Thursday, February 8, 2018

Cycling Taiwan 2017 Day 13: Kenting To Taitung - Cycling Taiwan's East Coast

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Cycling Taiwan 2017 Day 13: Kenting To Taitung - Cycling Taiwan's East Coast
Taiwan Day 13: Thursday, 26th October - Kenting to Taitung
This is part of cycling tour around Taiwan, From Kenting (墾丁) to Taitung (臺東市):
Kenting (墾丁)>by van>Fangliao (枋寮鄉)>by TRA train>Dawu (大武鄉)>Taimali (太麻里鄉)>by TRA train>Taitung (臺東市).
Cycling Distance = 36.32 km
Van Distance = 55.70 km
Train Distance = 43.90+23.50 = 67.40 km
Total Distance - 159.42 km
Level: Medium Hard (Undulating slopes and strong headwind on the eastern coast).
Time : 8:30am to 6:00pm
Time Taken : 9 hrs. 30 mins. (including stops for lunch, to admire aboriginal artwork at Dawu & Taimali, frequent stops to enjoy the scenic coastal sea view, van & train rides, rest, regrouping and many photo opps).

This is page 12 of a 19-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D12 Kenting 2          |        Go to Other Days             |              Go to D14 Yuli >

Route Recommendations :
1. Traffic Directions!
     The Taiwan (台湾) is left-hand drive, so cycle on the right. Same thing applies when crossing the road, take note of the direction in which traffic is approaching from!

2. Route & Traffic Conditions  
    The route is undulating with some stretches of steep slopes at the eastern coast and the difficulty was aggravated by the strong winds and road maintenance & upgrading works. Click here to download a PDF guide on Cycling Around Taiwan.

3. Weather
    At Dawu (大武鄉), the daytime weather was fairly warm, averaging at 25°C during the day with a high of 30°C (the partly cloudy skies did help shade us). At Taitung (臺東市) evening temperatures averaged at 24°C at night. Wind speed was strong, averaging 25kph with gusts up to 47kph, near the eastern coast.
    It is always prudent to check the weather for the next day so as to know what to expect and be prepared for it. Useful weather forecast sites for the Taiwan are the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau and AccuWeather. For more detailed weather, including cloud cover and wind speed, use Weatherspark and Ventusky.

4. Places of Interest
- Fangliao Railway Art Village (枋寮藝術村)(GPS: 22.36704, 120.59545).
- Dawu Rainbow Village (大武彩虹村) (GPS: 22.3581, 120.90566).
- Aboriginal street art at Dawu Puyuma Aborigine Village (大武永久屋(富山部落,台東縣,永久屋,大武鄉公所)) (GPS: 22.35771, 120.90644).
Dawu Kuan Yin Temple (琉璃世界药师佛) (GPS: 22.35884, 120.90789).
- Aborigine village at Taimali (GPS: 22.6069, 121.00284).
Aboriginal street art around the area of the Taimali Railway Station (GPS: ).

5. Food
- Breakfast: Taiwanese burgers and pancakes at a shop in Kenting Street (墾丁大街) (GPS: 21.94531, 120.79801).
- Lunch: Sandwiches and buns at 7-11 outlet (GPS: 22.36197, 120.9073) in Dawu (大武鄉).
- Dinner: Taiwanese Aboriginal Food at Nine Waves Aboriginal Restaurant (九格浪 原住民風味餐) (GPS: 22.79089, 121.12556) in Taitung (臺東市).

6. Accommodations
One night in Taitung (臺東市) at Longxing (Dragon Star) Hotel (龍星花園渡仮木屋) (GPS: ) three 2-pax rooms at NTD1,100 per room per night.
Address: 625 Xinxing Road, Taitung City, Taitung County, Taiwan 950.
Tel: +886-89228005

7. Travelling By Trains And Bringing Bikes Onto Trains In Taiwan
    Folding bicycle are allowed onto most trains (express, local and metro trains) but must be bagged before entering the platform, and only unbagged after leaving the platform. Unbagged folding bikes (and full-sized bikes) will usually face a charge equivalent to 50% of the fare. Do note that at smaller stations there are not lifts or escalators for getting to the platforms, so do expect some carrying across bridges or underpasses. A few stations do provide bike-way for pushing across the tracks, do look for signages indicating these; but use of them is subject to the station master's discretion on safety.
    For more details on charges on bringing bikes onto the different trains (local or express trains) click here for the Taiwan Railway Administration Guide On Carriage of Bicycles.
   Click here for a link to the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) website for booking train routes and fares; and also to see which railway line totally does not allow bicycles on board.
    Click here for guidelines on bring folidng bikes onto the Taipei Metro.
    Train services are quite regular between larger towns, but at smaller towns services may not be that regular (perhaps like every two or three hours). Do check at the respective stations for the train schedules or at this TRA booking site link.
   We took a van from Kenting (墾丁) to Fangliao (枋寮鄉) at NTD300 per pax; if taking a bus it would have been NTD210 per pax. The train fare from Fangliao (枋寮鄉) to Dawu (大武鄉) was NTD96, and from Taimali (太麻里鄉) to Taitung (臺東市) was NTD51.

8. Communicating with Each Other
   When travelling in a group it's important to be able to communicate with each other, especially if one got lost from the rest.
    At Taipei Taoyuan Airport Terminal One, just after exiting the into the arrival hall, there are several booths on the left selling pre-paid phone SIM cards. We got pre-paid 4G prepaid SIM cards from Chung Hwa as they had good coverage even in remote areas. These cost NTD1,000 for a 30-day plan that includes unlimited data and NTD$430 credit for texts or calls. These can also be booked on line.
    Those without sim card could try using free Wifi that are sometimes available at the airport, some bigger train stations or hotels; do note that these free wifi may not be stable and registration could be required.

9. Communicating with Locals
    Most Taiwanese (台湾人) speaks Mandarin (官话) and Hokkien (福建話), and very few speak English. So it would be good to have a person in the team who can converse in Mandarin or Hokkien.
    When communicating with locals is a problem, this could be partly overcome by using translation apps like Google Translate. Do install this app into your phone and before you leave on your tour do some basic translation as it will be saved onto a list of recent translations.
    Look out for the tourist information booths at airports, railway stations or bus stations, the guides manning the booths speak good English and do give good tips on where to visit, directions, train and bus schedules.

10. Service Your Bicycles & Carry Tools and Spares
    Before leaving on your tour, it will be good to service your bike and bring along some spares like tubes, puncture patches, brake pads and the relevant tools.

A day earlier we had given our bike a rest day and had explored Kenting and its surrounding locality on motorcycles. Today we are back on our bicycles and will head of to east coast of the country; one famed for it's beautiful coastline.


RouteKenting (墾丁)>by van>Fangliao (枋寮鄉)>by TRA train>Dawu (大武鄉)>Taimali (太麻里鄉)>by TRA train>Taitung (臺東市).
Cycling Distance=36.32 km      Total Distance=159.42 (inclg. van & train journey)
Level: Medium Hard (Undulating slopes and strong headwind on the eastern coast).
The route includes riding a van (from Kenting to Fangliao) and a couple of train sections (from Fangliao to Dawu & from Taimali to Taitung), but it is doable fully on bicycles but would recommend doing it over two days as the segment from Fangliao to Dawu cuts through steep hills. From Dawu to Taimali, the route runs along undulating terrain with some short stretches of steep slope.

We started the day with breakfast at Kenting Street; during the day the night market is not there and the roads are opened up for traffic. At one of the shop we had Taiwanese style burger and also this interesting pancake "burger"' which instead of using a bun, the patty and a fried egg were put between a pancake which was then pan-fried.
It was going to be a long journey (150+km.) from Kenting to Taitung, to safe time we had planned to take a bus from Kenting to Fangliao and from there a train across the central mountains to Dawu. We went to the bus stop which was just at a junction nearby to our hotel, packed our bikes and waited for a bus. There were worries about that we had to quickly load our bikes as soon as the bus stopped and also whether there were enough space in the bus hold for our bagged bikes and luggage. Our concerns were solved when a glib talking tourist van operator offered to take us at a fare of NTD300 per pax; by bus it would have been NTD210 each.

The van dropped us right in front of Fangliao Train Station, but the next train will only be coming in an hour's time so we headed out to explore the town but got stuck just exploring the vicinity of the station!
As we rode out, we saw this cute little girl wearing dark sunglasses sitting outside a house. Hey! She's a statue! She is part of the artwork that can be seen at this place, Fangliao F3 Railway Art Village.

And she was not alone. At the garden, her brother was picking up some fruits from below a real life tree. At another corner, their mother was washing up some utensils.

At one of the back alleys, small stone statues lined the center of the alley. At the front is this bug-eyed owl. It's eyes looking out for any evil that dares to enter.
(click here to see more artwork of this railway art village)

Our timing was lucky when we got back at the station, the railway personnel allowed us to push our bagged bikes across the tracks and use these hydraulic lift to get up to our platform. No tough carrying of our bikes up and down connecting stairways, phew! These hydraulic lifts were actually for wheelchairs and the use of them is subject to the discretion of the railway personnel.

An hour later we arrived at Dawu and as we rode out we saw this statue of an aborigine tribe leader.

Why stop at Dawu? Well, there's the Dawu Rainbow Village (大武彩虹村) here and right at the entrance into the town was this colorful rainbow colored array to greet visitors.

Further in was the Dawu Puyuma Aborigine Village (大武永久屋(富山部落,台東縣,永久屋,大武鄉公所)). The village is populated by the Puyuma (卑南族) aborigine tribe and the residents have had put their artistic talents to good use, at the front wall of most of their houses were tribal artwork.

At one of the houses was this mural of an aborigine bridal couple dressed up in tribal costume.

My buddies happily posing in front of a colorful grocery shop mural.

It's a plenitude of colors here, another "rainbow" building!(Click here to see more of Taiwan's aboriginal art at Dawu)

As we rode out of town, we caught our first glimpse of the sea; it's the Pacific Ocean proudly showing of it's beauty in layers of blue. I can see now where the aborigines got the visions of rainbow colors.

Then ahead..... our first test of endurance, the start of a series of undulating slopes!
It was not that hot, but Jo is wearing her face mask to filter off the dust...

 ... as there were many ongoing construction to upgrade the roads here. Also there were slope stabilization works to repair and strengthen steep slopes that had been damaged by the Typhoon Saola that had hit the island a month earlier.

The hard slopes did not deter us from stopping ever so often to admire the beauty of the place...

... and to have banana snacks too!

It's not only the sea that's beautiful, an array of yellow-black hazard strips mesmerized us as we rode through a tunnel.

We were not the only ones enjoying the place, this hiker slowly plodded on too.

Going up slope did have its advantage as later we happily went zooming down the slopes - the wind in our faces & the sights all just come nicely together.

More banana time!

Into Taimali town, friendly local bikers waved to urge us on.

In Taimali were more artwork by the aborigines here, but these ones were sort of a mural dictionary. Each depict a word in Chinese and its equivalent aborigine word. Nearby is the Taimali aborigine village, they must have been the ones who did these murals.

The locality here is populated by the Paiwan tribe. Tjavualji (that's the aboriginal name for Taimali) has a long history and was established 1,000 years ago by the Qian YaoKao, also called the Da Ma, who were ancestors of the Paiwan peopleQing era records show the place name written variously (兆貓裡/朝貓籬/大貓狸/大麻里), etc. According to Paiwan  legend it had been called "the village of sunrise" (Jabauli or Tjavualji in Paiwan language) because there the sun rises from the eastern sea.
In 1920, the village was officially called Tamari (太麻里), which is essentially the name used up to now. After Taiwan was handed over from Japan to the Republic of China in 1945, its name was modified to Taimali Village (太麻里村).
(Click here to see more of Taiwan's aboriginal art at Taimali)

Hey! What are the girls doing here?
There were no lifts nor escalators at Taimali Station and it was back to carrying our bagged bikes and luggage down and up two sets of stairs. After which the girls did some Pilates exercises to stretch back their muscles.

Ann was most happy when we arrived at Taitung Railway Station; there ARE escalators here! No more heavy totting of our bikes and bags 😄.

It was a good thing we took the train from Taimali to Taitung; when we arrived an hour later it close to 6:00pm and getting dark, wouldn't be safe riding long distances in the dark yah?
We checked in to the Longxing (Dragon Star) Hotel and went out for dinner to a place recommended by the hotel staff.
It's the Nine Waves Aboriginal Restaurant, a place that has aboriginal food on their menu. We had a simple dinner of several dishes one of which was this curious dish of a green variety of a fungus called cloud ears (运耳). It was chewy, tasteless by itself but had absorbed a bit of the gravy combo flavor of the eggs and pork stock.

(click here to read more of our aboriginal meal)

We quite like the Longxing (Dragon Star) Hotel, though a bit old it had large rooms and a nice garden in between the rows of rooms. It's going back to nature a bit in this aborigine territory 👺.

"Jia'vai jia'vai"
(that's hello in Southern Paiwan language)

(For more photos of the Day 13, Click Here)
This is page 12 of a 19-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D12 Kenting 2          |        Go to Other Days             |              Go to D14 Yuli >


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