An Island Odyssey: Cycling Taiwan – Introduction

Cycling sunset Penghu

Full circuits of Taiwan, taking in stunning scenery like this, are now all the rage among more adventurous Taiwanese.

A Rite of Passage

A strange phenomenon is sweeping Taiwan, slowly but steadily embedding itself in the minds of the island’s students, capturing the imagination of foreign residents and tourists, and making a generation of parents fearful of being unable to reply in the affirmative to their children’s question: ‘dad, have you done a circuit of the island?’  Ask your average resident of Taipei whether they have been to Taitung, Pingtung, or Green Island, and the answer is still likely to be a characteristically optimistic ‘no, not yet.’   Yet, as a relatively small place, criss-crossed with some of the world’s best-kept roads and railways, Taiwan’s population is rapidly becoming aware of how easy it is to get around the island both quickly and cheaply.   Doing a circuit of Taiwan’s main island is possible by (but by no means limited to) train, car, bus, motorcycle, boat, scooter, bicycle, kayak, unicycle, and foot.  Legends abound of those who pedaled like the wind and completed a full circuit in only 48 hours, or of leather-bound bikers pushing their gleaming hogs (and themselves) to the limit and growling their way to the finish line in less than a full day and night.  Films like Hua Tian-Hao’s (華天灝) Go Grandriders (不老騎士) are made about adventurous octogenarians fulfilling their dreams of riding scooters almost as ancient as themselves into the sunset on a last tour of their island home.  Taiwan, in keeping with the emergence of a national identity, is on a voyage of self-discovery, and doing a circuit of the island (‘huan dao 環島’ in Chinese) is fast becoming a rite of passage on that journey.

Sunset Taiwan Strat

Taiwan offers some incredible sights to those who are willing to search for them.

This is undoubtedly a good thing.  It’s important, after all, that people get to know the place they call home, where they play their part as citizens.  Whoever said familiarity breeds contempt had obviously never travelled in Taiwan.  Familiarity, on the contrary, sews the seeds of appreciation, understanding, and awareness.  This kind of travel helps the next generation of voters make choices that might move beyond their own narrow interests and take their compatriots in other areas of the island into consideration, for example.  A rite of passage like this serves to unite people, creating a shared sense of identity and a common culture.  Sticking some kit in a backpack and setting off on a modest odyssey that takes in great swathes of one’s country has the potential to open minds, to provide a sense of freedom and accomplishment that is one of the chief joys of travel. In an economic climate where we are constantly bombarded by the special offers of airlines and travel companies, by cheap tickets here, and all-inclusive packages there, by leaflets and fliers that are united in portraying anywhere but home as a form of earthly paradise, there is a strong but very quiet undercurrent hinting that many of the things we are looking for are actually within easy reach, much closer to home.

Ernest Hemingway on Cycling Quote

We couldn’t agree more, Mr Hemingway.

Mode and Method

Caught up in this wave of enthusiasm and swept along by the myths and legends surrounding these island circuits, Love Taipei decided to set aside some time and embark on a tour of the island.  The choice of transport didn’t involve a great deal of deliberation; as a place that is steadily establishing itself as a paradise for cyclists of all abilities, and whose government seems desperate to let the world know all about this new-found pedal power, two wheels appeared to be the perfect choice.  After all, we live in an age of ascendancy for the humble bicycle, whose health benefits and environmental-friendliness puts it on the moral equivalent of the Tibetan Plateau compared to the cars wallowing in their exhaust fumes in the distant, dark valleys far below.   Of course, cycling has its disadvantages, as the account of this journey will show, amongst which the most obvious are the lack of roof, windscreen, airbags, and horsepower.  Yet travelers tend to be of a generally optimistic temperament, and thus our visions of cycling with a light breeze at our backs, haunted by the beauty of the last rays of sun setting over the ocean, won a resounding victory in the planning process.  The romance of propelling oneself over one thousand kilometres powered by nothing but grit, determination, and enough bananas to feed a troop of starving monkeys, was too much of a temptation to resist.

Cycling Tour de Taiwan

Taiwan is fast becoming a cycling paradise, making our choice of transport for the tour very easy.

Mode duly decided upon, our thoughts turned to method.  There are enough different roads and routes, particularly on the island’s west coast, to provide endless variation when planning a tour of Taiwan.  The longest possibility – our choice this time – follows the coastline in a relatively straightforward loop from Taipei and covers some 1,078 kilometres in total.  Despite being the longest option, however, this route is thankfully not the most difficult.  As those familiar with the island will know, Taiwan’s central mountain range is the highest in East Asia (outside Tibet), crowned by Yushan’s majestic peak at 3,952 metres high.  This creates climbs that would challenge even the Tour de France’s King of the Mountains, and thus our coast-hugging strategy thankfully meant that while covering a greater distance, the altitude involved in our tour was kept to a reasonable level.  The coastal route also has the benefit of passing through Taiwan’s most populous areas giving an interesting insight into the island’s past and present as a place whose culture and economy is intimately connected to the sea.  Yet not all of the coast is flat, and the geography of Taiwan’s spectacular east coast presents some challenging climbs.  With a time budget of nine full days, a route finely balanced between mountain and sea, poised to take in some of Taiwan’s most iconic natural and cultural sites, and presenting enough of a physical challenge to justify a pat on the back, we were mentally ready to embark on our Tour de Taiwan.

  • Cycling - Our Mode of Transport
  • Riding Into the Sunset
  • Chiayi Sunset
  • Hemingway on Cycling
  • IMG_3122

Hiking – Guizikeng to Miantian Shan

Danshui from Facing Heaven Mountain ???

On a clear day views from the top of Miantian Shan stretch far out beyond Danshui into the Taiwan Strait.

Sitting at the western end of Yangming Shan, Miantian Shan – Facing Heaven Mountain – and its sister peak, Xiangtian Shan – Towards Heaven Mountain – are a familiar sight for residents of Beitou, Guandu, and Danshui. At 977 metres high, the mountain towers over these areas of Taipei, its slopes rising steeply from the Danshui River estuary and Taipei basin. Up until an estimated 400,000 years ago, Miantian Shan was an active parasitic volcano in the now dormant Datun volcano group and its beautiful domed summit is the perfect place from which to imagine what this landscape may have looked like in the long distant past, as well as surveying modern-day Taipei, Danshui, and Taiwan’s north-west coastline.

Stick insect ???

Stick insects sometimes give themselves away with their furtive movements.

Hiking to the summit of Miantian Shan is a common pursuit among Taipei’s weekend walking enthusiasts, but most people tend to begin their trek from half-way up the mountain after having driven or taken a public minibus to Qingtian Temple. The trek from there to the summit and back can be arduous in hot weather but is generally an easy 6 kilometre, 3 hour climb suitable for hikers of most ages and abilities. Yet for those purist hikers who froth at the mouth at the mere mention of using a vehicle to gain elevation, there will be a hint of the perverse, of serious moral delinquency, about starting a mountain climb from half-way up. The good news is that there are a number of trails that can be followed from Beitou, at the foot of the mountain, to the top.

Pink Silver Grass

Silver grass flower heads turn pink when growing in the vicinity of sulphur fumaroles.

Beginning and ending a Miantian Shan hike in Beitou has its advantages; easy access via the MRT, a limitless number of hot springs at which to soothe trail-weary muscles following the hike, and the opportunity to see even more of this stunning western edge of Yangming Shan National Park. Allow for 6 to 7 hours to complete the full trek, and prepare plenty of fluids and snacks, particularly if the sun is out. The lower section of the hike takes you past the steep white cliff-faces of Guizikeng and through the terraced fields and bamboo groves of small mountainside farmsteads, and is generally wonderfully quiet, even on a weekend. The upper section of the walk joins the much busier main Miantian Shan ascent from Qingtian Temple, making for a solid 16 kilometre trek in all. (Click here for the Love Taipei map, and here for the National Park map.)

Guizikeng Trail to Fuxing San Road

  1. Setting out from either New Beitou or Beitou MRT, you will need to make your way by bus, taxi, or on foot to the beginning of the Guizikeng trail, which commences from the intersection of Zhonghe Street (???) and Xiushan Road (???), where you will see a police station on the street corner. Follow the road uphill, keeping to the road on the left as it forks, alongside Guizikeng Creek. It’s a 1.8 kilometre, 10 minute walk up Xiushan Road to the hiking path, whose start is indicated by a small row of houses on the left bank of the creek, and a bridge leading over to them. This is a great place for nature lovers, as the creek plays host to an abundance of different flora and fauna, and birds in particular, including the little egret, kingfishers, and occasionally the crested serpent eagle, whose presence is a sure sign of snakes. In places Guizikeng’s steep valley sides reveal exposed white cliff faces, which hint at the area’s previous role as a source of clay for use in ceramics manufacture. The valley has a number of folk-tales and legends attached to it, and for a long time the ‘Precious Pit’ – Guizikeng’s English translation – was actually called ‘Ghost Pit’, perhaps due to the ghostly white hue of the rocks.

    Guizikeng ???

    The bare rock faces visible along Guizikeng hint at the area’s past as the source of fine white clay.

  2. From the start of the hiking path it’s a steep climb up the valley sides, and following heavy rain the path can be hazardous with small-scale erosion and mud-slips. After twenty minutes or so the path meets a flat ridge, much of which is covered with vegetable gardens, before leading off to the right. This is a good place to take a breather, and there’s a small covered pavilion from which hikers can admire the views east over Beitou towards central Taipei. Continuing along the trail the walking is pleasant and, for the most part, flat, as the path hugs the side of the mountain for 1.5 kilometres. A little water channel runs next to the path and keen eyes will spot a number of frog species and their food-chain superiors, the common scaled water snake. The green bamboo viper - which is venomous and also has a penchant for amphibians – has also been spotted here, so remain vigilant.

    Datunli Village ???

    The village of Datunli is perched half-way up the slopes of Miantian Shan.

  3. At the amusingly named ‘Rubbing Station’ – a wooden stand kitted out with a number of metal plaques, rubbings of which supposedly serve as a souvenir of the trail – the trail forks with one path leading back down to Guizikeng, and the other heading sharply uphill. Follow the uphill path. This is a 700 metre, 20 minute walk through a mix of bamboo groves, pomelo orchards, and vegetable terraces, which hint at the fertility of the mountain’s volcanic soil. Before long the footpath meets the tarmac of Fuxing San Road. Turn right here and for ten minutes or so continue along the road through the village of Datunli (???). At the first road junction take the road going left uphill. A signpost at the junction helps by clearly indicating the direction to ‘Qingtian Temple Hiking Trail’. Another 5 minutes and the road comes to an abrupt end outside the Qingtian Temple, where there is welcome relief in the form of toilets, seats, and small stands selling fruit and refreshments.

Qingtian Temple to Miantian Shan

  1. Qingtian Temple marks the beginning of the Miantian Shan hiking trail, and is the preferred starting-point for those trekking to the summit. The number 6 minibus (?6) runs from outside New Beitou MRT to this stop every half an hour or so during the day, and as such the volume of people on the trails sees a large increase from here. Qingtian Temple is a small but elaborately decorated building dedicated to the Goddess Mazu, and has a history of some sixty years. Opposite the temple is a traditional opera stage, though the views from this point on the mountain are so wonderful that they would test the concentration skills of even the most focused opera-goer. The Taiwan blue magpieis often spotted flitting from branch to branch in the tree that stands between the two buildings, which is unusual for a bird that is normally shy of human company.

    Qingtian Temple Rooftop ???

    Qingtian Temple’s rooftop boasts some elaborate decoration.

  2. Heading up the hill from Qingtian Temple the trail is clearly marked, not least by fellow hikers. Qingshui Temple – devoted to the Song Dynasty Buddhist monk, the ‘Great Master of Qing Shui’ – stands directly above Qingtian Temple, and although it isn’t architecturally interesting, it does boast a stunning viewing terrace offering the walk’s first views of the Taiwan Strait. The hiking trail continues sharply uphill along a bamboo- and tree-lined path for a breathless 1.3 kilometres before meeting a fork in the road. Staying on the right-hand branch of the trail, follow the sign for Erziping (???) and the path both widens and flattens out for a pleasant 500 metre stroll. At Miantian Pavilion, look out for the silver grass; its flower heads here are a red-pink colour, an interesting phenomenon which happens whenever the grass grows in the vicinity of sulphur fumaroles.

    Incense burner top at Qingshui Temple ???

    A statue sits basking in the sun atop an incense burner at Qingshui Temple.

  3. Take the next trail leading left which is clearly signposted as ‘Miantian Shan’. From here it’s a steep 600 metres slog to the summit of Miantian Shan, and about two thirds of the way up the forested slopes give way to silver grass, which flowers in autumn, creating a feast for the eyes. The long walk really begins to pay off here as grand vistas open up, taking in the whole of Taipei, and on a clear day revealing the central mountain range in the distant south. Two giant, square aircraft beacons denote the summit, and create a provocative juxtaposition between nature and civilisation. From the mountain top on a clear day there are views over Danshui to the south-west, Guanyin Shan to the south, Taipei to the south-east, Datun Shan and and Qixing Shan to the east. Views to the north and north-west spread from Sanzhi to Taiwan’s northernmost tip at Fuguei Cape.
Chinese silver-grass on Facing Heaven Mountain ???

In autumn the upper slopes of Miantian Shan are covered in flowering Chinese silver grass. 

The Descent: Xiangtian Pool

  1. The trail down from Miantian Shan’s summit leads over a saddle to its sister peak and fellow parasitic volcanic dome, Xiangtian Shan – ‘Towards Heaven Mountain’ – whose peak stands at 947 metres altitude. Silver grass covers the summit, however, which largely obscures any views. There are some remarkable pine trees and tree-ferns lining the trail leading off the mountain and the whispering of the wind through the pine needles creates a serene natural accompaniment to the hike. It’s only twenty minutes downhill to Xiangtian Chi – ‘Towards Heaven Pool’ – a seasonal lake which stands in the centre of Yangming Shan’s best-preserved volcanic crater. At nearly 400 metres wide and, in places, over 100 metres deep, the crater is a peaceful and fascinating environment in which to contemplate the immensely powerful natural forces which created these mountains.
Commemorative Stele on Facing Heaven Mountain ???

This stele was erected by Beitou residents in 1925 to commemorate a visit to the area by the Japanese Crown Prince, Hirohito. 

Qingtian Temple to Beitou

  1. From Qingtian Temple follow the road downhill for a couple of hundred metres until a signpost points to a trail marked ‘Fuxing Senior High School’. The signpost indicates that it’s a 2.4 kilometre, 90 minute walk to the school, but an hour should suffice, depending on how keen you are to get to a hotspring. The trail is very quiet and well looked after, and despite some short intervals that require road walking, it makes for a pleasant descent.

    View from Xiangtian Shan ???

    The view from the top of Towards Heaven Mountain (Xiangtian Shan) is obscured by silver grass, but some of Yangming Shan’s other peaks are still visible. 

  2. Along the way the trail passes the massive Wu Clan ancestral hall, which aside from being home to some rather aggressive dogs, makes a nice rest-stop. Shortly downhill from the hall is Datun Primary School, whose classrooms must have some of the best views of any of Taipei’s schools and must result in dangerously high levels of day-dreaming among the pupils. Continue downhill from here, and the trail runs behind some small-scale housing complexes before descending into Beitou’s residential neighbourhoods. The trail ends roughly opposite Fuxing Senior High, and only slightly further down from that is Zhonghe Street, which marks the end of the hike and the beginning of a lengthy rest and recuperation period.

By Matt Bowden for Love Taipei

Miantian Shan Map ?????

Love Taipei’s map of the Guizikeng – Miantian Shan – Beitou hike. 

 

 


  • 'Prince's Stele'
  • Danshui From Mian Tian Shan
  • Datunli Village
  • Guizikeng
  • Incense Burner
  • Qingtian Rooftop
  • Silver Grass
  • Stick Insect
  • View From Xiangtian
  • Pink Silver Grass
  • Miantian Shan Map

Hiking – Seven Star Mountain

The boulders littering Qixing Shan’s upper slopes are covered in a diverse array of lichens.

Taipei-ers are spoiled for choice when it comes to picking places from which to view the cityscape. Tea fans may sway in favour of Maokong’s terraces and tea-houses, urbanites may select the glamour of Taipei 101 or the Shin Kong Tower, while those in-the-know might choose Guanyin Shan’s well-positioned peak. Needless to say, the slopes of Yangming Shan – ‘Taipei’s backyard’ – also afford incredible views over the city, and a climb to one of the National Park’s many peaks can, on a clear day, reward hikers with vistas that cover all of Taipei and most of northern Taiwan.

The bamboo and silver-grass-covered East Peak of Qixing Shan, viewed from the Main Peak.

Taipei’s searing summer heat suits the mountain’s large snake and insect population and can make for extremely sweaty and occasionally hazardous hiking, but temperatures in autumn, winter, and spring are perfect to dust off your boots and get out into the hills…without the fear of stumbling across a bamboo viper. Standing at a lofty 1,120 metres, Qixing Shan – ‘Seven Star Mountain’ – is Yangming Shan’s highest peak, and is easily accessible thanks to a number of well-marked and immaculately-maintained trails. There is a risk, as we recently found out, that as a result of the north-eastern monsoon which batters Taiwan’s northern coast during the winter months the upper slopes of Qixing Shan can become shrouded with thick cloud and mist, but even this can make for some stunning combinations of light and landscape.

The trails on Qixing Shan are very well marked.

The quickest route to Taipei’s highest spot makes for a pleasant three-hour, 7 kilometre excursion and is generally suitable for hikers of all abilities, though wearing footwear with decent grips is recommended to avoid rapid, acrobatic descents down the slippery stone steps. Starting from the Lengshuikeng (‘Cold Water Pit’) car park / bus stop on Jingshan Road (???), this trail follows a loop which takes in Qixing Shan’s two highest peaks, the ecologically unique Menghuan Pond, and conveniently finishes back at Lengshuikeng’s public hot springs, where hikers can dangle their weary feet in the warm, mineral-rich waters. (Click here for the Love Taipei map, and here for the more detailed National Park map.)

Lengshuikeng Pedestrian Trail

From the car park, head south (Qixing Shan will be on your right) for 400 metres or so along the main road until another, smaller, car park is reached. For most people coming from Taipei this will mean back-tracking along the same road you just drove along. Across the road from this smaller car park is a set of stone steps; this is the entrance to the Lengshuikeng Pedestrian Trail.

The Lengshuikeng Pedestrian Trail winds through stunning broad-leaf forest.

This section of the walk is a pleasant, relatively flat 1.7 kilometre jaunt through beautiful broad-leaf forest. As it stands on the southern edge of the mountain, this side of Qixing Shan is sheltered from the harsher effects of the north-eastern monsoon, which makes it the perfect habitat for an abundance of wildlife, including red-bellied tree squirrels, the bandicoot rat, and even the Formosan giant flying squirrel.

Mount Qixing Main Peak – East Peak Trail

Strolling on the flat ends quite abruptly, however, as the Lengshuikeng Pedestrian Trail joins the Main Peak Trail. This junction is clearly marked and has a number of stone benches, which makes it a good spot to take a quick breather. From here, it’s a very steep 1.2 kilometre slog to the mid-point between the Main and East Peaks.

As this section of the trail winds steadily upwards, the thick forest gives way to a combination of thin-stemmed bamboo, pine, and bird-lime trees. With the peaks slowly coming into view, and the path finally beginning to level off, the trail is lined with Chinese silver-grass, often known as ‘razor grass’ thanks to its neatly disguised serrated edges. The grass and bamboo-covered slopes also allow for some good views over Taipei and the northern coast of Taiwan.

Chinese silver-grass, often known as ‘razor grass’, covers the upper slopes of Qixing Shan.

Quite quickly the mid-point between Qixing’s two highest peaks is reached, with the trail to the left leading up to the Main Peak. On weekends the Main Peak can get very busy with jovial family outings, seemingly endless crowds of school-trippers, and out-of-town tourists come to conquer Taipei’s highest mountain. On a clear day, the views are incredible, with vistas taking in the city, the island’s central mountain range, and the Pacific Ocean. During winter, however, the north-eastern monsoon often obscures the view with its moisture-laden winds, and hikers find themselves enveloped in cloud with only an occasional fleeting glimpse of the scenery beyond. From the Main Peak, you will need to back-track to slightly to head across to the East Peak – a much quieter, but no less impressive, vantage point.

The upper slopes of Qixing Shan afford stunning views over Taipei and the rest of Yangming Shan…among breaks in the cloud.

The Descent

Heading down from the East Peak, the trail is clearly marked and there are a number of helpful information boards introducing Qixing Shan’s flora and fauna. This side of the mountain gets more exposure to the winter monsoon and as such is often blanketed in fog, making visibility poor and the steep stone steps quite slippery. It’s a short 1.1 kilometre walk to a fork in the trail – the right branch takes you down another 200 metres or so to Qixing Park, which boasts toilet facilities, some covered pavilions, clear views over Taipei, and a number of fearsome feral dogs. The left branch – which you will have to take to complete the loop – leads a little further on to Menghuan Pond, one of Yangming Shan’s Ecological Conservation Zones.

As a result of Menghuan Pond’s location and shape – it was once an active volcanic crater – it is covered by a layer of fog for most of the year, the dream-like effects of which are one of the reasons for its name in Chinese: ‘Fantasy Lake’. The pond is literally crawling with wildlife, including snakes, frogs, aquatic insects, and a number of bird species, but the wetland’s highlight is an aquatic plant called the Taiwan quillwort, which can only be found in this location and has thus resulted in the national government bestowing protected status upon this 0.3 hectare space.

Menghuan Pond, or ‘Fantasy Lake’ as it is called in Chinese, is a unique ecological environment and the only place in the world where the Taiwan quillwort grows.

Moving on past Menghuan Pond’s viewing platform, the path continues quite steeply downhill for 1.1 kilometres towards the Menghuan Pond Car Park, from which point the trail runs adjacent to Lane 101 of Jingshan Road, until the path ends at the Lengshuikeng public hot spring facility. The hot springs include a bath house which is open daily from 6am – 9pm (excluding the last Monday of the month), with a daily cleaning period from 12.30pm – 2pm. Free entry means that the bath house gets quite busy on a weekend and even on week days, but for those hikers who don’t fancy crowded bathing there is the option of resting weary feet in the orange-coloured spring outside; there are benches, as well as a roof to keep off the rain. Although Lengshuikeng translates as ‘Cold Water Pit’, the spring water here is still hot, albeit at the relatively cooler average temperature of 41 degrees Celsius rather than the 80 or 90 degrees which is common at Yangming Shan’s other hot springs. The cooler temperature certainly makes it a very pleasant way to celebrate the end of your hike.

From the public hot spring it’s only a hop, skip, and a jump down the road back to the hike’s starting point from where you can head home having conquered Taipei’s highest peak, seen some stunning forest and bamboo grasslands and, weather permitting, seen the best views northern Taiwan has to offer.

By Matt Bowden for Love Taipei

Love Taipei’s Lengshuikeng – Qixing Shan Main Peak Loop Map

 

  • Qixing Shan Silver Grass
  • Qixing Shan Lichen
  • Qixing Shan East Peak
  • Menghuan Lake
  • Qixing Looking South
  • Qixing Shan Way-marker
  • Qixing Shan - Lengshui Keng Pedestrian Trail
  • Lengshuikeng - Qixing Shan Main Peak Loop Map

Taipei Cycling – Cycle Path Musings

Taipei cycling - Guanyin Shan at sunset.

Guanyin Shan at sunset

Taipei’s hordes of scooters and wild taxi drivers make the city’s roads a less than attractive place to be a cyclist. Add the high risk of torrential downpours into the mix, and the city’s few brave roadside pedallers appear to be either already completely mad, or at least beyond the point of no return. Luckily for those free-wheeling enthusiasts who can still claim some level of sanity, of which there happily appear to be thousands, there is an alternative to cycling cheek by jowl with exhaust pipes: Taipei’s network of beautiful cycle paths.

There are six different bikeways, and anyone living or working close to one of Taipei’s rivers or creeks is never very far from one. As the proud new owner of a Made In Taiwan road bike, LoveTaipei has recently been cycling at (what feels like) high velocity along the Guandu bikeway, entertaining fantasies of giving Bradley Wiggins a friendly pat on the back as I zoom past him with ease. With mighty Yangmingshan looming as a backdrop in the distance and flanked by mangroves and the Jilong River on one side, and the rice paddies of the Guandu Plains on the other, the scenery is incredible. Indeed, the landscape here is so stunning that it is perhaps even dangerous, causing cyclists to turn their heads at alarming angles away from the path as they attempt to gather in the romantic splendour of a farmer wading through his verdant green paddy field…and narrowly avoid crashing head-on into an oncoming cyclist.

Taipei cycling - sunset over the Jilong River.

Jilong River scenery

The mind wanders, rolling along these paths, and drifts into contemplative mode. How many other large cities can boast such stunning scenery – mountains, rivers, temples, mangroves, paddy fields – within such easy reach of the high-rise apartments and concrete flyovers? As the sun sets beyond Guanyin Shan in the distance, and the fantastically decorated eaves of Guandu Temple come into view, I am reminded yet again of how beautiful Taipei can be.

LoveTaipei will be doing a series of blogs taking in each of Taipei’s six different bikeways, packed with useful hints, tips, and recommendations, as well as some rather less useful thoughts and musings, helping you get the most out of your Taipei cycling.

  • Guanyin Shan at Sunset
  • Sunset over the Jilong River