Bicycle touring Taiwan: Chishang to Fenggang via Baisha

By our third week in Taiwan we were getting better at choosing good roads. My notes include words like “fantastic” and “brilliant”. However, I also find “too much highway” and “too much traffic”.

We rode through some lush tropical forests, pretty agriculture lands, and also miles and miles of aeration ponds for sewage treatment.

Chishang is known for its rice paddy scenery. The thing that everyone (apparently) needs to do is bicycle out to Mr. Brown Avenue to see the tree made famous by an Eva Air commercial.

IMG_20231207_103427 by bryandkeith on flickr

The street, incidentally, is named after the coffee from an earlier commercial that didn’t get so much hype. The area is, I suppose, more picturesque with the pre-harvest green and gold. Nearby areas are just as nice without the crowds.

IMG_20231207_113324 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20231207_122034 by bryandkeith on flickr

In Chishang itself we wanted to eat some of their famous rice, of course. A helpful policewoman directed us to Grandma Yang’s after her first recommendation was closed. Grandma Yang makes meals from her hometown in Shanxi so it was all wheat, no rice!

IMG_20231206_181703 by bryandkeith on flickr

On another day we stopped for lunch in Luye and had a great largely vegetarian all-you-can-eat buffet. In the end the young men working the restaurant wouldn’t take our money. Using a translate app one man found the word “hospitality”.

These young guys were so kind  They didn't even let us pay for lunch at their restaurant. by bryandkeith on flickr

Off main roads we found some quiet, very pleasant, slightly hilly riding. We were also getting better at finding places to camp.

IMG_20231207_143532 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20231208_064803 by bryandkeith on flickr

The following day, however, south of Taitung we got squeezed onto a highway again. The great news was that we discovered custard apples. The kind women gave us one and showed us what to do: find a soft custard apple and squeeze it open — no knife. You then might use a spoon for the custardy pulp. Yummy. None of us had eaten them before.

IMG_20231208_100327 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20231210_133029 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20231209_073748 by bryandkeith on flickr
camp at Dawu

In the very southern part of the island we found excellent riding. Traffic is light, and there are more roads to choose from. We also climbed some hills which I always like.

IMG_20231209_112514 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20231209_143258 by bryandkeith on flickr

After paying for the campsite in Xiamudan, we asked the woman where we could buy beers. She ended up giving us three (one each) 600ml bottles of Taiwan Beer. In the morning when it was raining, she invited us in for coffee and toast.

IMG_20231209_160858 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20231210_092219 by bryandkeith on flickr

Like the kind couple said, we rode down and out of the rain. We took a very short detour to the temple at Tongbu

IMG_20231210_115730 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20231210_115634 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20231210_115701 by bryandkeith on flickr

and then had a great lunch at the busy (on a Sunday) market in Checheng.

IMG_20231210_124344 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20231210_130338 by bryandkeith on flickr

The farthest south we got was Baisha (recognize it from the film Life of Pi?) where we spent too much time figuring out how we’d get our bicycles north so we’d make it back to Taipei in time for our flights.

IMG_20231210_155010 by bryandkeith on flickr

The next day for the first time in Taiwan, we followed a route that I put together with my custom brouter profile — turned out to be one of the best routes of the trip.

IMG_20231211_120021 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20231211_124006 by bryandkeith on flickr
dragon fruit orchard by bryandkeith on flickr
dragon fruit orchard
IMG_20231212_090517 by bryandkeith on flickr
campsite at Fenggang

Maybe we were figuring out the riding in Taiwan, but we were still getting food surprises. We thought we had ordered chicken, instead fatty pig scalp!

IMG_20231211_141912 by bryandkeith on flickr

What’s next, I wonder?

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2 Responses to Bicycle touring Taiwan: Chishang to Fenggang via Baisha

  1. Jennie Werner says:

    Oooooh, it’s been ages since I”ve eaten a custard apple–so yummy! Beautiful photos, as always!

  2. Mike Painter says:

    Looks all like a lot of fun!

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