Liang-tan (Inter-beach) Bike Trail

Cycling is one of the hottest activities to pursue in Taiwan. We got a small taste of it at Sun Moon Lake (Shuishe Pier-Toushe Dam) and hoped to repeat our experience in Hualien. Hualien County lies on the east coast of the country and is home to the stunning Qixingtan Beach. We picked up maps from our hotel and selected Liang-tan (Inter-beach) Bike Trail, which is also Course A on the map (not in post). I couldn’t find a map online and used Google Maps to chalk out a rough course of the route that we planned to follow. We had already covered Deyan Coastal Gardens and Qixingtan Scenic Area on the previous day. Our plan was to cover the course from our hotel to Liyu Lake.

Sunrise

We woke up to the gorgeous views of the sun and the sandy beach. We wanted to get a head start and cover most of the trail — before the sun was out and shining.

Hiring Cycles

There are many bike rental shops around the beach. We could hire bikes from our hotel without a rental fee. We had to write the number of hours that we’d take it for, along with our local number. We weren’t sure for how long we’d need the bikes for and took it for a couple of hours.

Qixingtan Beach

I was excited. The views were unparalleled and it was still quite cool in the morning. Very few tourists were around the beach. Most of the cycling groups had already left earlier than us. They must have gone to Taroko Gorge because there wasn’t anyone in sight.

The Cycling Trail

Unlike the other half of the Qixingtan Bike Trail, the section near our hotel was uneven and under construction. This was way back in October (2018) and it’s possible that work on the trail would be completed now.

The Beach

The waves had retreated and exposed the pebbled beach. Basil couldn’t resist touching the water and walked closer to the blue line. Swimming isn’t allowed on this beach because of the strong tide. The coast guard is vigilant and keeps a close eye on anyone who flouts rules.

First Lookout Point

We should have started earlier because the sun was pretty sharp by half past nine. It’s not fun to carry a bike uphill. The views from the first observation deck made the effort worth it.

Wooden Trail

From this point, the trail continues to rise, and we had to lift our bikes for most part of the trail. The trees protected us from the sun. Stray dogs chose to rest in the shade and we disturbed their morning nap. They weren’t too pleased and I just hoped that they wouldn’t chase us.

Viewing Platform

After a rather long climb uphill, we reached level ground. The sun was too sharp to enjoy the views and we decided to keep moving. There was a map (the last one for a long time) with instructions in Mandarin. The trip wasn’t turning out to be as much fun as I thought it would.

Moving Along

We didn’t know where we were headed after this. For some reason I expected the bike trail to run parallel to the beach and we had already exited Qixingtan Beach. Basil coaxed me to keep pedalling.

Follow the Road

The cycling path runs parallel to the road and in some parts overlaps with pavements. The cycling icon showed that we were on some trail, but we didn’t know on which one.

The Factory

We approached some kind of port and we passed a huge factory. There weren’t too many signs to help us here.

Keep Cycling

We hadn’t factored the heat or lack of directions before starting out. We were getting frustrated with the bumpy road and humidity. I doubted how much further I’d go from here.

Rest

We reached a spot in the shade that was claimed by few strays. They didn’t like us speeding by and we had to stop or risk getting bit. I didn’t mind the brief rest-stop. We didn’t know where we were and it didn’t matter. Liyu Lake seemed like a far shot from here.

The Long Climb

I had read some blogs which said that most of the bike trails are not too difficult for anyone who is used to physical activity. My all-time best along Seoul’s Han River is around 25 Km and I was reasonably confident that I could cover more than three quarters of the Inter-beach Biking Trail. Again, we hadn’t considered the heat and the terrain before the trip. Also, it wasn’t possible to cover the whole trail and return to the hotel on the same day. In Seoul, we generally take the subway from the point we stop at.

Bridge

Basil crossed the Red Port Bridge and looked at the other side. There’s a nice green patch that runs parallel to the port and there’s a route to get to the other side.

Cafe

Most of the shops were closed on a lazy Saturday morning. We were lucky to find this cafe with a stunning view of the port below. I decided that I couldn’t continue further and it made sense to head back to our hotel. I was disappointed, but it was wiser to quit when I had energy.

Views from the Terrace

This cafe has an outdoor viewing area offering splendid views of the port below.

We spotted a cute bird hiding in the bush.

Cycling Back

Going back always seems easier and faster. The heat was still bad, but the thought of going back to the hotel kept us going.

Scenic Spot

As we approached Qixingtan, we discovered a scenic spot that we had missed earlier in the morning. The views of the sea and mountains took my breath away.

Panoramic Views

It’s hard to capture the true beauty and expanse of the sea. I tried clicking some panoramic shots and it might look a little stretched.

Solitude

The Route Back

A huge cycling tour group had started their tour. I felt sorry for them because it was getting very hot and they had a long way to go. We could spot the route that cut through the thick cover on the hill.

The wooden trail was easier this time and we tried to avoid sleeping strays. We reached the beach and tried to soak in the last views of the sea.

Walking Around

Lunch

After returning our bikes, we rested for a bit, and went in search for lunch. This neighbourhood is a sleepy village town and most restaurants close early. We were eating most of our meals at the local convenience store and I was desperately hoping to have a freshly prepared meal. Thankfully, Sarlees was open and we had a real lunch after nearly 4 days.

Goodbye Hualien

Storm clouds were brewing in the sky and I wasn’t looking forward to the TRA ride back to Taipei. I hoped for the weather to change on the next day. It was time to head back to the city.

Additional Reading

Great Rides in the Bicycle Kingdom (PDF)

Posted by:twobrownfeet

Walkers. Wanderers. Travellers. Now in Seoul.

34 replies on “Cycling in Hualien (Inter-beach Bike Trail)

    1. Thank you for helping me with the name of the bird. I’m terrible with bird names and have given up trying to match pictures with names. :)This trip was somewhere in October (last year), the bird might be signal for autumn in Taiwan.
      I was disappointed that I couldn’t complete the trail. 😦 But looking back, especially at those views, I’m glad we persevered. Hugs!

  1. Lovely views. A cycle is a unique form of transport that allows you to travel faster yet slower! Slower than a motorcycle allowing you to stop and explore. However, it is safe only when you have a separate cycle track which you find only in a few countries. The other option is on lanes where there’s no traffic. I have tried it during my recent travel. It was definitely a unique experience.

    1. I agree! I don’t ride a motorbike, but I’ve enjoyed those rides as well. I love empty roads. Where did you travel recently? We love the Han River and its cycling track.

      1. It definitely was, Cheryl. It can’t fit in on my blog. The other blog that I have, I have not written for last 2 years. A good blogger friend who’s based in US asked me to write which she’ll publish on her blog. I need to figure out context of the story. I generally don’t write a travelogue. 😊

  2. I love cycling when traveling, and it’s great you shared these routes in Taiwan. Am keen on visiting even for a weekend and try this out. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Wonderful detail as usual. I enjoy cycling but agree that in a place like this an early (daylight) start is essential. Great views along the way and the beach panoramic shot is spectacular.

    1. Hualien has so much to do and see. You’re going to enjoy it! 🙂 We couldn’t explore the main city or some of the other scenic areas. I wish we could have stayed longer. 😦

  4. The water views were certainly great! I get frustrated when signage is bad, especially if I’m hot or tired. Glad that the return trip was pleasant once you made the decision to head back!

    1. Those views are hard to forget! They’re going to remain etched forever. 🙂 I was frustrated with the cycling bit though. We should have booked our hotel (next day) in Liyu. Only if we had more time. 😦

    1. Sorry for the late reply. I hope you’re feeling better. Take care. I was prone to colds for the past few months and have finally worked on my fitness. No hikes so far. 😦 I’m so glad you enjoyed our trip in Taiwan. Get well soon and happy hiking! 🙂

  5. Wow, the vibrant colour of the seas and the mountains was truly breathtaking Cheryl. Sounds like the bike ride was a hard slog. Don’t feel bad that you couldn’t finish the trail though. Bike riding can be hard work though it really is an amazing way to take in the views isn’t it. Another wonderful post Cheryl. xx 😊

    1. Hello there my friend! Hope you’ve been well. We’re having some major ESP happening. I’ve been thinking of you. 🙂 I’ve been super busy last month because of many friends visiting Seoul and it’s a struggle to keep blogging.
      I was happy to finish quarter of the trail. You’re right, the view was worth the effort and it’s the journey that counts. 🙂 Warm hugs from a hot and sunny Seoul! xoxo

  6. You managed to cover a lot of ground just cycling. Well done for persevering despite the heat. Good that you knew your body (and legs) well enough to call it a day. The views are gorgeous and you should be proud that you made it that far.

      1. You actually covered a lot of ground and should be proud of yourself. It would have been nice to complete the trail but it is not necessary to push yourself to the point of risking your health and well-being. There will be other opportunities, I’m sure.

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