ride along the Sandiao Cape coast on an enclosed bike path, where one can enjoy great views of the ocean, Turtle Island, wavy geological features on the coastline, and historical stone villages along the way. This bike route is highly recommended for people of all ages.
The area around Fulong was originally inhabited by the Basay indigenous tribe who has a village and hunting grounds there.
In 1626, the Spanish landed near Fulong and renamed the location Santiago (transliterated from Taiwanese as Sandiao 三貂, as in Sandiao Cape). After the Qing colonized Taiwan, many Fujianese fisherman relocated to the area and began to build the iconic stone houses you can see today.
The Old Caoling Tunnel was built in 1924 during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, and is 2,167 meters long. At the time it was built, it was the longest tunnel in Taiwan.
The tunnel took 3 years to build due to delays from Malaria, remoteness of the location, and digging accidents killing 11 people and injuring over 300.
The tunnel was only one lane wide, too narrow for electric trains, and so was decommissioned in 1985 and lay waste for 22 years.
The tunnel was reopened when the Coaling Bicycle Loop was created in 2007, using the old Caoling Tunnel as its main looping point.
Also, along the northeast coast are some old fishing villages that have been around since the Qing Dynasty, including traditional stone houses. One of these historical villages called Magang (馬崗) is in threat of destruction to make way for a resort. however as Li Yongping out it "The thing that attracts modern travelers most is not 5 star hotels, but history and culture!" Save the Magang Stone Houses!
Besides these historical sites, there is amazing scenery along the bike ride, such as views of Turtle Island and long flat sections of layered rock (see below to know what I am talking about).
Bicycle Rental: 100-500 NT depending on the bike
Electric Bicycle Rental: 300-400 NT
The whole bike route is about 20 KM and takes 1-2 hours to complete.
We were going really slow with many pit stops and it took us 2 hours.
The Old Caoling Tunnel is open from 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM.
It is okay to walk through the tunnel on weekdays, but on weekends only bike traffic is allowed for safety reasons.
When to go:
May to October when the weather is nice and the water is warm.
Winter on the northeast coast is cold and windy.
How to get there:
By Train: Take the TRA train to Fulong Station. Walk straight from the station and you will see tons of bike rental shops.
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 2 from Qidu in Keelung through the mountains past Shifen and Shuangxi until you reach Gongliao on the coast. The beach is right in front of the train station, and there is free parking in front of Dongxing Temple. From there you can walk to the train station where there are bike rentals everywhere.
Please see below:
Neihu Sports Park is one of the best parks in Taipei. Besides a rock climbing wall, skate park, track, water splashing area, baseball fields, a large playground area, and plenty of grass, there is also a viewing platform directly in front of the Songshan Airport that lets you see airplanes land and take off from a close distance.
Neihu Sports Park was completed in 2002, and was built above the Neihu Wastewater Treatment Plant. It features a rock climbing wall, skate park, rubber track, water park, baseball fields, a large playground area, sand pit, and plenty of grass. There is also a viewing platform directly in front of the Songshan Airport that lets you see airplanes land and take off from a close distance, which connects to the Keelung Riverside Park.
How to get there:
By Bus: From central Taipei, take bus GR16 to the park.
By Car/Scooter: From central Taipei, go on Minquan Road east until you pass the bridge into Neihu. Then turn left on Jiuzong Raod. There is limited scooter parking at the entrance. There is also paid car parking on the opposite side of the park.
Please see below:
Toucheng Township in Yilan is known for its amazing beaches, but there is much more to do here, such as visit Lanyang Museum, visit Turtle Island, enjoy seafood, traditional fishing harbors, recreational farms, hiking, cycling, surfing lessons, and much more. Here is a short guide to Toucheng, to let you know the variety of activities that you can enjoy here.
Before Chinese settlers came, the area around Toucheng was inhabited by the Ketagalan Aboriginal tribe, whose language is now extinct.
The name Toucheng literally means "first town" in Chinese, because it was the first settlement in Yilan, settled in the late 1700s. With the nearby Wushih and Touwei Harbors around the same time, it became the economic focal point of Yilan. However in the late 1800s and early 1900s Wushih Harbor and Touwei Harbor silted in, reducing their function.
With the advent of the Japanese built Yilan railway line in the mid-1900's, as well as constant floods and continually silting of the harbors, Toucheng quickly lost its importance economically and fell into decay.
After residents of Turtle Island were relocated to Daxi in Toucheng, Daxi Harbor was expanded and has become one of the largest fishing harbors in the area.
Due to its close proximity to Taipei, Toucheng has become a major tourist area and may be the most popular surfing location in Taiwan.
How to get there:
By TRA: Take the TRA to any of the stations in Toucheng,
By Car: From Taipei, take National Freeway 5 to Toucheng. Be careful to note that on Sundays there are highway controls for cars travelling from Yilan to Taipei from 3 PM to 8 PM, so avoid travelling back to Taipei at that time to beat the traffic.
See below for a map of places that are covered in this blog:
Wuzhishan is a beautiful mountain in Xizhi District of New Taipei. It is a popular place to stop for hikers, bikers, and Instagrammers due to its amazing views of east Taipei. Also there are many coffee shops here with amazing views. Besides taking photos, Wuzhishan is a great place to relax and enjoy nature.
The rock formations that form Wuzhishan formed as sediment under the ocean millions of years ago, and was later uplifted thanks to the collision of the Eurasian and Philippine plates. The rocks are mainly sedimentary and are part of the same formation that forms the special rock formations on the northern coast around Keelung, and the waterfalls in Pingxi.
Wuzhishan sits at 376 meters above sea level, while the bottom of the mountain is 76 meters, and the road it is 2.1 KM, making it a short, steep climb.
Dream Lake get's its name from the thick fog that covers it during winter months, making it look like a dreamscape. Dream Lake is a popular spot for couples, wedding photography, and Instagram photos.
Moderate: About a two hour hike round trip, steep and difficult climbing through the forest with aid of ropes.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take Xiwan Road (夕萬路) all the way to the top. You can also hike it starting from the Wuzhishan Old Trail trailhead.
By Bus: Take Dongnan Bus F910 from Xizhi Park about 40 minutes up the mountain to Wuzhishan.
Please see below:
New Taipei Metropolitan Park in Sanchong and Luzhou Districts is my favorite city park in northern Taiwan. It features long green grass fields, lots of sidewalks and places to rest, as well as rivers and ponds. It's a great place to ride a bike and exercise and relax if you are in the area.
New Taipei Metropolitan Park was first began work in 2008 and it is still undergoing improvements. Originally it's name was "Greater Taipei Metropolitan Park 大臺北都會公園" but its name changed to New Taipei Metropolitan Park 新北都會公園 in 2009 to differentiate it from Taipei City.
It sits on the Erchong Floodway, a flood overflow basin which began construction in 1987 and was finished in 1996. Before that, there were no levees here and Sanchong and the surrounding areas were prone to flooding every time a Typhoon hit, due to the rising of the Tamsui River. The area where the Erchong Floodway sits was once the direction that the Tamsui River flowed before this section silted in, diverting the flow of the river north.
The park is 7.5 km long, which includes wetlands, grasslands, basketball courts, baseball fields, tennis courts, slides, bicycle paths, and much more.
How to get there:
By MRT: Take the purple line MRT to Sanchong Station. The station is inside the park.
By Car/Scooter: From central Taipei, take provincial highway 1 south to Sanchong, and do not cross the bridge toward Xinzhuang. There is plenty of parking on the side of the road near the levee.
By Bicycle: There are many Youbike stations nearby. Also there is a bicycle rental shop near the basketball courts. You can also bring your own bike. I highly recommend riding a bike here, it is safe and fun and there are tons of bike-friendly paths.
Please see below:
Many people lately have been complaining about being cut off while riding a bike or dealing with pedestrians in bike lanes. But what are the laws currently for bicycles in Taipei? One can search, but most crucial info is in Chinese. Below we have provided a summary of our findings as well as an appendix of the full translated Taipei bicycle laws for you.
(The following information was found at the Taipei Police Bureau website; their English materials are limited).
The relevant articles for bicycles are contained in the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act from articles 69-131. The Taipei Police Bureau only has English for articles 69-90, so I have painstakingly translated the relevant articles from article 90 to article 131. Because this is really long, I have put some of the most interesting parts first here below with commentary:
Summary of Findings:
When Should Bicycles Yield?
According to article 124, slow moving vehicles (bicycles) have to yield to everything on the road, including people and objects. Also, they should also stay on the right side of the road.
Before driving, the driver should pay attention to whether there are obstacles, vehicles, pedestrians, and should yield to pedestrians and other vehicles.
When driving, drivers should follow the road traffic signs, markings, instructions, and be subject to traffic controller’s commands.
When driving on a road, drivers should follow the marked signs or provisions of the road; if there are no signs or markings, drivers should follow the provisions below:
Bicycle Path Rules:
According to article 124-1, bicycle paths in cities still give precedent to pedestrians. In other words, you must yield to pedestrians when travelling on bike paths. Sorry.
The competent authority of the road, the urban road authority or the police authority may, without blocking traffic or compromising safety, make a slow vehicle path on sidewalks and set the necessary signs or markings for slow travel. Slow vehicles should follow these lines on the path, and should give priority to pedestrians.
Pedestrians and Buses:
According to article 126, bikers should yield to pedestrians even when they J-walk. Also, much to my chagrin, bikes are always supposed to yield to buses, even to the point of stopping at an intersection for them.
When pedestrians are crossing the road, with or without traffic controllers,
Drivers should let pedestrians to pass first.
When traveling with buses or other mass transit vehicles, when approaching have turn signal sound or light, slow vehicles shall change lanes in accordance with regulations and give priority to these vehicles. Slow vehicles are prohibited from closely following or approaching, except where otherwise provided by the competent authority of the road.
According to article, 131 bikes can only be parked in designated parking spots with signs or painted lines. They can park in scooter parking. We will see if this changes, as with the onslaught of Obike Mayer Ke promised he would change these regulations. We will keep you updated with any developments.
2021 Update: Obikes and similar bicycle ride share programs are now a non-issue. In 2017 and 2018, Obike went out of business and most of the bikes were recycled or thrown away. If only their bikes didn't disintegrate into a pile of rust when exposed to the elements...
Slow moving vehicles cannot be parked unconditionally. Vehicles shall be parked in specified places or within the line markings, and park in an orderly line.
In places where bicycle parking facilities are not provided, bicycles may park in motorcycle parking, but may not park in parking designated for cars or heavy motorcycles.
The rules for pedestrians and buses are reasonable, but I don't think anyone follows bicycle parking rules, and even less people get a ticket for it. I think that this law is so unenforced that it is laughable. I mean, you can't go up to every grandpa in the park and tell him he parked his bike in the wrong place. With Obike taking over thousands of scooter parking spots in the city (not to mention tons of bikes being thrown in bushes and rivers), the Taipei city government needs to act quickly to improve these regulations.
Please click "Read More" for the full translated version of Taipei bike laws. Otherwise please like and share below!
The Lotus Pond in Zuoying District of Kaohsiung is one of the most beautiful scenic areas in Taiwan. Much of the lake is full of traditional Chinese temples, gardens, and architecture. Because of its size, it cannot be properly appreciated by only going there for one afternoon; there are simply too many things to see and do there. In this blog, we will provide you a detailed virtual tour of the entire lake.
Lotus Pond was originally a small natural pond next to what is now the Zuoying Confucious Temple. Starting from 1686 after the Qing Dynasty captured Taiwan from the Kingdom of Tungming, the pond was gradually expanded for water storage and irrigation purposes. Also, lotus plants were cultivated on the pond, giving it its name. It was known as one of the eight beautiful scenes of Fengshan Old City. It also became a hotbed for temple building, and now over 20 temples stand by the lake.
In 1951 the Qiming Temple, Spring and Autumn Pavilions, and Guanwu God Temple were completed.
In 1976 the Dragon and Tiger pagodas were completed.
In 1978 Wuli Pavilion was completed.
Every year over a million visitors come to the park, although these numbers have gone down in recent years due to aging infrastructure and lack of new attractions. It is a haven for retired Taiwanese people to come and relax.
Due to its close proximity to the Zuoying Jiucheng TRA station and Zuoying HSR station, it is also a popular attraction for tourists in Kaohsiung.
Hours: 8 AM - 6 PM (Dragon and Tiger Pagodas)
How to Get There:
By Car/Scooter: From central Kaohsiung, go north on provincial highway 17 and then turn north on Xinzhuang 1st Road. The pond is on your left and is hard to miss. There is free and paid parking all around the lake.
By Train: From the north you can walk to the pond from Zuoying HSR station, or from the south you can walk there from Zuoying Jiucheng TRA Station.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.