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  • Finally managed to buy a bike after a little bit of drama

  • change of plans back and forth and I ended up with a rusty $60... oh $50 really

  • $50 bike which, fingers crossed will get me all the way south to Kaohsiung.

  • Biked up to Fengguizui lookout which is about 600 meters elevation. Can't see anything

  • from the lookout here Going to hit the road again get some food

  • in my belly and maybe a little bit of warmth as well.

  • Turned up at this hostel pretty sodden

  • last night but I'm fresh and dry now. Late start to the

  • day today because it was raining again this morning. Plan is to head from where

  • are now which is Ruifang, and make my way around the coast in the direction of Yilan.

  • If there were a prize for a country with the most impressive abandoned buildings

  • Taiwan is kinda cheating because even the inhabited buildings often look abandoned

  • these specific buildings, I really have no idea what they are. I kind

  • of just assume that they're all abandoned button factories

  • Couple hundred meters from the little village of Bitou. I guess this is the only

  • spot where they were able to find space to build a school because it's either that

  • or they just wanted to have the best view in town. I'm sure the kids here get

  • quite a few days off for typhoons because it is a very exposed.

  • Next door from the school is a cemetery. New and the old, neighbors here in Bitou.

  • Well, so far riding around Taiwan has proven to be just about the best idea ever.

  • This morning I'm riding my way through

  • the Lanyang Plain, which is a beautiful area surrounding Yilan.

  • Sort of interspersed housing and rice paddies surrounded by hills and then the coast.

  • Came across this dead fish on the side of the road. Not sure if it's jumped up

  • from the rice paddies. Could be good eating still but I think I'll give this one a miss.

  • Just taking it super cruisey today making my way around the rice

  • paddies that surround Yilan.

  • Made my way through the port city of Su'ao to the Tofu Cape.

  • This is more or less where I'm going to finish up for today. I've got a little bit of

  • backtracking to do just to get back to where I'm going to stay but there's a

  • nice little local - well what looks like a local hangout that I've encountered here.

  • Pretty cool beach down there and looks like a nice little spot

  • Killer bargain on accommodation in Su'ao. Unfortunately just after checking in I

  • managed to lock myself out of the room and I had to call the owners to drive

  • back from wherever she is at the moment, so that was a pretty embarrassing start

  • but yeah awesome... So I've got the massage chair here, I got the washing machine

  • outside getting me sorted for tomorrow. Tonnes of space so pretty happy here.

  • I'm going to chill out and rest up for tomorrow.

  • Day four now and I've gained a

  • little bit of height above Su'ao so I'm making my way on a section of road

  • that is super quiet because there's a tunnel that's been built parallel to it

  • kind of nervous about how much climbing and descending I've got to do today

  • hopefully I can manage to get to my destination which is the the bottom end of Taroko gorge.

  • Hard to get a good angle on it but it's a pretty dramatic bit of

  • coast here just between Su'ao and Nan'ao. I'm still working my way up hill looks like

  • I don't know maybe another hundred meters of height to gain so just chipping away at it.

  • Unbelievable number of tour buses - empty tour buses - passing

  • through here at the moment. Anyway I've got to about 400 meters I think which

  • should have me at a point where I've done most of the climbing for this

  • section. Awesome views, real dramatic coastline it's pretty amazing this was

  • ever the main route up and down the East Coast.

  • Below me now is Dong'ao beach. I've just got to continue down there and then on

  • the other side the road ascends again so I'm gonna have to start climbing again.

  • after making my way down this nice little stretch here.

  • I'm on the climb now from Dong'ao to Nan'ao.

  • Shirts off so it must be getting serious.

  • Anyway I had to pull up here because it's just one more killer view. Turning out to be a

  • a pretty sweet day. Not too hot, it's glorious.

  • Getting a little bit closer to Taroko now. Probably about 40 kilometres.

  • Continuing to descend now. There are a few trucks around and it's going to be awesome when

  • that new freeway is built through those on the tunnels down there. This road is

  • just super steep and windy. I can't believe that this is like the main road

  • going around Taiwan Once those trucks are off the road

  • going through the tunnel instead it's going to be a killer ride. It's not too

  • bad in the meantime but you know less traffic is always better.

  • In fairness to Taiwan, most of the island is like these massive mountains and glorious coastline

  • and stuff like that and the industry does have to go somewhere but by god

  • when you see it it certainly sticks out like a sore thumb.

  • BOOM! Right there...

  • Day five and I'm a little above Tianxiang now in Taroko National Park. A bit of an

  • up and back mission today. I am now going to make my way back through the gorge

  • get a few shots of that and then head through to Hualien.

  • I'm at the entrance now to this half cut tunnel going along the hillside and halfway down there's

  • this entrance goes like into the mountain.

  • No vehicles inside!

  • ...but beware of vehicles!!

  • other side of the tunnel and there's a trail here that leads

  • 1.8km to the Baiyang waterfalls.

  • So behind me along the cliffside there is the so-called Swallows Grotto trail

  • you can see what a precarious line the main road used to take.

  • I'm now a couple of hours riding south of Hualien and I've decided to get off the

  • main route. Definitely gonna slow things down a little bit but that's okay, I'm

  • not in a rush. It looks pretty nice, you know, a lot of rice paddies and little

  • farms and things around so I hope I am going to enjoy it.

  • Turns out that the detour has been pretty worthwhile because it's taken me through

  • Dadongdafu Forest Park which I didn't even know about - I didn't even notice on the map

  • but yeah nice place. Good views there was like a little bike trail that

  • went straight through the forest. It makes more sense if the actual marked

  • cycling route that goes around the island would take people through places

  • like this. Seems a little bit silly to be down on the more industrial kind of road

  • below but anyway I managed to find this or myself. There's probably a good theory

  • that perhaps I should not be filming while cycling at the same time

  • but it's not too much traffic around... should be okay. So I guess there's kind

  • of an explanation for that main cycling route not veering off onto these wild bush paths.

  • Oh sealed road again. I'm definitely putting this $50 bike of mine

  • through some tough little battles

  • Heading down through the Rift Valley south of Ruisui going through rice

  • paddies and that kind of thing at the moment so it's quite scenic. Mountains on

  • both sides and basically I'm heading a little bit further south and then I'm

  • going to take a road that goes through the mountains from this rift valley

  • over to the coastline so this afternoon I'll be heading down the coastline again.

  • I've got a fair distance to go now to get to the hostel for tonight around 50km

  • The next meal after what I'm eating now is going to be a 7-eleven

  • about, I think it was 18 kilometres away and basically I'm just working away. It's

  • a pretty nice area like hills on one side and coast on the

  • other, as is so normal in Taiwan

  • Still chipping away at the coast road. Awesome scenery next to the ocean

  • again. I'm on a nice little stretch of road here which is off the main drag so

  • I got the whole thing to myself basically. There are some pretty dark

  • clouds on the horizon. It could be a little bit of rain later on but we shall see.

  • Day eight now and I just stayed the night last night in little town of Dulan.

  • Super lazy day planned for today. I'm just out of town here I've stopped

  • by this little optical illusion called water flowing upward so apparently it's

  • supposed to appear that this little stream here rises but the water flows

  • that way. Came here kind of expecting a bit of a lame attraction and I guess

  • that it is, but then I realized I kind of like it so it's a bit of a

  • philosophical challenge going on here. I'm going to bike a little bit south

  • from here, not too much riding today probably about 30km.

  • Just kind of worn out and feeling a bit lazy after a relatively long day yesterday

  • Sad face! Another closed and abandoned looking hotel. Kinda everywhere in Taiwan

  • Mainland loosens its policy in terms of travellers coming to Taiwan and so they

  • build a bunch of hotels and then there's a big dispute between the two countries

  • again and so all the hotels get shut down. My plan initially had been to stop

  • quite a while back but as always seems to happen in this situation I decided to

  • press on. That was all going well and now I get to a little bit like this and

  • I'm like, 'oh really, I gotta go ride up that!?

  • I think I've managed to book the creepiest accommodation in Taiwan

  • If Dementors had swingers parties this is probably where they would have them.

  • Even my mattress is covered in plastic what the

  • What the fuck!?

  • Just the awkwardest theme in this place as well. There's like these little

  • cats on the walls. Not sure what the designers had in mind by connecting

  • these chains to the ceiling. Black painted walls and ceiling as well which

  • you can admire while getting ravaged by the mosquitoes. So, a few interesting

  • little quirks about this place not least of which of course is the fact that it

  • is definitely haunted. Also the very first place in Taiwan

  • I've ever come across which doesn't have Wi-Fi.

  • So, not much for me to do around here tonight

  • I will have nothing but the ghosts to keep me company. Hopefully a good night's

  • sleep in spite of that and then tomorrow morning I'm heading off towards Kenting.

  • And here in the mountain rainforests of southern Taiwan a monkey explores the

  • upper canopy on the rain forest. Bit of a climb on the bike this morning

  • probably gained about 300 meters or something and I've got around another

  • hundred meters to go and then it's mostly downhill.

  • The climbing has certainly paid off I've turned off onto the 199 South which it turns out is

  • just a beautiful road. I've only passed one vehicle in the last ten minutes.

  • It just seems to wind down straight through forests basically, there's no rubbish or

  • junk on a side of the road, no trucks to worry about and just surrounded by dense

  • awesome forest so it's good downhill all the way to the coast.

  • Now just south of Kenting where I stayed last night. Going to ride around the

  • peninsula today and end up in Hengchun so really a short cruisey one today. It is

  • warm weather which is nice. A bit more sunny than it was yesterday

  • and who knows, could end up going for a swim a little bit later on. Passing a

  • little preserved area of the beach along here, absolutely beautiful.

  • Not allowed to access it unfortunately, I guess they're worried about it getting a bit messy.

  • Made it around to the eastern side of the peninsula which is similarly calm