A while back, me and Yini rode our motorbike from Tainan on the south west coast, round Taiwans south tip, then up along the east coast to Yilan in the north. I wrote about it here. We also made one trip from Taoyuan in the west, across the mountains to Yilan, then around the northern tip back to Taoyuan, see this post.
Though a bit further inland than those two trips, we have also been between Hsinchu and Taoyuan (both in the north west) several times, and a few weeks ago, we rode from Hsinchu to Erlin in central Taiwan, though still on the west side.
Few days ago, we embarked on the final stretch need to complete the circle all around the Island. We shipped my motorbike by train to Changhua (a bit north of Erlin) and rode it down to Huwei in Yunlin county. On the way we crossed Taiwan’s longest river just at sunset so we stopped to look at the view. Huwei is a small countryside town so when we got there we found a hotel then called it a night.
Friday we headed into the mountains of Yunlin on small, bumpy roads. Some of the roads were extremely steep, we even had to make a detour because one of them was broken. Along the way we stopped by a small tea farm, mostly just to stretch our legs, but the tea picking ladies took a liking to Yini and even let us pick a few leaves. The boss also treated us to tea in different stages of processing.
After much driving around, getting lost a few times and almost having the engine stall on a steep slope, we finally made it to a place called Ten Thousand Year Valley, a fairly unknown tourist destination. Many travelers in Taiwan have been to Taroko Gorge and this place, though a bit smaller and slightly less spectacular, is kind of similar. Above all, it’s really awesome.
On the way back from the gorge, we got lost among the many winding mountain roads. While trying to find our way back, we passed by an old broken down Hotel. By now you should know that I love exploring abandoned buildings so I had to go in and check it out; Yini decided to stay outside.
Once we found the correct road, we wound our way down from the mountains, stopping by a small cafe for dinner. Thinking we would rather wake up in Tainan the next morning than spend the night in the mountains, we rode on through the evening, reaching the city around ten. We spent Saturday exploring the city, and saw, among other things, the Anping Tree House which is an old wareouse overgrown by trees, and a gigantic temple.
Some different shots of the tree house, or rather tree in a house
The last day we ventured out east. On roads of broken concrete, barely wider than a goat path, we climbed up steep inclines, and held on for dear life down even steeper descents, winding our way out into the wilderness. We went to the area known as Caoshan Moon World, a mountainous region full of barren cliffs of crumbling dry mud popping up among the vegetation. It’s kind of similar to the place we visited in Taidong a few years ago, but more spaced out, with lots of jungle in between the mud cliffs.
I think it’s a pretty good place, but I prefer my barren moon landscapes a bit more barren, a little less “normal”. The one in Taidong is more concentrated wasteland which I think is better. At any rate, for anyone feeling like an adventurous ride, the roads there are excellent, though I wouldn’t dare try it with a car. After a few hours we reached one of the few restaurants up there and had some lunch. On the way down we took a bigger, less adventurous road back to Tainan.
The road back was a bit of a dream road; hilly and twisty enough to keep you excited, but straight and smooth enough to keep your speed up. Yini commented that it is like something from a motorbike PC game. That was almost the best part of the day. Back in Tainan, we had a bit of fika, shipped off my motorbike on the train, then made the journey back to Hsinchu on the overcrowded high speed rail.