Planning a trip down the east coast and also Taroko Gorge of Taiwan.
All the info suggests this is a great country to cycle.
Just wondering if anyone has some tips on what I should look out for - that is to avoid??
also any advice on things like prevalence of cash machines? Thieves?
Campgrounds v BnB
Its seven years since I've cycled there so things may have changed, but in general I would say its a great country to ride, especially the mountain areas and the east coast and the very south, although the west and north is far too urbanised to make for pleasant riding. There are 7 Eleven style stores in nearly every village so you can get cash machines, etc. Its a very low crime country, you should have no problems with that.
So far as I am aware, there are no campgrounds anywhere in the country, and wild camping is almost impossible. Local B&B's are very hard to find as they are generally 'unofficial' - just local homestays. I'd suggest contacting the many very friendly local riders on warm showers for advice on finding them (locals find them by simply asking around as soon as they arrive at a city, but don't expect to find many English speakers in rural areas). The numerous hot springs spa resorts are excellent value during midweek and out of season (but the price rockets the weekend).
There are plenty of camp grounds in Taiwan! I have camped at Wulaikeng (Su-Ao) and at Shitipin.. There are camp grounds at Taroko Gorge too..
Just be careful when cycling up to Taroko Gorge as the lane is shared with tour buses and cars.
I did a round the island trip in Taiwan on a scooter.
I've cycle around Taïwan 15 years ago, my first cycling trip, totally unorganised and unprepared! It's been à wonderfull trip. You will go through nice landscapes, mountains and coasts, and meet the friendlyest people in Asia. Appart from that i won't be very helpfull since things might have change in terms of hotels and guesthouses. But for sure you will find food and lodging at whatever distance you want to make a day. The only place i ended up with no place to sleep (down the mountains in the south) i was finally invited in a temple were people could do some kind of retreat (No fix price, but à donation is welcome). Apart from that, i was given food, drinks, help, etc. At a police station, were i stoped to change cloths, they offered me water. I accepted the offer and then they came back with a 24 bottles box!!! As i said, the friendliest place i've been in the world. At that finding money wasn't a problem. Roads were safe and not so busy (this might have change).
I'd love to go back.
Enjoy your trip!
I cycled in Taiwan in the autumn of 2015. In my opinion, there is nothing to avoid in Taiwan. Together with places like Iceland and Japan, Taiwan must be one of the safest places on earth to go for a cycling trip. The only dangers come from "Mother Nature". You have to plan your trip in the right season to avoid typhoons. When a region suffers heavy damage caused by natural disasters, it is repaired within an unbelievably short time range. All Taiwan roads are in a perfect condition. When it comes to crime, Taiwan must be one of the safest places on earth.
Cash machines can be found in each convenience store. Camping grounds are not so easy to find. The Taiwanese people prefer to stay in hotels, hostels, youth hostels, etc. But there is plenty of space for wild camping.
Taiwan is a great cycling country. I think half of the world's bicycles are made in Taiwan. All over the country, you can find Giant bicycle shops. The mechanics in these shops are fantastic. To summarise things: Taiwan is a perfect cycling destination!
There are tunnels on the road on the east coast, as you approach them there is a red crossed sign with a bicycle on it, don't panic! The sign below it says 'do not cycle on the concrete step at the side of the road' (it is there to stop trucks hitting the roof of the round tunnels). Cycling through the tunnels is allowed and they are well lit, just very noisy.
Also, we were told the police stations have accommodation for cyclists if you get stuck, we didn't use it but you can ask.