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Cycling around Sun Moon Lake, CNN Travel named Best Bike Route in the world

Located in the heart of Taiwan, the Sun Moon Lake has long been charming curious foreigners and local visitors alike. Its calm, turquoise water has also inspired many ancient Chinese poets and painters. The route around the largest lake in Taiwan is a three-hour ride, where visitors can enjoy lake scenery, experience Thao aboriginal culture and learn about the local ecology in the Nantou County. If you arrive in early spring, you can even catch the cherry blossoms near this mirror-like lake.
— CNN Travel, cycling routes that'll take your breath away

Cheery Blossoms in Sun Moon Lake, Spring only!!

Sun Moon Lake is the largest and most beautiful alpine lake in Taiwan. Its beauty is like a strand of bright pearls shimmering in the midst of Taiwan. The mist-laden water and the constant changes of thick and dispersing clouds and fog create a mood of a fantasy fairyland. Depending on the seasons and time of day, perhaps the scenes might remind you of a sketch, a colorful watercolor painting, or a Chinese landscape painting. Visitors are often enthralled by the refreshingly beautiful and elegant landscapes here.

Romantic sunset view of a biking couple in Sun Moon Lake

The beauty of Sun Moon Lake, from dawn to dusk and from season to season, exudes an aura of enchantment regardless of whether it is bathed in sunlight and blue sky or shrouded in mist. Consequently, tourists find themselves in the amazement of stunning landscape accompanied by the chirping sounds of birds and the delightful fragrance of flowers.

Sun Moon Lake Youth Activity Center is the perfect location to stay over for one night.

Sun Moon Lake Youth Activity Center is the perfect location to stay over for one night.

In the early morning, a thin veil of mist creating a sense of hazy dreaminess covers the surface of the lake. When the sun rises over the mountains, the obscuring mist lifts slowly to reveal the contour of the lake, reflecting images of surrounding mountains as birds chirp and glide gracefully. At dusk, the colors of the setting sun are like a sprinkling of golden dust, transforming it into a romantic paradise. As the night falls, the flickering lights of fishing boats, shining stars and dancing fireflies reflect their shimmer on the rippling lake as cool evening breezes waft in. Such an image has been described as a mischievous fairy illuminating the lake with her lantern.

Sunset view from Shuiwatou Trail, the famous frog pyramid location

Sunset view from Shuiwatou Trail, the famous frog pyramid location

Whoever comes to Sun Moon Lake can enjoy the view of the lake by cycling along on the bike trails or biking around the lake in a full circle. You can start from Shuishe, where the bus stops, and cycle on the lakeside paths to Xiangshan Visitors Center and Moon Lake bike path. Or you can rent a bicycle from Ita Thao and biking clockwise around the lake, and enjoy the half day bike tour.

Several bikeways are easily accessible for everyone to enjoy.

Several bikeways are easily accessible for everyone to enjoy.

You can enjoy riding a bicycle passing over Sun Moon Lake water. 

You can enjoy riding a bicycle passing over Sun Moon Lake water. 

Moon Lake bike path is the one less traveled and thus the most beautiful and quiet place.

Moon Lake bike path is the one less traveled and thus the most beautiful and quiet place.

Shuishe Xiangshan Bike Path connects Shuishe Pier and Xiangshan Visitor Center with a 3km long bike-only trails. Along this bikeway, you will pass by the famous 0.4km bikeway above the water where you will see Shuishe Dam, the Sun Moon Lake water outlet port, and Yongjietongxin Birdge in between. There is also Xiangshan Viewing Deck, built with steel, creating a suspension bridge feeling for visitors while walking on it. The hollowed-out design of this platform allows visitors to glance around Sun Moon Lake from above.

Shuishe Dam is the best place to view the water and mountains joining together, so many wedding photos are taken here.  

Shuishe Dam is the best place to view the water and mountains joining together, so many wedding photos are taken here.  

If you are interested in travel to Sun Moon Lake and needing an advice on planning the trip or even needing someone to take you directly there to enjoy all things said above.

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You can also have fun with Biking Taiwan TEAM!


A Route Planning Example within Haulien Sincheng to Shoufong

After spending time in the mountain, you can enjoy your ride again along the pacific coastline. There is a small portion of this route that lead you to a good view of the pacific and the moutain blending together. Make sure you ride on most of the bike paths indicated in this planning so you wont feel bored biking in Hualien, the backyard garden of Taiwan.

A Route Planning Example within Yilan

After a long ride yesterday, you must wish to stay a bit longer in the room and have more relaxed ride today. Yilan is a plain so you will have not too much to climb but enjoy yhe pacific on your side while riding along before a challenging day ahead. Nanfangao is a famous port for fising boats and seafoods are amazingly great. Check-in early and sleep early for the hilly day tomorrow. Of course, some people would decide to skip this part of great scene becuse it is hard and unsafe in some way because of the heavey traffic, so you can choose to take your bike along on the train to Hualien instead tomorrow.

Is it a dream or is it a challenge to cycling around Taiwan?

The most difficult part of biking around Taiwan is having the determination and self-confidence needed to do it. If you think that you lack either of these attributes, just remember the story of
King Liu, who is the president of Giant, the GIANT bicycle manufacturing company. He was eighty years old when he completed a twelve-day trip cycling around Taiwan. Of course, before you set out you should consult with your doctor; if he gives you permission, then you only need to worry about how much determination you have.

One of the advantages of riding around Taiwan is that you can determine your own itinerary, so if you feel tired you can take more time but if you feel strong you can ride longer. If you lack fitness or want to take your time for sightseeing, then plan for your round-the-island trip to take between seven and twelve days. If you average of about ninety kilometers per day, with an average speed of 20 km/h for 4-6 hours a day, you’ll reach your goal of riding a bike around the island in Taiwan.

iBike Tour: City Biking and Visiting in Taichung

Trip Overview

iBike is the public bicycle sharing system in Taichung that everyone can easily access. (therefore, knowing how to ride a bike is the minimum requirement for you to sign up for the tour). Come and enjoy this green biking tour to get to know some major attractions in this beautiful city.

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Highlights

  • Comprehensive tour of the city
  • Great overview and orientation of the city
  • Perfect introduction for first-time visitors
  • Private guide for a more personalized experience

What to Expect

At 9:30am, we will meet at Maple Valley Park iBike Station. Riding bikes along the roads of the city in an extremely slow pace, and enjoying sunshine and healthy exercise while discovering this young city in Taiwan. Our biking tour starts from the modern side of the city and then slowly move to the historical side of it, so you will see everything that you need to see to proudly tell others that you have been to Taichung.

We will be visiting or cycling by below major attractions in the city:

  • Maple Valley Park (Maple Garden)
  • National Taichung Theater (Taichung Metropolitan Opera House)
  • Wenxin Forest Park & Fulfillment Amphitheater
  • Museum of Natural Science and Technology
  • Calligraphy Greenway
  • National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts
  • Natural Way Six Arts Cultural Center
  • Taichung Park
  • Taichung Railway Station

There are convenient stores everywhere on the way, so no need to carry a lot of food or water supplies with you. Just come and enjoy and to have most fun out of this wonderful biking experience! In the end of this bike tour, we will sit in at the origin of bubble tea shop and enjoy a cup of famous Taiwan bubble tea.

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Taichung - Home of Bubble & Pearl Milk Tea

Chun Shu Tang, as we believe, is the first tea shop that invented bubble tea and creation of pearl milk tea. Therefore, it is a must to visit the very first shop of Chun Shu Tang during our biking tour of Taichung City. 

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During the 90s, there were tea shops almost everywhere in Taiwan and people enjoyed hanging out in the tea shop with a cold drink to simply chill our with friends, playing cards, or dating for the young couples. 

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The most important innovation of this bubble tea is that it has transformed an ancient tea drinking habit from hot to cold beverage which indeed attracts more people to appreciate tea. And the hand shake process of the iced tea, forming a layer of bubbles, makes the tea flavor released more quickly and taste more enjoyable. The milk tea, and the pearl and later boba (bigger size pearl) give more options to your tea drinking experiences (now way too much!!)

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After gaining its market in Taiwan, business people just have to spread the good things across the world, and it does make a great success all over the world. Just look at this photo which shows you the countries that have already selling bubble tea, but still nothing compares to its origin.

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Come to join our cycling trip in Taichung, and let us buy you a fresh made bubble tea from the first tea shop who invented this wonderful drink!

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Find out more about iBike Taichung City Tour

Keep in touch with Biking Taiwan for more fun tour on two wheels in Taiwan!


Recommendation of another article about Bubble Tea Origin by Erin De Santiago -

The Origin of Bubble Tea in Taiwan

When you’re traveling in Taiwan, especially through Taipei, it might feel like there’s a bubble tea shop on nearly every corner. And, in many neighborhoods, that isn’t far from reality. Next to convenience stores on nearly every corner, bubble tea shops are everywhere. Taiwanese, and many of us who have moved to Taiwan, are obsessed with bubble tea, and not because it’s trendy around the world, but because Taiwan is credited with originating this refreshing drink.

If you head south of Taipei to the city of Taichung, you’ll find Chun Shu Tang, the shop where bubble tea is believed to have been invented. Liu Han-Chieh developed the idea of serving Chinese tea cold after a visit to Japan where he tasted cold coffee. His product manager, Lin Hsiu Hui, decided to pour her sweetened tapioca pudding balls into her Assam tea. That random, spur of the moment decision back in the late 1980’s, turned into a cultural phenomenon that spread around the globe.

So, what sets the seemingly endless stores of bubble tea apart in Taipei? Quality, of course. Everyone has their favorite vendor or chain, and you can absolutely taste a difference in the various teas. Some brands don’t cook the tapioca balls the right amount of time or the quality of the tea is not as good as other vendors.

Chun Shu Tang relies on its expertise and commitment to quality, which keeps their locations bustling. They continue to shake all their teas by hand versus blending. They use high-quality ingredients and rely on the fundamental aspects of the drink — the tea itself. In addition to hand blending, they use a refractometer to test the sweetness, allowing them to cater specifically to their customers’ needs. Visit one of their locations to learn more about Chinese tea or participate in a real tea ceremony — something I highly recommend on your Taiwan travels.

The variety of bubble teas available may be overwhelming if you’re never had one before. The most traditional is a regular Assam tea with tapioca bubbles. However, you can do fruit teas or green teas. Add tapioca balls, or fruit puree, jelly cubes, red beans, or a variety of other ingredients, which will vary by location and vendor. Moderating your sugar intake? Ask for full sugar, half sugar, or no sugar. Personally, I usually go for the standard bubble tea, but if I deviate, it’s usually for a passion fruit tea with puree and flavored jelly.

What’s your favorite variety of Taiwanese bubble tea? 

 

iBike Taichung (4) - Biking Taiwan tour in Taichung

National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung City, Taiwan

As one of the most heavily attended museums in Taiwan, and one of the most attended venues in Taichung, the Museum is in the distinguished company of the National Palace Museum in Taipei and the National Science and Technology Museum in Kaohsiung.

Across 9 exquisite hectares, the Museum is a five-venue complex housing the Space IMAX Theater, Science Center, Life Science Hall, Human Cultures Hall (the original Chinese Science Hall), and Global Environment Hall, plus the 4.5-hectare Botanical Garden, the 5-hectare 921 Earthquake Education Museum at Wufong, the 33-hectare Fonghuanggu Ecology Education Park at Lugu, and the 2.6-hectare Chelungpu Fault Preservation Education Park at Chusan. Over 50 permanent exhibit areas covering subjects on astronomy, space science, paleontology, ecology, gems and minerals, human cultures, tropical plants, and geology, the Museum is a place filled with hand-on exhibits that delights children and adults of all ages. As a matter of fact, the Museum is a major science learning center with over half a million school children visiting annually. In addition, rotating special exhibits are a constant occurrence to the Museum.

We will stop at this wonderful museum for about 45 minutes, so visitors could enjoy and relax a bit after first cycling hour. 

Find out more  about iBike Taichung City Tour

iBike Taichung - Video Intro

Taichung city is the third largest city in Taiwan. It had implemented public bicycle sharing system since three years ago and getting its poupularity more and more in these days. You can see a lot of people riding iBike on the street during weekends and students riding to school on the week days. Biking is the best pace to get around the city centers. So we created a biking tour that everyone can join and get to know this city here and there in just one day.