Friday, 10 March 2017

Day 3 #7DaysTaiwan : Hualien > Taroke Gorge > Kenting : Riding Through Valleys of Marble and Limestone


From the Northernmost part of Taiwan to the Southernmost tip, we will be covering about 350KM today, onto Taiwan's little Hawaii beach, also known as Kenting!


With a mix of mountain and coastal roads, we're definitely looking forward to what the second day of our ride has to offer!



06:15 AM

Who loves waking up and stuffing their hands and legs into squishy damp gloves and boots?

NO ONE!

My gloves and boots are waterproof, but.. it's the user problem that caused the gears to get wet hahaha. Gloves - As explained yesterday. Boots - Well if you noticed the end of my jeans goes inside the boots, leading water directly into it. Besides, it really rained for damn long.

So now, I have to wear plastic bag over my socks to prevent it from getting soaked by the dampess of my inner boots. I think I should invest in a good pair of Gortex socks. Heard it's good.


Checked out of the hotel and we were greeted with a beautiful... are-you-kidding-me-it's-still-raining weather!

PC: tumblr

The stamina of this rain is really..


Okay okay, how about cheering ourselves up with some 7-Eleven breakfast? Haha oh you know when it comes to hotel bookings, I sometimes exclude the breakfast option because I'd prefer to sleep more than wake up early to eat :p


After minimally filling our tummies with some coffee and sandwiches, we dived right into Taroko Gorge National Park!

PC: inspirationseek
It is one of Taiwan's most popular tourist attraction as it is indeed a beautiful sigh to behold.


Entry into the park is Free.



Formed millions of years ago by the collision of the Philippine and Eurasian Plates that caused thick layers of limestone rock to rise over 3,000 metres high, the walls of Taroko Gorge are still rising till this day, at about 0.5cm per year, as the river basin sink deeper and deeper in depth.


The tectonic compression between the collision of the Plates supplied such a high pressure that metamorphosed the limestones into..


an abundance of marble.


Adding on the erosive power of the Liwu River constantly piercing through the marble rocks, forming the gorge valley we are standing in today.


If it's your first time here, I'd recommend you to go on a guided tour where your guide will walk you through the park, showing you the key points of interest and the history behind every one of it.


Having visited this park before (years back), we decided to ride through the gorges instead, occasionally stopping by the side to snap some pictures of the magnificent landscape around us and


pause for a moment to take it all in.












To be continued...

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Day 2 #7DaysTaiwan : Taipei > Yilan > Hualien : Where We Got Our Bikes Before Riding Under 7 Hours of Rain


It is the first day of our ride here in Taiwan, and boy were we excited! Of course, that was not knowing that we were going to be freezing our tits off and getting some of our gears damp riding through 7 hours of non-stop rain!


This is our route for the day! From Taipei, we will ride 200KM directly to Hualien via Yilan.

PC: agoda
花蓮

Located on the country's mountainous eastern coast, Hualien is the largest county in Taiwan and is most popular for Taroko Gorge, a national park known for its magnificent sights of marble and limestone formed over 200 million years ago.


7:00AM

Having just barely 4 hours of sleep because we were happily clubbing last night lol, we got up bright and early, geared up and headed off to collect our bikes! Yeahhh!

PC: qwett

Ok I've received many enquiries on where to rent big bikes here in Taiwan, the cost, paperwork etc.

So here's the thing - The bikes that we've got were kindly borrowed from my local friend, who happens to be a motorcycle dealer in Taiwan. It is not a rented motorcycle, nor one from a motorcycle rental shop. It's almost the same as a friend borrowing you their bike to ride around the country.

PC: taipei magpies

In Taiwan, renting those mini scooters (150 cc) and below is easy. There are many Scooter Rental shops around Taiwan that provides that service and it costs about SGD $8 - $15 /day. You just need to present your Passport/Driving License.

PC: pinterest

However, it's not the case for big motorcycles because the risk and cost is much higher compared to the mini scooters. In Taiwan, there is no law protecting the biker who loans the motorcycle, and there are no insurance coverage available when it comes to renting a big motorcycle here in Taiwan.

PC: lefunny

Therefore, if you rent a big bike to ride, and unfortunately get into an accident where the bike is damaged, it is up to the owner of the bike to determine how much cost you will have to pay for it. There is no assurance at all and this excludes your own personal injury treatment costs.

Hence, it's always best to loan it from someone you know or trust.



Having said that, local biker chick, Cynthia, recommended a contact that provides big motorcycles for rent in Taiwan with a fair amount of coverage should anything happen.

Rental prices ranges depending on the type and model of motorcycle chosen. It's best if you call/email them to enquire all necessary details before placing a booking for the bike rental at:

Motor Town Tire

Contact Person: P 
Tel: 0976-753-702
Line: PP751211
Email: service@motortowntire.com



Ok now that we have that clarified, let's proceed to the bike collection!


Got my hands on a silver/black Aprilia Shiver 750,


While David took it easy with the Honda NC700 with a pretty low seat height,


but Kyle took the win by claiming the newest BMW C650GT with plenty of storage, super comfortable cushioned seat, an automated adjustable wind shield and... HEATED GRIPS!

Since we magnanimously let him have the most comfy bike, he shall pay for all our petrol hahaha.



I'm not into scooters but honestly, the new BMW C650GT here actually looks pretty good!


Ran through the bikes, did some checks, strapped on our baggage and..


09:00AM

We're all set!


Around Taiwan on two wheels, here we go!


It was cloudy when we moved off from Taipei city. Little did we know that barely 15 minutes into our ride, was the start of our wet cruise 200KM all the way to Hualien.


Like us, you might think that, "ah, it's only 200KM, easy peasy, fast fast chop chop reach there in a jiffy". Like how we can arrive into Malacca under 2.5 hours, riding from Singapore.


But no man. Not when it comes to 200KM of mountain curves on slippery tarmacs and occasional fog affecting visibility on a two-way traffic road.



Yilan was just 90KM from Taipei but even before we passed the county, I was already shivering more than my Aprilia Shiver. In the current wet weather temperature of 14 deg with no wind shield, it was cold.


And our poor friend here, David, has torn his rain coat pants (I've no idea how),


while this super bright looking neon show off just stood there like, happily telling us how his bike is like a bed with wheels, emphasising on the heated grips. Undeniably comfortable.


11:45AM

Now, what's a road trip without popping by random cafes and having some comfort food! In a weather like this, a mug of steaming hot chocolate paired with some warm honey caramel waffles was simply perfect.

But you know sometimes, if you sit too long, you start to stone off..


Before that food coma sinks in and all, we gracefully accepted the fact that the rain is never going to go away for the rest of the day, and got back on the roads!


After being under the rain non-stop for 5 hours, even my waterproof gloves are pretty much drenched inside out.


Occasionally stopping by the roadside and removing them to snap some photos and putting my wet hands back in did not help.


Naaaaawww! Drenched gloves takes forever to dry, and this is.. JUST Day 1 OF THE RIDE. Am I really gonna have to live with wet / damp gloves for the rest of the trip? B..but.. We still have 4 more days! No please nooooooo!



Majority of the route from Yilan to Hualien were gorgeous coastal roads, overlooking the grand Pacific Ocean as we glided past on our two wheelers. It was very scenic.



Arch Inn (Hualien)
No.233 Guosheng 1st St. Hualien City, Taiwan 97056
國盛一街233號, 花蓮市, 花蓮縣, 台灣 97056
4 Bedder Private Room with Shower
Cost per night: SGD $63

6:00PM

After getting caught under the rain for 7 hours straight, carefully navigating over 100KM of slippery mountain corners, we finally arrived at Hualien and checked into our humble abode for the night.



When it comes to traveling, I'm never too particular when it comes to accommodation. Doesn't matter if it's 1 or 5 stars, or even no stars. As long as the place offers clean showering facilities and bed, in a quiet ambience, I'm good :)

P.S. If you want like a 100 stars hotel, pitch a tent and camp outside. Hahaha.


Besides, we're only gonna use it just to sleep and will be on our way off early next morning.


Having said that, of course it's always nice to treat oneself to rejuvenate in a luxurious hotel stay sometimes, especially after a long day of touring on a motorcycle.

To each it's own.

David showing off his white helmet full of dirt now

The boys were complaining how they were starving as we unloaded our bags. Took a long hot shower and headed out to Hualien Night Market to hunt for some delicious local delights.


We deserve some satisfying food for braving the miserable weatherrrr :))


Yeahhh! Hotplate black pepper spaghetti.


They call this the Coffin Toast with mouth-watering beef filling.


What's the next best thing to do after over filling our tummies?
Hehe, sleep!

Need that rest. Let's hope tomorrow's weather will be kinder to us!



[Singapore. Taipei.Yilan.Hualien]
[Mileage Clocked: 212KM]
[Weather/Temperature: 14°C/Rain]

Next stop: Kenting